THE BLUE MOUNTAINS IN UTAH.
The Blue Mountain Range is located about the center of San Juan County, in Southeastern Utah, has an area of about 10 by 25 miles in ex-tent, and reaches a total height of 11,400 ft. above sea level. The mesas at the base of the mountains range in the neighborhood of 7,000 ft. above sea level.
The southern end of these mountains, where gold, silver and copper are found, contains the two highest hills in the entire range, with two somewhat lower hills coursing parallel between them. These principal peaks are Abaja, on the east, and Mount Linneas, on the west, both about the same height, while the ridges separating these two prominences are from 1,000 to 1,500 ft. lower in altitude This entire range seems to have about the same pitch, 32°, from crest to base, and in most places along the top of the main ridges the apex comes to a wedge-shaped point, not wide enough for a foot-path unless it be made so by means of tools. These mountains are covered by a heavy drift of broken rock, consisting of quartzite, conglomerate, breccia, porphyry and limestones of both the dolomite and carbonate varieties.
Native gold, in the form of both coarse flakes and wires, has been found here; native silver and sulphurets have also been encountered in the same locality, principally in the porphyritic formation, while bunches of iron-stained sandstone have yielded high returns, and the slates of this region also carry gold in variable quantities. The deepest working in this district consists of one shaft having a vertical depth of 54 ft., which connects with a tunnel 200 ft. long, running through the crest of the hill, exposing a slip on the slate formation from quite a large contact vein of gold-bearing ore (principally decomposed porphyry), yielding from $1.50 up in value per ton. The ores of this region thus far discovered (no veins really in place having yet been opened up) are partly free milling or stamping, and partly concentrating, as all of them contain more or less white iron, and the latter in some instances carries appreciable quantities of gold.
These hills, while steep and thickly covered with slide rock, are well timbered, showing immense pines, Aspen and Pinon. This region is drained by two branches of the Johnson Creek, Recapture and North or Montezuma creeks, which, aided by springs, are able to supply all of the water necessary for milling operations. A coal-bed has been opened in two places at the eastern base of the range, which shows about 2 ft. in thickness of good lignite, suitable for steam generating and smithing pur-poses. Along the water courses of the south end of the range not a single water-worn pebble or boulder is encountered, and the assessment holes, about 100 in number, all sunk in the drift, showed no rocks bearing evi-dence of water wearing.
The body of coal on the east side of the base of these hills, having the same pitch as the mountains proper, coupled with the absence of the action of local chemical or water inundation, and the inability to find the older geologi-cal rocks here, on the flat lands or in the dry washes of the surrounding deserts, shows plainly that these prominences are of recent origin when compared with the age of the Rockies. Some gold as coarse as grains of wheat has been washed from Johnson Creek sands, and quite a liberal quantity of black sand (magnetite) is met with in all panning operations, carried on with macerated float. In this region, located near the south end of the range, where the prospecting seems to have been carried on most extensively, one can get gold colors from various rocks and from much of the soil, and the presence of minute particles of magnetic oxide of iron, carrying gold, disseminated all over the region, in great quantity, only goes to back up the statement that this gold came from near by.
Much of the original sedimentary formation has been thrown off and drifted away from these hills since their formation, and the box canyons surrounding this range show that severe earthquakes and per-haps frequent recurrences of them have buried the veins under many feet of debris, but the float found on the surface at intervals is a sure enough indication that with workings reaching into solid formation, fissure or contact veins cannot fail to be encountered.
This region is now well supplied with wagon road facilities, extend-ing from the desert up to the extreme top of the range, with a fair average grade, which enables one to reach almost any point desired by means of wheeled vehicles, and good, safe trails lead off from these roads to all streams and leading mountain points. The summers here are pleasant and the winters are usually mild and with but little snow, as the mountains are not high and the sun soon melts the fallen snows. The only town at present is the Mormon settlement of Monti-cello, whose people are principally engaged in farming.
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