McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

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section8
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McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by section8 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:16 am

I just got back from a road trip out to McCarthy, a town in the middle of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park. McCarthy was the "services" center for a huge copper mine about 5 miles away, the Kennecott Mine. The mine operated from 1910 until 1938 and was the largest copper mine in North America for much of that time. At it's peak, 40% of the copper used in the US came from it.

The town and mine are located in eastern central Alaska and the town is reached via a 60 mile dirt road that follows the old rail bed of the railroad that hauled miners in and ore out.

After the mine closed, the area was largely abandoned until the 1970s when people drawn to the natural resources in the area started to repopulate the town. By the time the national park was created in 1980 the town had about 10 year round residents and another 20 or so summer residents. Those numbers have probably increased by 2-3 times by now, and then now there are also always a smattering of tourists around.

The town is featured in the reality TV show "Edge of Alaska."
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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by section8 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:21 am

When I was a kid, the only way into McCarthy was on a cable car that took you across a river. The cable system has been replaced by a footbridge. The area is surrounded by mountains, glaciers, and old mining shit.

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This is the only musical: the mouth. And hopefully the brain attached to the mouth. Right? The brain, more important than the mouth, is the brain. The brain is much more important.

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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by section8 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:25 am

Kennecott Mine is really interesting. There's all sorts of interpreted displays, and some of the buildings have been restored, but much of it is just wide open for you to check out. There's also some ruins on top of the mountains, but we didn't have time to get up there this trip.

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This is the only musical: the mouth. And hopefully the brain attached to the mouth. Right? The brain, more important than the mouth, is the brain. The brain is much more important.

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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by section8 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:27 am

McCarthy, while still remote and a bit wild, has come a long way from it's roots as a wilderness saloon/brothel. They now have fine dinning and lattes. It's a Bush Alaska community populated by white hipsters instead of Alaska Natives.
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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by cuchulainn » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:28 am

Do Eskimo hipsters exist?

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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by section8 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:47 am

Yes.
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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by EMG » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:53 am

Is there gold in them thar hills?

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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by section8 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:37 am

No.
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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by mishmish » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:58 am

I saw that episode of Edge of Alaska. All those big mining related stuctures are wild looking. Looked like an abandoned rusty metropolis. Do you know how many people lived there at it's peak?

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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by polardude1 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:51 pm

I was hoping to visit McCarthy and Kennecott on my last trip to Alaska
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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by section8 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:25 pm

mishmish wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:58 am
I saw that episode of Edge of Alaska. All those big mining related stuctures are wild looking. Looked like an abandoned rusty metropolis. Do you know how many people lived there at it's peak?


500 at the mine and another 100 or so around McCarthy.
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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by Lost Soul » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:42 am

It's too bad they never finished making a trail up the Copper on the RR tracks.

I know they spent millions fixing the Million Dollar Bridge to that end, but never carried on north as planned. I drove out there a lot when I lived in Cordova. Now you can't even get there because another bridge washed out. That is a nasty river.

I read a book about building that RR. The imported illegal alien laborers would fall off the (wet) steel bridges, fall into the water, die, and be forgotten. Salmon chow.
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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by Lost Soul » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:12 pm

Here are the mine works way up the mountain. BTW, the money for the Guggenheim Museum in NYC came from this copper mine.


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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by section8 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:29 pm

I'm going to head back next summer and will be visiting part of the mountain top complex. I've heard it's still mostly intact from the day the workers set down their tools and hopped the last train out of town.

That trail along the old railbed would have been sweet.
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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by simon_in_exile » Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:43 pm

EMG wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:53 am
Is there gold in them thar hills?
Yes.



I didn’t realise there was a second Kennecott mine; I only knew of the one near SLC in Utah. Really interesting photos s8.
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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by section8 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:46 am

This mine was strictly copper. There's a few small gold mines to the north and east, but it was never much of a gold rush region.

The Utah mine is named after this one, sort of, if what I was told is true. The company was named Kennecott, after somebody misspelled the name of the Kennicott glacier it was located next to. The Utah mine used the company's name on the mine there. I think there may be more Kennecott Mines out there.
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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by Lost Soul » Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:13 am

I think Simon was referencing that where you find Copper you also find Silver and Gold. They are in the same column of the table, so have similar properties and are often found together. Pebble Mine has tons of Silver and Gold in it.


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As for Roentgenium, I am sure it is even more precious than Gold, for the 10 minutes its most stable isotope exists.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roentgenium
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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by simon_in_exile » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:54 am

That’s correct - I assumed it would be the case so did some trawling and found that indeed there’s gold nearby in dem der hills... as s8 mentions too.
Is it part of the huuuge cross-border Wrangell-St Elias - Kluane National Park now? If not, I wonder if anyone has prospected around there recently using modern techniques...
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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by section8 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:14 pm

The park wasn't created until 1980, so there was active prospecting until then, and there are still claims being worked within the park.
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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by rider5 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:09 pm

Did you go up to the old Pilgrim inholding?

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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by rider5 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:49 pm

That was a pretty amazing ore body. Using the internets I haven't been able to come up with much about its genesis. All the USGS papers are dated, like from the 1940s or older. Seems like sort of a one of a kind phenomena.

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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by Scrubb » Sat Oct 06, 2018 5:28 am

Very cool. Are those the tailings behind the buildings?
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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by Lost Soul » Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:51 am

That's a glacier, Scrubb. The Kennecott Glacier is four miles wide here near its snout. It begins on Mt. Blackburn, a 16,000 footer behind the mountains in the center.


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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by Scrubb » Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:56 pm

Cool, thanks! Now that I know it's a glacier, I can see it.
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Re: McCarthy and Kennecott Mine

Post by section8 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:47 am

The glacier's receded a lot too. The historic photos show walls of ice right up along the buildings.
This is the only musical: the mouth. And hopefully the brain attached to the mouth. Right? The brain, more important than the mouth, is the brain. The brain is much more important.

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