Nevada is one of those great states where there is LOTS of public land and very few people. This means that there are many rich mining locations that have not been prospected very hard. This is particularly true for the central and northern parts of Nevada, where there are no major cities, and mile after mile of open spaces.
Nevada is also a highly mineralized states. It ranks as the leading state in the U.S. in both silver and gold production. Additionally, there are many commercial operations that are mining a variety of precious and semi-precious stones and minerals. Lets take a look at some of the popular minerals that can be found in Nevada.
Nevada is perhaps the best state in the country to search for turquoise.
Out of the sixteen counties in Nevada, fourteen of them have been found with turquoise in varying quantities. Unlike most other states where turquoise mining is undertaken as a byproduct of the main mineral being mined, in Nevada turquoise is mined as a distinct industry. The different shades of turquoise found here range from light to dark blue, bluish green and sometimes even yellowish green.
Some of the well-known counties and mines are the Apache Blue Turquoise Mine located in the hills of Candelaria in Mineral County of Nevada, Blue Goose Mine located in Lander County close to the Bald Mountains, The Blue Ice Turquoise Mine located in Lyon County close to the city of Yerington, The Blue Jay Nevada Turquoise Mine located in Lander County of the Battle Mountain area and The Blue Moon Turquoise Mine situated in Esmeralda County.
Many other mines are located in the counties of Churchill, Clark, Douglas, Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Nye, Pershing, Storey and White Pine.
Nevada is a vast and remote state, which undoubtedly still has some undiscovered turquoise deposits that have yet to be found and exploited.
The Star Fire Opal Mine is located at about 24 kilometers from Gabbs which is in the Nye County, Nevada. At the mine one can find a rare and precious bluish grey opal as well as the common white opal. A large area of the mine has been bulldozed and the stone found here is less susceptible to cracks in contrast to opal found in the rest of Nevada.
The Webber Mine located remotely in Lincoln County of southern Nevada has recently discovered a precious opal deposit. The opal is present in the voids of the volcanic rocks found here. The stone is said to have a blue colored base with a play of blue, green and red colors. Similar to the opal found in the Star Fire Opal Mine, the stone from this site is also quite durable and does not crack easily making it ideal for jewelry.
A bit further north into Nevada is a mine famous for its opal in the Virgin Valley which lies in the northwestern part of the state. The most known mines here are the Rainbow Ridge, Royal Peacock and the Bonanza Opal that produce some of the exquisite black opals.
Fire opal and common opal is also found here. Although, the above mines are presently commercially known, there are many more areas in southern Nevada where the stone can likely be found and are not yet found.
Quartz and Amethyst
Some of the good quality amethyst crystals can be found in the Peterson Mountains situated in Washoe County of Nevada. The stone can be obtained at a junction in the mountains known as the Hallelujah Junction.
Nice quartz crystals can be found all throughout Nevada. They are commonly found by people metal detecting for gold and meteorites in Northern Nevada
. Clear and smoky varieties occur all throughout the state.
Some of the highest qualities of beryl such as emerald and aquamarine have been found in the various counties of Nevada. Beryl deposits have been discovered in the southern half of the state in Clark County and Esmeralda County.
The Virgin Mountains situated in Clarks County have been reported with beryl occurrences. The Teagle Mine or the Santa Cruz Mine in the Virgin Mountains consists of the gemstone in hues such as pale blue, bluish green and sea green.
Another site in the Virgin Mountains where beryl was reported from is at an area which is about 7 miles from the town of Bunkerville in Clark County of Nevada. The colors of crystals present here are said to be light green as well as colorless.
Samplings of beryl have also been reported from the Sylvania district of the Esmeralda County and from the Troy Canyon region of Nye County in southern Nevada. However, all the samples of the crystals found in southern Nevada are in very small amounts.
The Goodsprings Mining District situated in Clark County was once the center of mining activity in the state of Nevada in the early 1900s. The Copper Mining & Smelting Company which was later called the Nevada Copper Company and finally the Azurite Mining Company operated a number of mines in the area. The primary production was of copper, silver and zinc to some extent. The names of various mines were Boss mine, Azurite Mine and the Oro Mine.
Though these mines are no longer in operation, collectors still make an effort to pick up crystals of azurite, malachite and other such minerals left at the sites as waste.
Presently, The Nevada Copper Corporation operates the Pumpkin Hollow Copper Development Project at the Yerington Township in the Lyon County of Nevada. Copper and its minerals including azurite are found in the mining area.
Azurite is also found at Copper Mountain in Lucin District at a distance of about 25 miles in a northerly direction from Oasis.
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In southern Nevada, many sites in and around the city of Las Vegas in Clark County have abundant deposits of fossils. These include fossils of trilobites found in the Frenchman Mountains, corals found in the National Conservation Area of Red Rock Canyon, Fossils Canyon, and Yuka Peak, fossils of sponges found in The Blue Diamond Hill situated in the National Conservation Area of Red Rock Canyon, crinoids found in Fossil Canyon, Yuka Peak, Griffith Peak and Corridor Canyon. Many dinosaur tracks have been found in Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire State Park.
Apart from the above, fossils such as petrified wood, mammal bones from the Ice Age, mollusk shells and fossilized plants are found in many areas all throughout Nevada. In the past, much of Nevada was covered with large lakes that are now dry, leaving behind an abundance of marine fossils.
Vanadinite has been found in some mines of Nevada. The notable ones are The Gold Quarry Mine of Eureka County, Elko County, and The Downeyville Lead Mine in Nye County and the Chalk Mountain Mine in Churchill County.