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UER Forum > Archived US: Pacific Southwest > Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore (Viewed 3736 times)
Therrin 

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Location: North of Chicago, IL
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Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
< on 1/24/2012 9:03 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I decided it was time to go meet some of the Central Coast area folks and round them all up to meet eachother so we could all do some exploring together.

It was an AMAZING trip! I had a fantastic time, made new friends, crashed on couches and took part in shenanigans aplenty. A true UER meetup =)

To start off our exploring time, I drove out and met up with DJ Commie, then we went and picked up SonicBlue and headed over to Rinconada Mercury Mine, for some night-time exploration.
I went back the following day with DJ Commie, LauraBeth, JohnF and Francis. Then on my final day in the area DJ Commie and I hit it up again to take care of the verticals that he'd never been down.
The mine has been fully explored now, up through the stopes, down the verticals, through the tiny cracks and over the semi-collapses.


1. We started out by hiking up to the ore processing area, then heading up over the hill behind the equipment.


2. There is at least one sign warning of the possible dangers of the mine. I took a gas detector with me. The mine is very well ventilated, and I obtained no irregular gas warnings in my time there.
The ladders were of a steel variety, and were quite safe. Except where there were none and should have been.


3. Seeing as how we'd all just met an hour earlier that day, we decided to take it easy and respect eachother's personal space.


4. Though we had all talked online, we were still strangers to eachother, and we knew that it would likely take quite some time until we felt comfortable around one another.


5. We remained professional, and respected male-female no-contact protocols in order to ensure the propriety and comfort of our exploration.


6. The initial entry around the main bat-gated adit went smoothly, and we all squeezed through without any trouble. The space is snug, which prompted us to remove our helmets and jackets before passing through.


7. I scrambled down a steep opening and dropped into a lower stope area, then up from the other side into a small collapsed section where I found quite possibly the only ore cart which is left in the mine. And then only because when part of the ceiling collapsed it pinned the cart in place.


8. The ceilings of the drifts in many of the levels were strewn about with our furry little winged friends, and we attempted to keep from bumping into them.


9. I saw one particularly lonely fellow and decided he needed a good petting, though as I was stroking his fuzzy little back with my finger, he decided to let loose and take flight. I deny any allegations that I screamed like a girl and tripped over my own feet trying to escape this hideously cute little creature. That part of the story is lies, all lies.


10. My intrepid companions were fearless in terms of their traipsing through this mine, though we all took respiratory precautions. The primary ore of mercury in this mine is "Cinnabar", which must be crushed and subjected to large amounts of heat to cause the entrapped mercury to free itself from its mineral bonds.
However, the dust of this ore contains large amounts of mercury sulfate, which will still collect inside the body tissues cumulatively.


11. On some sections of the walls and ceiling of the drifts, we found crystal growth formations which attest to the age of this mine, in some of its older workings.


12. Laying in a lower drift tunnel, there is a fascinating ore bucket device. This was used in vertical rises; the hooks on the side held the lift-bar in place when hauling it vertically, then were unhinged at the top and the entire barrel tilted on hinges in order to dump its load of ore into a waiting cart.


13. Thankfully, the local toilet had not been used in enough decades that what was surely once a "strong odor" no longer was about to assail our senses of smell.


14. SonicBlue is a particularly animated young lady, and I thoroughly enjoyed her wicked poses when she was photographed. More of these to follow.


15. Upon seeing the ore barrel, I decided I absolutely HAD to see if I could fit inside it. This was a delicate process, as I was trying not to impale myself on the hooks or to fall over while inside. But behold, I fit quite well!!!


16. While climbing over a mostly filled section in the lower workings, I encountered Mr. Raticus, who almost caused me to see what happens when you puke in a respirator. His odor was quite "intense", and I was not able to stay long in his presence without much retching taking place.
DJ Commie however, is a braver soul than I. He marched (well, crawled) up into the area that Mr. Raticus resided, and gently moved him out of the way.
(though not gently enough to keep its head from falling off, which he then threatened to throw at us.... the rat bastard!)


17. DJ Commie, seen here in the area where he relocated Mr. Raticus' body to more appropriate lodgings.


18. Remember what I said about SonicBlue? This is more of the same. She's amazing!!!


19. DJ Commie never failed to look awesome, no matter what he was doing. In this photo he is standing on one of the steel ladders which leads between the main entrance level and the lower levels of the mine.


