Sunday, August 14, 2016

The lost gold of Hermit John - Amboy Crater

In 1908 a well known lone prospector in the Amboy, California area called Hermit John brought several sacks of gold ore into the Santa Fe Train Station to be shipped to San Francisco for refining and smelting. The stationmaster noticed that one of the sacks was torn open, and said so to John. Without thinking, John dumped out the contents of his sack on the train station floor. All of the men standing around were flabbergasted. The quartz of the ore was literally plastered together with leaves and wires of natural gold.
Hermit John told a friend that the ore came from somewhere in the Sheephole Mountains, between Dale Dry Lake and Cadiz Dry Lake. He stated that he had found an old Spanish arrastra while out prospecting. During the 1800’s an arrastra was used to grind the ore into a powder in order to free the gold from the quartz rock. He described graves, some old mining tools and either an old well or another shaft close by his find.
The site appeared to have been long abandoned. He said he judged the age of the mine by the types of mining tools he found in the area.

The next day, Hermit John's camp was cleaned up and nothing was ever heard from him again. His mine has yet to be found, but most likely (if the story he told was true) it would lie somewhere in the circle on the map.
Amboy Crater in San Bernardino County is a 250-foot cinder cone of black lava and is some of the youngest rock in the Mojave Desert.

The USGS puts its likely periods of peak activity to around 10,000 years ago.
Amboy Crater is actually four merged cinder cones that have converged into one.