Welcome back to Annette's Adventures! While Annette has been on time and active with her adventures, I (Marlena- the editor) have been backed up and behind and I formally apologize for the delay! Without further ado, here is Annette's October Adventure...
Hello adventurers! Welcome to Annette’s Adventures.
I spent most of this last spring monitoring the Cerrillos Hills; I’ve tried not to bore you with all the details, but it is, by far, my favorite place to work. You can read about my introduction to Cerrillos Hills and AML monitoring in my blog from March.
Today I am going to take you back to Cerrillos Hills with the summer intern crew. GEM Corps arranged for the interns to meet with AML Administrators from State and Federal agencies in the Cerrillos Hills, for a walking-talking tour of mine closures.
Our day started at the State Park Headquarters in the village of Cerrillos. We met with the administrators and listened while they gave the group some background on Abandoned Mine Lands and the mine closure efforts in the Cerrillos Hills. From there, we went to a trailhead and walked to some closures in the state park. We started with one closure: an old mine shaft covered with wire mesh and a bridge that allows you to safely walk over the mine shaft. We talked about the anatomy of the mesh closures and the engineering behind them. Then we talked about what type of degradation to look for when monitoring closures. We walked to a second nearby closure, where we looked at how the mesh is anchored into the ground and looked for signs of degradation.
From those two closures, we walked back to our vehicles and drove to some harder-to-access closures. We visited some “puff closures,” backfills, and the second type of mesh closure. The administrators explained the engineering that goes into the different closures and the typical kinds of degradation at each closure type. They also told us some stories from their learning experiences in implementing the different types of closures.
The AML Administrators finished the tour by taking us to some of the oldest mine features in the area. We visited the Mina Del Tiro and Bethsheba mines on our way to the oldest known turquoise “pit” in the area, Mount Chalchihuitl (CHAL CHEE WEE TE). Mina Del Tiro is known as the oldest recorded metal mine in North America. Bethsheba’s claim to fame is that it is the most studied lead mine in North America. Both mines are remarkable for their age, depth, and history.
Of all the stops in the tour, Chalcihuitl was the only feature that I had not previously monitored. As such was a special surprise for me. My first impression of the diggings at Chalchihuitl was one of awe and reverence. For me, it was a humbling experience, the idea that this space was held in reverence for thousands of years and countless generations. I noticed that voices were a bit hushed, eyes were wide open, everyone stood around taking in the atmosphere. Our trip to the Cerrillos Hills didn’t last long. Still, the experience will last a lifetime. I’ll be working in the area this winter and look forward to exploring Chalchihuitl and the surrounding area more. Til next time, my friends and followers….