20. Upon exiting the mine we were all still feeling quite proud of ourselves, and sexy (because mine exploring is a damn sexy thing to do), so we enjoyed a last group pic for the night.




Give a person a match and they'll be warm for a minute, but light them on fire and they'll be warm for the rest of their life. =)
Therrin 

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Location: North of Chicago, IL
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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 1 on 1/24/2012 9:18 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Spoiler Alert: Next up, pictures from the following day!

Try not to get too excited till I get around to posting those too!

Give a person a match and they'll be warm for a minute, but light them on fire and they'll be warm for the rest of their life. =)
DJ Commie 


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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 2 on 1/24/2012 9:33 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Pictures! (these were taken with a dying camera, and my postprocessing script was totally screwed so it looks like its from 1998)

LauraBeth and Francis up top, JohnF walking around being cool

Francis taking the awesome way down


Professionals in the Glory Hole...


Definitely 'professionals'


Bat three-way


LauraBeth exiting the partial collapse from the Mexican Tunnel


Glory Hole from inside


Day 3:
Therrin and I checked out some other possible entrances. Here he all geared up to check one off the the East of the mine


We've lost him



Shallow, and boring




DJ Commie 


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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 3 on 1/24/2012 9:34 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Sorry to make it all out of order! Also, this meet was one gigantic sexual harassment bonanza, if it wasn't obvious from the pictures.

SinCalRyder 


Location: Bakersfield CA
Gender: Male


Less worrying, more exploring!

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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 4 on 1/24/2012 2:33 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Looks like you guys had a blast. Nice photo set as well. The photos of the mines them self never seem to get me, but when you throw in the relics left behind it makes for good stuff.

And good to see Therrin not having to go down on a dark shaft all alone >=)

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LauraBeth 


Location: San Luis Obispo, Ca
Gender: Female


where to go

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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 5 on 1/24/2012 7:32 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
It was awesome!! Not in spite of, but BECAUSE OF all the thats-what-she-said jokes.

Therrin 

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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 6 on 1/24/2012 8:42 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
1. The following day we went back with a different group of explorers. It was nice to see everything in the light of day.
Left to Right: Francis, LauraBeth, JohnF, DJ Commie. Headed up towards the mine!


2. Pressure tanks, nuff said.


3. Examining the ore and mercury processing equipment.


4. The flywheel behind LauraBeth could be turned slowly by hand, and it would crank around the large drum off to the right. Fun!


5. LauraBeth, chillin in the foundation blocks of the cinnabar heating kilns.


6. Group shot of all of use before we headed up to the mine itself.


7. LauraBeth and I split off from the main group, which took the normal opening in at the top of the mine.
We instead went through a VERY TIGHT opening:

and had to pass our helmets and packs down separately. A helmeted head can not fit through this space, which dropped down into a small antechamber. We then crawled between bat gate bars installed inside a tiny culvert, and came out into the bottom level of the mine.
Once there we climbed up to a mostly-filled drift tunnel with a beam in the middle that we had to crawl around to get to the rest of the mine.


8. It was a pretty tight fit, though later on DJ Commie came through from the other direction to see this part of the mine as well.


9. Almost through the other side!


10. Group shots!


11. Moar


12. LauraBeth using the rope to climb into the upper gloryhole area of the mine, where we all headed up to for pics and to marvel at how easy it would be to fall back inside and die.


13. Triumph! Though you can see outside the mine, you're still very much inside it in this area, and must climb all the way back through the mine to exit. It's merely a breath of fresh air.


14. Bat love-triangle.


15. A water sump that has trapped runoff in a cleft atop the mine. The water is murky, and deep green colored, and likely very toxic.


16. The ground here is so thick with clay that no water seeps into this hole from even 2 feet away. This was taken the third trip when DJ Commie and I went back to explore all the vertical drops around the mine.

Various quotes:
Mercury is extracted by heating cinnabar in a current of air and condensing the vapor.
cinnabar ores are also highly toxic by ingestion or inhalation.

Because of the high toxicity of mercury, both the mining of cinnabar and refining for mercury are hazardous and historic causes of mercury poisoning.

Abandoned mercury mine processing sites often contain very hazardous waste piles of roasted cinnabar calcines. Water run-off from such sites is a recognized source of ecological damage.



