The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961 Page: 428
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
predominant role in the economic development of Brewster
County. The ore, which is cinnabar, is brilliant red in color and is
that from which quicksilver is extracted. The only known deposits
of mercury ore in Texas are located in Brewster and Presidio
counties in an area known as the Terlingua Mining District.3
This district, located approximately ninety miles south of the
Brewster County seat of Alpine, is some forty miles in length
and twenty miles in width. The known deposits of mercury are
bounded on the south and east by Mariscal Mountain, on the
north by Christmas Mountain, and on the west by Fresno
Canyon.4 The Terlingua district was at one time the second
largest quicksilver-producing area in the United States.6 A geol-
ogist's study in 1916 revealed that the cinnabar was found mainly
"in calcite veins, in the limestones of the Comanchean Cretaceous,
and in the flags and marls of the Upper Cretaceous. Some andesite
dikes and sills have also been found to contain the ore."6
The two major companies which exploited the cinnabar ore
were the Marfa and Mariposa Mining Company and the Chisos
Mining Company. A team of geologists from the University of
Texas found that most of the ore from the Chisos mine was "taken
from the southeast end of a broken, plunging anticline. In this
mine, where this anticline itself is bent transversely by a strong
flexure, it has also been noted that the richest ore is held below
compact layers of the marly beds alternating with limestone."7
Robert L. Cartledge, who managed the Chisos mine for nearly
twenty years, said that the ore was in vein form.8
Small quantities of virgin quicksilver have been found in the
Terlingua District, but cinnabar or mercury ore, has been the
SAlpine (Texas) Avalanche, July go, 1926; John T. Lonsdale, "Texas Mineral
Resources," in University of Texas Publication Number 4301 (Austin, 1946), 373-
374. Cited hereafter as Lonsdale, Texas Mineral Resources.
5William B. Phillips, "The Mineral Resources of Texas," in University of Texas
Bulletin Number 365 (Austin, 1914), 32. Cited hereafter as Phillips, The Mineral
Resources of Texas.
6J. A. Udden, C. L. Baker, and Emil Bose, "Review of the Geology of Texas,"
in University of Texas Bulletin Number 44 (Austin, 1916), 117. Cited hereafter
as Udden, Review of the Geology of Texas.
SRobert L. Cartledge to J. M. D., signed statement, October 23, 1958 (Texas
State Archives, Austin).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961, periodical, 1961; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101190/m1/465/: accessed December 11, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.