Monday, February 21, 2022

Gold! Finding Your Personal Gold, Silver, Gemstone or Diamond Mine.

Visible gold in core sample of granodiorite from the Copper King mine, Wyoming. Many people like
to make gold out of pyrite, chalcopyrite, or mica. If you learn about the physical characteristics of
minerals, you have a better chance of finding gold deposits. For instance, mica is often mistaken
for gold in black-sand concentrates in a gold pan. Why? They really have no characteristics in
common. Gold is very heavy (specific gravity = 19.3) compared to mica (sg=2.8 to 3). So, when 
panning, mica will be difficult to wash out of a pan, not because of its specific gravity, but because
of crystal habit (essentially a two-dimensional flat crystal that will slice through water and it
rolls). Gold will just sit there because of its specific gravity.

As a research and consulting geologist, I came across dozens of mineralized properties - many were just waiting for someone to prospect and find them. So, I decided to pass this information on to you. But why should I care about you since we've probably never met, and why wouldn't I just try to hoard everything? 

"The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, And a man is valued by what others say of him." - Proverbs 27:21

So, why would I give this kind of information out for free? Well, I know from 40 years experience as a geologist, finding gold is one thing, mining it is something entirely different and takes a lot of energy, ingenuity, time, luck, and money.  But, instead of talking about me - lets get to mineral deposits. Keep in mind, anyone of the properties I mention could already be claimed by someone, could or could have been withdrawn by the government, or even lie on private property or a private mineral estate. Since I'm not a landman, I can't help you on land ownership, or how to stake a mining claim. That's not my expertise or interest. In other words, I got the joy of searching for mineral deposits - now you can have the joy of exploring some of these deposits. And remember, there is no easy way to prove up a deposit or to mine one. I remember an old saying I once heard at the Northwestern Mining Association in Spokane - "Mines are not found, mines are made"! So ponder how you would make a mine.

Here are a few examples of prospects that were just sitting there waiting for someone to put work into the ground. And remember, just because you might find a great gold deposit, you likely will end up getting some fresh air and exercise but little more - it takes a lot of money, energy, hard work, permits, etc. to be able to get value out of the ground. And personally, I wouldn't worry too much about your gold mine submerging in rising sea levels. Sea levels will continue to rise, but much of this is a natural earth and astronomical process. Earth has suffered through climate change after climate change over the past 4.5 billion years, and that will not change - no matter how much the government taxes you for carbon credits.  Oh, and one more thing - WATCH this blogspot. I will periodically add other prospects to this blog. If you can't wait, I did write some (expensive) books on gold in Arizona and Wyoming and gemstones in Wyoming, and those books list many locations. Sorry about the cost of books - wasn't not my choice. It is the incredibly high base price for books on demand with color photos. I tried to lower the price and much as possible.

Gold nuggets found on Julian Creek,
Some interesting properties:
Tennant property Located four miles from Encampment Wyoming in sections 21 & 22, T14N, R84W. This was described as a 6-foot-wide fissure vein in section 22 contains copper and some gold. Six tons of ore mined from the vein netted $400 in copper (at $0.20/pound). In section 21, three strike veins with gold, silver and lead assayed $15 to $112/ton (1927 prices). Some country rock schist is mineralized and was reported to assay 0.12 to 0.18 opt Au: the presence of gold in the vein and wall-rock needs to be verified and if can be verified, the property may provide an attractive prospect along with drainages downstream.

Purgatory Gulch, Wyoming (Section 1, T13N, R84W & section 36, T14N, R84W). Includes the Golden Eagle claim. A group of short adits were driven into limonite-stained shears in gneiss. On the west side of the gulch, two mines were examined by me in 1984. The southernmost was driven into granodiorite gneiss along a narrow shear. Four narrow copper- and limonite-stained veins were intersected in the mine workings. A short distance north, a short adit was driven <100-feet into the country rock. Across the gulch, more workings were found, but the adit was caved.

Some remarkably rich gold specimens were found in the past (Beeler, 1905a). According to Armstrong (1970), a 10-foot wide free-milling gold vein was struck on Purgatory Gulch. Assays ran as high as 6 opt Au (ounces per ton gold). More recent samples collected from the Golden Eagle vein contained visible gold (samples with visible gold typically assay >1 opt Au) and one boxworks-quartz sample without visible gold assayed 1.3 opt Au and 0.12 opt Ag (ounce per ton silver) (Hausel, 1989, 1992b). Another sample assayed 0.013% Cu (copper), 0.13 opt Ag, and 0.6 opt Au (Hausel, 1988d). 

Even though these veins are very narrow at the surface, it is possible the vein could swell or pinch at depth which is common in metamorphic terrains. For example, one mine visited by the senior author near Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories of Canada was developed on an auriferous vein that was only 1 foot wide on the surface but swelled to over 6-feet wide at shallow depth.

Because of the high gold assays and presence of visible gold, eluvium surrounding the mines and prospects as well as gravels in Purgatory Gulch should provide some interesting metal detecting. This area is highly recommended for prospecting and specimen collectors.

Three Forks (sections 11, 12, 13 and 14, T12N, R86W), located about 14 miles from Battle, Wyoming. Smoky quartz veins in schist are reported to contain argentiferous galena with minor sphalerite and copper. The veins have abundant hematite near the surface and both the quartz and hematite are reported to be auriferous (Pease, 1905). Some cerargyrite (silver-chloride) is present (Osterwald and others, 1966). At least 500 feet of development work was completed on the property in the early 1900s.

The Three Forks vein is reported as well-defined and mineralized over a strike length of 6,500 feet and extends from the south bank of the North Fork River continuing from Wyoming and south into Colorado. The vein trends N25°W and dips 82°NE and is hosted by diorite. At one point, the vein (or complex of veins) is 120 feet wide. A 54-inch streak on the footwall side of the vein carried approximately 10% Pb (lead) and averaged $30 in lead, silver and gold (1905 prices) (Pease, 1905). Down-slope from the Three Forks group (sections 13 and 14) are the Pease placers. The gravels of the placers contain gold (Beeler, 1905f).

Probably the best nickel prospect in Wyoming was discovered several years ago. The prospect was unrecognized as was the pyroxenite massif that it was found in which is known as Puzzler Hill located near Saratoga, Wyoming.

SW section 25, T14N, R85W. A mine with a main shaft situated on the contact of a sheared metadolomite and quartz chlorite schist was dug to explore a hematite gossan. Small amounts of malachite occur on the dump. A sample of chlorite schist yielded 1.5% Cu (copper) and 0.1% Ni (nickel) and a sample of gossan yielded 300 ppm Cu and 200 ppm Ni (Schmidt, 1983).

During the 1980s, the entire 450 mi2 South Pass greenstone belt was mapped along with all accessible historical mines (Hausel, 1991a). The geology was mapped at a scale of 1:24,000 on eight quadrangles and compiled into a 1:48,000 scale map for the entire exposed greenstone belt. All accessible underground gold mines were mapped at scales of 1:120 or 1:240 to provide a unique perspective of the structures that controlled gold deposition. It became apparent that the region is far from being mined out and that the gold mineralization was barely touched. The belt likely hosts considerable gold and iron ore along with a few major gold deposits. There is evidence for large gold deposits in shear zones, placers and paleoplacers. Iron ore resources, although mined for nearly 20 years, includes significant unmined resources quantities.

Placer deposits at South Pass have coarse gold near these shear structures. Further downstream, the gold is finer in grain size. Dredging operations on Big Atlantic Gulch in 1911 recovered nuggets weighing 0.07 ounce to more than an ounce. The ET Fisher Company dredged Rock Creek from 1933 to 1941 and recovered 30,000 ounces of gold: 75% of the gold was found within 3 feet of bedrock. Many nuggets were recovered near Atlantic City and the largest known nugget weighed 34 ounces: gold-bearing boulders were reportedly recovered that had as much as 630 ounces. Dredges operated along Rock Creek, Big Atlantic Gulch and at Wilson Bar in the Sweetwater River. Dredges are known to lose some gold to tailings as has been shown by many nuggets being found by nugget hunters using metal detectors to search tailings over past decades. In one case, we met one nugget hunter who had recovered more than 100 nuggets from dredge tailings near Atlantic City.

Large sections of many drainages at South Pass were not dredged indicating a potential for considerable gold-bearing gravel downstream from the gold-bearing shear zones. Placers of interest should include Rock Creek and Big Atlantic Gulch which have been extensively mined in the past, but still have unmined gravel and even gold-bearing tailings. Other drainages include Willow Creek, Strawberry Creek, Little Beaver Creek, Beaver Creek, Twin Creek, Meadow Gulch, Yankee Gulch, Spring Gulch, Horace Gulch, Smith Gulch, Promise Gulch, Irish Gulch, Omara Gulch, Jones Gulch, Level Meadows, Deep Creek, Sweetwater River, Burr Gulch, Wilson Gulch, Lame Jack Gulch, Long Gulch, Deep Gulch, Carissa Gulch, Palmetto Gulch, Slaughterhouse Gulch, Pine Creek, Big Hermit Gulch, Little Hermit Gulch, Buckeye Gulch, Cutler Gulch, Arasta Gulch, Slate Creek, Sheldon Gulch, Anthony Gulch, Beer Garden Gulch, Basket Gulch, Little Atlantic Gulch, Cole Gulch, Placerita Gulch, Tabor Gulch and possibly Dead Ox Gulch. Willow Creek, Strawberry Creek, Carissa Gulch, Smith Gulch, Rock Creek and Big Atlantic Gulch will likely contain considerable gold, and the report of several nuggets recovered from Big Nugget Gulch (Two Johns Gulch) suggests that area will be of interest.

Digging for gold in the dry Dickie Springs paleoplacer at the southern margin of South Pass. (a) Some cobbles and boulders at the top of the pit are rounded indicating stream transport and reworking of the paleoplacer. These reworked deposits are likely to be enriched in gold particularly where there is enrichment of black sands. But many cobbles in the pit walls are angular as seen near the geologist’s foot indicating that this portion of the paleoplacer is part of a fanglomerate that did not transport far from its source. (b) Gold was found throughout this entire section, but the gravel exhibited low gold content where cobbles are angular suggesting there was little stream transportation and concentration of gold and black sands in the fanglomerate at the bottom of the pit compared to the conglomerate at the surface. Some gold panned from the dry placer (below). Note the angular flakes.

Gold paleoplacers (ancient dry placers) cover large areas of South Pass. These are found within the greenstone belt and along its margins. Scattered paleoplacers sit immediately south of Atlantic City in the South Pass Formation and are recognized by the presence of rounded boulders in flat areas away from the modern drainages. Most of these have been overlooked even though they contain gold.
Gold from Dickie Springs, Wyoming

At Oregon Buttes to the south, Wasatch Formation conglomerates are estimated to be 1300 feet thick in areas and cover 8 mi2 of surface area. This Tertiary paleoplacer hosts a major gold resource with as much as 28.5 million ounces according to estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey. Some gold-bearing oil well cuttings were recovered in this region from depths of 6500-7000 feet just 0.5 mile north of the Continental Fault adjacent (north) to the paleoplacers (Dave Love, personal communication): this would indicate the presence of a buried auriferous shear zone at depth.

Generalized map of the Lewiston gold
district, South Pass (From Hausel, 1989

Wolf (Ruby) Mine (SE section 22, T29N, R98W). The Wolf mine is located to the northwest of the Atlantic City road. Three shafts (<100 feet deep) were sunk on a 4,500 foot long hematite-stained chloritized shear zone. The shear is not well-exposed but is as much as 160-feet-wide. The structure lies within a subtle linear depression. The width of the structure was determined by trenching and the depression continues to the northeast and southwest from the shafts.

The footwall on the 78oNW-dipping shear is silicified. One grab sample of gray quartz with altered metagreywacke assayed 0.68 opt Au. Samples collected across this shear assayed >1.0 opt (Steve Gyorvary, personal communication, 2010). The property was examined by U.S. Borax who determined the structure to be mineralized over >100 feet of width. This structure, because of potential size and assays, should be thoroughly investigated and likely represents a significant gold deposit. 

Duncan mine (W/2 W/2 section 14, T29N, R100W). Gold production from the Duncan mine was at least 3,800 ounces (Hausel, 1980). The property is located about one-mile southwest of Atlantic City. The main strike shear (N80oE) is hosted by Miners Delight Formation amphibolite (metagabbro) intruded by a metatonalite plug at the western edge of the property. The foliation-parallel shear is folded and splayed producing a classical saddle reef ore shoot adjacent to the shaft. The splay has an aggregate width of >40 feet adjacent to the shaft. Within the fold closure, gold values are enhanced and the nose of the steeply plunging drag fold averages ten times more gold than in the fold limbs. Samples collected in the glory hole next to the shaft included a 2-foot channel sample of 1.06 opt Au. A 39-foot composite chip sample assayed 0.073 opt Au.

Duncan Mine sample description       Au(opt)         Ag(opt)

0 to 2 ft west of fold closure in shear       0.097              0.07
2 ft channel across fold closure                1.06                0.19
0 to 5 ft east of closure                              0.06               0.06
5 to 15 ft east of closure                            0.21               0.09
15 to 25 ft east of closure                          0.023             0.24
25 to 35 ft east of closure                          0.02               0.032

The Duncan mine as it appeared to the author in 1977.

The extent of the mine workings is unknown, although Jamison (1911b) reported at least 1,255 feet of drifts on the 250-foot level. The mine workings need to be mapped. Based on the surface samples, it is likely that a significant gold deposit occurs on the property. The ore tenor was reported as 0.25 to 5.25 opt Au. Like all mines in this district, only the high grade ore was pursued and all low grade ore (which would be considered economic today) was ignored.

Anaconda Minerals drilled four locations on the property in 1974. The data showed the mine to enclose an incompletely explored, 925-foot long mineralized shear that was a minimum of 0.7 to 7 feet wide. 

Drill Hole             Description                               Width of zone                                          Au (opt)
DDH9         Intersected two mineralized zones      Zone 1 – 7 feet wide                                      0.18
                                                                                Zone 2 – 2.1 feet wide                                    0.11

DDH10A           Drilled 375 ft west of DDH9        Zone 1                                                            trace
                                                                                Zone 2 - 0.7 ft wide                                         0.17

DDH11         Collared 550 ft west of DDH10A     Zone 1                                                             trace
                                                                                Zone 2 - 5.7 ft wide                                        0.025

MIRACLE MILE PLACER. Little is known about the Miracle Mile paleoplacers such as extent, thickness, gold content, diamond content. This deposit was discovered by Charlie and Donna Kortes and could represent a good place for prospectors to search for gold and diamonds as it is a relatively new discovery. Because much of the deposit sits high and dry in the flats between Kortes Dam and Pathfinder Reservoir and on both sides of the North Platte River, metal detectors might be used to find nuggets but much of the finer gold would have to be recovered with dry placer recovery systems. The area remains mostly unexplored.

Raw diamond with surface trigons

Samples of gravel with visible gold were panned from conglomerate. After being shown this area by Charlie and Donna Kortes, we discovered that the placer also contains numerous pyrope garnets. Nearly all of the garnets that were microprobed at the University of Wyoming yielded harzburgite geochemistry. In other words, most appear to have eroded from a nearby diamond-rich kimberlite pipe (Hausel, 1994c)! It is apparent that this paleoplacer also has potential for placer diamonds (along with gold) and somewhere nearby is an undiscovered diamondiferous kimberlite field! It seems that nearly everywhere we sampled in Wyoming for gold or diamonds, we found diamond indicator minerals! In Canada, exploration research typically costs about $1.5 million per discovery! In Wyoming, the State government often spent less than $1,000/year on basic exploration research, yet hundreds of anomalies were identified. Makes one wonder what would happen if the Wyoming Geological Survey actually had a director with vision?