Despite all of this ^^^ We managed to explore in a safe manner, and everyone had a great time. =)

Give a person a match and they'll be warm for a minute, but light them on fire and they'll be warm for the rest of their life. =)
madcap 


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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 7 on 1/24/2012 8:48 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
wow. this looks like it was a really really good time! kinda piques my interest. well done. thanks for sharing these. love the bat pics & the humping ones too.


-madcap

i am the other yourself.

"Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices? I've heard them calling my name. Is this the sweet sound that called the young sailors. The voice might be one and the same. I've heard it too many times to ignore it. It's something that I'm supposed to be." http://www.flickr....orers/collections/
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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 8 on 1/24/2012 8:58 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Hahahaha. Oh me and my weird poses.

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Astro 

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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 9 on 1/24/2012 9:04 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I loves me some batty bats <3

I would love a sample of that murkey water.

Looks like y'all had a blasty blast.

[02:33:56] <Valkyre> Astro your whole life is ruled by the sentence ' life is better without clothes on'
[22:16:00] <DSomms> it was normal until astro got here
Astro: Patron Saint of Drains
Therrin 

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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 10 on 1/24/2012 9:33 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
^^ I actually took samples of the murky water. =)

Okay, so here's the night I crawled in through the mostly sealed adit "entrance".



Give a person a match and they'll be warm for a minute, but light them on fire and they'll be warm for the rest of their life. =)
xxsonicblue 


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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 11 on 1/24/2012 10:22 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Definitely thought you were dead for a minute in there hahaha.

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Therrin 

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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 12 on 1/24/2012 10:55 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
That culvert inside is probably about 16" in diameter, but since it has the bat bars welded inside, the vertical space between the bat bars is like 12". Then you come out of the pipe a couple feet above ground and have to plop out into the drift level.
[last edit 1/24/2012 10:56 PM by Therrin - edited 1 times]

Give a person a match and they'll be warm for a minute, but light them on fire and they'll be warm for the rest of their life. =)
Astro 

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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 13 on 1/25/2012 12:11 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by Therrin
^^ I actually took samples of the murky water. =)




You going to test it for identification?

[02:33:56] <Valkyre> Astro your whole life is ruled by the sentence ' life is better without clothes on'
[22:16:00] <DSomms> it was normal until astro got here
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decrepitude 


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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 14 on 1/25/2012 12:26 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 

Very cool post and explore. I wish this location was farther north.



AnAppleSnail 


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ALL the flashlights!

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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 15 on 1/25/2012 2:18 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 


[21:17:13] <aurelie> the therrin moth is emerging from its rusty cocoon


Looks like fun. I want to do this.

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Bizz 


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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 16 on 1/25/2012 11:25 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
A+ write up

Do not attempt to stop with hands or genitals.
Mir-Kat 


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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 17 on 1/26/2012 7:05 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Great photos. Looks like a lot of fun. Although I did notice that the bats in your pictures looks like it is a Townsend's Big-eared Bat which is actually a species of special concern here in California. They are very sensitive to human disturbance and have even heard stories of one dying of a heart attack from having lots of camera flashes in its face. It is best to try and avoid disturbing these bats when coming across them.



Therrin 

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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 18 on 1/26/2012 7:39 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by Mir-Kat
Great photos. Looks like a lot of fun. Although I did notice that the bats in your pictures looks like it is a Townsend's Big-eared Bat which is actually a species of special concern here in California. They are very sensitive to human disturbance and have even heard stories of one dying of a heart attack from having lots of camera flashes in its face. It is best to try and avoid disturbing these bats when coming across them.




I can only imagine the effect that them breathing mercury sulfide-laden dust is having. Seems like mines are a great place for bats to roost, but maybe not a mercury mine.

I'll keep what you said in mind though. I imagine same goes for petting them. =(

Give a person a match and they'll be warm for a minute, but light them on fire and they'll be warm for the rest of their life. =)
Mir-Kat 


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Re: Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore
<Reply # 19 on 1/27/2012 12:24 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by Therrin


I can only imagine the effect that them breathing mercury sulfide-laden dust is having. Seems like mines are a great place for bats to roost, but maybe not a mercury mine.



Oh no, that must be bad. But what can you do, Townsend's bats are much like urban explorers. They like to live in abandoned buildings and and inactive mines. They should really be the mascot

UER Forum > Archived US: Pacific Southwest > Rinconada Mercury Mine - Total Explore (Viewed 3736 times)
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