Phoenix Transect Project

PROJECT: Ajo Landscapes


The landscape in and around Ajo, Arizona provides a valuable lens with which to examine the way people and place interact. Ajo's geography dictates its industries. With the closure of the mine, Ajo's main sources of income have become border patrol and retirees. Ubiquitous green and white SUVs patrol for desperate migrants in the same desert which provide winter homes to the RVs of those who migrate from the north. Conversely Ajo's landscape is dramatically altered by the presence of the mining operation which once sustained it. It has become like a immense apocalyptic and alien sculpture garden. Waste rock heaps and tailing piles tower over the desert as artificial mountains. The vast lilac pit (1500 feet deep) acts as an inverted monument to man's industrious nature, tenacity and hubris. It will mark this place for perhaps a million years.

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Daniel Leivick
Title: Border Patrol and Cave Dwellings
Description: A lone US Border Patrol agent waits by the edge of the road. To the right are abandoned cave dwellings in the rocks.
Date: 3/2011
Keywords: Border, Desert, Panorama, Vegetation, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Daniel Leivick
Title: Desert Wreck
Description: A wrecked truck in the desert south of Ajo. The waste rock piles are visible on the right.
Date: 4/2011
Location: Ajo
Keywords: Desert, Panorama, Transportation, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Daniel Leivick
Title: Waste Rock Piles and Snow Bird Camp
Description: During the cooler months retirees make camps in the desert just beyond the massive waste rock heaps.
Date: 3/2011
Location: Ajo
Keywords: Desert, Panorama, Recreation, Transportation, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Daniel Leivick
Title: Border Patrol and Tailing Piles
Description: During operation the mine produced mountains of waste rock (right) and smelter tailings (left). Since the closure of the mine, the Ajo's primary industries have become the US Border Patrol and services for RVs.
Date: 3/2011
Location: Ajo
Keywords: Border, Demolition, Panorama, Transportation, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Daniel Leivick
Title: Foundation and Waste Rock Pile
Description: When the mine was closed nearly all the mining structures where demolished for tax purposes.
Date: unknown
Location: Ajo
Keywords: Demolition, Desert, Panorama, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Daniel Leivick
Title: Ajo Pit #3
Description: Waste rock fills a valley west of the pit. Iron rich rock creates rust colored streaks.
Date: 4/2011
Location: Ajo
Keywords: Desert, Panorama, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Daniel Leivick
Title: Ajo Pit #2
Description: Looking south on the 1500 foot deep open pit copper mine. Different colors indicate the presence of different minerals.
Date: 4/2011
Location: Ajo
Keywords: Desert, Panorama, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Daniel Leivick
Title: Animal Tracks at the Edge of the Pit
Description: Animals are attracted to rain water pools in places on the waste rock piles which surround the pit.
Date: unknown
Keywords: Desert, Panorama, Water, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Daniel Leivick
Title: Ajo Pit #1
Description: The New Cordelia open pit copper mine at sun set. While minerals have been gathered in the area for centuries, open pit operations began in Ajo in 1916 and ended following a strike in 1985.
Date: 11/2010
Location: Ajo
Keywords: Desert, Panorama, All Images

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