Diary of a Diamond Prospector
April 2017 by W. Dan HauselI couldn’t wait to get started. With no field budget, an assay budget of $100/year, a 1975-Ford Bronco that was a road hazard, a gas card, a topo map and full support of the director, I headed to the State Line district near Tie Siding along US Highway 287 to begin mapping kimberlite.
Some claim they can smell gold. This may be, but when I take a whiff of gold, I smell dirt, rotten eggs, garlic or just nothing: my nose is everything but sensitive.
I was amazed and surprised, and I took a moment to admire how beautiful this coarse chunk of gold was. It later weighed exactly one-half ounce.
On our last trip, we brought ropes and went down the first waterfall forty vertical feet, only to be confronted by a second, sixty-foot-high, overhanging waterfall that emptied into a slot canyon.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could know if there is gold in the ground without setting foot on the ground? Well you can, to a certain extent, if you can recognize mined ground from unmined.
The first experience involved an overgrown gold mine operated during the 1880s. A razed mill adjoined the mine and could be glimpsed from the isolated public dirt road I was traveling.
Back at our campsite, while the rest of us grabbed a late four o’clock lunch, Fallyn volunteered to do the clean-up panning.
Feeling through the mud, I felt the weight and shape of what could only be gold. Throwing my hand in the water revealed a sixteen-gram nugget oozing with character.
The Bawl Mill • Legislative and Regulatory Update • Ask The Experts: Is an XRF gun useful for prospecting and mineral identification? • Ask The Experts: Is this deposit worth working? • Ask The Experts: Can a long range locator probe detect gold in quartz? • Weathering, Erosion and Placers • The PIGMI—a DIY Crevice Tool • The Ups and Downs of Nugget Hunting • Epithermal Gold and Silver Deposits • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices