There is a great amount of information on this site about the history and geology of the Molly Marie Prospect from many different perspectives, and it is intended that this conclusion will summarize and “pull it all together”.

The Lost Peralta Mining District has been called “the greatest mystery of the western United States”, and it has been irrefutably found as shown within this site, by geology, history, and cartography.   The District is surprisingly “out in the open” and outside of the Superstition Wilderness Area.  It has escaped discovery by modern-day explorationists armed with sophisticated gear and methods.   

There are several attributes of this Iron Oxide Copper Gold (IOCG) deposit which will allow it to be mined even with the small city of Apache Junction located about 5 miles away:

  • Only trace amounts of Uranium are in this IOCG deposit.  This is very important.
  • It is likely that a tailings impoundment will not be necessary.  Approximately 50% of the tailings will be used for cemented backfill for the underground mine. Most or all of the excess that would normally require an impoundment will be hematite and magnetite, a saleable product, due to the previous bullet.
  • A state highway runs nearby the deposit.
  • Two power lines cross the Prospect.

Similar to this website, the geologic portion of the conclusion will be discussed first, and then the history.

  1. Geology

The Molly Marie Prospect contains a very large fully intact Magmatic Hydrothermal IOCG deposit, and it was formed under shallow water at a relatively shallow rock depth.  The IOCG is covered by a silica mound FIELD indicative of shallow subaqueous hot spring deposits (the mounds are gold bearing). The mounds are similar to those of VMS deposits, but instead of sulfides there are iron oxides in their cores. The famed Eskay Creek gold mine was similar and is a shallow water deposit.

The central and eastern portions of the prospect contain the perfect geological “trap” for metal bearing fluids: approximately 500 feet of arkose sandstone and conglomerate rich in limestone sand and cobbles is overlain by approximately 0-80 feet of basalt which is half-cevered by silica mounds.  Thick beds of red clay on the surface indicate that the arkose was dissolved below and transported.  The massive arkosic breccias on the west side of the deposit are highly reactive and were also an excellent geologic trap.  A great amount of exhalites and alteration (see the Exhalites and Alteration pages), and silica mounds, indicate that both the east, central and west areas of the Prospect are highly mineralized below.

Although there are only 20 mining claims on the Prospect, they contain a very large IOCG deposit in its entirety. 

The Prospect is a compact package with a bonafide large IOCG deposit packed inside.  As can be seen in the photo, there is FIELD of IOCG hydrothermal silica mounds on the Prospect, and many of the the small ones aren’t called out.

The silica mound FIELD is over one mile long and including the width of the brecciated areas, indicates an IOCG deposit a half-mile wide. If the deposit averages 1000 feet thick, there could be a BILLION tons or more of ore. Given the history proven within and the presented geology, this could also be one of the richest IOCG deposits ever found.

IOCG Silica Mound Field

About 15 years ago, a list of fire assays from chip samples that were completed up until that date was put together and a map showing their locations. It was felt that these assays were insignificant at the time and they were filed and put away. There were many more assays with the same basic grades as these, but the GPS unit that had their locations was lost so they were not included. The gist is, there is gold and silver everywhere on the Prospect on the surface and gives a great indication what is below. The assays were done at Jacobs Assaying in Tucson, which no longer operates. This is the assay list.
Assay list from 15 years ago.

This is map of where the assays were taken. It was not known then but #6, #7, #8 and #26 samples were taken directly from geothermal mounds.
Assay map from 15 years ago.

There is the potential that the Molly Marie Prospect contains at least 100’s of millions of tons of high-grade gold-copper ore including other metals such as Zinc, Lead, and Lithium.   

Please see the six pages within that are devoted to the geology of the Prospect.     

2. The History

Learning the history of the prospect was an exciting experience.  Not only was learning the history highly enjoyable, but it proved the District (The Salt River District of the North) was previously mined by others in a time and place when only high grade gold ore was considered.   For those that look for ore deposits nearby and within historic mining districts, the Molly Marie Prospect meets those parameters. 

One item that is the central theme to almost all of the relevant historic maps (originating from Mexico) is a tiny hole through the top of a mountain.  It can be seen for about 45 minutes before sunrise all along First Water Road on the north side of Superstition Mountain.  Below is what the hole looks like(you may have to zoom in).  Throughout the historical part of this conclusion, this hole surfaces again and again.  The Molly Marie Prospect is located between the mountain with the hole and the vantage point of this photo.
The Tiny Hole from First Water Road at dawn

It is concluded that in 1847, just before the massacre of the 400 member party, the Peralta’s were operating a small cluster of pits and one main underground operation with two entrances, a tunnel and a shaft. There were other mines before then, but at that moment in time, that was where the mining was concentrated.  

