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September-October 2009

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Mineralogy of the Eldorado Mine

Yankee Boy Basin, Ouray County, Colorado



El Dorado! Derived from Spanish for “the golden one,” it was originally believed to be a legendary city in Columbia, South America, that was rich in gold and treasure. The name is also synonymous with a place or source of fabulous wealth in gold, and it can also be used in a metaphorical sense to indicate a place where wealth can be rapidly acquired. The English language version, Eldorado, is usually the way it appears in print. Prospectors throughout the world were inspired by the name, as almost every major mining camp had a vein, claim, or mine with that name. This article details the history, geology, and mineralogy of the Eldorado mine in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, one of the many mines in that region that did not bring wealth to its many owners.

Tom Rosemeyer has mined and collected minerals in the San Juan Mountains for the past forty years and is now semiretired from the mining industry. He is still active in Colorado mining and mineralogy, doing research and collecting at localities in the San Juan Mountains.

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