The samples were only taken from a few sites within a mile of the North Platte River near a powerline: the rest of the paleoplacer is untested, although the gold is reported to be widespread (Charlie and Donna Kortes, personal communication). You can find this area by searching GOOGLE EARTH for Kortes Dam, Wyoming.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Prospect for Gold - or just sit on the Couch!

Look at the native gold almost dripping off of the milky white quartz - this specimen could easily assay as much as 10 or more ounces/ton. 
Why sit at home when you can be out in the fresh air searching for treasure? If you knew just a little about gold, prospecting and geology, you could potentially make quite a bit of money, while everyone sits at home being depressed. But where to start? 

My suggestion, start by searching Google Earth for nearby areas with known gold and gemstone mining districts, and then head for the hills. 

All of this gold was found in Douglas Creek in Wyoming by an Arizona
gold prospector.
I wrote some books on where and how to find gold and gemstones - and I even provide GPS and land coordinates to take you right to many gold and gemstone deposits. And yes, I know what I'm talking about, I found one of the largest gold deposits on the planet some years ago with 6 other geologists, and found one of the largest gold deposits in Wyoming, along with dozens of gemstone deposits including some of the largest gems on earth!

Well, what about those guys on Gold Rush? Boy, they know how to find gold! So, how much gold have they found? When our team of geologists found a gold deposit in Alaska some years go, and it is now considered one of the largest in the world! At least 40,000,000 ounces have been drilled at the deposit and there is likely a heck of a lot more in the 5- to 7-mile long gold deposit in the Kuskokwim Mountains.

So, get off the couch and start looking. While you are waiting for the postman to deliver some of my expensive books to your doorstep (it's not my fault, I have the bare minimum prices set for my books and most of the cost is Amazon's, who produces a few of my book on demand and then ships them to you), you can be searching Google Earth and also looking at my blogspots, website and facebook page. 

Other books I published at the Wyoming Geological Survey, are inexpensive, and many of those you can find on-line as pdf downloads (for free) - so it all averages out. 

This book will tell you where all the gold is found
in Wyoming - and I should know because I found
many of the deposits and those I didn't find, I visited
and explored. 

A prospector from North Carolina used this book and
my book on Gemstones to find diamonds in both
Colorado and North Carolina. He sold some of the
diamonds for a few $thosand.

This book, on Amazon, is 377 pages and
gives you GPS coordinates to many gold
deposits and tells you many places to
explore. I even found several deposits that
have drilled resources containing gold
and silver deposits that are currently
worth $millions, some with $hundreds
of millions, and a few with $billions!

Want some gemstones - this book will tell you where to
look in the Wyoming-Colorado-Montana region. 

My first Kindle Book - sorry about the
price. Yes, I increased the
price on this because it has so much
information and took me several years to
research. But the price is nothing
compared to the information.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Finding Gold Nuggets

Looking for gold in old, abandoned, mining districts - the old prospectors left a lot of gold along
in the abandoned mines and also missed many deposits along structural trends.
Gold nuggets have always attracted the interest of prospectors since the first recorded gold discovery in the US in North Carolina in 1799, when nuggets were found on Little Meadow Creek at what later became known as the Reed gold mine. The largest reported nugget from this area weighed 247.6 troy ounces. Little Meadow Creek produced so many nuggets that it became known as ‘the potato patch’ in reference to the large nuggets.

Not long after gold was found in North Carolina, gold was discovered in Georgia. A rush to Dahlonega, Georgia, in 1829 resulted in discovery of 500 gold placers and mines. Nuggets of 54, 42, 40, 35, 26, 25, 19, 18, 15, 11, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2 troy ounces being recovered in Gilmer, Habersham, White, Cherokee and Lumpkin Counties.

Gold nuggets from Julian Creek, Alaska
The largest gold nugget found in Alaska was discovered in 1998 in Swift Creek near Ruby in central Alaska. The softball-size nugget, known as the Centennial nugget, weighed 294.1 troy ounces. Another large nugget recovered on Long Creek near Ruby weighed 46 ounces. Large nuggets (182, 107, 97, 95 and 84-troy ounces) were also found on Anvil Creek near Nome, western Alaska. In northern Alaska, nuggets of 146, 137, 61, and 55-troy-ounces were recovered in the Hammond River in the Brooks Range near Wiseman. In the same region, a 42-ounce nugget was recovered in Nolan Creek in 1994. The Gaines Nugget (122-troy-ounces), was found in the Kuskokwim Mountains of southwestern Alaska near McGrath in 1985 and several nuggets weighing up to 11 ounces, were recovered on Julian Creek in the Kuskokwim in 1988. Another large nugget (the Chicken Nugget) was found in 1983 on Wade Creek near Chicken in eastern Alaska that weighed 56.75-troy-ounces. And a nugget of 56-ounces was found on Dome Creek near Tolovana in central Alaska with a 52-ounce nugget was found on Lucky Gulch (Valdez Creek) near Denali in central Alaska.

Large nuggets recovered from Montana at California Gulch near Phillipsburg in the southwestern part of the state include a football-size nugget that weighed 612.5-troy ounces was recovered from California Gulch in 1902. This was followed by discovery of a 77-troy-ounce nugget from the same gulch. The largest nugget found in Colorado weighed 160-troy-ounces. The nugget was discovered Farncomb Hill at the head of the French Gulch placer near Breckenridge in 1887.