A few times during the past 20 years, hikes were made to the top of the mountain with the hole through it to try to gain more understanding of the area, and recently some great photos were gained there.  Below is a photo taken from near the hole, and two items are labeled, the 1847 Pits, and Cerro Negra with the Adobe covered shaft.
View from the Hole in the Mountain


Peralta Stones

The Peralta Stones are a very contentious subject, but one fact about them is undeniable:  The Peralta Stones were used as a basis by the author to stake many of the mining claims before very little was known about the area geologically!  (See the Peralta Stones page for more info.)

Below is a picture of the Trail Stone and the solution of the location of the pits using triangulation.
The Peralta Trail Stone Triangulation Solution

The directions that this stone gives are simple, clear, and intuitive:

  • Find the tiny hole on the north side of Superstition Mountain.
  • Find the horse.
  • Triangulate to find the two short ridges and the treasure.

The Stone Map triangulation is so accurate that the southern point on the triangle can be found within 100 feet when a paper copy of the Trail Map is taken to the field. The creator of the Stone Maps, Miguel Peralta, was ingenious.

The odds of this happening by coincidence are impossible and it has the geology, outcrops, and seismic survey to back it up. 

The Pits are located between the two short ridges as shown as shown on the Trail Map and the photo taken from the hole in the mountain shown above.  The strange symbol at the tip of the triangle indicating that you have to empty the pits is shown below.

Minas del Oro Map. 

This map was found to be the most comprehensive of all the Spanish/Mexican maps and this will be described further below.  The third digit is worn away, and some say the full date should be 1844.  On this map can be seen the several mines in the hills to the northwest of the viewing point and “Tunel” is labeled. It is reasoned that the several “minas” were pit mines. They are depicted as between two ridges just as shown in the photo taken from the hole in the mountain shown already above. The river is not the Salt, but First Water Canyon. There is much more about this map on the Mill Site and mercury page.
The Minas del Oro Map

Polka #1 map

This map clearly shows pits in a drainage looking towards the hole in the mountain.  This perspective can only be experienced from one place on ground.  The spot indicating the large pit is further fortified by the fact that the formation indicated to the left of the pit is a large unusual outcrop of Tufa deposited by a warm spring. And, there really is a 1000’ quartz outcrop on the ridge to the right.  It is not blazing white, but is a heavily silicified breccia.
The Polka #1 Map

This is a photo of the Tufa outcrop to the west of the pits’ location shown on the Polka #1 map:
Tufa Outcrop by Largest Pit

The chances of the Tufa located here by coincidence is impossible,

Below is a photo taken from the filled in pits to the hole in the mountain early in the morning.  The areas of the pits are surrounded by black chlorite alteration and quartz outcrops. The entire area looks like it was disturbed and seismic evidence shows that it was.
The hole in the Mountain from the Largest Filled Pit

Seismic Survey.

Two separate seismic surveys were completed on the cluster of pits, and below is a tomogram of the largest one found.
Tomogram of the largest Pit

It is believed that the pit shown on the Polka map is directly in the bottom of the drainage between the two ridges, as the Polka map indicates,  but it has not been tested seismically. Its location is surrounded by intense black chlorite alteration. 

The odds of this occurring by coincidence are impossible.


The Salazar Survey

The Peralta Stones accidentally gave away the location of the Pits, but what was revealed in the Salazar Survey document gave away the precise location of the Underground workings at the hill dubbed “Cerro Negra” by the author (see the “Salazar Survey” page).   See below for a diagram of the solution.  The bearings from Cerro Negra to the hole through the mountain and to El Sombrero were used to find the solution.

This is another item that is impossible to have occurred by coincidence, especially on the first spot on the ground attempted by the author.
The Salazar Survey Solution

The Minos del Oro map

The Minas del Oro map depicts a large fold or hinge in the basalt (Negra).  There is only one place in the Goldfield-Government Well-Molly Marie Prospect area that has a hinge in the basalt, and that is at Cerro Negra. This map is looking north, and depicts the ore processing area, the main camp and the pit mines also.  The processing area and the placers are in First Water Canyon, not the Salt River, and this was verified by a mercury vapor detector (See the Mill Site and Mercury page). Even though the word “Minas” is not found near the fold in the basalt, the fold was a central theme to the map and it appears the underground mines were implied or so much attention would not have been given to it. This is why the hill Cerro Negra was dubbed as it is by the author.

