Chris Tucker Minerals
Specializing in minerals from Montana
The North Home Mine, page 2
The Pockets (to date)
As the name implies, the Discovery pocket was the first major pocket encounter in the mine. The pocket was breached during mining operations and an untold number of specimens were sent to the mill. The pocket lies in the back (ceiling) of the 200 level in the main shaft. Vanadinite from the Discovery pocket frequently forms attractive specimens generously sprinkled with dark brown lustrous barrel shaped crystals.
Labor Day Pocket
Shortly before the 2003 Denver show the Labor Day pocket was encountered deep in the main shaft. The pocket is a watercourse in massive barite. This pocket was breached during mining operations and an untold number of specimens were sent to the mill. Vanadinite from the Labor Day pocket is generally a dark red color and forms long acicular crystals, often capped by a later generation of calcite. Much material remains to be collected from the Labor Day pocket.
Looking into the Labor Day pocket. The entire length of the pocket is lined with long dark red acicular vanadinite crystals, often the vanadinite crystals are capped by a later generation of calcite.
Candle Box Raise Pocket
The Candle Box Raise pocket was encountered in a small raise from the 200 level. An uncommon W & H Walker's candle box was found near the raise, hence the name. The Candle Box Raise pocket was a small cavity that was breached when the raise was driven. The pocket actually had a mine timber jammed into it. Vanadinite from the pocket formed lustrous dark crystals with bright red tips. Although only a few specimens were recovered, they are among the finest from the mine. In the rock surrounding the pocket, a number of small vugs were found that contained attractive microcrystals of transparent yellow wulfenite.
Silver Medal Pocket
The Silver Medal pocket is a narrow mineralized cavity between unaltered limestone and massive barite. The pocket was breached by early mining methods and an unknown number of specimens were sent to the mill. Named for a number of Silver Medal blasting cap tins that were found nearby: the Silver Medal pocket has produced some attractive specimens. The vanadinite tends to be more "normal" and forms simple red hexagonal prisms averaging about 1cm in length.
The Silver Medal Pocket as it appears today. The rock on the right is unaltered limestone and on the left is altered limestone and massive barite.
Double Owl Pocket
In inactive mines it is not uncommon to find objects left by either the original miners, or visitors over the years. Over the years I have encountered a number of such objects. In the North Home mine the remains of a 1929 Mills "Torch Front" slot machine have been found; the slot machine has two owls embossed on the front, hence the pocket name. Vanadinite from the Double Owl commonly occurs as tapered rice shaped crystals in shades of red, yellow, and sliver-green. Occasionally there are bright red microcrystals of vanadinite forming a druse between the larger crystals.
An assortment of artifacts as found in the North Home mine. The large square object is the front to the 1929 Mills "Torch Front" slot machine.
The Thanksgiving pocket was encountered on Thanksgiving in 2003. It was the first intact pocket encountered in the mine. Over the holiday weekend 789 specimens were extracted from the pocket's depths; during the next few months several hundred additional specimens were recovered. The specimens from the pocket generally form delicate branching crystal groups in shades of red, yellow, green, orange, and reddish brown. Accessory minerals from the pocket are limited to sparse calcite and two specimens of barite.
Here is a view looking into the Thanksgiving pocket.
Thanksgiving Pocket Extension
During the fall of 2007, an extension to the Thanksgiving pocket was encountered. Specimens from the extension generally resemble those from the Thanksgiving pocket, but have a more noticeable reddish-brown color, curved in habit, and are often topped with white calcite.
The Halloween pocket was encountered on Halloween, 2007. Vanadinite from the pocket usually occurs as prismatic crystals that are often a dark, nearly black color with lighter colored terminations. A few specimens are associated with minor amounts of white calcite.
Found tucked behind a mine timber was a small pocket now known as the Hidden pocket. Specimens from the Hidden pocket resemble those from the Double Owl pocket.
Little Muddy Pocket
In early 2005 a small mud filled cavity was encountered near the Discovery pocket. Much fine grained mud was present in the pocket and indicates a lengthy continuation of the pocket. The pocket is the only one encountered thus far that contained any mud or clay. Vanadinite from the Little Muddy pocket resembles that of the Discovery pocket although it tends to be a lighter color and forms attractive specimens studded with light brown barrel shaped crystals.
Bad Place Pocket
In a rather nasty place about sixty feet from the collar of the No. 2 shaft, the Bad Place pocket was encountered. The pocket produced several specimens of descloizite epimorphs after vanadinite. Rarely vanadinite was found with a druse of parasitic descloizite microcrystals.
In the back (ceiling) of the 100 level crosscut between the main and No. 2 shafts the Midway pocket was found. Colorless to white calcite was found lining the pocket. The calcite frequently formed stalactite like formations. A single specimen was found with a cluster of colorless transparent aragonite crystals perched upon the calcite.
In early 2005 the January pocket was encountered in the No. 2 shaft below the 100 level crosscut. The interior of the pocket was lined with a number of orange to yellow pseudo cubic wulfenite crystals reaching 1cm in size. Yellow to orange-red botryoidal vanadinite was also found in the pocket. Outside of the main pocket a number of small vugs were encountered that contained colorless transparent willemite microcrystals along with blocky yellow-green chlorargyrite crystals. Rarely scattered microcrystals of cerussite, calcite, rosasite, aurichalcite and hemimorphite were found.
The January pocket is located above and to the right of the ladder.
A narrow breccia zone was encountered between two stopes off of the 200 level. Within this breccia zone a small cavity was found that contained a number of attractive specimens. The specimens from the Starvation pocket commonly have dark red, nearly black, vanadinite crystals reaching more than 1cm in size. Often the vanadinite crystals have a yellow-tan outer layer.
The Chipmunk pocket was breached in the fall of 2008 and is in the same general area as the Thanksgiving pocket. Specimens from the Chipmunk pocket are often associated with calcite and commonly have hopper shaped vanadinite crystals that range from red-brown through green-brown.
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