The largest nuggets in the US are from California. At Carson Hill in Calaveras County, a nugget weighing 2,340-troy ounces was recovered in 1854: it is also the largest found in the US. Another water worn nugget of 648-troy ounces was found at Magalia, California in 1859. These were too large to transport any distance in a stream and likely eroded from a proximal vein.

Fragile gold nugget attached to rounded pebble recovered from Snow
Gulch at Donlin Creek, Alaska
But it is hard to compete with Australia when it comes to nuggets. Some giant Australian nuggets include the Welcome Stranger of 2,217-ounces found in 1858 at Bakery Hill in Victoria. The Welcome Stranger was found near the town of Moliagul in Victoria in eluvium, and reported by some sources to have weighed 2,316-troy ounces. Other sources indicate the nugget weighed 2,380-ounces and 2,284 ounces. No matter what it weight, it was a very large piece of gold.

A 286 kg or 9,195-troy ounce nugget (this weight was the combined weight of the gold and quartz) was enclosed in quartz matrix and mined from a vein in the Star of Hope mine and was the size of a man. It became known as the Holterman nugget. This giant nugget was discovered in 1872 near Hill End on the side of Hawkins Hill in New South Wales, Australia. The amount of gold in this gold-quartz nugget was suggested to be 3,000 to 5,000 troy ounces.

A few months later, a larger gold mass was found in the same mine and had an estimated content of 5,000 ounces. However, this mass was broken up underground so that it could be more easily recovered. The Hawkins Hill gold deposits are very rich and yield considerable gold in Nuggety Gully adjacent to the lode (Hausel and Hausel, 2011).

Nuggets found in Arizona are small compared to Alaska and California and possibly is due to the lack of active streams in Arizona. But, there are placers known for nuggets including Arizona’s ‘Potato Patch’ at Rich Hill in the Weaver Mountains northwest of Phoenix. Another area known for nuggets is Greaterville south of Tucson in the Santa Rita Mountains. Nuggets in the Greaterville placers include one of 37 ounces. In the Weaver Mountains, samples of quartz with visible gold are found. Nuggets are also reported in the Bradshaw Mountains and in placers along Lynx Creek, French Creek, Big Bug Creek, the upper Hassayampa River, the Groom placers, and at Black Canyon (Hausel, 2019 - in preparation).

Gold from Rock Creek, Wyoming

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Gold Prospecting

Note visible gold (distinct yellow) surrounded by pyrite (brassy to silver 
metallic material). Core from the Copper King gold-copper mine, Wyoming.
My latest book 'Gold in Arizona' is now available. It is amazing how many gold deposits there are in Arizona, many sitting idle and many possible extensions of known gold deposits that have been overlooked. Every time I research gold deposits, I am so impressed by how many possibilities there are out there - hundreds and hundreds! My suggestion for those who are new at prospecting (or even been around for many years) is to start looking in known gold mining districts. Those old miners went for the obvious deposits and left a lot of good stuff. Just follow veins and gossans along trend and look for extensions.

Looking to find gold? You've come to the right place. After finding many gold anomalies over the years, mapping gold districts and gold mines, found I was able to identify some gold deposits including a major gold district that was described by one newspaper as having commercial gold mineralization, and also finding a world-class gold deposit with 6 other geologists, I decided to share my experience with prospectors! This latter deposit, known as the Donlin Creek gold deposit in Alaska, is one of the 10 largest gold deposits ever found in all of human history! We were even awarded recognition by the largest gold prospecting and mining association in the world - the Canadian PDAC for our discovery in 1988!

Remember those guys on Gold Rush? Yes, they were finding a lot of gold - a hundred ounces, a thousand ounces, a couple of tiny diamonds. We found more than 40 million ounces of gold, and also a couple of diamond deposits and even some world-class gemstone deposits - but - unlike the Gold Rush guys, I didn't get to keep any of my diamonds or gold - because of who I worked for. Yes, unlike the Fauci CDC gang, I worked for that part of government which thought it was unethical and a conflict of interest to take out patents and rake in $Billions after being paid by tax payers. And there is a good reason for this - imagine, getting all that money after you spread a virus around the world! But am I angry - heck no - I knew what I was getting into. Besides, I received a priceless education and if I had all those $billions, what would I do? Well, I would buy a 4-wheel drive truck with air conditioning, a nice AR-15 rifle, a small cabin in the mountains, and then I would give the rest to charity.

Gold in Arizona - A book about gold deposits in Arizona and where to find them.
Anyway, after hunting gold for more than 30 years, finding the yellow metal for mining companies and the State of Wyoming, I've decided to let you know about gold and other valuable treasures so, I've put together ideas on where to find gold. I published books on gold, diamonds, gemstones that will take you right to the source using GPS coordinates. Over the years I published hundreds of papers along with the books and currently, I'm working on another book on Gold in Arizona where there are a lot of very interesting gold deposits - so please watch for my new book on Arizona when it comes out on Amazon in 2017.

