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History & Geology

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Geology and stories from the past

Epithermal Gold and Silver Deposits


Epithermal deposits form in the ground at shallow depths. They are popular with prospectors because can yield very rich deposits and they are widespread in the Western US.

All About Chalcopyrite


…there are loads of different copper minerals, but a large number of them form first in the ground as chalcopyrite and then through the effects of weathering are changed into other minerals like malachite, cuprite and chrysocolla.

The Goldfield Mining District -- Then and Now


In 1983, some of the ore yielded more than 2,500 ounces of gold within 30 feet of the surface. The shoot pinched to a narrow vein.
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Nevada's Lithium Boom


When prospecting for lithium, after confirming for macro attributes through research and field work, including examination of surface geology, the main tool is an accurate lithium assay.

Calcite and Limestone


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.

Gangue Minerals - What Do They Tell Us?


There are a large number of different kinds of gangue minerals, and each of them has its own tale to contribute to the story of the chemistry and geology of a deposit.
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Prospector's Guide to Rock Breaking and Blasting


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.

Glaciers and Placer Gold Deposits


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.

The Seven Troughs Mining District


The favorable geology of the northeastern and central parts of the Seven Troughs Range are the parts most interesting to prospectors. They are underlain by a thick sequence of Tertiary volcanic rocks, mostly rhyolites and andesites.
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Can You Recognize Valuable Ores?


The process of recognizing ores all starts with being able to recognize some basic minerals and knowing what hard rock ore looks like in the districts where you prospect.

Exploring A Historic Lode Mine


Climbing up the debris, I pointed my flashlight up a shaft ascending straight up as far as my light would shine. It was the stope of the pay shoot leading to the old tunnel above!

The Heavy Minerals in Your Concentrates


The fact that mineral deposits can contribute specific types of heavy minerals is why the analysis of the heavy mineral concentrates in the streams of an area can be an important prospecting technique for finding undiscovered mineral deposits.
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Charles P. Watson, Chief Geologist

Critical Metals: Antimony


I’ve been taking a look at the mining and uses of a number of critical metals in series of articles, and it’s time to take a look at antimony.

Nevada's Silver City Gold District -- Part II


...this district has had a continuous life of gold mining and milling that spans 150 plus years, and it appears that it will keep pressing on for many more years of production.

The Tombstone Silver-Lead District, Arizona


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.
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Enrichment of Mineral Deposits by Weathering—Part II


While both zinc and lead deposits also are enriched by the surface weathering process, in part two we will look at the enrichment process for copper and also gold deposits, and at the interpretation of leached outcrops to figure how rich the concentrated deposits below them may be.

The Bawl Mill


• Do as I say, not as I do...
• By the numbers...

Green Valley Gold District, Payson, Arizona


Most gold-bearing quartz veins found in the district were fracture fillings in faults enclosed by crushed quartz zones along their margins. Since the host rocks were often extensively weathered, portions of the veins stood out as positive, resistant outcrops. The gold-bearing veins ranged from a few inches wide to the vein at the Gowan mine that was as much as 12 feet wide. 
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Nevada's Silver City Gold District—Part I


The name Silver City is quite ironic as it doesn’t really fit the area’s metal production. The area encompassing the Silver City district is a great, stand-alone gold district, where the production value of gold has been much more than that of silver. Since the initial discovery of gold-bearing veins in the mid-1850s, the area has been a center of continuous small and large-scale gold production.

Enrichment of Mineral Deposits by Weathering—Part I


The exact minerals formed in the concentrated supergene deposits depends much on the type of country rock around the deposit and the chemistry of the deposit itself, but if conditions are right, this process will form some rich patches of bonanza ore, in some places valued at thousands of dollars to the ton.

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