Butte, Montana—The Richest Hill on Earth
December 2017 by Chris Ralph
I recently had the opportunity to spend a day exploring around Butte, Montana and was amazed by the amount of mining that has taken place there. The old-timers called Butte “the richest hill on earth” and had pretty good reasons for doing so.
He found 5 to 7 feet of gravel containing half an ounce per yard. This started a rush of placer activity and several other shafts were sunk, with some large multi-ounce nuggets being found.
This mine was a real wonder of engineering, and the water supply and drifts had to be carefully managed to keep it in operation. In fact, it didn’t close due to lack of gold, but instead closed with the fall of the Roman Empire.
There are several common ways that new mineral crystals form and grow. Perhaps the simplest is when minerals form through the cooling of molten rock and the atoms bond together into mineral crystals.
There is reason to believe these stream valleys are still rich with gold, silver and copper.
Improvements in mining equipment and techniques, along with a higher gold price, make many mining properties profitable today that may not have been in the past.
I would first like to mention that I am not a geologist. I have, however, spent the last 8 years intently searching for gold nuggets with a metal detector. I have found gold in numerous locations, and in several different types of gold deposits.
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