Galena cluster showing cube and octahedron forms, on marcasite and sphalerite. Shullsburg, Lafayette County, WI. Cluster about 10 cm. across. U.W. -Madison Geology Museum specimen. (Photo by Pete Rodewald.)

Formula: PbS Isometric


Galena crystals surrounded by marcasite, from Shullsburg, Wisconsin. (Photo by W. Cordua.)

Galena is formed in a wide range of hydrothermal environments. It can be found with sphalerite and chalcopyrite in massive sulfide deposits associated with meta-volcanic rocks, such as the Crandon deposit near Rhinelander. It is a component of some pegmatites and granites, as reported in the Wausau region. It is extremely abundant in the low temperature hydrothermal deposits widely known as Mississippi Valley type deposits such as is found in the southwestern part of the state.

The deposits in the southwestern part of Wisconsin (primarily in Grant, Iowa and Lafayette Counties) are internationally known as a major part of Upper Mississippi Valley zinc-lead district. This district extends into adjacent Iowa, and Illinois. The deposits are dominantly in Ordovician carbonates where they form gash veins, replacement bodies, flats along bedding planes, and sloping pitches cross-cutting bedding. Gentle but persistent folds, small displacement faults and solution features localize many of the deposits. The mineralogy of the deposits is simple, consisting generally of galena, sphalerite, marcasite, barite, pyrite, calcite, and dolomite. Any of the galena deposits listed below are also likely to contain the other minerals. An excellent detailed description of the district, individual deposits and their genesis is given in Heyl et al. (1959).

Galena has been produced from the Upper Mississippi Valley zinc-lead district in Wisconsin since the seventeenth century. Some mines started by Native Americans may predate this. Major lead mining occurred from the 1800’s until the late 1970’s. A few small lead mines operated by individuals persist to the present day. Others are presently preserved for tourists. Zinc, from associated sphalerite, was another major focus of mining since the 1860’s. Hundreds of mines of all sizes are known from the district. Many were small shallow diggings. The Wisconsin state mascot, the badger, is a reference to the miners and their numerous “badger holes.” Also in commemoration of this phase of Wisconsin’s history, galena has been chosen as Wisconsin’s state mineral. Most of the mines in the district are now inaccessible, either being overgrown, collapsed, filled-in or leveled. Most of the dumps have been removed for road material. Still, piles of waste rock, featuring some interesting mineral collecting persist in the area as testimony to the extent of the mining.

The galena in the Upper Mississippi zinc-lead district often occurs in coarse masses in veins up to 1 meter thick and several 10’s of meters long (Strong, 1877). Coarse crystals (“cog ore”) are also common and are dominated by cube and octahedron. The galena occurs in three generations, with the earliest generation forming cubic xls., the second forming cubo-octahedral xls. and the latest generation forming distinctly octahedral crystals (Lasmanis, 1989). The cubes may form individual crystals up to 15 cm. on a side (Hobbs, 1895). Rarely, the dodecahedron may appear as a modification. Some cubes are elongated parallel to an A4 symmetry axis, giving pseudo-tetragonal symmetry. Others are elongated parallel to an A3 symmetry axis, giving pseudohexagonal symmetry (Hobbs, 1895). Octahedral crystals tend to be smaller, but xls. up to 6 cm. across are found (Raasch, 1928). In addition, numerous peculiar habits of galena are known. Crystals may be as “reticulating skeletal crystals of the octahedron”(Raasch, 1928) and “feather-like skeleton growth” of cubes outlining octahedrons (Hobbs, 1895). Arborescent masses of elongated distorted cubes resembling native copper are described by Hobbs (1905). Galena may form hollow stalactitic to curving helictitic habits up to 1 cm. in diameter and 7.5 cm. long (Peck, 1979, Raasch, 1928). Gricius (1969) further describes these stalactitic to skeletal habits, noting in addition herringbone intergrowths on crystals on (111). Hobbs (1895) notes aggregates of small cubes stacked in a spiral pattern, forming an elongated crystal twisted by 30 degrees along a 9 cm. length. Hobbs (1895) also describes polysynthetic lamellar twinning in galena from the district dominantly on {111} and {114}.

