The Houghton Mine is an abandoned gold mine w/ plenty of fascinating & forgotten history.
This view is down a drift away from the main crosscut. Spraypaint indicates the pathway of the secondary escape which from here ascends up to the 1000 sublevel, the 900 & 800 levels where the exit is. Recent indications point where trash was commonly placed & a nearby worktable is visible.
After four solo trips spent exploring & photographing this complex mine that contain roughly two miles of underground workings on six different levels, I have concluded the following:
500 Level: Inaccessible
600 Level: Inaccessible
700 Level: Mostly Inaccessible
800 Level: Accessible
900 Level: Mostly Accessible
1000 Level: Mostly Accessible
A few mining terms:
Adit - A horizontal passage leading into the mine, not to be confused w/ a "tunnel", which would have an opening out the other side. Adits are sloped slightly upwards to allow for drainage of groundwater.
Crosscut - A horizontal opening that does not run along the vein. Typically a shaft will lead to crosscuts at each level that give access to drifts along the vein. Crosscuts typically run straight as an arrow through worthless rock.
Drift - A horizontal opening that runs along the vein. Typically there are many ore chutes from stopes above, and the drift will wander to follow the vein.
Level - If you follow a ladder down a shaft, you will arrive at horizontal workings every 100 feet or so, and these are called levels. The levels have a station near the shaft, and are named by the distance down the shaft.
Manway - Any kind of passage with a ladder in it could be called a manway. Shafts are divided into "compartments" and one of these is very often a manway. Sometimes the manway of a shaft is crowded with pipes and cables and such.
Ore chute - A "spout" built of wood used to load broken rock from above into waiting ore bins.
Raise - A raise is like a shaft that starts undergound and goes upwards. Typically a ladder next to an ore chute along a drift goes up a raise and gives access to a stope above.
Square set stoping (timbering) - The most expensive mode of underground mining. As ore is removed in a stope, it is replaced by a 10x10 foot lattice of 12x12 timbers. The ground was unstable here & the lattice helps protect from potential collapses. Many times the sets are backfilled with broken rock to help support the stope.
Stope - An excavation underground that actually removed whatever it was they were after. These are typically irregular in shape as they follow the ore whereever it goes. If the vein is wide and/or the rock is poor, the challenge in mining is to keep the rock supported while extracting the material in the stope.
Winze - A winze is like a vertical or inclined shaft that starts underground & connects one level down to another.
Source: Mining Terms: http://cholla.mmto.org/mines/terms.html
Welcome to Earth! It's a planet having an iron core, with two-thirds of its surface covered by water. Earth orbits a local star called the Sun, the light of which generates the food supply for all the millions of species of life on earth. The dominant species on Earth is the human being, and you're one of the six billion of them! Humans have iron in their blood, and their bodies are composed of two-thirds water, just like the planet they live on. The physical composition of the Earth, its people and everything on it contains an electro-magnetic field which is not yet fully understood. Theories and legends about the origin of Earth, people and life itself abound, however they are not commonly discussed. The bulk of earth's people spend their time immersed in daily activities, leaving the big questions for later. "Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? How will we get there?" Many religions and philosophies have attempted to answer these questions over the years, but so far none has given an answer that everyone on the planet can accept. In contrast to all the disagreement, the similarities among people on earth are far, far greater than any differences. Welcome again to Earth! Enjoy your stay, and try to stay calm.