Rock foliation in the Archean age Miners Delight formation metagreywacke
along Rock Creek in the South Pass greenstone belt, provide excellent
natural riffles to trap gold where they crosscut the Rock Creek placer.
One of the state's I did a lot of work in was Wyoming. Wyoming is a strange anomaly. It should be filled with gold based on its geology - it has a continental core known as a craton with some greenstone belts and the craton has been partially destroyed by a very, active igneous system known as the Yellowstone Caldera. This region should be dripping in gold. Greenstone belts are well known in places like Canada and Australia for all of the gold they produce - so why not Wyoming? And the Absaroka volcanics surrounding the Yellowstone caldera contains all kinds of volcanic rocks that should also have gold - where has it gone? There are some scattered gold deposits in the greenstone belts in Wyoming, some large paleoplacer gold deposits, and a few porphyry copper deposits and gold deposits in the Absaroka Mountains, but little gold has ever been reported in Yellowstone. I would bet that Yellowstone is filled with gold, but it is illegal to prospect for gold in that region. Wyoming should have a lot of gold but it historically produced 50 to 200 times less gold than all of its surrounding neighbors (except Nebraska), yet it has more favorable geology for gold. This suggests there are still some major gold deposits that are hidden in Wyoming.

Take for instance the Copper King, the Carissa, the Wolf, Rattlesnake Hills, Seminoe Mountains, Ferris-Haggarty, Puzzler Hill, Kurtz-Chatterton, Mineral Hill, Black Buttes, Bear Lodge Mountains, Dickie Springs-Oregon Buttes and the copper porphyries in the Absaroka mountains. These areas all contain some gold and likely hide a few million+ ounce gold deposits. But why would Wyoming try to keep these deposits from you and me? I have some ideas, but I will let you come to your own conclusions. Other places I have been looking for gold include Alaska, Arizona, Australia, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota. 

Gold in milky quartz vein material made as inlay in this match
box apparently owned by the Lost Dutchman. 
Some prospectors look for gold and find nothing, others find a little gold or other treasure: maybe ruby, sapphire, gem garnet, diamond, platinum, chromian diopside, palladium or some other valuable metal or mineral. I found all of these in Wyoming; and while prospecting for diamonds in California my gold pan touched some gold, chromian diopside, sapphire and a beautiful sapphire look alike known as benitoite. Diamonds were also found in gold placers in California by others (Hausel, 1998). Others catch a incurable case of 'gold fever' or 'diamond fever' such that they will give up everything - their homes, jobs and common sense just to search for gold. Some are so taken by the fever that they are exposed to scams and con-men who take whatever worldly possessions are left. 

If you want to get rich - learn a little about gold prospecting, geology from a good prospector or field geologist, and learn something about contracts and marketing. Personally, I found $billions in mineral deposits, but unfortunately, didn't learn anything about contracts or marketing - so yes, I never made anything more than wages and all of the minerals I could carry in my back pack. But I had a great time in the wilds.

There are many types of gold deposits to a geologist - hydrothermal, mesothermal, epithermal, replacement, etc., but to prospectors, there are only two types: placer and lode (Hausel, 2001, 2010). Famous placer deposits include Nome and Flat, Alaska, and Alder Gulch, Montana. Examples of lode deposits include the Mother Lode, California and the great Homestake mine in South Dakota.

There is not always a clear distinction between lode and placer gold deposits. For instance, the great Witwatersrand gold deposits in South Africa, the most productive in the world, are classified geologically as paleoplacers. Because they occur in brittle, consolidated rock (mined to depths of greater than 13,000 feet), most prospectors would consider these to be lode deposits. However, geologists classify the great Rand deposits as fossil (paleo) placers, since the gold was deposited in streams and rivers more than 2.5 billion years ago and now the rocks deposited by the former rivers and streams are preserved as hard, consolidated rock ledges.

Eluvial gold typically sits on top of a vein or lode. Eluvial deposits are restricted in size but may be enriched in gold. A
lode may not be exposed at the surface, but if you are finding gold-bearing quartz in alluvium, a vein is likely hidden 
under the alluvial (eluvial) cover. Such deposits are common in Arizona, though few of the eluvial-alluvial deposits have
been explored in detail in a search for the underlying lodes. In Wyoming, there are likely some giant gold deposits under
eluvium and alluvium near South Pass. 

Another not so clear distinction may arise with eluvial deposits. Eluvial deposits are essentially composed of detrital material weathered in place from a nearby (often underlying) source. Gold from an eluvial deposit would show little or no evidence of transportation. Since eluvial deposits are unconsolidated, some prospectors would consider them placers, even though they may directly overlie a lode. There are many examples of eluvial gold in Arizona. The arid environment is favorable for eluvial deposits due to the lack of active streams and - where there is eluvial gold, there is lode gold in the immediate area - something every prospector needs to keep in mind. Eluvial means that the material essentially eroded in place or from a nearby source area. In Arizona, there are many placer, alluvial and eluvial gold occurrences in streams, conglomerates and fanglomerates.

Paleoplacer gold, uranium and diamond deposit from the Snowy Range in
the Medicine Bow Mountains, Wyoming. Note the rock is very hard and
massive, yet it contains many rounded pebbles deposited in streams more
than 2 billion years ago. Uranium, thorium, gold and even diamonds have
been recovered from these rocks in Wyoming. 
Placer deposits
Placers consist of detrital gold and other valuable minerals transported in streams or by wave action to be concentrated with other heavy minerals known as black sands. If you have ever panned for gold, you are familiar with black sands. Black sands consist of dark opaque minerals with greater than average specific gravity, which may include magnetite, pyroxene, amphibole, ilmenite, garnet, sphene, chromite and monazite, as well as some rare light-colored minerals with relatively high specific gravity such as cassiterite and scheelite. If you ever panned near Wilson Bar or Wilson Gulch at South Pass, Wyoming, you may have found all of this heavy, nagging, white to brown quartz that was impossible to pan out. Well, it probably wasn't quartz. With a shortwave ultraviolet light, this heavy quartz likely will fluoresce blue-white simply because it was not quartz, but instead is scheelite, a tungsten ore found in some of the gold ore at the Burr and Hidden Hand mines (Hausel, 2009). When found,on public land, placers can often be claimed under the 1872 mining law. But if you want the lode under the placer, you better look at filing a lode claim too.

