I tried my green thumb in Gilbert Arizona last summer and planted carrots only to discover few edible things grow in the Phoenix valley in the summer (other than prickly pear cactus - and its questionable if many of us would try to peel the skin off the cactus just to eat the slimy plant). All of my carrots deep fried in the ground as temperatures soared into triple digits for a month.
I still have difficulty adapting to Arizona’s hot weather after living in Wyoming for a few decades. But someone told me the other day that Arizona is like Wyoming, just in reverse. People just don’t go outside when temperatures hit -50oF in Wyoming (although I always skied to work when temperatures fell below -30) and they don’t go outside when temperatures rise above 110oF in Arizona. I never thought of it that way. But at least in Wyoming, my Nissan truck had a heater; in Arizona it doesn't have an air conditioner (didn't need AC in Wyoming). One day I'll have to break down and buy a truck with air conditioning.
|One of the more than 300 cryptovolcanic structures discovered in the Colorado-Montana-Wyoming kimberlite|
(diamond) province (Hausel, 2014). This depression is filled with water in the spring, but has an unexplained
vegetation anomaly, enriched carbonate soils. The anomaly is circular and characteristic of many diamond
pipes in the Colorado-Wyoming State Line region.
|Distinct depression associated with a diamond pipe in Colorado. |
The diamond pipe sits under an open, grass-covered park.
Many kimberlites lack tree growth and often give people an
impression of an impact crater. This cryptovolcanic structure
was trenched and diamonds along with kimberlite
were recovered at shallow depth. Also note the fault trace marked
in red. As a prospector, you should always walk these traces out
as far as they go simply because more than one kimberlite often
erupted along the same fracture. This is how I discovered some
kimberlites in this region that were missed by others.
Kimberlite (diamond) pipes (unless deeply eroded) have circular expressions in plan. This expression often looks like an impact crater. To see some very impressive diamond pipes, I recommend searching the Internet for “Ekati Airport, NWT” to see Canada’s premier diamond mining operation. Now search for the “Big Hole Kimberley, South Africa”. This is another diamond pipe that was operated years ago and looks like an impact crater. Search throughout the Kimberley city limits and you’ll find other diamond pipes.
Now take a look at Russia. Search for “Mir Mine, Russia” also known as Mirnyy Diamond Mine. This will take you to one of the more impressive circular pipes. While you are looking at these areas, remember kimberlites almost always occur in clusters and often line up on linear fractures. In these three areas, you may find other circular anomalies that have not been mined that are likely kimberlite pipes.
In addition to finding the circular to roughly circular depressions, one needs to look for other characteristics, such as a group of circular to elongated depressions lining up on some kind of lineament. For example, take a look at the Lost Lakes in the Red Feather Lakes region of northern Colorado. You will find a group of lakes and depressions that sit on a distinct linear fracture that trends about N30oE. And when you take a look at the lakes along the northeastern extent of this fracture - wow - the lake shores look like they are coated with salt or blue ground. Several years ago, I visited these anomalies, and the soils are very carbonate rich - if you drop some dilute HCl acid on the soil, it will fizz. The country rock in the region is mostly granites and amphibolites which do not have any known carbonate. Now these are excellent cryptovolcanic structures and possible kimberlites.
Years ago, I also came across a cluster of depressions in the Indian Guide district of Albany County Wyoming. All of these are situated along N-S to northwesterly fractures immediately west of the Iron Mountain kimberlite district, where dozens of kimberlites (including a couple of diamonds) were found years ago (Hausel and others, 2003). I tried to get the State to provide me with a grant to drill these, but to no avail. The state was much more interested in providing another agency with money to see how high a rare and endangered jumping mouse could jump (it turns out this rare mouse was not so rare after all - just a normal field mouse that was startled). So these cryptovolcanic structures remain unknown as to why they exist - but the fact they are sitting along the western trend of the Iron Mountain kimberlites strongly suggest Wyoming is losing its marbles, or should be say, carats.
Now take a look at the Twin Mountains Lakes area near Cheyenne. I identified more than 50 interesting structures (depressions and lakes) in this area that are situated in a distinct regional fold in the Proterozoic amphibolites that could be an extension of the State Line kimberlite district. Some appear to be very large - could these be kimberlites? No one has ever drilled or sampled these and they look like good targets to me.
Now take a look at the Kelsey Lake kimberlites in Colorado. These were mined for a short time and produced many high-quality gemstones including a 28.3-carat diamond along with a diamond fragment from a stone estimated to have been about 80 to 90 carats (Hausel, 1998, 2014). As you examine Kelsey Lake, keep in mind this was at one time a diamond mine (1996) and there are at least two reclaimed kimberlites and much of the diamond ore was never mined due to legal problems. Also note there is still fresh blue ground exposed in the reclaimed area. In this region, there are also several unmined kimberlites - I know, because I mapped them years ago. They are all located in my new book.
Now here is something you want to really think about! The Kelsey Lake kimberlites sit right on the edge of Fish Creek and a small tributary to the south of the pipes. These streams must be filled with diamonds! In southern Africa, it was noted diamonds from the Kimberley region were transported more than 600 miles in the Orange River to the coast of western Africa. Now imagine where could all of those diamonds that eroded from Kelsey Lake be. Personally, I would map out Fish Creek and follow it and associated drainages for at least a hundred or more miles down stream.
|Gem-quality diamond indicator minerals from the Sloan kimberlites, Colorado|
|Diamond indicator minerals (chromian diopside to the left and pyrope garnet to the right) in Sloan kimberlite specimens.|
Recently, I was notified by a prospector who read my book on Finding Gemstones, that he panned out a cache of diamonds including one just under 5-carats in weight out of a stream I had identified that would be an important diamond placer. Remember, tiny diamonds are almost worthless (as the boys on Gold Rush discovered in South America). But large gemstone diamonds can be valuable.
If you decide to search the area for diamonds, there is a lot of private property, but also remember a couple of other things: (1) Fish Creek is long, (2) gem-quality diamonds can survive stream transport of at least 600 miles, (3) kimberlites yield other gemstones known as diamond indicator minerals, and (4) the State Line kimberlites have been eroded off and on for the past 600 million years and the largest portion of the kimberlite pipes (the mouths) have been eroded and the diamonds carried downstream (see the schematic cross section through a kimberlite above). It has been estimated that 2000 to 3000 feet of vertical column of kimberlite pipe in this area has been eroded. So, what are you waiting for?
|A flawless, 1,720 carat iolite gemstone I found at |
Palmer Canyon Wyoming with some sapphire, ruby, and kyanite
gemstones - now that's a lot of carats.
|A group of very expensive Argyle fancy diamonds on display at the |
Argyle mine in Australia. I asked, but they wouldn't let me have
any of these.
When you recover gold in the nearby mountains, it could be nearly pure, yellow gold or could be not quite as pure brassy electrum. Natural electrum refers to a mixture of gold and silver (>20% silver) that is sometimes referred to as white gold.
Gold from Rock Creek Wyoming mined a short distance downstream from several gold-bearing lodes. This gold is a little whiter (brassy) than gold from some other nearby localities and likely has some silver. Some gold in this area was tested and found to contain as much as 11% silver.
The Rock Creek placer mine was closed by a 1942 War Minerals Board order. This suggests that the World War II miners were recovering gold worth $34/ounce at a profit. Today, gold prices are 50 times higher. Thus this placer likely is still minable. To visit this placer on Google Earth, search for “Atlantic City, Wyoming”. Atlantic City sits in the upper part of the Rock Creek placer and is the place I figured I would have retired and ending up working for the Prospecting and Mining Journal - but things didn't quite work out that way. Now instead of shoveling tons of snow, I'm basking in the sun.
There are many other placers in this region that contain minable gold. One may be Willow Creek that runs through South Pass City. Willow Creek has a relatively small volume of gravel, but its location (cutting across the Carissa lode, the principal gold-bearing lode in the district) guarantees it will have rich pay streaks. However, Willow Creek was closed to mining by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality due to the toxic levels of mercury (whether imagined or real). During my research of this region over a seven year period, I did not find any evidence of primary mercury in the district and the possibility of large quantities of mercury being dumped in the creek by 19th century miners is unrealistic. Mercury was a valuable commodity in the 19th century. If some mercury were actually lost in the creek in the 19th century, it would have been a very small, finite source and mining would only serve to clean the creek bed.
|A 24 ounce gold nugget from Rock Creek Wyoming.|
|The fire assay furnace at the Vulture mine, Arizona. Yes the assay house needs a little cleaning.|