The galena survives weathering to occur as large residual masses in the regolith or in clay-filled joints and pits. These masses are often coated with and partially replaced by cerussite. Locally galena is found in placers in streams near the mines, where it may be associated with placer smithsonite (Heyl et al., 1959).

COLUMBIA COUNTY: Galena is found in several old small lead mines sunk in Prairie du Chien Group dolostone south of Rio in Sec. 7 and vicinity, T.11N R.11E (Heyl and West, 1982).

— Found in breccias and crevice veins at “old diggings” with quartz and calcite about 2.5 km. north of Doylestown in NE Sec. 2 T.11N R.11E (Heyl and West, 1982).

— At numerous old small mines and diggings in Sec. 17 and 18 T.12N R.12E about 5 Km. south of Cambria (Heyl and West, 1982). — Found associated with sphalerite in the Platteville Formation in old mines and at the County K quarry in Sec. 22 T.10N R.12E west of Columbus (Heyl and West, 1982).

CRAWFORD COUNTY: Galena is found at the Little Kickapoo diggings in SE Sec. 9, NE Sec. 10, S 1/2 Sec. 5 T.7N R.5W and in Sec. 33, 34 and 35 T.8N R.5W (Heyl and West, 1982).
— Galena is found at the Bridgeport Quarry, SW Sec.20 T.6N R.5W on the north side of Hwy. 18. It is associated with sphalerite, pink dolomite, marcasite, pyrite, malachite and celadonite (Heyl and West, 1982).

DANE COUNTY: Galena was found in roadcuts during the construction of Speedway about 10 Km. west of the center of Madison (Heyl and West, 1982).
—  Found at the old Fitchberg lead mine, 1.5 Km. east of Fitchberg in Sec. 29 T.6N R.9E.
— Found in the Platteville Formation with sphalerite in quarries located near Verona (Heyl and West, 1982).
— Found in many old small mines and diggings southwest of Black Earth in the south part of T.8N R.6E and the north central part of T.7N R.6E (Heyl and West, 1982).

DODGE COUNTY: Galena was reported found in vugs in the Galena formation associated with sphalerite, calcite and dolomite in the quarry at Emmet (SE Sec. 20 T.9N R.15E ).

DOUGLAS COUNTY: Small amounts of galena are found with chalcocite in quartz veins cutting basalt at Amnicon Falls, SE Sec. 28 T.48N R.12W (Grant, 1901).

FORREST COUNTY: Galena is found as small grains, intergrown with and interstitial to sphalerite, pyrite and quartz in the massive sulfide zone and, more rarely, the stringer sulfide zone at the Crandon deposit (May and Schmidt, 1982; McCarthy et al., 1986).

