Gondwana Gold and Diamonds
October 2002 by Edgar B. Heylmun, PhDSome 250 million years ago, the Earth had just one supercontinent, known as “Pangaea.” For whatever reason, the supercontinent began to break apart. South America and Africa remained joined, as “Gondwana,” until 65 million years ago, when they split apart. The obvious “fit” of South America with Africa was noted by geologists back in the 19th century, but it was not until Alfred Wegener came out with his “continental drift” hypothesis in 1912 that people took note.
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We have to remember that the earliest miners were not geologists, but came from a variety of backgrounds. Their survival depended on finding enough gold so they worked hard and adapted to whatever challenges these new areas presented.
Q: With safety as a given, what can the average miner, or Joe-blow greenhorn do to identify and extract some metals or minerals with off-the-shelf products or natural ingredients?
I have been finding nuggets all my life, beginning in Sierra County 50 years ago, and believe me they don’t pop up out of the ground like mushrooms when they see me coming and say, “Here I am and take me home.”
Arizona is better-known for copper than for gold, but there are a number of dry placers in the western and southern parts of the state. A prolonged drought at the time of this writing has made the placers the driest they have been in recorded history. A good gold panner can find colors in many gulches and benches, far more than those that have been described in reports.
I furiously started pulling material out of the side wall and putting it in my scoop. It didn't take long to discover that the source of the scream was from a one-ounce chunk...
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