2015 Nevada-Mojave Trip


Part four:  From Diamond Tunnel To ground zero!

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As usual, you can click on any of the photos or links in the article to see more photos of each site...

Diamond Tunnel, NV

Gold was discovered at this site in central Nevada during the 1860s, and the mine went into production in 1868. The mine was worked until the mid-1930s, though some moderate production continued until the beginning of WWII. After the war their was only limited production, and by 1962 only exploratory work was being done.

The most unusual feature of this mine is the long, Y-shaped snow shed that covers the tracks leading from the tunnel to the ore bin and waste rock dump. The mine is located at 7900 feet elevation, and must get a lot of snow in the winter. The snow shed is divided into two sections. The first is a short, V-shaped segment just outside the portal of the mine. The gap between the two sections allows vehicles to cross the track.

Below: There is a battery-powered mine tram parked inside the longer section of snow shed. It’s very rare to find such equipment still in place and in good condition. The tram was used to haul the cars of ore and rock out of the mine.

Above: In the portal section of the snow shed, there used to be a second tram, but recently someone stole it, leaving the battery pack behind.

Below: Exterior view of the snow shed and the massive steel ore bin.

Above: Interior of the snow shed, looking toward the end where the ore is dumped into the bin.

Below: A medium-sized bat was clinging to a rafter inside the snow shed. I think this is a Townsend’s big-earred bat (Corynorhinus townsendii).

Below: Another view of the snow shed interior. This was taken at the junction where one track branches off to go to the ore bin, and the other goes to the waste rock dump. The tram is visible in the background.

Below: A huge diesel engine and electric generator in the powerhouse at the mine.

Above: There are several buildings at the mine. In addition to the snow sheds and powerhouse, there is also a large garage, an assay lab, an older, partially collapsed structure, and various sheds, etc.

Above: Just below the mine are the ruins of a mill and smelter. Some of these date back to the earliest days of mining at this site. There are also various pieces of equipment scattered about.

Above: This steam-powered mine hoist is one of the pieces of equipment found at the mill site.

Diamond Camp, NV

The remains of an old mining camp are located farther down the hill from the Diamond Tunnel mine. The camp was first settled in 1885 and had a saloon, boarding house and a school. Currently there are four cabins still standing, and some of these date back to at least the early 1900s.

Below: Cabin ruins, with another cabin in the background.

Right: A bright red flower grows near one of the cabins.

Below: This cabin appears to be the one which was abandoned last. It has been heavily vandalized.

Eureka, NV

This historic mining town in central Nevada is one of my favorite places, and has many interesting old buildings. On this trip I added a few new photos to the album, including a full set of photos of the general store.

Willow Creek Ranch, NV

I originally photographed this site several years ago, and as I passed through on this trip I shot some new, updated photos. I know nothing about the history of this historic ranch, but it has several interesting old buildings, including this stone ranch house. Inside I found scraps of newspaper pasted to the wall, dating back to 1911.

Left: I passed through a lot of incredible scenery. This shot was taken near Moore’s Station, a former stagecoach stop.

Project Faultless, NV

In 1968 an underground atomic test took place here, far outside of the Nevada Test Range where tests had previously been conducted. A nuclear bomb in the near-megaton range was detonated 3200 feet below the surface of the prairie. The earth heaved upward about 15 feet, then settled into a roughly circular depression some 3000 feet across.

This six-foot diameter steel pipe marks “Ground Zero” of the blast. The bomb was lowered down this pipe, which was then filled with concrete. (That’s over 60,000 cubic feet of concrete!) Originally the top of the pipe was level with the concrete pad around it. The force of the blast pushed it eight feet out of the ground, and also apparently pushed the concrete a few inches above the top of the pipe.

This was my second visit to the site. The first time, I missed the pipe but photographed several other interesting artifacts.

Keystone Canyon, NV

At this remote site, there is a small, abandoned open pit mine near the mouth of the canyon. This large, metal garage building is the only structure associated with that mine. The rounded corners are an unusual feature of the building.

A mile or so up the canyon there are ruins of a stone cabin. The road is supposed to continue up the cabin, but a spring here has caused the road to become overgrown, so this was as far as I got.

Below: The center of this photo is where the road should be, but the spring has flooded it and plants have grown over it.

A Bird In The Hand...

Late that night after setting up camp, I took a hike up a long dirt road in the wilds of Eden Creek Canyon, in the Kawich Range west of Reveille Valley. Along the way I spotted this common poorwill (Phalaenoptilus nuttallii) resting on the trail. These nocturnal birds are members of the nightjar family. They eat moths, beetles and grasshoppers, and like owls they eject a pellet of the indigestible parts.

Poorwills nest on the ground, and while hunting at night they also like to rest on the ground, usually in open spaces such as dirt roads. Because he was blinded and confused by my flashlight, I was able to carefully walk right up to him. After getting a couple photos of him on the ground, I couldn’t resist picking him up for a moment.

Go to the next page to read more about my 2015 Nevada/Mojave trip:

Nevada Trip 2015 Part Five

Coming up:  Eden Creek Mill, Clifford, Klondike Hills, a steam tractor, and more!

Skip to:   Part One   Part Two   Part Three   Part Four   Part Five   Part Six

Note to modelers:

Many of the structures I’ve photographed would make great subjects for dioramas, or for your model railroad. It is my hope that these photos can be a useful reference resource. If you need larger, higher resolution images, just let me know. Also, in some cases I have additional detail photos that have not been posted online.

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