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.
Kimberlite is very difficult for geologists to find, let alone prospectors and rock hounds. This is because kimberlite is rarely exposed on the surface and few people know how to identify the rock.
Because tungsten minerals are heavy, exploration can be done using stream sediment samples. Prospectors looking for gold have found scheelite or wolframite in their placer concentrates, and in some cases this has led them to make important tungsten finds.
Potholes in bedrock can trap placer minerals and even be glory holes. They are, at least, interesting geologic phenomena, and at best, a treasure trove of gold nuggets.
Lately my mind has been involved with group 4 of the transition elements, namely titanium, zirconium, and hafnium. They all have similar chemical properties. Of greatest interest to economic geologists and miners is that these valuable elements often occur together in sands.
Trinity County is located in the far northwest corner of California and stirs up many different memories for those who have been there.
Many locals are just waiting for California to allow dredging once more, especially with the current gold prices. There are still plenty of good opportunities for prospectors in this area, just as it has been for so many years.
Climbing up the debris, I pointed my flashlight up a shaft ascending straight up as far as my light would shine. It was the stope of the pay shoot leading to the old tunnel above!
The Bawl Mill • Legislative and Regulatory Update • Ask The Experts - Looking for help smelting gold • Ask The Experts - Chlorine bleach and vinegar makes a deadly combination • Ask The Experts - Were there insufficient values to continue mining at this site? • Watch Out for Split Estates When Filing Your Claim • Detecting the Fringe Areas • Conrey Dredge No. 4—Part II • California: The Land of Big Nuggets—Part I • Gold Detecting Strategies for Hydraulic Mines and Debris Flows • New Technology for Extracting Lithium To Be Tested in Nevada • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices