Simple Rules of Gold Geology: Comparing Epithermal and Mesothermal Deposits
July 2017 by Chris Ralph
Geology is a science of general tendencies with frequent exceptions, not one of hard and fast rules that are always true and never vary. For almost every well-accepted rule of gold deposits, I can point you to a number of important exceptions.
The holes were overloaded with explosives, but I didn’t know it. I was just a green mining engineer fresh out of school and told to watch as the experienced miners set the charge.
Unfortunately for us mortal humans, we have a poor perspective on geologic time. When we look at a landscape such as a stream valley, we see it only in two, or at the most, three dimensions. We have poor comprehension of the valley’s fourth and most important dimension—time.
The other distinguishing feature of calcite has to do with its chemistry. Geologists sometimes take a small bottle of dilute hydrochloric acid out into the field with them because calcite reacts with acids to make a bubbly foam.
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.
The majority of the gold produced in Goldfield has come from ores that are close enough to the surface to be oxidized by the air. This oxidized ore is normally a soft, shattered, earthy material usually stained yellow to brown by oxides of iron.
The small-scale miner has reasonable opportunity to exploit some of these small, rich placer gold deposits.
• "...just about more than I can stand."
• "I hope you can answer my number one question..."
• "...I still go out and mine a little at my old stompin' grounds in Siskiyou County..."
• "...New Prospecting Club in the Southeast."
• "...9 ounces...in two weeks."
• "...It's no secret..."
The Bawl Mill • Ask The Experts: What is a Spanish needle? • Ask The Experts: Sulfides and fluxes • Legislative and Regulatory Update • The "Madonna Nugget"—A Weekend Hunt to Remember • The Goldfield Mining District, Nevada—Part II • Sunset Sunbaker • A Prospecting Adventure in Mexico • Critical Minerals: Tungsten • Police Urge Author to End Treasure Hunt • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices