Tour of Historic Ojo Caliente Mica Mine Part Of Two Geology Outings

by Staff Reporter / Mar 28, 2017 / comments
Mica from the Joseph Mine near Ojo Caliente. Courtesy photo

Tour of Historic Ojo Caliente Mica Mine Part Of Two Geology Outings  

Staff Report

Did you know that there was once a mica mine near Ojo Caliente? Well, the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) is offering a tour of the site as part of two geology outings in early April—a driving tour though the Pajarito Plateau on April 1 and an outing to the Joseph Mica Mine in Ojo Caliente on April 9. These popular geology outings, led by Patrick Rowe, fill up quickly, so interested participants are encouraged to register at peecnature.org/events.

The trip to the Joseph Mica Mine near Ojo Caliente on April 9th will include a short, easy (less than 1 mile) hike from a dirt road access. This mine has many types of rock, including mica, quartz, and muscovite. The Joseph Mine was prospected by Antonio Joseph of Ojo Caliente and was later worked on a large scale. Although the production is not accurately known, it may have amounted to several thousand tons of mica. The mine was active until about 1932, when rail service to the district ceased. Registration for this trip is also required at peecnature.org.

The driving tour will be offered a week before the Ojo Caliente tour, on April 1 and will cover territory between White Rock and the Valles Caldera. On this scenic drive participants will explore the well-exposed geologic sections and spectacular panoramic views that characterize the Pajarito Plateau and the Jemez Mountains of north central New Mexico. This field trip will include three stops along State Roads NM4 that are frequently visited by geologists and the general public alike. This is a drive-yourself tour, and registration is required at peecnature.org.

 The driving tour on April 1st will end at the Valles Caldera. Courtesy photo

Patrick Rowe is the Vice President for Field Trips for the Los Alamos Geological Society and is a Project Engineer for Los Alamos National Laboratory. He received a degree in engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He was involved in drilling and mining activities at the Nevada Test Site for many years. Rowe has been involved in rock collecting for more than 40 years and has been leading geologic field trips for PEEC for the past three years.

To register for either or both of these programs or learn more about these and other PEEC programs, visit www.peecnature.org, email programs@peecnature.org or call (505) 662-0460.