GRANT COUNTY: Many old lead-zinc mines are found in Grant County, which is part of the Upper Mississippi Valley zinc-lead district. The most important subdistrict include the Platteville subdistrict (over 36 mines) the Meeker’s Grove subdistrict (over 30 mines), part of the Rewey-Mifflin subdistrict and the Potosi subdistrict (Heyl et. al., 1959). A number of the mines are listed under sphalerite and are also localities for galena, as well as smithsonite, marcasite, pyrite and calcite. Only some of the larger or more unusual galena occurrences in the county are mentioned here.
— Galena was an abundant ore mineral at many mines in the Platteville Area. Many mines including the M and H Mine (NW NW sec. 16), the Blackjack Mine (NE NE sec. 17), and the Capitola Mine (NW SE sec. 18).were in T.3N. R.1W. where a continuous one mile long ore zone was worked. . Nearby mines in T.3N. R.2w. included the Little Giant and New Rose Mine (NE sec. 36) and the St. Rose and Grimes Mine (SW SW sec. 31) (Whitlaw and West, 1966b).
— Numerous pits were dug for galena occurring along solution openings and gash veins in the “Whig Patch” area in sec. 12 and sec. 1 T.3n. R.2W and sec. 6 and 7 T.3N. R.1W. north of Platteville. (West et al., 1971).
— Found in large crystals in ore caves at the Williams and Co. mine in the center of Sec. 19 T.1N R.1W near Fairplay (Strong, 1877).
— Found in large crystals and masses at the Krog and Webster Mine (NE SE Sec. 26) and the Trego #2 mine (SW NW Sec. 36) in T.3N R.3W near Potosi (Heyl et al., 1959).
— Galena was produced at the Grant and Lafollette mines, NE NW Sec. 3 T.4N R.1W (Taylor, 1964).
— Found at the Washburn Mine, SW SE SE Sec. 34 T.5N R.1W (Taylor, 1964).
— Abundant galena occurs at the old Big Patch mine, NE Sec. 10 T.2N R.1W. The name “Big Patch” refers to the discovery of a residual mass of galena about 4.5 meters wide by 1 meter thick (Agnew, 1963).
— Galena was mined at the Hell’s Point diggings (center N 1/2 Sec. 15 T.3N R.1W) (Heyl et. al., 1959).
— Galena was mined at the Piquette #2 at SW NE Sec. 36 T.3N R.3W near Tennyson (Heyl, 1964).
— Aggregates of galena cubes with sphalerite casts and smithsonite were found at the Red Dog Mine, Montford District, SE Sec.12 T.3N R.3W (Bain, 1907).
— Galena xls. up to 2 cm. on an edge were found in vugs- including ore cave about 100 feet long – at the Hazel Green Mine, Sec. 24 T.1N R.1W (Bain, 1907). Other mines near Hazel Green that produced galena wasa the Fairplay Mine (SE sec. 26 T.1N. R.2W.), the Bluebird Mine (NE SE sec. 8 T.1N. R.1W.) and the Shawnee Town diggings (NE NW sec. 20 T.1N. R.1W.) (Whitlow and West, 1966a).
— Galena was mined from an occurrence that originally was in a natural cave at the St. John Mine in Potosi (SW NW SW sec. 34 T.3N. R.2E.) (Mudrey, 1978).
— Mined at the Woodman lead mine, NW NE Sec. 27 T.7N R.4W where the ore is in silicified Prairie du Chien group rocks (Heyl and West, 1982).

 Galena was found associated with sphalerite, smithsonite, pyrite, marcasite and calcite in the old workings of the Grab Diggings on both sides of the McPherson Branch of the Platte River west of Ellenboro (SW sec. 19 and NW NW sec. 30 T.4N. R.2W) (West and Blacet, 1971).
— Galena was also mined west of Ellenboro in the SW NE sec. 33 T.4N. R.2W. (West, et al., 1971).
— Galena is abundant in hundreds of shallow diggings made in the Hurricain Quadrangle. Associated minerals include sphalerite, smithsonite, pyrite, marcasite, calcite and cerussite. Some of the many mines include the Beetown and Grant River Diggings (sec. 20, 21, 27, and 18 T.4N R.4W.), the East Grant River Diggings ( sec. 22, 23 and NW sec. 27 T.4N. R.4W.) the Hurricain Diggings (NW sec. 30 T.4N. R.3W.) and the Lead Opening Mine (SE sec. 7 T.4N. R.3W.). (West and Heyl, 1985).
— Several large galena masses weighing 1,527 pounds were mined from the Jacobs Mine (SE SW Sec. 7 T.5N R.3E) for display as part of the Wisconsin state exhibit at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition (Strong, 1877).
— Mined at the Muscalunge Level S 1/2 SW 1/4 Sec. 26 T.4N R.5W (Heyl et. al., 1959).
— Galena was mined from the Whittaker Diggings (SE SE sec. 25 T5N. R.2W. (West, et. al., 1971).
— Galena was mined from a group of small lead mines near Fennimore in Sec. 18 and SW Sec. 22 T.6N R.2W (Heyl at al., 1959).

GREEN COUNTY: Galena was mined at the old lead diggings near Clarno (Heyl and West, 1959).
— Galena was found associated with cerussite at large old mine sites such as the Newkirk Mine (N 1/2 SW Sec. 24 T.3N R.6E) near Blue Mounds (Heyl et al., 1959).

IOWA COUNTY: Iowa County is part of the Upper Mississippi Valley zinc-lead district and has numerous old zinc-lead mines. A number are also described under sphalerite and smithsonite, most of which are also localities for galena, as well as marcasite, pyrite, barite, calcite and dolomite. Most of the mines in Iowa County were in the Mineral Point-Linden-Dodgeville Subdistrict (over 59 mines) (Heyl et. al., 1959). Mineral Point in particular celebrates its mining heritage with its preservation and reconstruction of miners’ homes and artifacts. Only a few of the more notable of the many galena localities in the county may be mentioned.
— Raash (1928) describes the galena from near Mineral Point as occurring in cubes up to 2 cm. across and octahedra up to 1 cm. in diameter. He also reports galena forming hollow stalactitic masses, often curved, up to 1 cm. in diameter and 7.5 cm. long.
— Hobbs (1895) describes large single crystals of galena as much as 30 cm. long and 10 cm. thick as occurring at the Yellowstone diggings east of Mineral Point. These may be elongated parallel to an A4 symmetry axis giving a pseudotetragonal symmetry or parallel to an A3 axis, giving pseudohexagonal symmetry.
— Hobbs (1895) also describes unusual arborescent clusters of cubes of galena, resembling native copper, found at Highland. These are associated with single cubes up to 7.5 cm. on a side.
— Galena is found in the Prairie du Chien group dolostones in Sec. 31 and 32 T.7N R.1E near Highland. A locality noted in particular was a quarry at the NE corner of NW NW Sec. 32 T.7N R.1E where the galena is associated with jasperoid, celadonite and pink dolomite (Heyl et. al., 1959).
— Galena is found with smithsonite and sphalerite at the Red Jacket and Centerville mines near Highland in the N 1/2 Sec. 7 T.6N R.1E (Heyl et al., 1959).
— Galena was mined at the Ohlerking Mine and nearby diggings in the NW SE Sec. 31 T.7N R.1E near Highland. The galena is found as large cubes associated with drusy quartz, calcite, and goethite pseudomorphs after marcasite and pyrite (Heyl et al., 1959).
— Galena is mined in T.5N. R.1E. at the Dale Rundell mine, (SW Sec. 29) and the Penitentiary Mine, NW NE Sec. 34 T.5N R.1E (Taylor, 1964).
— Galena, with thick coatings of cerussite, is found as a placer mineral in the NW NW Sec. 8 T.5N R.2E near Linden (Heyl et. al., 1959).
— Found as coarse material with smithsonite in fissures veins in Prairie du Chien Group dolostones and Cambrian sandstones at the Demby Weist mines at the NW corner of Sec. 28 T.7N R.4E and nearby areas in Sec. 17, 21 and 29 near Hyde (Heyl et al., 1959; Heyl and West, 1982).
— Galena is found as well-formed crystals at the John Vivian mine, SE SW Sec. 33 T.5N R.2E (Heyl et al., 1959).
— Galena is found as large cubic xls. (cog ore) at the Joe Stegan Mine, on the section line between Sec. 7 and 18 T.5N R.3E.
— Galena was mined at the Dodgeville #1 (S 1/2 Sec. 27 T.6N R.3E)and the Dodgeville #2 (N 1/2 NW 1/4 Sec. 34 T.6N R.3E) (Heyl et. al., 1959).
— Galena was mined at the Brighams Mine in the S 1/2 Sec. 7 T.6N R.5E near Blue Mounds, where it was associated with cerussite, both in unusually large masses (Heyl et al., 1959).

IRON COUNTY: A small vug lined with galena crystals was found on the 27th level of the Montreal Mine, near the top of the Palms Quartzite (Dickey, 1938).

KENOSHA COUNTY: Galena occurs in a subsurface, diamond-bearing lamprophyre diatreme, discovered within the outskirts of Kenosha. (Carlson and Adams, 1997.).

LAFAYETTE COUNTY: Lafayette County is within the Upper Mississippi Valley zinc-lead district and contains numerous old mines. Major subdistricts within the county include the Hazel Green-Shullsburg subdistrict (over 125 mines), and the Meeker’s Grove subdistrict (over 30 mines). Many of the mines listed under sphalerite and smithsonite are also localities for galena, as well as associated marcasite, pyrite, dolomite, barite and calcite. Only the most prominent and unusual deposits in the county will be mentioned here.
— Gricius (1969) describes skeletal to dendritic branching galena crystals in polished sections taken from the East Blackstone Mine (Sec. 28 T.1N R.2E) near Shullsburg. This is associated with unusually botryoidal and vuggy sphalerite, as well as normal massive and cubic to cubo-octahedral galena crystals.
— Galena was mined at the Teasdale Mine (Sec. 21 T.1N R.1E) near Cuba City (Zimmermann, 1969).
— Mullins (1964) records the following from the Herman Smith #2 mine near New Diggings: “A cave 6 feet by 14 feet by 400 feet long was lined by a sheet of galena 6 to 12 inches thick… The sheet of galena contained cubic terminations as much as 1 foot on a edge and the average edge was about 5 inches”. Galena was mined at the Kennedy Mine, Sec. 29 T.1N R.1E near New Diggings where the top flat had a vein of solid galena approximately 1 meter thick (Mullins, 1964).
— The top flat at the New Hoskins Mine, near New Diggings, (center, Sec. 13 T.1N R.1E) contained galena crystals up to 60 cm. across with sphalerite and calcite (Heyl et al., 1959; Mullings, 1964).
— Galena crystals up to 30 cm. across occurred in a large vug nearly 70 meters long at the New Cottingham Mine, SE NW Sec. 13 T.1N R.1E near New Diggings. These crystals were associated with large calcite xls. (Heyl et al., 1959). Significant galena also occurred nearby at the Champion Mine NE NW Sec. 26 and Crawford Mine E 1/2 NW Sec. 30 T1N R.1E (Grosh, 1960).
— Galena was the major ore mineral Big Dick and the Connecting Link Mines in Sec. 15 and 16 and at the Dall Mine in Sec. 22 T.2N R.1E near Belmont (Klemic and West, 1964).
— Galena was mined at the Rodham Mine, N 1/2 N 1/2 Sec. 25 T.2N R.2E, (Heyl et. al., 1959).
— Galena was mined at the Rowe Mine, W 1/2 NW 1/4 Sec. 30 T.2N R.3E, near Shullsburg (Heyl et al., 1959).
— Galena is prominent in crevice deposits in the Liberty Mine, north of Meeker’s Grove, NE Sec. 16 T.2N R.1E (Grosh, 1950; Heyl et. al., 1959)
— Galena is found at the Etna Hill and adjacent mines about 3 miles east of Benton (Wheeler, 1908).
— Mined at the Raisbeck Mine, S 1/2 Sec. 21 T.2N R.1E near Meeker’s Grove where galena is in veins with abundant barite (Heyl et al., 1959).
— Galena was mined at the Trego-Anthony Mine, N 1/2 SE Sec. 21 T.2N R.1E near Meeker’s Grove (Heyl et al, 1959).
— Galena was mined at the Trewartha Mine, (S 1/2 Sec. 20), the Kennedy Mine, (SW 1/4 Sec. 29) and the Little Dad mine, (SE NW Sec. 32) in T.1N R.1E near Hazel Green (Heyl et al., 1959). Galena was mined at the Badger Mine (N 1/2 NE ) and the Cleveland Mine (S 1/2 NW) both in Sec. 30 T.1N R.1E (Heyl et al., 1959). Strong (1877) reports galena crystals up to 8 cm. on edge were found in large vugs in the Hazel Green Mining Company’s mine also in Sec. 30.
— Galena is found with sphalerite in Silurian dolostones at Belmont Mound on County Trunk G SE NE NE Sec. 3 T.3N R.1E (WGNHS outcrop description).
— Galena is found at the Old Muleahy Mine, SW NE Sec. 9 T.1N R.2E near Shullsburg (Heyl et al., 1959).
— Galena occurs as thin platy xls. with sphalerite at the Anthony and Dixon diggings SE Sec. 21 T.2N R.1E (Strong, 1877).
— Galena is found as large crystals with dogtooth calcite in the Rickert, Stevens and Co. mine, NW NW Sec. 14 T.1N R.2E (Strong, 1877).
— Chucks of galena weighing up to 500 lbs. were mined by the Oakland Mining Company in Sec. 4 T.1N R.2E near Shullsburg (Strong, 1877).
— Numerous small pits worked for galena occur near Darlington. (West, 1978).
— Galena, often coated with cerussite is found as a placer mineral in N 1/2 SE SE Sec. 28 T.2N R.1E east of Cuba City and in the SE SW Sec. 16 T.2N R.1E near Meeker’s Grove (Heyl et al., 1959). It also appears in U.S. Bureau of Minerals alluvium samples near New Diggings in SW SE Sec. 22 T.1N R.1E (Grosh, 1960).

