How To Identify Minerals
August 2021 by Chris Ralph
There are a number of characteristics that are used when one identifies a mineral. Each characteristic gives an indication as to what the mineral might be, and the combination of them will point to what it is.
In 1877, a prospector named Ed Schieffelin discovered silver in “the middle of nowhere” and staked two claims: “Tumbstone” and “Graveyard.” Soon a town and mining district were organized and acquired the name “Tombstone” after making a spelling correction.
When I was a student in the College of Mines at the University of Utah, the Verde district was used as an exploration model for “submarine volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits.” So I looked forward to visiting this district and the town of Jerome in central Arizona in the spring of 2012.
It is a gemstone, and yet it is also closely associated with many types of metal ores. It's valuable itself but often points toward other valuable minerals—that is certainly something prospectors want to know more about!
It also happens sometimes that glaciers will bury valuable placer deposits. This occurs when the glacier goes over the top of an existing placer deposit.
I get a number of questions from people about testing and treating hard rock ores. The simplest way, but also an expensive one, is to just have an assay test done by an independent assay firm. As an alternative...
The main ore deposits of the Ely district are associated with an east-west belt of altered and mineralized rocks measuring about one mile wide that extends 8 miles westward from Ely.
Trinity County is located in the far northwest corner of California and stirs up many different memories for those who have been there.
The Bawl Mill • Ask The Experts - Are pulse induction detectors the right tech for gold? • Ask The Experts - Why can’t I find gold with my detector? • Ask The Experts - Are two rock crushing machines (jaw crusher and chain crusher) necessary? • Ask The Experts - Why am I finding only coarse gold, not fines in this area? • Ask The Experts - Is the amount of gold reserves claimed by mining companies real or just hype? • Chasing Hard Rock Gold As A Placer Deposit • Gold Prospecting for Better or Worse: Bumbling Through A Gold Bonanza • How Mesothermal/Orogenic Gold Deposits Form • My Explosive Introduction to Gold Mining • Georgetown CA: A Historically Rich Mother Lode Treasure • Reminder: Annual Claim Filings and Fees Due • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices