Coconino County is the second largest County in the continental United States and the largest county in Arizona. Its contribution to Arizona’s mining history is significant not in the volume of mineral wealth mined, but in the diverse minerals and building materials found inside its 18,661 square miles land mass. Examples include uranium, copper, building materials such as pozzolan an additive to concrete to mitigate deterioration along with gold, obsidian, manganese and minerals derived from a world-renowned impact crater. Gold mining operations occurred sporadically in the steep walls of Glen Canyon causing a minor gold rush in the 1880s. Transportation also played a major role in mining operations across Coconino County including a rail line built by the Arizona Pacific Railroad across Canyon Diablo, a formidable deep gorge for mining interests in northern Arizona.
“Bull wheel” steam tractors pulling iron wheeled ore wagons to the highway at “The Gap” also contributed for additional transport of copper and silver ore from the White Mesa district for processing. The discovery of coesite, a high-pressure form of silica (SiO2) and stishovite at Meteor Crater the youngest meteor impact site in the world, out of more than 150 known terrestrial impact sites. Obsidian, a gemstone also known as volcanic glass is widely distributed in the American Southwest and some of the best samples are found at Government Mountain in the Kaibab National Forest in south-central Coconino County used for trade by the Native people and distributed in the Sonoran Desert. Manganese, a metallic element used as an alloying element to strengthen the quality of steel is found at the Long Valley mining district 56 miles southeast of Flagstaff. This video collection documents the above and more with still images from multiple sources providing a well-rounded history of mining in Coconino County.
Place of PublicationCoconino County, ArizonaLanguageEnglish