Appendix:Dictionary of Mining, Mineral, and Related Terms/W/3

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Celtic for salt spring; often used in England as the termination of names of places where salt is or has been found; e.g., Droitwich, Nantwich. Syn: wych.


A subsoillike chalk, Haddenham, near Thame, U.K.


To place a soft twisted-cotton string between rod joints as they are made up or coupled.


a. N. Wales. A kind of pillar-and-stall, or bord-and-pillar, system of working a seam of coal, with pillars up to 15 yd (13.7 m) apart and stalls up to 24 yd (22.0 m) wide. Also called wicket work.

b. A wall built of refractories to close an opening into a kiln or furnace; it is of a temporary nature, serving as a door; e.g., in intermittent or annular kilns.

wicket conveyor

A conveyor comprising two or more endless chains connected by crossbars and to which vertical rods are attached at spaced intervals. The crossbars are also provided with spaced projections at the same level to form in effect a continuous carrying surface through which product cannot fall.


The soft twisted-cotton string used to wick drill-rod joints; the act of placing the cotton string on the rod joints. See also: wick.

wide-mouthed socket

A fishing tool similar to a bell-mouth socket, but lacking a latch.

wide opening

An underground excavation whose width is greater than two or three times its height.


See: wadi.


A rock drill operated without water and hence, produces a lot of dust, leading to silicosis; often fatal to a miner.

width of lode

width" is often used to describe this value, in which case width of lode is used to denote the thickness passed through, irrespective of the angle of dip.


Trade name for a soft bitumen resembling elaterite, but containing much sulfur and water.

wiggle stick

See: divining rod.

wiggle tail

a. A rock-cutting tool or bit, used to deflect a borehole, that has an articulated pilot part, which also can be attached to a knuckle-jointed device and coupled to the bottom end of a drill string. Also called whipstock.

b. Nickname for hand-rotated stoper drill.


A monoclinic mineral, Mg (sub 5) (BO (sub 3) )O(OH) (sub 5) .2H (sub 2) O; colorless; forms pseudohexagonal prisms; at Commercial quarry, Crestmore, CA.


Lower or upper lower Eocene.


a. A borehole and/or the act of drilling a borehole in an unproved territory where the prospect of finding anything of value is questionable. It is analogous to a prospect in mining.

b. A mining company organized to develop unproven ground far from the actual point of discovery. Any risky venture in mining.

wildcat drilling

The drilling of boreholes in an unproved territory. Also called: cold nosing; wildcatting.


a. An individual or corporation devoted to exploration in areas far removed from points where actual minerals or other substances of value are known to occur. Also called cold noser. See also: wildcat.

b. One who locates a mining claim far from where a deposit has been discovered or developed.


a. An area or tract of land that is uncultivated and uninhabited by people.

b. North American stage: Middle Ordovician (above Porterfield, below Barnveld; it includes uppermost Black River and Rockland rocks). c. Mottled red and gray grit at Forest of Dean, U.K.

wild heat

A heat of molten steel that is boiling violently, and so, if poured, honeycombs an ingot with contained gases.

wild lead

See: sphalerite.

wild steel

a. Steel in, or made from, a wild heat.

b. Said of liquid steel, esp. rimmed steel, that is producing considerable effervescence.

wild work

A type of bord-and-pillar system of coal mining in which the very narrow pillars left to support the roof are not recovered.

Wiles' process

A method of reducing iron ores in which an electric furnace is fitted with two or more hollow electrodes, through which the finely divided ore, intimately mixed with reducing materials, is introduced.

Wilfley slimer

A form of shaking canvas table that is given a vanner motion.

Wilfley table

Long-established and widely used form of shaking table; rectangular; mounted horizontally and can be sloped about its long axis. It is covered with linoleum (occasionally rubber) and has longitudinal riffles tapering at the discharge end to a smooth cleaning area, triangular in the upper corner. A compound eccentric is used to create a gentle and rapid throwing motion on the table, longitudinally. Sands, usually classified for size range, are fed continuously and worked along the table with (1) the aid of feedwater, and (2) across riffles downslope by gravity tilt adjustment and added wash water. At the discharge end, the sands have separated into bands: the heaviest and smallest uppermost; the largest and lightest lowest. The Dodd, Cammet, Hallett, and Woodbury are similar types of tables. See also: Woodbury table.


Trade name for a colloidal bentonite (jelly rock) used in papermaking. Also spelled Wilconite.


A trigonal mineral, Zn (sub 2) SiO (sub 4) ; white to pale tints; fluoresces bright yellow; in zinc deposits in New Jersey, New Mexico, Africa, and Greenland; a source of zinc. Syn: belgite.

willen stone

a. Eng. An oolitic freestone used for cornices and chimney pieces; also, a good paving stone, Halston, Northamptonshire.

b. A massive yellow to green, impure variety of antigorite resembling jade; used for decorative purposes. It commonly contains specks of chromite. c. An old "misspelling" of willemite.

Williams' hinged-hammer crusher

A crusher with a rotating central shaft, carrying a number of hinged hammers that fly out from centrifugal force, crushing the feed against the casing. Syn: hinged-hammer crusher.


a. An apple-green impure variety of serpentine. See also: jade.

b. A translucent bright green serpentine, usually containing specks of chromite, used as a semiprecious stone. c. An old misspelling of willemite.

Wilmot jig

A basket-type jig, the basket being suspended in a tank of water. Pulsations are effected by moving this basket upward and downward by means of eccentrics. Has been used extensively in the preparation of anthracite of all sizes and, to a lesser extent, of bituminous coal.

Wilputte oven

A byproduct coke oven having two outer zones in the heating system and one double inner zone. In this oven, the gas is alternately burned upwards in the two outer zones with the products of combustion being carried down through the double inner zone and, on reversal, burned upwards in the double inner zone with the products of combustion being carried down through the two outer zones. Known as a double-divided oven.


a. A purplish-red material consisting of an aluminosilicate of magnesium and potassium; represents an altered scapolite.

b. A tuff composed of fragments of pumice and andesite in a matrix of vitric and granular material (Holmes, 1928).

Wilton stopper

Automatic arrangement that arrests a mine car when it runs away downslope. The car displaces a pendulum beyond its nonactivating limit of swing and a pivoted rail then falls between the rail tracks below.


a. A green variety of grossular garnet.

b. A greenish variety of vesuvianite.


a. To extract ore or coal. To mine, to develop, to prepare for mining.

b. To recover (as metal) from ore.


a. A small hand- or power-operated drum haulage used for light-duty work in surface and underground mines. A heavy-duty power winch fitted to the rear of a tractor. See also: pickrose hoist.

b. Syn: hoist. Formerly, a manually powered hoisting machine, consisting of a horizontal drum with rank handles. c. A drum that can be rotated so as to exert a strong pull while it is winding the attached line. d. A small drum haulage or hoist. A gear train is interposed between the handle and the drum. The handle is turned several revolutions to one revolution of the drum. Two handles and a pawl and ratchet may be fitted to prevent the load from running back should the pressure on the handle be reduced. See also: monkey winch.


See: mesolite.


In metal mining, a person who operates a power-driven winch on a gold dredge to move it from one working position to another during dredging operations, winding up the cables anchored at points in advance of the dredge.

winch operator

See: hoist operator.


To hoist or raise coal or ore; to spool rope or cable on the drum of a hoist.

wind beam

A beam incorporated into a structure for the sole purpose of resisting wind pressure.

wind blast

A blown-out or "windy" shot.

wind box

In blast furnace operation, the compartment in the bottom of the converter that receives the blast and delivers it to the tuyeres.


a. An electrically driven winding engine for hoisting a cage or cages up a vertical mine shaft.

b. See: card tender.

winder brake

An appliance or piece of equipment capable of retarding or stopping cages in a shaft in an emergency. See also: brake; post brake; semiautomatic control.

wind furnace

Any form of furnace using the natural draft of a chimney without the aid of a bellows or blower.

wind gage

An anemometer for testing the velocity of air in mines.

wind hatch

In mining, an excavation or opening for removing ore.


The operation of hoisting coal, ore, miners, or materials in a shaft. The conventional method is to employ two cages actuated by a drum type of winding engine. Steel ropes are attached at either end of the drum, one over and the other under it, so that as one cage ascends, the other descends. Thus the cages arrive at pit top and bottom simultaneously. See also: automatic cyclic winding; balanced winding; balance rope; deep winding; Koepe winder; winding cycle; winding rope.

winding apparatus

The machinery and equipment used to lower and raise loads through a shaft.

winding cycle

In general, a cycle refers to any series of changes or operations in which any part of the system return to its original state or position. In winding, the term usually refers to a complete wind, which is comprised of three phases: (1) acceleration to full speed; (2) full-speed running; and (3) retardation to rest. The period of the winding cycle is the sum of winding time and decking time in seconds. See also: winding speed.

winding drum

For haulage to the surface through a mine shaft, the surface gear includes a winding drum of cylindrical or cylindroconical form on which the winding rope (hoisting rope) is coiled as the cage, or skip or kibble, is raised, and from which it is paid off as the return journey is made. Two such receptacles are usually worked simultaneously in balanced hoisting, one rising as the other descends, from a compound drum. The drum is driven by the winding engine. See also: bicylindroconical drum; conical drum; Koepe sheave; parallel drum; winding engine.

winding engine

a. A steam or electric engine at the top of a shaft that powers the winding drum, thus hoisting and lowering a cage or skip by means of a winding rope. In metal mining, the winding engine is usually called a hoist. Also called: winder. See also: hoist.

b. See: winding drum.

winding engineman

A skilled person in charge of the steam or electric winding engine at a mine. Also called hoistman.

winding guide

The purpose of a winding guide is to permit winding to proceed safely at relatively high speeds by preventing collisions between the cages and between cages and the side of, or fittings in, a shaft. It must be (1) rigid enough to prevent material deviation of the cages or skips from the vertical; (2) strong, since a broken guide causes danger from damage; (3) smooth, so as to offer as little resistance to the movement of a cage as possible; and (4) firmly supported and maintained vertical. Guides may be of two types, rigid or flexible. The former may be of timber, and in new shafts have generally been replaced by steel channels, steel rails or angles; the latter are steel ropes of round or semilocked section steel rods. Rigid guides are adopted in shafts of rectangular cross section; these and the shaft sides and fittings are small. Rope guides are used in circular and elliptical shafts where adequate clearances can be provided. Rope guides maintain the vertical automatically, and expand and contract with temperature variation without complication.

winding pulley

See: winding sheave.

winding rope

The rope that carries a cage, skip, or hoppit in a shaft. The wires are twisted together symmetrically according to a definite geometrical pattern. See also: wire rope; winding drum. Syn: lay of rope.

winding sheave

A grooved pulley wheel, mounted on plummer blocks, at the top of the headgear. The winding rope passes from a cage or skip around the sheave and onto the winding drum. For normal loads, the sheave rim and boss are made of castiron, and the spokes are made of round, mild steel. Winding sheaves range up to about 24 ft (7.32 m) in diameter. Sheaves up to 8 ft (2.44 m) in diameter are usually made in one piece, but above this size, they are built in halves and bolted together. To give efficient service, the sheave diameter should be at least 96 times the winding rope diameter. See also: head sheave; Koepe sheave. Syn: hoisting sheave.

winding speed

The velocity at which a winding engine lifts a cage or skip in a shaft. Winding speeds reach up to 6,000 ft/min (1.8 km/min) for deep mines. The normal maximum speed for deep shafts is 3,500 to 4,000 ft/min (1.1 to 1.2 km/min) and for geared winders, 1,500 to 3,000 ft/min (0.46 to 0.91 km/min).


a. A device used for hoisting; limited to small-scale development work and prospecting because of its small capacity.

b. A drum or a section of tree trunk set horizontally on rough bearings above a shallow pit or shaft; used to raise or lower buckets of spoil in exploratory work. Handles at each end of the drum allow for manual rotation.

wind method

An air-blowing system of separating coal into various sizes, and extracting waste from it, which in principle depends on the specific gravity or size of the coal and the strength of the current of air.

windmill anemometer

An anemometer in which a windmill is driven by the air stream, and its rotation is transmitted through gearing to dials or other recording mechanism. In some instruments, the rotating vanes and dials are in the same plane; i.e., both vertical, while in others the dial is horizontal. In the windmill type, the operation of air measurement involves readings of dials at the beginning and end of a measured period. Windmill instruments may be fitted with an extension handle, providing a form of remote control; used to measure air speed in an otherwise inaccessible spot.


An eroded area of a thrust sheet that displays the rocks beneath it. Syn: fenster.

window pipe

A dredge discharge pipe with one or more openings in the bottom.

window-type sample

See: door-type sampler.

wind pressure

The pressure on a structure due to wind, which increases with wind velocity approx. in accordance with the formula p = 0.003 v (super 2) , where p is the pressure in pounds per square feet of area affected, and v is the wind velocity in miles per hour.

wind road

Underground ventilation road. See also: airway.

wind rose

A diagram which shows the proportion of winds blowing from each of the main points of a compass at a given locality, recorded over a long period. The prevailing wind with its average strength is thereby revealed at a glance.


a. A row of peats or sod set up to dry, or cut in paring and burning.

b. A ridge of soil pushed up by a grader or bulldozer.


See: winze.


The amount of twist occurring in a string of drill rods when the string is rotated during drilling. There can be as many as several complete revolutions of the rod at the collar before the bottom member of the string begins to rotate. Also called wrap-up.

windy shot

A blast in a coal mine which--due to improperly placed charges, the wrong kind or quantity of explosives, or insufficient stemming--expends most of its force on the mine air; it sometimes ignites a gas mixture, coal dust, or both, thus causing a secondary explosion, which may or may not spread throughout the mine; a shot that blows out without disturbing the coal; a shot that is not properly directed or loaded; a blown-out shot.


a. The side or limb of an anticline.

b. See: catch; chair; dog; rests; wing.

wing belt tripper

A belt conveyor tripper having auxiliary conveyors extending laterally to one or both sides to provide wider distribution of bulk material being discharged.

wing dam

See: pier dam.

winged pillar

Scot. Pillar of coal that has been reduced in size.


A wall that guides a stream into a bridge opening or a culvert barrel.


Warty, elongate pyrite nodule, Essex, U.K.


a. The excavation, loading, and removal of coal or ore from the ground; winning follows development.

b. The operation of mining an ore and opening up a new portion of a coal seam. c. The portion of a coalfield laid out for working. d. The combined process of excavating and transporting a raw material such as clay to a brickworks or stockpile.

winning heading

A development heading off which oblique headings and conveyor panels are formed and worked (longwall); any of the development drivages in the solid coal, about 15 yd (13.7 m) apart, and of which bords and pillars are formed (pillar method of working).

winnowing gold

Air blowing. Tossing up dry powdered auriferous material in air, and catching the heavier particles not blown away.

winter dumps

A term used in Alaska to describe gold-bearing gravel mined during the winter and stored on the surface for sluicing in the spring and summer.


a. A vertical opening driven downward connecting two levels in a mine. When one is standing at the top of a completed connection the opening is referred to as a winze, while when standing at the bottom, the opening is a raise, or rise. Syn: winds. CF: underground shaft.

b. A subsidiary shaft that starts underground. It is usually a connection between two levels. Syn: way shaft. c. Can. Interior mine shaft.


a. A continuous length of metal drawn from a rod.

b. War. A haulage rope. c. See: capillary.


A cast shape, particularly of tough pitch copper, which has a cross section approx. square with tapered ends; designed for hot rolling into a rod for subsequent drawing into wire.

wire cloth

Screen composed of wire or rod woven or crimped into a square or rectangular pattern.

wired glass

A form of sheet glass produced by rolling wire mesh into a ribbon of glass so that it acts as a reinforcement and holds the fragments together in the event of the sheet being fractured.

wire drag

A buoyed wire towed by a ship at a given depth to determine whether any isolated rocks, small shoals, etc., extend above that depth, or for determining the least depth of an area.

wire gage

a. A gage for measuring the diameter of wire.

b. A standard series of sizes used in the manufacture of wire (diameter) or sheet metal (thickness) and indicated by arbitrary numbers. c. A notched plate having a series of gaged slots, numbered according to the sizes of the wire and sheet metal manufactured; used for measuring the diameter of wire. The gage most widely used in the United States is the U.S. Standard Steel Wire, which name has official sanction, without legal effect. The Birmingham gage is recognized in acts of Congress for tariff purposes. Two gages (American Gage; Browne and Sharpe's) are used for copper wires and all nonferric metal wires.

wire gauze

A gauzelike texture of fine wire, such as that used for the chimneys of flame safety lamps.

wire hanger

The hanger from which wire or cable is suspended.

wire line

a. As used in a general sense, any cable or rope made of steel wires twisted together to form the strands. Specif., a steel wire rope 5/16 in (7.9 mm) or less in diameter. See also: cable.

b. A general term for any flexible steel line or cable drill connecting a surface winch to a tool assembly lowered in a well bore. Also spelled wireline.

wire-line barrel

See: wire-line core barrel.

wire-line cable

A wire rope 3/16 in or 1/4 in (4.8 mm or 6.4 mm) in diameter; used to handle the inner tube of a wire-line core barrel. See also: cable.

wire-line core barrel

Double-tube, swivel-type core barrel; available in various outside diameters corresponding to sizes of diamond- and rotary-drill boreholes; designed so that the inner-tube assembly is retractable. At the end of a core run, the drill string is broken at the top joint so that an overshot latching device can be lowered on a cable through the drill-rod string. When it reaches the core barrel, the overshot latches onto the retractable inner-tube assembly, which is locked in the core barrel during the core run. The upward pull of the overshot releases the inner tube and permits it to be hoisted to the surface through the drill rods; it is then emptied and serviced and dropped or pumped back into the hole, where it relocks itself in the core barrel at the bottom. Syn: wire-line barrel.

wire-line coring

The act or process of core drilling with a wire-line core barrel. See also: wire-line core barrel.

wire-line dredging

In this method, digging tools or buckets are suspended on a steel cable and lowered to the sediment surface, where they are loaded and retrieved. Includes the use of drag-bucket and clamshell dredges, and generally to a depth of not more than 500 ft (152 m) below sea level.

wire-line drilling

The drilling of boreholes with wire-line core-barrel drill-string equipment.

wire-line drill rod

Drill rod having couplings that are nearly flush on the inside and designed so that the inner tube of a wire-line core barrel and overshot assembly can be run inside the rod.

wireline drill-rod coupling

A rod coupling designed for use on wire-line drill rods. See also: wire-line drill rod; wire-line core barrel.

wire-line drum

A winding drum or hoist on which the wire line is wound when handling the inner tube and overshot assemblies of a wire-line core barrel. Syn: wire-line hoist.

wire-line hoist

See: wire-line drum.

wire-line log

See: well log.

wire-line socket

The socket connecting the wire line to a wire-line core barrel overshot assembly.


In mining, a person who installs and repairs underground power, light, and trolley lines, making extensions into new working places as openings advance. Also called lineman; mine wireman; wire hanger.

wireman helper

In mining, one who assists a wireman in installing and repairing underground power, light, telephone, and trolley lines. Also called wire-hanger helper.

wire-mesh conveyor belt

A woven-wire conveyor belt composed of various combinations of flattened-helical coils of wire, which may or may not be joined by straight or crimped members.

wire-mesh reinforcement

Expanded metal, wire, or welded fabric used as reinforcement for concrete or mortar. See also: mesh.

wire pack

A circular pack consisting of waste stone built within woven fencing fixed to light props. The pack is still effective as support after the props have failed. Wire packs, e.g., are used for small openings in the Rand mines in South Africa.

wire rod

Hot-rolled coiled stock that is to be cold-drawn into wire.

wire rope

a. A rope made of twisted strands of wire for winding in shafts and underground haulages. Wire ropes are made from medium carbon steels. See also: cable; flattened strand rope; locked coil rope; multiple-strand rope; winding rope.

b. Various constructions of wire rope are designated by the number of strands in the rope and the number of wires in each strand. The following are some common terms encountered: airplane strand; cable-laid rope; crane rope; elevator rope; extra-flexible hoisting rope; flat rope; flattened-strand rope; guy rope; guy strand; hand rope; haulage rope; hawser; hoisting rope; Lang lay rope; lay; left lay rope; left twist; nonspinning rope; regular lay; reverse-laid rope; rheostat rope; right lay; right twist; running rope; special flexible hoisting rope; standing rope; towing hawser; transmission rope.

wire-roper anchor

A device for tieing off and securing the tension in the wire ropes of a wire-rope, side-framed, intermediate section.

wire-rope spreader

An intermediate section consisting of interchangeable increments or parts in which the carrying idlers are supported by one or more steel wire ropes. Return idlers may or may not be supported from the ropes. �n ��� ��� �H+�� � � DICTIONARY TERMS:wire-rope spreader That part of a wire-rope, side-f That part of a wire-rope, side-framed intermediate section that maintains a horizontal plane a fixed distance between wire ropes but does not support the wire ropes.

wire-rope support

That part of a wire-rope, side-framed intermediate section that positions the wire rope or ropes with respect to the roof or floor. It may or may not have provisions for mounting a return idler.

wire ropeway

A ropeway using a wire cable or cables. Used for conveying ore and supplies in rough mountainous districts; a wire tramway. See also: aerial tramway.

wire saw

A saw consisting of one- and three-strand wire cables up to 16,000 ft (4.9 km) long running over pulleys. When fed by a slurry of sand and water and held against rock by tension, the saw cuts narrow, uniform channels by abrasion. This saw is used for cutting granite, slate, marble, limestone, or sandstone blocks.

wire-saw operator

See: wire sawyer.

wire sawyer

In a stonework industry, a person who operates a wire saw to cut very large blocks of granite, limestone, marble, slate, or sandstone into smaller blocks that can be handled on gang or circular saws. Also called wire saw operator.

wire setter

Person who tends electrically powered unwinding machine that supplies wire netting to be embedded in sheet glass.

wire silver

Native silver in the form of wires or threads.

wire strand

Several steel wires twisted together to form one strand of a wire rope or cable.

wire-strand core

A core in which the number of wires shall not be less than the number of wires in a main strand of the wire rope, and the individual wires shall be of an appropriate grade of steel in accordance with the best practice and design, either bright (uncoated), galvanized, or drawn galvanized wire. See also: independent wire rope core.


Occurring as thin wires, often twisted like the strands of a rope; e.g., native copper.

witching stick

See: divining rod.


A red to yellow variety of epidote with a little manganese; in andesites at Glencoe, Scotland. CF: piemontite.


To draw off; to take out supports.


Segregation of particular lands from the operation of specified public land laws, making those laws inapplicable to those lands. Lands may be withdrawn from all or any part of the public land laws, including the mineral location and mineral leasing laws.


An orthorhombic mineral, BaCO (sub 3) ; aragonite group; colorless to milky; in low-temperature hydrothermal veins. Syn: carbonate of barium.

witness corner

A marker set on a property line leading to a corner; used where it would be impracticable to maintain a monument at the corner itself.

witness mark

A mark or stake set to indicate the position (approximate or exact) of a property corner, instrument station, or other survey point. A witness may be a rock, tree, or other object; e.g., a blazed tree on the bank of a river to indicate a corner at the intersection of some survey line with the center line of the stream, which, therefore, cannot be marked directly; a stake driven so as to stand out; and a stake marked with a station number, driven flush with or below the surface of the ground.

witness post

Satellite beacon used to mark a claim when the correct boundary post is inaccessible.


An orthorhombic mineral, Cu (sub 3) BiS (sub 3) ; gray to tin-white; at Wittichen, Baden, Germany. Also called wittichite.


A monoclinic mineral, Pb (sub 9) Bi (sub 12) (S,Se) (sub 27) ; lead-gray; at Falun, Sweden.

Witton-Kramer magnet

A circular magnetic separator suspended over a conveyor head pulley to extract small pieces of tramp iron.


The gold-mining district, now usually called the Rand, in South Africa.

wobble wheel roller

A skip body mounted on nine or more oscillating, smooth, rubber-tired wheels for compaction and fine rolling of soil.


A monoclinic mineral, (Ta,Nb,Sn,Mn,Fe) (sub 16) (sub ) O (sub 32) ; dimorphous with ixiolite; occurs in granite pegmatites; named for Wodgina, Australia.


a. A monoclinic mineral, Ca (sub 2) NaZr(Si (sub 2) O (sub 7) )(O,OH,F) (sub 2) .

b. The organic matter in carbonaceous chondrites. Also spelled woehlerite.

Woehler test

A fatigue test in which one end of a specimen is held in a chuck and rotated in a ball bearing placed on the other end. The ball bearing carries a weight and, as the specimen rotates, the stress at each point on its surface passes through a cycle from a maximum in tension to a maximum in compression.


A range of hills produced by differential erosion from inclined sedimentary rocks; a cuesta. CF: cuesta.


a. The name of a naphtha-burning flame safety lamp.

b. The name of carbide and electric lamps.


A mineral (not established as a species), Ni(As,Sb)S , intermediate between gersdorfite and ullmannite; occurs at Wolfach, Baden, Germany.

wolf cut point

See: equal-errors cut point.


A monoclinic mineral, (Fe,Mn) (sub 2) (PO (sub 4) )(OH) ; forms a series with triploidite; dimorphous with satterlyite.

Wolf nickel-cadmium battery

While other nickel-cadmium batteries generally adopt either tubular or pocketed positive plate construction, the Wolf battery has individual features of interest. The supporting medium for the active materials consists of strips of compressed corrugated nickel foil. The method of construction is to perforate strips of the foil, which are pasted with active material. The strips are folded into corrugations and compressed into a cake. Two or more cakes are mounted in a pure nickel frame to form the finished plate. This method of construction results in a plate of satisfactory electrical conductivity, and no admixture of graphite or flake nickel in the active material is necessary.