MARATHON COUNTY: Falster (1987) reports galena as tiny cubes in quartz in the pegmatites of the Wausau pluton such as is exposed in the “rotten granite” quarries south of Rib Mountain.
— Galena occurs in a dacitic rock exposed behind the Colonial Rest Home in Wausau (SW SE SE Sec. 24 T.29N R.8E) (LaBerge and Myers, 1983).
— Galena is found with sphalerite, chalcopyrite, pyrite, quartz and calcite in brecciated volcanic rock near the center of Sec. 7 T.29N. R.7E. An old shaft has been sunk in this deposit (LaBerge and Myers, 1983).
— Galena is found in calcite veins in serpentine in a roadcut in the middle of the north edge of sec. 34 T.30N. R.6E. (Brown, 1995, personal communication)

ONEIDA COUNTY: Galena is a common ore mineral at the Lynn massive sulfide deposit, associated with sphalerite, pyrrhotite, chalcopyrite and silver and gold minerals (Kennedy et al., 1993).

PRICE COUNTY: Galena is a minor component of the massive sulfide ore in the Ritchie Creek deposit. (DeMatties, 1990).

RACINE COUNTY: Galena is associated with calcite, marcasite, sphalerite and other minerals in the Vulcan Materials Quarry (Ives Quarry) on Highway 32 on the north edge of Racine. (Scovil, 1994).

RICHLAND COUNTY: Galena is found in Prairie du Chien group rocks at small lead mines near Keyesville and the nearby Bear Valley in SE Sec. 14 T.10N R.2E (Heyl and West, 1982)
— Galena is found at small lead diggings near Sextonville in SE Sec. 4 T.9N R.2E (Heyl and West, 1982).
— Galena is found in old diggings south of Twin Bluffs near Akan (NE NW Sec. 22) and in small old lead mines northeast of Orion (NW NW Sec. 28) both in T.9N R.1E (Heyl and West, 1982).

ROCK COUNTY: Galena is found with sphalerite and marcasite in a quarry and drill core from the center of Sec. 16 T.1N R.10E, east of Avon (Heyl and West, 1982).

RUSK COUNTY: Galena is a minor component of the massive sulfide ore at the Flambeau deposit, near Ladysmith. It is most often associated with sphalerite toward the footwall zone of the deposit. Some galena is pseudomorphically replaced by bornite, chalcocite and chalcopyrite. The galena cubic cleavage can persist into masses of what is now pure copper sulfide. Some small euhedral crystals were found in the carbonate zone in vugs with dolomite and other sulfides (May, 1977).

WINNEBAGO COUNTY: Galena is found in vugs in carbonate rocks with sphalerite, marcasite, calcite, cerussite and other minerals at the Lutz Quarry, in the western part of Oshkosh, on Hwy. 44 T.18N R.16W (USGS, 1976).

WOOD COUNTY: Found in small amounts with quartz and chlorite in a quartz vein in the Tork Company Quarry, Wisconsin Rapids (T. Buchholz, personal communication).
— Tiny galena cubes occur with calcite and pyrite in quartz veins cutting red granite at the Frederick Schill Quarry, northeast of Vesper on the east side of Highway 186 (T. Buchholz,1999).
— Galena occurs rare unique micro-crystals in miarolitic cavities in granite at the Haske Quarry, sec. 25, T24N R2E.Some crystals are distorted octahedra and some are elongated skeletal crystals with tapered scimitar-shaped terminations. (Tom Buchholz, et al., 1998.).