Friday, July 04, 2014

Thousands of Arizona mining maps and files added to online repository

Last month, the Arizona Geological Survey completed another milestone in the digitization of historic mining records from the former Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources. After months of cataloging and geolocating the map collection, we have finally released 5,000 new files (mostly maps) at The maps reflect the changing nature of mining and exploration in Arizona during the 20th century. Most maps from the early to mid century are of two common varieties. There are plan maps showing mining claims along with geology and surface features. A large number are longitudinal sections of mines underground workings often providing sample locations and associate widths and metallic grades. Later 20th century maps are commonly focused on surface exploration efforts covering large areas. They tend to be maps of land ownership, bedrock geology, alteration, geochemistry and geophysical investigations.   [Right, thumbnail image of map locations available online]

Maps can be searched specifically as a document type from the Search page or found as part of a mine’s complete records when searching on the Map page.

Today, we released more than 800 Arizona records from a donated collection, the James Doyle Sell mining collection. James Sell was a native of Arizona, born in Casa Grande in 1930.  He served the U.S. Army as a radio operator in the Korean War. He was awarded the Korean Service Medal and two Bronze Star Medals. On his return, he studied at the Colorado School of Mines and graduated in 1955. He earned his master's degree from the University of Arizona. He was the Southwest Exploration Manager for ASARCO and retired after 32 years. Sell was a member of the Arizona Geological Society and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration.

His collection consists of over 1,800 folders containing geologic reports and mineral exploration data from around the world, but primarily from Arizona and other states in the Southwest. Currently, only those files related to Arizona are online. For a listing of his other files, see

Post by Casey Brown, AZGS Mining Data Project Manager 

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