Rainbow Quarry & Pauline Mine Road (Summary Page)

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This page last updated on 04/18/2018

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Directions: To reach the town of Goodsprings from Las Vegas, travel 27 miles southward on I-15 to the Jean-Goodsprings exit, then turn west on Nevada Highway 161 for six miles and take a right onto the Goodsprings Bypass Road.(This paved road is about 1-1/4 miles before the town) Follow this road across the desert for about seven miles to the inter-section of Potosi Mountain Road (Fig. 01). At the fork, Potosi Mountain Road is on the left; the road to the right leads to the active Rainbow Quarry site. After turning left at the fork and then taking either your first or second right will put you onto the Pauline Mine Road (refer to Fig. 02). After traveling along the base of the large red sandstone outcrop for a couple of miles, make a sharp right turn. This is Aztec Tank Road (Fig. 02) which will take you to one of the Rainbow Quarry's secondary mining areas. 

Rainbow Quarry Background: This meta-quartzite mine area covers 920 acres and is located about seven miles northwest behind the town of Goodsprings Nevada. The unique multi-colored meta-quartzite is a very hard, versatile stone that can be drilled and cut (Fig. 04) and then polished, honed and utilized for a multitude of applications (Fig. 03). This colored quartzite has been extracted from this mine since the 1930's. Its range of colors, ranging from light pink to a deep burgundy, make the name "Rainbow Quarries" quite literal. It has been used in some of Frank Lloyd Wright's designs, Bugsy Siegel's Flamingo Hotel, Wilbur Clark's Desert Inn and in the City Center and even the most recent Delano Las Vegas. The entrance leading to the lobby at the Downtown Delano Las Vegas contains two 700 million year-old, 126,000 pound metaquartzite boulders, entitled "In between Places", compliments of the Rainbow Quarry and Las Vegas Rock, todays current quarry operator. Presently, the mine outputs about 200,000 tons per year.

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Geologic History: At the beginning of the Jurassic period, a great belt of sand dune were deposited. Over time, the dunes were sorted and sifted, the grains weathered and dissolved until the result became a pure quartz - silica glass. During the Cretaceous Period, 100 million year later, the earth's crust was compressed and the rocks deep within the earth were thrust to the surface along shallow-angle faults. The stunning ridgelines that finally surfaced near Goodsprings were the result of these actions. Analyses and geochemical testing have demonstrated that the rock's compositions at LV Rock's mine is 97-98% silica. No other sandstone quite like this has been found anywhere in the world.

05/03/2017 Trip Notes: Today Harvey Smith, Jim Herring and I visited Goodsprings Valley for a trip to the Aztec Quarry area. We drove up Pauline Mine Road to the Aztec Tank Road. Along the way we spotted a group of 12 wild horses. Click here for pictures and information on this trip ... Pauline Mine Road - Trip Notes for 05/03/2017.
03/18/2016 Trip Notes: While visiting some other locations in the area, I made a brief stop by driving up Aztec Tank Road to once again enjoy the beautiful views visible from this area (Figs. 08 thru 13).Harvey and i made another trip out to Goodsprings Valley to hike up Pauline Mine Road in search of some fossilized coral. Click here for pictures and information on this hike ... Pauline Mine Road - Trip Notes for 03/18/2014.

02/20/2014 Trip NotesToday I made a trip out to Aztec Tank with the rock-hounds from the Henderson Senior Facility. After hiking nearly two miles out on the Pauline Mine road, I led them up Aztec Tank Road that leads to the old sandstone quarry. Having never been there before, everyone enjoyed the areas' geology and the sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Click here for pictures and information on this hike ... Aztec Tank - Trip Notes for 02/20/2014.

08/20/2013 Trip Notes: Before heading home from a ride to the top of Mount Potosi, we decided to drive out to the Aztec Tank area and up Aztec Tank Road (refer to Fig. 02). Contact Mine and an area identified on the map as Aztec Tank. Other than the fact that this area is filled with beautiful Aztec sandstone, the only thing I can guess about the area’s name,“Aztec Tank”, is that it contains a deep wash that may fill up with water during a heavy rain, acting like a reservoir.
The relatively short drive out to this area provided us not only with colorful scenery and great views of the Potosi Range, but a desert floor that was covered with hundreds of wildflowers, including Globe Mallow Fig. 05), Desert Paintbrush (Fig. 06), and a variety of desert sunflowers (Fig. 07).  Once we reached the end of Aztec Tank Road, seen in (Fig. 08), elevation 5,500 feet, we were again witness to some outstanding views.  The view in (Fig. 09) is looking south, back towards the town of Goodsprings. Looking north provided distant views of Potosi Mountain (Fig. 10). In hiking around this area it was obvious that someone the Rainbow Quarry had been performing some extensive blasting and quarrying here. Looking towards the northwest from the top of Aztec Tank Road, we located the site of the Contact Mine off in the distance, center of (Fig. 11). Unfortunately, upon leaving this area as we attempted to drive there, the road was blocked with several large boulders, preventing us from getting any closer. As it was getting late, we decided not to hike up to the two tailing sites (Fig. 12). Calling it a day, we began the drive back down Pauline Mine Road, center of (Fig. 13), and headed back to Goodsprings for a cold beer at the Pioneer Saloon. This ended up being a great little side trip.
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