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Copper sulfides and associated minerals from Butte, silver bow county, Montana.

The Butte district in southwestern Montana was discovered in the summer of 1864 by G.O. Humphreys and William Allison. The original prospects were worked for fine-grained placer gold, on what would come to be known as Butte Hill. Silver was also discovered late in 1864, and Butte regenerated itself as one of the most important silver camps in the West. Ultimately, however, it was copper that secured the economic future of Butte, which became known as the "richest hill on earth." During World War I, when Butte's copper production reached an early peak, the community's population exceeded 70,000, making it the largest "mining city" in the United States. About 17,000 men worked in the mines, concentrators, and smelters. Today the Butte mines are closed and flooded, but its mineralogical legacy of fine specimens remains--most noteably the copper sulfide and sulfosalt minerals such as bornite, chalcocite, chalcopyrite, colusite, covellite, digenite, djurleite, and enargite, and other minerals such as barite, pyrite, quartz and silver.

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Specimen owners:

Montana Tech Mineral Museum

Dave Bunk

Bryant Harris

Peter Knudsen

Alan Kohler

Alan Kuoppala

Joe Slouber

Chapter authors: Robert E. Jenkins and H. Peter Knudsen

Showcase organizer: H. Peter Knudsen

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Article Details
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Author:Jenkins, Robert E.; Peter Knudsen, H.
Publication:The Mineralogical Record
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2008
Words:199
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