Castle Dome


Sitting under the majestic Castle Dome Peak, The Castle Dome Mine district is one of the oldest in Arizona and also one of the most actively-mined over the years.  The primary minerals of economic importance were Lead and Silver although other minerals were also mined.  Most of the material was taken before 1900, although mining continued after that sporadically until the mid 1980s.  After operations shut down collectors descended on the area and discovered various crystal specimens including Vanadanite, Wulfenite, Barite, and Fluorite.



The Plants and Animals of Castle Dome


Collecting Report January, 2010

About 10 years ago when I was first developing an interest in fluorescent minerals I visited Charlie Ward’s room at the yearly Tucson show and saw a large table of pieces for sale from Castle Dome, Arizona.  What struck me were the bold patterns of the classic 3-color combinations.  Additionally some of these were 4-color pieces that included Hydrozincite.  While often found with Calcite or Willemite, Hydrozincite is rarely seen associated with Fluorite.  The only other locale I am aware of with that combination is Hogan Claim, and only an occasional piece (found near the surface of the claim) has Hydrozincite.

After Charlie Ward’s stock from Castle Dome was depleted I never saw pieces from that locale for sale again.  Two years ago I set out on my first collecting trip to Castle Dome to try to find the source of those great combinations but met with only moderate success.  The following year I tried again and did find some Hydrozincite combinations at the Nayal Black Hawk Mine, but not quite what I remembered seeing 10 years ago.  This year on my third and perhaps final collecting trip I finally found what I had been searching for.  I am now able to put an exact name to the locale, the Cleveland-Chicago Vein Group.


Old Collecting Reports



The Cleveland-Chicago Vein Group is a deposit of ore that has a number of shafts, prospects, and adits running its length, hence the “group” designation.  The minerals mined of economic interest were Lead, Silver, Zinc, Copper, Gold, and Fluorine.  At one shaft along the vein I found small amounts of Smithsonite, which explains the presence of Hydrozincite as a weathering product.  In all, I found the following fluorescent minerals there: Calcite, Willemite, Fluorite, Hydrozincite, Smithsonite, Caliche/Aragonite, and Hyalite.  Most pieces found were the classic combination of Calcite, Willemite, and Fluorite but there were other multicolor pieces as well.


Cleveland-Chicago Vein Group 1 Cleveland-Chicago Vein Group 2 Cleveland-Chicago Vein Group 3



Cleveland-Chicago Vein Group 4 Cleveland-Chicago Vein Group 5 Cleveland-Chicago Vein Group 6



Cleveland-Chicago Vein Group 7 Cleveland-Chicago Vein Group 8 Cleveland-Chicago Vein Group 9

Cleveland-Chicago Vein Group 10


The Señora Mine consists of a few small shafts and the minerals of economic interest were Lead, Silver, Fluorine, Barium, and Zinc.  One thing that sets this locale apart from others nearby is the presence of Calcite that glows yellow and white, along with the more typical orange variety.  Another unusual aspect is that practically all of the pieces do best under midwave UV and the shortwave response is rather minimal.  My take from the mine was not very much, although I hope to get some more pieces in the future with the aid of a hammer and chisel.




Hull Mine is located at a hill about a mile north of Castle Dome and was mined for Lead, Silver, Fluorine, Molybdenum, and Vanadium.  The Hull mine is known for fluorescent combinations of Calcite, Fluorite, Willemite, and occasional other minerals.  These combinations are distinct from those at the Red Cloud and Geronimo mines in the adjacent La Paz County in a few ways.  First, the specimens at Hull tend to be more solid and heavier, often containing Galena.  Second, the arrangement is less often in veins and more often in either a conglomerate or solid Calcite with blebs of Fluorite and Willemite.  Third, the Willemite at Hull is often bright green and very phosphorescent, although the yellowish-white variety is also found there.


Hull Mine North 1 Hull Mine North 2 Hull Mine North 3



Hull Mine North 4 Hull Mine North 5 Hull Mine North 6

Hull Mine North 7