Benches and Fossil Placers
March 2013 by Jim HalloranUnfortunately for us mortal humans, we have a poor perspective on geologic time. When we look at a landscape such as a stream valley, we see it only in two, or at the most, three dimensions. We have poor comprehension of the valley’s fourth and most important dimension—time.
I get a lot of questions from prospectors about garnets, their value and what they tell us about the geology of some types of mineral deposits. So I thought it would be a good idea to take a closer look at the lowly garnet and learn a bit more about it.
I set up my dry washer on the north side of the cut and sampled the bed rock and dumps around me. As I was only sampling, I ran for 20-30 minutes, shoveling from a variety of areas.
It was the middle of winter and the valley was covered in snow, making prospecting a matter of sinking shafts in the ground.
Confluences of placer streams are well known as concentration sites for heavy minerals. The basic reason is that...
Gold can potentially be found in all the glaciated areas of the Midwest, but to find it in any appreciable amount one needs to look to areas where the gold gets concentrated by more recent water flows.
Some of the wire forms are strange and fantastic, with wires sticking out in twisted, seemingly random directions. Others have deformed crystals and all of them have significant value to collectors.
The big interest to prospectors thinking about the effect of erosion is not what might happen long into the future, but what they might find in the rivers later this summer when the water levels go down.
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