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March-April 2012

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Amethyst Scepters from the Santo Nino Mine, Santa Cruz County, Arizona

All photos by Jeff Scovil of specimens from the author's collection

The Santo Nino mine is located in the Patagonia mining district in Santa Cruz County, Arizona, on the northeast slopes of Mount Washington, about 2.5 miles southwest of Duquesne–Washington Camp. It is found at N¼NW¼ sec. 9, T. 24 S., R. 16 E. The mine lies above a drainage of San Antonio Canyon, located to the southeast and running toward the San Rafael Valley of southern Arizona.

The actual site for the amethyst-sceptered quartz crystals is not on the Santo Nino mine claims, but rather is found on an adjacent flank of Mount Washington located to the west of the mine. Access is obtained by following a poorly maintained Jeep trail from the south end of Washington Camp through National Forest approximately 2 miles westward and then hiking up a steep, heavily vegetated, north-facing hillside beyond the mine's ore bin. Mount Washington is one of the highest peaks in the Patagonia Mountains, topping out at 7,200 feet; the collecting areas lie at about 6,200–6,700 feet in elevation.

Barbara L. Muntyan, now retired and living in Tucson, Arizona, has published many articles on mineral collecting in Colorado and is also a frequent speaker at mineral events. She is the former director of the Ouray County Museum in Ouray, Colorado.

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