Take a close look at this sample. It was one of many found by 
field trip attendees on my past field trips to South Pass. 
Everything you see that is gold colored in the rock is gold.
This was found at the Carissa mine. 
Other minerals of potential economic interest with relatively high specific gravity may occur in gold placers such as cassiterite, scheelite and a host of gemstones including ruby, sapphire, gem-garnet, diamond, platinum, and palladium. While prospecting for diamonds in the Laramie Mountains in southeastern Wyoming, several samples with trace amounts of ruby and sapphire were recovered along with heavy minerals (Hausel and others, 1988; Hausel, 1998). These were eroded from nearby, undiscovered, corundum (sapphire, ruby) mica schists and gneisses. How do you tell if you have ruby or sapphire in your gold pan? Look at crystal habit. The habit is the common form of the crystal. Ruby and sapphire form hexagonal crystals that are bounded by two pinacoids (basically flat surfaces).

While prospecting for diamonds in the Sierra Nevada of California, I found sapphires and benitoite near Poker Flat. And one prospector (Paul Boden) found a couple of excellent gem-quality octahedral diamonds while searching for gold on Cortez Creek in the Medicine Bow Mountains, Wyoming, and another prospector (Frank Yassai) found several diamonds in Rabbit Creek, Colorado while prospecting for gold.
Another sample collected on my field trips for the public. 
Visible gold is seen in every vug in the piece of quartz found
at the Carissa mine at South Pass. So what did the State do?
This likely multi-billion dollar gold deposit was purchased by
the State of Wyoming, withdrawn, and placed within the 
South Pass City historic site where the state now collects 
nothing for all of that gold. 

During erosion of bedrock, these heavy minerals mix with abundant light-colored, glassy, transparent to opaque minerals with low to average specific gravity such as quartz, apatite, feldspar, and mica. Along with these, minerals with high specific gravity are slowly moved in streams with moderate to high water velocity. The sediment carrying capacity of a stream diminishes with decreased velocity. The heavy minerals concentrate by settling out where diminished velocity occurs; such areas are marked by a distinct increase in black sands. Heavy minerals tend to concentrate at the bottom of a stream along the leading edge of stream meanders, behind obstructions (i.e., rocks, cracks in bedrock) and at waterfalls. Since many streams lack sufficient velocity to carry gold for any great distance, much of the gold in these streams (particularly where it is concentrated in pay streaks) is probably transported during flash flooding events or during heavy spring runoff.

The distances heavy minerals can be transported are not known with any accuracy. Some minerals can be transported great distances. For example, because diamond is 6000 to 8000 times harder than any other mineral and is not very heavy (specific gravity of 3.52 compared to 2.87 for quartz), there are cases where transport distances for diamonds has exceeded 600 miles. In southern Africa, diamonds are found in kimberlite pipes, in stream and river placers and in extremely rich beach placers along the west coast of the continent.

Such great transportation distances for gold are not possible. Gold is too heavy (specific gravity of 15 to 19.3), so when found in streams it is thought to have been derived from a nearby source. In some unusual cases, gold may be transported greater than normal distances while in solution. In Alaska, geologist Paul Graff identified gold that had crystallized in nuggets downstream from nearby lode deposits. Maximum transportation distances for gold in solution is unknown.

The color change (upper arrows) more than 1 foot above the gold pan (circled) mark the site of a pay streak in Smith Gulch discovered by prospectors Hank Hudspeth and Buddy Presgrove. This streak was produced during a flash flooding or unusually high spring runoff. A second pay streak was found at the base of the open cut near the standing water (lower arrow). Even though this placer was located in a dry drainage when mined, it was immediately down slope from several lode deposits that provided a favorable site for gold concentration. At this point, the prospectors had not yet reached bedrock, where there is likely another pay streak. 
Flash flooding events appear to be important in forming pay streaks of gold and diamonds. Pay streaks, or lenses of gold-enriched gravel, are often found in zones of coarser-grained pebbles and cobbles. The pay streaks may be scattered over one or more intervals in a vertical column of gravel.

Schematic showing development of meander. Where the stream starts to meander, water velocity decreases & minerals with higher specific gravity concentrate (stippled areas). Through time, the meander may mature, leaving deposits on the inside banks as the stream migrates. Material in the stream as well as the adjacent bank material (which may be high and dry after episodes of flooding and high water) will contain heavy minerals & possibly gold and diamond. 

Where meanders occur in streams, gold may concentrate on the inside of the initial curve in the channel, as well as in the bank (point bar) on the upstream part of the inner meander where gold was deposited in the past. As an example, one of my favorite places to take students in the past in my prospecting courses was near Bobbie Thompson adjacent to a historical gold placer in Douglas Creek, Wyoming. Here the bank gravel sits away from the active stream, but contains enough gold to keep the interest of the students.

