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History & Geology

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Geology and stories from the past

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.

The Preacher of Sheeps**t Flats


It seemed that the preacher always gave the same answer to anyone who asked where his gold had come from. His answer was, “If you know your gold, you can find it. However, you will have to find it the hard way, the way I found it.”
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Critical Minerals: Gold


A few quick calculations show that approximately 11 tons of gold are lost each year just in the manufacture of new cell phones.

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.

Exploring and Mining for Uranium


For a time uranium was more popular with prospectors than gold, but this is no longer true, and it has been decades since it was common to see individuals armed with Geiger counters out in the field.
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What Are Those Rocks In My Pan?


The placer mineral identification key is designed to answer this question. It attempts to recognize all the minerals in your gold pan concentrates.

"Gold Rush: Alaska" in the Porcupine Mining District


Honestly, I don’t believe it is likely there would be a glory hole where they described one at the bottom of the waterfall because plunging water with enough energy to scour out a large hole in bedrock would have the scouring ability to grind up and...

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