Collecting Chrysotile at the Phillips Asbestos Mine in Arizona

Near the city of Globe Arizona, the Salt River flows. In the canyons around this important waterway, there are several outcrops of serpentine with various stringers of fibrous Chrysotile, the safest variety of the fiber form minerals processed into asbestos materials. Alternating veins of calcite/aragonite, serpentine and chrysotile created a valuable ore to be mined for a period of time. The mines were so profitable that various buildings were erected to serve the miners of the salt river valley.

Following the directions in the excellent field guide, Minerals, Fossils and Florescents of Arizona, which we highly recommend owning, we had no problem finding the location.
Minerals, Fossils and Fluorescents of Arizona

It was easy to spot this location on the satellite map.

Map of the Phillips Mine Location

Arriving at the location, you find the entrance to the road starts at an abandoned campground. It must have been really nice back when it was in business, now it looks like it could be the setting for a freaky horror movie.
seneca lake permit sign
abandoned seneca lake campground

After driving through the campground, you cross a little stream and proceed down an easy to maneuver dirt/rock road toward the mine. On the South side of the road you’ll pass the old lake that must have been the jewel of the campground.
stream you cross at the start of phillips chrysotile mine road
seneca lake
gravel road leading to the chrysotile mine location

The drive is beautiful, with great vistas, steep canyons and amazing colors that the canyons of Arizona are famous for! Off in the distance, bright white mine dumps could be seen, making the prospect of finding mineral specimens imminent.
canyon walls while driving to rockhound
thin cliff road in arizona
Beautiful Scene from the drive in the canyons of arizona
Dumps of the Asbestos Mines from the Canyon Walls

Arriving at the mining area you are greeted by some very creepy abandoned buildings that make the campground take a second seat to a horror movie film set!
Abandoned Mining Town in Central Arizona
Abandoned Buildings at the Phillips Mine

Off in the distance the mine dumps could be seen. Getting to the dumps is a simple uphill walk up a dirt road.

Phillips Chrysotile Mine in the Distance

At the top of the road you find yourself at the foot of a massive pile of mine debris which is rich in Aragonite, serpentine and chrysotile.
Mine Dump at the top of Phillips Chrysotile Mine Road
Mine Dump at Phillips Chrysotile Mine

Great specimens could be found all over the dump, with banded Aragonite that glows bright green in UltraViolet Light and veins of Chrysotile, which makes for very beautiful display specimens.
Specimen of Serpentine, Chrysotile and Aragonite
Specimen of Chrysotile from Arizona

Going to the Phillips Chrysotile Mine in Central Arizona is a great trip for a beautiful view into a seldom seen part of Arizona mining history! Specimens are abundant and there is something for everyone!

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