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History & Geology

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Geology and stories from the past

Gold Depositiion and Gradients of Placer Streams—Part II


The steeper the gradient is, the more potential erosive power to move gold and other bedload sediments, and the more power to remove obstacles to flow.

Prospecting for Copper Ores—Part II


Copper is a critically important metal that we need to run our modern electronic society, and the long term outlook for this metal is for a steady increase in price.

Gold Deposition and Gradients of Placer Streams—Part I


When placer miners from the gold rush era began experimenting with the slope of their sluices, they must have pondered the ideal slope for trapping gold in a creek bed too. Logic suggests the same is true for streams...
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The Wisdom of Mark Twain—And Tales of Cheating the Unwary Prospector


I (enjoy) Twain’s description of a gold mine, “A hole in the ground with a liar at the top.” Some humor here? You bet, but I’m sure he meant it to be a real eye opener as well.

Fabulous Florence—The Golden Town of Idaho


In September 1861, on a round-about prospecting journey homeward, five California gold miners discovered gold in the area now called Florence. While watering the horses, one of the men noticed a golden color on a piece of slate bedrock in the stream...

Arizona's Vulture Gold Mine and Lost Dutchman


When prospectors and treasure hunters talk of gold in Arizona, it is the Lost Dutchman or Vulture mine they usually think of. The Lost Dutchman gold mine is just that—a myth chalked full of holes that has been embellished over time as any good legend should be.
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Critical Metals: Copper


From time to time I’ve been doing a series on critical metals and how important they are to our complex and technological society. This month we are going to take a look at copper, and how important that metal is to our modern lives.

Prospecting Homonyms


Three homonyms come to mind when I think of gemstones, gold and vegetables: carrot, carat and karat. Let’s look at carrot first.

Eolian Placer Gold


I would first like to mention that I am not a geologist. I have, however, spent the last 8 years intently searching for gold nuggets with a metal detector. I have found gold in numerous locations, and in several different types of gold deposits.
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All the Gold Ever Mined...


If you have been prospecting for any length of time, then you have probably heard something like, “All the gold ever mined would equal a cube 60 feet on each side.”

The Basics of Geophysical Exploration


In developing a mineral property or mining claims, one of the first goals is to identify and quantify valuable deposits. The classic method of doing this is by drilling holes into the ground to sample what is below the surface. The problem is that one or two holes usually are not going to tell you a whole lot...

WSGS Releases New Geologic Maps


The Wyoming State Geological Survey announced ten new geologic maps have been completed and are now available.
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Yesterday's Gold—Today's Mine


It would seem that we are often indeed destined to repeat history. In terms of gold discovery, even with all the advancements that have been made over the years, it seems we are once again on the cusp of returning to the 1800s world of gold mining. Even as you read this, a new gold rush is taking place in a sleepy little town in South Carolina.

Testing Ores for Free Gold


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...

Gold From Cemented Gravels


The truth is that cemented gravels are really not all that complex. There is no mystery of how gold grew there or somehow wormed its way into these solid gravels.
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Gold, Quartz & Chalcedony—Part II


The specific gravity of chalcedony is 2.58 to 2.64. This is slightly lower than coarsely crystalline quartz because of slight porosity in chalcedony. Being so light, it will easily wash out of a gold pan.

Alaska's Cripple Creek Mining District


If developed with metal detecting in mind, this virgin ground could be a bonanza for nugget hunting.

Gold, Quartz & Chalcedony—Part I


Gold has always been noted to have an affinity for quartz to such a degree prospectors almost always dig on quartz veins in a search for the precious metal.
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The Golden Days of Julian, California


Some scattered reports say that gold may have been washed from streams here as early as the 1840s, but the undisputed major discovery came in 1870.

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.

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