Orykta® Mine – Geological History
Tens of Millions of Years Ago
The “Big Squeeze” that Pushed the Seafloor 12,000 Feet into the Sky
PANGEA……One Super-Continent Separated into Five.
As North America drifted away from the other continents, a portion of the floor of the Pacific Ocean was forcefully pulled beneath Nevada and California, causing intense compression along the western margin of the North American continent.
Huge slabs of rock, each thousands of feet thick, were shoved eastward on top of one another, like a load of plywood in a train wreck. Limestone and minerals that had been deposited on the shallow seafloor were lifted into the sky.
14 Million Years Ago
The Eruption of the Hoover Dam Caldera
A volcanic caldera violently erupted in the vicinity of present-day Hoover Dam, sending a column of ash tens of thousands of feet into the sky. At the same time — and fulminating from the same orifice — a ground-hugging cloud of dense, hot ash roared across the startled terrain at a speed of a couple hundred miles per hour.
The resulting layer of tightly welded volcanic ash forms the walls of Black Canyon, into which Hoover Dam is anchored. The pinkish rock that forms the Black Canyon are rhyolitic ash-flow tuffs that erupted from the volcanic caldera 13.9 million years ago. This yielded the disrupted dark band of pinkish rock (composed of natrojarosite, gypsum, and montmorillinite) that cuts through the Orykta® mine . The mineral/nutrient rich rock is the result of magma being forcefully intruded into the cooling ash.
Orykta Mineral Mine Site
3.5 Million Years Ago
Lyon County, Nevada (the location of the Orykta® mine), lies within the colder, higher Great Basin Desert. Both of these desert ecosystems owe their existence to the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range formed during Nevada’s volcanic age. As moisture-rich air masses travel eastward from the Pacific Ocean, they crossed the high-elevation Sierra Nevada and lost much of their moisture. This Sierra Nevada ‘shadow’ formed about 3.5 million years ago, when the mountain range experienced a rapid pulse of geological uplift.
1.2 Million Years Ago
Orykta® is the product of yet another volcanic eruption, 1.2 million years later when multiple conspicuous faults subsequently sliced up the uniform thick pile of consolidated sedimentary volcanic ash that comprises the “one-of-a-kind” Orykta® mine.