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History & Geology

The Amazing Mineral Tourmaline

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!

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All About Minerals


There are several common ways that new mineral crystals form and grow. Perhaps the simplest is when minerals form through the cooling of molten rock and the atoms bond together into mineral crystals.

The Many Facets of Iron


I’ve been fascinated by iron minerals for many years. So let’s take a look at this very interesting and colorful element.

The Goldfield Mining District, Nevada—Part I


An example of some of this extraordinary ore was a lot of about four tons from the Florence mine during the last days of a lease that averaged over 300 ounces of gold per ton.

All About Quartz—Part I


One of the first minerals most prospectors learn to recognize is quartz, because, in the right circumstances, it can be an excellent indicator mineral for prospectors. Quartz is common, easy to identify, and is often associated with gold and other valuable metal deposits.

When Legends Were Made and Fortunes Found


Sylvester Smith and his younger brother Nathan were among this group who rode and led their Indian ponies, while climbing the rugged Salmon River breaks and rockhewn mountains, looking for a path that would lead them up and over the uncharted wilderness.

Understanding and Prospecting Benches


The most obvious benches are usually near the valley floor, but they can be thousands of feet above the valley floor. Since benches were made by streams, they can contain placer deposits.

The Downieville Gold District


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.

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