Wolf process

A flotation process invented by Jacob D. Wolf in 1903. He used sulfochlorinated or other oils and aimed to secure a high extraction with a low grade of concentrate in the first step, and by washing with hot water to concentrate the concentrate in a second step. Apparently no commercial use was made of it.


See: wolframite; tungsten.


See: tungstite; tungstic ocher; wolframite.


A monoclinic mineral, (Fe,Mn)WO (sub 4) ; within the huebnerite-ferberite series; pseudo-orthorhombic due to twinning. See also: tungsten. Syn: wolfram.

wolfram lamp

A tungsten lamp.

wolfram ocher

See: tungstic ocher.


See: chalcostibite; jamesonite.


A triclinic mineral of the pyroxenoid group: CaSiO (sub 3) . It is dimorphous with parawollastonite. Wollastonite is found in contact-metamorphosed limestones, and occurs usually in cleavable masses or sometimes in tabular twinned crystals; it may be white, gray, brown, red, or yellow. It is not a pyroxene. Symbol, Wo. Syn: tabular spar.


See: wollongongite.


A coallike shale similar to torbanite. It is named from its type locality, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. Also spelled wollongite; wallongite.


An orthorhombic mineral, (Pb,Ca)U (sub 2) O,.2H (sub 2) O ; forms bright red crusts on fluorite; at Woelsendorf, Bavaria, Germany.

Wommer safety clamp

A type of foot operated drill-rod safety clamp, the operation of which is similar to a bulldog safety clamp. Also called automatic spider.

wonder metal

Applied to metals, such as beryllium, magnesium, titanium, and zirconium, that were put into expanded use following World War II.

wood agate

A term used for agatized wood, esp. agate formed by siliceous permineralization of wood.

Woodbury jig

A jig with a plunger compartment at the head end, so that the material is given a classification in the jig.

Woodbury table

A table of the general Wilfley-Overstrom-Card type, with riffles parallel to the tailings side, and a hinged portion without riffles (unlike the Card). The table top is a rhomboid, and the riffles gradually shorten as they near the tailings side. See also: Wilfley table.

wood chain

S. Staff. A hoisting chain, the iron links of which are filled with small blocks of wood.

Wooddell scale

A scale of resistance to abrasion based on the following method: if specimens of different materials are mounted so that they present surfaces substantially in the same plane, and if the surfaces are subjected to a lapping operation with a properly selective abrasive, the harder materials will stand out in relief, whereas the softer ones will be cut or worn to a depth, depending upon their hardness. By averaging several readings, a scale of hardness was established by which the quantitative values of the hardness of various materials could be determined. On the Woodell scale, diamond has approx. 2 times the hardness of boron carbide, 3.5 times that of tungsten carbide, and nearly 5 times that of corundum.

wooden tubbing

Consists of wooden staves driven down in soft ground during sinking to keep back water. The lining is stated to be capable of withstanding pressures up to a maximum of 130 psi (896 kPa). The lining resembles the sides of a wooden tub and the word tubbing is doubtless derived from this similarity. See also: tubbing.

wood hematite

A finely radiated variety of hematite exhibiting alternate bands of brown or yellow of varied tints.


A trigonal mineral, CaAl (sub 3) (SO (sub 4) )(PO (sub 4) )(OH) (sub 6) ; beudantite group; forms small colorless rhombohedra.

wood iron

A fibrous variety of chalybite (siderite), FeCO (sub 3) .

wood iron ore

Corn. Fibrous limonite; Land's End district.

wood opal

A variety of opal with woody texture by replacement. Syn: opalized wood; xylopal; lithoxyl.

wood piling

A method of sinking a shaft through loose surface deposits by driving a ring of wood piles down vertically. As the piles are rammed downward, the loose material is removed. Frames are set to prevent the piles being forced inward. Each new set of piles reduces the dimensions of the excavation. To avoid this reduction in size, the piles are driven at an angle away from the shaft space.

Wood process

A flotation process utilizing the surface tension of water, either fresh, acid, or salt.


A variety of asbestos resembling wood.


A monoclinic mineral, (Zn,Mn)Mn (sub 3) O (sub 7) .H (sub 2) O ; related to todorokite; at Sterling Hill, NJ.

woodstave piping

Piping formed from wood boards fitted and strapped together by encircling steel bands.

wood stilt

A piece of wood attached to the leg of steel girders to provide a measure of yield and prevent premature distortion and damage to the ring. See also: arch girder; stilt.


See: silicified wood.

wood tin

A nodular variety of cassiterite, or tinstone, of a brownish color and fibrous structure, and somewhat resembling dry wood in appearance. Syn: dneprovskite.


A mineral, Cu (sub 4) (super 2+) Al (sub 2) (SO (sub 4) )(OH) (sub 12) .2-4H (sub 2) O(?) ; greenish-blue; closely akin to cyanotrichite.

Worden gravimeter

A compact temperature-compensated gravity meter, in which a system is held in unstable equilibrium about an axis, so that an increase in the gravitational pull on a mass at the end of a weight arm causes a rotation opposed by a sensitive spring. The meter weighs 5 lb (2.25 kg) and has a sensitivity of less than 0.1 mgal.


a. The process of mining coal.

b. To crumble and yield under the action of a squeeze. Applied to pillars or roof of a coal mine. c. To be slowly closing under the action of a squeeze. Applied to portions of mine workings. d. Denoting that creep or squeeze is taking place. e. The product of a force in terms of weight and the lineal distance through which it acts. f. To undergo gradual movement, such as heaving, sliding, or sinking; said of rock materials. g. Ore before it is beneficiated. h. A place where industrial labor of any kind is carried on. Usually in the plural as saltworks, ironworks, etc. i. Objects that are to be, are being, or have been treated, such as in cleaning or finishing.


A coal seam or orebody of such thickness, grade, and depth as to make it a good prospect for development. In remote and isolated locations, other factors influence minability, such as access, water supply, transport facilities, etc. See also: economic coal reserves.

workable bed

Any bed or vein that is capable of being mined, but usually applied to a coal seam or ore deposit that can be mined profitably.

workable tonnage

See: probable reserves.

work arm

The part of a lever between the fulcrum and the working end.

work capacity

The limit of energy expended or absorbed, within which a body is not unduly fatigued.

worked out

a. A mine, or large section of a mine, from which all minable coal or ore has been taken.

b. Exhausted; said of a coal seam or ore deposit.

worker cage

A special cage for raising and lowering workers in a mine shaft. See also: worker car.

worker car

A type of car for transporting miners up and down mine shafts; also cars used to transport miners from the shaft to working areas. See also: worker cage.

worker door

a. A small door in a stopping to allow the passage of workers.

b. Scot. A small trapdoor on a traveling road.

worker-hoist engineer

In mining, a person who operates the hoisting engine that serves the shaft in which only workers are raised from and lowered into a mine.

worker trip

a. A trip made by mine cars and locomotives to take workers, rather than mined material or supplies, to and from the working places.

b. A similar trip made by a worker cage in a shaft.

work index

See: Bond's third theory.


a. When a coal seam is being squeezed by pressure from the roof and floor it emits creaking noises and is said to be "working." This noise often serves as a warning to miners that additional support is needed. Sagging roof emitting noises and requiring additional timbering.

b. A working may be a shaft quarry, level, opencut, or stope, etc. Usually in the plural. See also: labor; workings.

working a claim

Activities such as extracting ore, building structures, and otherwise developing a mining claim after ore is discovered.

working capital

The amount of money available to finance the operations of a company beyond the amount required for the purchase of fixed assets, such as property.

working cycle

A complete set of operations. In excavation, it usually includes breaking, loading, moving, dumping, and returning to the loading point.

working face

The place at which mining is being done in a breast, gangway, airway, chute, heading, drift, adit, crosscut, etc. See also: face.

working gullet

The immediate excavation needed for opencast working of ore.


In glassmaking, a small opening over pots enabling workers to introduce or withdraw material required.

working home

Mining toward the main shaft while extracting ore or coal, such as in longwall retreating. See also: longwall.

working interest

The operator's mineral ownership involving the costs of drilling, completion, equipment, and producing in contrast to the (free) royalty interest.

working level (WL)

Any combination of radon daughters in one liter of air that result in the ultimate emission of 1.3 X 10 (super 5) million electrons volts (MeV) of alpha energy.

working load

The maximum weight a hoist line or other rope or cable can carry under working conditions without danger of straining.

working on air

A pump is said to be working on air when air is sucked up with the water.


The eroding or corroding of blast furnace linings.

working out

Mining away from the main shaft while extracting ore or coal, such as in longwall advancing. See also: advancing. CF: working home.

working pit

A mine shaft through which ore and miners are carried, as distinguished from one used only in pumping.

working place

a. A place in a mine at which coal or ore is actually being mined. See also: working face.

b. A miner's room or chamber.

working room

Generally the space between the working face and the area being backfilled.


a. Any area of development; usually restricted in meaning to apply to breasts, etc., in contradistinction to gangways and airways. Often used in a broader sense to mean all underground developments. See also: working.

b. The entire system of openings in a mine. Typical usage restricts the term to the area where coal, ore, or mineral is actually being mined. c. Colloquial term for an anthracite mining operation.

working section

All areas of a coal mine from the loading point of the section to and including the working faces.

working stress

a. The stress considered to be a safe maximum for a particular material under ordinary conditions. See also: yield stress; load factor.

b. The maximum unit stress to which the parts of a structure are to be subjected. c. See: allowable stress.

working the broken

The extraction of coal pillars in a pillar method of mining. See also: pillar extraction; broken working; second working; robbing pillars.

working the whole

The driving of the narrow coal headings to form pillars in a pillar method of working.

work lead

a. Impure pig lead that is to be desilverized or refined. See also: base bullion.

b. The electrical conductor connecting the source of arc welding current to the work. Also called welding ground; ground lead.

workplace protection factor

A measure of the protection provided in the workplace by a properly functioning respirator when correctly worn and used.

work platform

A board or small platform placed at a suitable height in a drill tripod or derrick so that a worker standing on it can handle the drill rod stands.

work shaft

A shaft that is in daily use for hoisting coal, ore, or miners. See also: air shaft.

work stone

A plate in the bottom of a blast hearth or ore hearth having a groove down its center for conducting away the molten lead.

work study

Techniques for analyzing methods used in performing an operation and measuring the work involved. Work study fosters better use of materials, plant, and labor, thus ensuring higher productivity. See also: method study.


A spiral tool, shaped like a carpenter's wood-boring auger, with the bottom end shaped like the cutting end of a diamond point or mud bit. The tool is rotated inside a casing to loosen and clean out debris or to loosen and drill through tough clay at the bottom of a borehole. Also called worm auger; worm-type auger.

worm auger

See: worm.

worm conveyor

a. A conveyor consisting of a spiral plate encircling and fastened to a shaft lying longitudinally within a trough; rotation of the spiral pushes the material forward. Also called screw conveyor.

b. See: helical conveyor.

worm wheel

A modified spur gear with curved teeth that meshes with a worm.


The side of a mineral vein.

wound rotor motor

A wound rotor induction motor differs from a squirrel cage induction motor only in the construction of its rotor. The rotor, instead of having short-circuited copper bars, has a definite winding connected for the same number of poles as the stator with the leads brought out to slip rings. The stator and rotor are commonly called the primary and secondary, respectively, because under locked rotor conditions, the motor becomes a transformer with a given ratio. This ratio depends upon motor design and is not standardized. Frequently called a slip ring motor.

woven-wire vibrating screen

Ore screening machine whose screen is woven of steel wire and stretched tightly on a metal frame. Near the center of the screen is fastened the vibrating element of a high-speed vibrator, which produces a vibratory motion at right angles to the plane of the screen.


A tunnel blasting method in which holes are arranged in a geometrical figure as an incomplete pyramid and not parallel in the planes of the sides. For tunnel widths less than 25 ft (7.5 m), the WP-cut provides a greater advance than V-cuts and fan cuts.

wracking force

A horizontal force tending to distort a rectangular shape into a parallelogram.

wrap-drive conveyor

A conveyor in which the return strand of the belt is driven by a wrap drive which combines a drive pulley with a snub pulley.


Same as windup, as applied to the twist in a drill-rod string. See also: windup.


In glassmaking, a wavy appearance in glass, esp. flint glass, due to defective manufacture.

wrecking bar

A steel bar usually from 1 to 2 ft (0.3 to 0.6 m) in length, with one end drawn to a thin edge, the other curved to a claw.

wrench fault

A transverse strike-slip fault that is more or less vertical.

wrist action

In a bucket, the ability to change its digging or dumping angle by power.

wrought alloy

Type of alloy suitable for forming by mechanical means at temperatures below the melting point.

wrought iron

a. A low-carbon iron containing a relatively high proportion of residual slag that gives it ductility and toughness.

b. A commercial form of iron containing less than 0.3%, and usually less than 0.1%, carbon; also carrying 1.0% or 2.0% of slag mechanically mixed with it and originally made directly from ore (as in the Catalan forge) but subsequently by puddling. See also: iron. CF: ingot iron.

wrought metal

A metal that has been worked by cold rolling, forging, pressing, drawing, or extension.

Wuensch process

In metallurgy, a heavy suspension method for the concentration of ores in which the waste has a specific gravity of 2.7 or more. Minerals having a specific gravity in excess of 5.25 must be used, since a suspension containing over 40% solids by volume is too plastic for use. Galena (sp gr, 7.4 to 7.6) and ferrosilicon (sp gr, 6.7 to 7.0) have been used.


A tetragonal mineral, PbMoO (sub 4) ; prismatic cleavage; soft; resinous; yellow to brown; sp gr, 6.5 to 7.0; in oxidized zones of lead-molybdenum veins; a source of molybdenum. Syn: yellow lead ore.


A black, massive, asphaltic pyrobitumen; sectile and infusible; closely related to uintahite; insoluble in turpentine; derived from metamorphosed petroleum; occurs in veins in Uinta County, UT. See also: elaterite.


A trigonal and hexagonal mineral, (Zn,Fe)S ; dimorphous with sphalerite; resinous; brownish black; forms hemimorphic pyramidal crystals or radiating needles and bundles within lamellar sphalerite. See also: alpha zinc sulfide; zinc sulfide.

wurtzite-8H; wurtzite-10H

Two polytypes, 8ZnS and 10ZnS, respectively, of wurtzite found at Joplin, MO; hexagonal. The wurtzite polytypes evidently form a homologous series (2H, 4H, 6H, etc.) resulting from growth phenomena based on screw dislocations.


A mineral, FeO. Artificially prepared specimens are characteristically deficient in iron. Also spelled wustite. Syn: iozite.


An orthorhombic mineral, Ca (sub 3) U(UO (sub 2) ) (sub 6) (CO (sub 3) ) (sub 2) (OH) (sub 18) .3-5) H (sub 2) O ; violet-black; occurs with ianthinite altered from uraninite; at Shinkolobwe, Katanga, Republic of the Congo.


See: wich.


a. Cumb. The beam-end connection above the pump rods of a winding and pumping engine.

b. A cast or wrought fitting that has one side outlet at any angle other than 90 degrees . The angle is usually 45 degrees , unless another angle is specified. The fitting is usually indicated by the letter Y.

Wyoming bentonite

A swelling type of bentonite that absorbs about eight times its dry volume of water to form a gel. See also: bentonite. Syn: sodium bentonite.