Thursday, April 12, 2012

Historic mining towns map on Arizona Experience

We added a lot of new content on mining and mineral resources to the Arizona Experience website. Let me recommend you trying out the Historic Mining Towns live map. Mouse over each town and watch a slide show of historical photos.

The Mining Timeline goes back to the 1500s but the bulk of the info starts in the mid-1800s.

There is evidence that Arizona’s earliest known inhabitants mined turquoise, cinnabar, coal, and other minerals and pigments as early as 1000 BCE. For centuries, Native Americans used heat to melt copper and shape turquoise into jewelry and other decorations. The Tohono O'odham people mined Hematite near Ajo and Apache tribes used cinnabar (mercury sulfide, thought to come from the Dome mountain range in what is now La Paz county) to create crimson body paint.

Look at the entire timeline for an overview of Arizona’s mining history from the time of the Spanish explorers, or search the drop-down menu by topic. Click on any point for more information.

Over the years, approximately 400,000 mining claims have been filed in Arizona, and about 4,000 companies formed for mining. Minerals drew settlers and explorers, built towns, created railroads, and wowed the world with semiprecious stones. Arizona is the site of the quest for the Seven Cities of Cibola, the discoveries of Mountain Men, violent clashes between prospectors and Native American tribes, and, between miners and their bosses.


  1. Anonymous9:05 AM


    These sites provide a wealth of interesting information. However, I think the site design is very poor and will discourage exploration.

    The Mineral History Time Line, for instance, would be easier to navigate if it were a column with dropdown menus and information. The sliders in the photo galleries in the Historic Mining Town Map seem to have a mind of their own and make it difficult to control the timing of the photo sequence. The sites are not user friendly. The “Mining Arizona” page is a better design.

    Jonathan DuHamel

    1. The Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum once displayed the information in a very user friendly way that was used by K-12 school field trips.

  2. Jonathan, thanks for these constructive comments. We are in the process of asking these kinds of questions to users and developers to make the site more attractive, functional, and navigable.

    This site was built fairly quickly, with focus on gathering content and building capabilities. We'd love to hear other thoughts and suggestions on ways to improve the site.

  3. Jonathan, one of the challenges we also face is blending cutting edge technologies with ease of use. A lot of the interactive and dynamic tools we are building or using, provide non-traditional user interfaces. Some of the challenges will be visitors getting use to different ways of using the site, some may be that we need to learn the best ways to display or design these tools.