The Owls Head Mine in Malone, NY
(Dr. Brian Snee, Advisor)
The Owls Head mine sits near the top of Owls Head Mountain, which looms over the small village of the same name. Inside the mine, a flashlight reveals metamorphosed granite containing large magnetite crystals, as well as a basalt dike cutting across host rock and ore alike, providing evidence of magma burning its way up through the earth an unimaginably long time ago. Samples are being collected from the mine for different types of analysis. These include transmitted and reflected light microscopy (cutting the rock into 30-micron-thick slices and looking at them under a microscope, both by passing light through the slices and reflecting light off of them), electron microprobe analysis to measure element concentrations, and geochemical analysis to discover what materials are contained in the samples. My goal is to determine what exactly was mined at the site, the relationships between the host rock, the ore, the basalt intrusion, and the metamorphism, and to reconstruct histories of the mine, both geological and human. My research will be presented at SUNY Potsdam as well as at a meeting of the Geological Society of America.