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Rainbow Ridge Mine (Monarch Opal Mine; Roop Mine), Virgin Valley, Humboldt Co., Nevada, USAi
Regional Level Types
Rainbow Ridge Mine (Monarch Opal Mine; Roop Mine)Mine (Active)
Virgin ValleyValley
Humboldt Co.County
NevadaState
USACountry

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Key
Latitude & Longitude (WGS84):
41° 47' 44'' North , 119° 0' 50'' West
Latitude & Longitude (decimal):
Locality type:
Mine (Active) - last checked 2019
Other/historical names associated with this locality:
Black Opal No. 1 claim; Black Opal No. 2 claim; Black Opal No. 3 claim; Rincon Belle claim; Royal Opal claim; Pandora claim


The Rainbow Ridge Opal mine is a group of six patented placer mining claims known as the Black Opal #1, Black Opal #2, Black Opal #3, Rincon Belle, Royal Opal, and Pandora claims. It was known by other names prior to relocation & placer patent (Monarch Opal Mine, 1913). The mining claims are located in Sections 22-23, T45N R26E, MDBM.

The deposit was originally discovered sometime around 1908 where opal chips were found eroding on the east side of a small hill. The first official location at Rainbow Ridge was made by Mr. MGhee under the name "Opal claim" in 1911 after which the Rincon Belle lode (1912) and Monarch Opal lodes (1913) were located by Deb Roop and others. This in-place deposit was known to be a valuable producer of both gem and specimen opals since 1912-1913 as detailed by the U.S. Geological Survey reports at the time as well as affidavits of assessment work showing extensive workings and improvements. A number of claims were relocated and acquired by various parties in the early years between 1912-1916. A tunnel was driven from the south east side of the Ridge and later in 1917 a tunnel was driven from the west side to meet the eastern underground drive. In 1916, Flora Loughead (phonetically pronounced "Lockheed"), mother of the famed Lockheed (engineering/Aircraft) boys, came to Virgin Valley and became enamored with the opals and area. She subsequently purchased and/or relocated the Rainbow Ridge claims as placers (among other claims in the valley) and in 1917-1918 formed the Rainbow Ridge Mining Company with the Hammond-Fiske family, of which Ward's Natural Science Establishment (New York) was a shareholder. The Monarch lodes were relocated as the Black Opal #1-2 placers and the Rincon Belle lode was relocated as the Rincon Belle placer. Under the U.S. Mining laws, placer claims could be patented for half the cost ($2.50 per acre) of a lode claim ($5.00 per acre), but known lodes would remain excluded per 30 U.S.C. 37.

In November 1917 the deposit produced the famous fist-size precious Roebling Black Opal weighing 2,585 carats (17 ounces), which in 1920 was held to be worth US$250,000.- and called the most expensive opal ever found (at the time) which was subsequently acquired by mineral collector Washington Roebling, and donated in 1926 to the U.S. National Museum where it still resides in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution. In 1925 a mineral survey was performed on the Rainbow Ridge Group of claims which at this time consisted of six placer claims. Subsequently, the Rainbow Ridge Mining Company applied for patent to the Rainbow Ridge placer claims, and patent for the six placer claims was issued in 1929-1930. The Mineral Patent to the Rainbow Ridge Mining Claims contained a reservation excluding any lodes previously known to exist by virtue of federal statute. Lockheed still made trips to the mine even in her elderly years up to the late 1930's/early 1940's, with Mark Foster managing the claims for her. At one point after 1937, Mark Foster located a claim on Rainbow Ridge. Flora Lockheed passed away in 1943 and the Rainbow Ridge Mine was subsequently acquired by Harry Foulkes, who sold it to the Hodson family in 1949. In 1952, the mine produced the now famous 6.3 pound "Fathers Day" (Hodson) Opal discovered by Keith Hodson in the main underground drive. The Hodson's formed Rainbow Ridge Opal Mines Inc. (1987), which currently (2019) still operates the mine, managed by Glen Hodson. Several other claims have been made on/adjoining the locality, including the Rincon Belle Extension lode by Keith Hodson in the 1990's.

As of 1991, there was an estimated 850 to 1,000 feet of underground tunnel in the main workings. A large opencut now exists where the original east side tunnel was located and has obliterated some original workings and tunnels. The mine has been operated as a fee dig site during the summer months for decades. Many fine opals have been recovered by both fee diggers and the mine owners alike. The southern end of the Ridge has been known to produce the best opal. Projections of the strike and dip of the in-place deposit suggest substantially more opal bearing ground.

Select Mineral List Type

Standard Detailed Strunz Dana Chemical Elements

Commodity List

This is a list of exploitable or exploited mineral commodities recorded at this locality.


Mineral List


1 valid mineral.

Detailed Mineral List:

Opal
Formula: SiO2 · nH2O
Reference: USGS Bull 1538D
Opal var: Precious Opal
Formula: SiO2 · nH2O
Reference: Rocks & Min.: 8:16; 19:13.; USGS Bull 1538D
Opal var: Wood Opal
Formula: SiO2 · nH2O
Reference: USGS Bull 1538D
'Petrified Wood'
Reference: USGS Bull 1538D

List of minerals arranged by Strunz 10th Edition classification

Group 4 - Oxides and Hydroxides
Opal4.DA.10SiO2 · nH2O
var: Precious Opal4.DA.10SiO2 · nH2O
var: Wood Opal4.DA.10SiO2 · nH2O
Unclassified Minerals, Rocks, etc.
'Petrified Wood'-

List of minerals arranged by Dana 8th Edition classification

Group 75 - TECTOSILICATES Si Tetrahedral Frameworks
Si Tetrahedral Frameworks - SiO2 with H2O and organics
Opal75.2.1.1SiO2 · nH2O
Unclassified Minerals, Mixtures, etc.
var: Precious Opal-SiO2 · nH2O
var: Wood Opal-SiO2 · nH2O
'Petrified Wood'-

List of minerals for each chemical element

HHydrogen
H Opal (var: Precious Opal)SiO2 · nH2O
H Opal (var: Wood Opal)SiO2 · nH2O
H OpalSiO2 · nH2O
OOxygen
O Opal (var: Precious Opal)SiO2 · nH2O
O Opal (var: Wood Opal)SiO2 · nH2O
O OpalSiO2 · nH2O
SiSilicon
Si Opal (var: Precious Opal)SiO2 · nH2O
Si Opal (var: Wood Opal)SiO2 · nH2O
Si OpalSiO2 · nH2O

References

Sort by

Year (asc) Year (desc) Author (A-Z) Author (Z-A)
Rocks & Minerals (1933): 8: 16.
Rocks & Minerals (1938): 13: 57.
Rocks & Minerals (1944): 19: 13.
Eckert, Allan (1997) The World of Opals. (John Wiley & Sons, New York).
United States Mineral Survey #4615, Rainbow Ridge Mining Company.
United States Mineral Patents #1024667 & 1031410.
NARA records, Rainbow Ridge Mining Company patent proceedings.
Public Records, Humboldt County Recorder, Winnemucca, Nevada.

Other Regions, Features and Areas containing this locality

North America PlateTectonic Plate

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