Another map that is impossible to be a coincidence, and the mercury vapor survey backs it up the location of the ore processing area.
The Minas del Oro Map
Cerro Negra looking east

Hoddenpyle map

This map shows Cerro Negra from the hole through the mountain.  Cerro Negra actually has a layer of white tuff on a flat sloping top and rather than black on white; it is white on black. There is no other hill below the viewpoint  that appears like this.  Considering all the other information, including the placers described below in the “Mercury and ore processing area”, this is clearly Cerro Negra (Note: it is labeled Cerro de Negro on the map). This is the only other Spanish/Mexican map that has the placers called out, and they both show the the placers in relatively the same place.

Another impossible coincidence.
The Hoddenpyle Map

As presented at the SME convention  in Phoenix 2020, The Burbridge Map and the Ortiz map represent the respective first and second levels of an underground mine at Cerro Negra. 

Ortiz Map

The Ortiz Map was given to a rancher near the Salt River by an Apache, and was taken from a prospector that the Apaches had killed.  The map was positioned over Cerro Negra electronically  using a suspected tunnel portal as the anchor (because it had water running from it); the Ortiz map was not rotated or distorted aspect-wise in any manner. This is the second or bottom level of the mine.

The chances of the Ortiz Map matching the site of the suspected caved portal with water running out of it and the curves of the crest of the ridge by coincidence are impossible.

Additionally, the tunnel system terminates to the west at an obvious subsidence zone. The overlay of the Ortiz Map can be seen below. The area labelled STOPES is believed to be where the highest grade ore was mined. The multiple entries into the contact zone are indicative that the stull stoping method was used. Multiple stopes could be accessed simultaneously with this design without the hazard of having to walk beneath where ore was being mined and dropped below.

The Ortiz Map overlay and the STOPES

The tunnel the Ortiz map portrays was definitely surveyed to true north. The elevation of the portal correlates with the depth of the tunnel if it was driven to the west as shown beneath the silica mounds. The lowest portion of the silica is exposed nearby the east-west tunnel and it is very soft and crumbly (note the quartz vein). No drilling and blasting was needed for much or all of the Ortiz tunnel.
The underside of the Basalt

The Burbridge map

The Burbridge map, dated 1753 (age verified by the U of Arizona), was sized and centered over a Google Earth photo of Cerro Negra (see below), and it was not rotated or distorted aspect-wise  in any manner.  The stub drifts of the Ortiz map and the edge of the Rhyolite were used as anchor points.  The shafts indicated on the Burbridge map match the stub drifts on the newer Ortiz map.  The Burbridge Map depicts the first, or top level of the mine. Of special significance is the shaft location that is a solid white indicated in the overlay is very close to the adobe covered shaft shown in the photo near the top of this page, and described further below (the Bicknell shaft). This shaft that Bicknell describes (see the Great Mine page), may have been open for over 130 years. See the Great Mine and SME presentation pages for more details.

The chances of this occurring by coincidence are impossible.
The Burbridge map overlain on Cerro Negra

The Peralta Fish Map

The Peralta Fish Map, dated 1846, although not as accurate as the rest of the Spanish/Mexican maps, indicates features that are not shown on the rest of the maps but are clearly found only on the Molly Marie Prospect.  One is the location of red gravels (in Spanish), which can only be the eroded red gravel and clay ridges at the Molly Marie Prospect, a product of the IOCG deposit.  The map indicates “El Sombrero”, and only in a very narrow view does Weavers Needle look like a hat, and it does so from the Molly Marie Prospect. See the “Peralta-Fish Map” page for more information.

The chances of these items and others on the Peralta-Fish map page occurring by coincidence (including a maar diatreme) are impossible.

Below is a copy of the Peralta Fish Map.
The Peralta-Fish Map

Below is a photo of El Sombrero as viewed from the Molly Marie Prospect.
El Sombrero from the Molly Marie Prospect
The Rose Colored Gravels


Cart ruts (see below) were discovered that were worn in solid rock crossing a steep dozer-cut road leading into First Water canyon.  It was suspected that the carts were hauling ore to the creek below; the only water close to the Molly Marie Prospect. The creek is about one mile from Cerro Negra.
Cart Ruts

It was suspected that a portion of the First Water Canyon was heavily placered, but not because of naturally occurring placer gold.  It was theorized that others had processed gold there because it is the only water in the area, but they did not have mercury, and approximately 50% of the gold was lost in the creek.  It was further theorized that others came with mercury and cleaned the wash to bedrock to recover the gold.  Below is what the creek bed suspected of being placered looks like.

To confirm or deny the theory of mercury being used, a mercury vapor detector was rented as shown below.  In the soil where the arrastras/amalgamators were suspected to be located (near the creek) as the Minas del Oro map shows, mercury vapor levels were detected in the soil nearby the creek that were as high as found in Potosi, Bolivia, the site with most mercury contaminated soil in the world.
A Mercury Vapor Detector

It was disconcerting that the vapor detector alarm was sounding off frequently in the placered area in the OPEN AIR. The Arrastras and placer are shown clearly on the Minas Del Oro Map shown above. See the “Mill Site and Mercury” page for more information.

Once again,

The odds of the mercury occurring by coincidence and the location of the arrastras and placers matching the Minas del Oro map are impossible.

Lost Dutchman Mine   

Due to the stigma surrounding the subject of the Lost Dutchman mine, the author has tried to steer clear of the subject.  But, since the Lost Dutchman Mine has long been thought to be one of the Peralta Mines, the subject is unavoidable. 

On the “Great Mine” page, the original article about the Lost Dutchman Mine by a writer named Bicknell is shown.  It is believed by this author that the first shaft described by Bicknell where the Mexican miners were shot and killed by Waltz and his partner is on the north side of Cerro Negra and is covered by adobe mixed with ground caliche.  As described on the “Great Mine” page the shaft was filled and covered by Apache women in 1882. Below is a photo of the location.  It is believed that the reason that the hole is oblong is because the shaft is inclined and because it was open for so long, the brow of the shaft collar and the floor were eroded and worn considerably.
The Location of the Adobe Covered Shaft

A story is told that on the night of the Lost Dutchman’s death, an acquaintance of Jacob Waltz had a series of sketches to the mine and they were lost or stolen.  One of them surfaced, and was dubbed the “Dick Holmes map”.  This is clearly from the same spot as from where the view from the hole in the mountain photo above was taken. 

The chances of this occurring by coincidence are impossible.
The Dick Holmes Map

One of the clues to the Lost Dutchman mine is that it looks like you are looking through a gun site when you look at Weavers Needle or “El Sombrero”. Below is a photo from the top of Cerro Negra, and the mine shaft covered with Adobe is 200 feet from behind and downhill from the camera. The “Location of the Adobe covered shaft” photo above shows how close the top of the hill and shaft are situated.

The chances of this happening by coincidence are impossible.
The Gunsight view from the top of Cerro Negra

Another Lost Dutchman Mine clue is that you have to climb a hill a short distance from the mine to be able to see Weavers Needle or “El Sombrero”, As can be seen in the “Location of the Adobe Covered Shaft” photo above, this is true. Another impossible coincidence.

Below is a photo of the adobe.  The reason this is known to be man-made is because all of the clay in the caldera area is a deep red due to the IOCG deposit.  The clay to make this adobe had to be imported from elsewhere.
Close up of Adobe covering the Shaft

The location of the Lost Dutchman Mine may never be known, but this is my attempt at declaring the location of the shaft as described by Bicknell.

Below is a photo of the power lines crossing the Molly Marie Prospect
                                                                                   Power Lines Crossing the Property

Most of all the historical evidence presented above has been widely available for well over 50 years.  The conclusion is reached that the thousands of searchers of the lost mines during the past 130 years were so dead-set in the idea that the mines were deep in the wilderness area that they could not even contemplate that they weren’t.  Because of this, the evidence was not attempted be matched to somewhere else.  

It is further concluded that if it were not for the Mexican American war, this mining district would have already been mined out, or mostly so.  There was much hatred for the Americans after the area of five States were taken from Mexico, and the crown jewel (the Peralta Mines) was hidden, and hidden well.

Additionally, because of the stigma surrounding the Lost Dutchman Mine, modern day exploration geologists avoided the area of the Molly Marie Prospect.  This great deposit would have been found easily with the instruments that have been available for decades.

There is a great amount of information about the property that has not been included within;  please contact me for further details.


Dan Welch