Gold Road Lode vein in northwestern
In addition to modern placers, some regions contain paleoplacers. Places like Wyoming and the Witwatersrand of South Africa are famous for paleoplacers scattered over large regions. In the Witwatersrand, the paleoplacers are so important, that they have produced about 50% of all of the gold mined in human history. Today, they have the deepest mines on earth. In Wyoming, most paleoplacers have either not been prospected, or only have been cursory examined at best, even though it is a safe bet that economic gold deposits occurs in some of these. Paleoplacers are simply fossil placers that were deposited by streams or by wave action along prehistoric seas in the geologic past. In most cases, these may not lie anywhere near an active stream or sea today; thus, mining would either require transporting water to the paleoplacer, or transporting material from the paleoplacer to water.

Wayne Sutherland, WSGS geologist, examines paleoplacer at Dickie Springs to the south of South Pass. Note all of the rounded boulders and cobbles typically found in active streams and rivers. 

Where the paleoplacer consists of relatively unconsolidated gravel, it can be mined in a manner similar to a sand and gravel operation. If the operation is located near a road, the sand and gravel by-product can be used in road construction. Conversely, gold can be extracted as a by-product of sand and gravel operations. For example, gold was found in several sand and gravel operations and placers adjacent to Interstate 80 in southern Wyoming (Hausel and others, 1993). Where paleoplacers are extremely old and well consolidated, such as in the Witwatersrand, the gold is typically mined underground.

Gold recovered the dry paleoplacer near
Dickie Springs. The gold suggests a 
hidden lode somewhere between this site,
and the exposed South Pass greenstone belt 
to the north. Foster Howland with Hecla Mining
 explored this area & identified a good target - 
a sulfide-bearing iron formation at depth that
could contains gold. The project was terminated
before the work was completed. 

In the South Pass greenstone belt in western Wyoming, giant paleoplacers surround the region at McGraw Flats to the north and Oregon Buttes-Dickie Springs to the south. And there are smaller ones in between. The southern paleoplacer was reported by Love and others (1978) of the US Geological Survey to contain more than 28.5 million ounces of gold, yet most of this area is unexplored. Along the northern flank of the Seminoe Mountains greenstone belt, the Miracle Mile paleoplacer is unexplored even though myself and field assistants recovered gold from the dry paleoplacers nearly everywhere we sampled. This paleoplacer was discovered by prospectors Charlie and Donna Kortes, also contains dozens of G10 pyrope garnets that indicate somewhere in this region is a very rich diamond deposit or deposits. Keep your eyes out for diamonds when looking in any placer or paleoplacer! Paleoplacers in the Medicine Bow and Sierra Madre Mountains in southern Wyoming yielded some gold and diamonds, but are rich in uranium and thorium.

Lode deposits
One might think of lode deposits as veins or other consolidated rocks that contain anomalously high quantities of metal (e.g., gold). Many lodes occur as distinct quartz veins. These may form linear to tabular masses of quartz within country rock. One important characteristic of many productive veins is the presence of sulfides, such as pyrite (fool’s gold) or arsenopyrite (arsenic-pyrite).

Classic lode. This auriferous quartz vein in metatonalite at the Mary Ellen
mine at South Pass was offset along a small, reverse fault. Lodes are considered
in situ deposits in hard rock
When pyrite oxidizes, it produces sulfuric acid and rust (a massive sulfide deposit of pyrite will smell like rotten eggs, and a massive arsenopyrite deposit will smell like garlic, and both can have considerable gold and silver), resulting in a gossan at the surface and a potential supergene zone (a mineral deposit, or enrichment, formed by descending fluids) a few tens of feet below the surface. Gossans are the oxidized sulfide-rich parts of veins and other mineral deposits that have a distinct, rusty appearance. These gossans offer excellent visual guides in the search for gold and other mineral deposits. In any historic mining district, you will often find dozens, if not hundreds, of old prospect pits dug into the rusty rocks. Prospectors learned to recognize gossans as guides to ore deposits.

Gossan at Red Mountain in the San Juan Mountains, 
southern Colorado. Note all of the red to light 
yellow-colored rock found nearly everywhere in the photo. 
These are gossans that contain significant amounts 
of gold and silver. 
Gossans are good places to search for high-grade gold in lodes. The recognition of gossans in the field can be very helpful to the prospector. For example, gossans produced from the leaching of pyrite are typically very rusty (reddish-brown) in appearance; gossans produced from arsenopyrite are typically greenish-yellow. Gossans are so important that an entire book was written on their different characteristics (Blanchard, 1968).

Large gossans that cover several acres may be situated over giant sulfide-enriched veins or massive sulfide deposits. These may contain gold and/or valuable base metals (copper, zinc, lead, etc). One very large gossan in the Hartville uplift in eastern Wyoming is so distinct that I ended up naming it “Gossan Hill”—it overlies a massive sulfide deposit. One of the better places to look for specimen-grade gold samples is within gossans containing boxworks. Boxworks is a distinct vuggy and rusty rock.

This specimen of boxworks exhibits pore spaces formed where sulfide minerals
use to be. The sulfides were leached and removed. Gold, which often is
 found in pyrite, is inert, and may remain in place within the boxworks, while
some of the iron from the pyrite stains the rock and much of the sulfur is
 carried down dip. At Bradley Peak in the Seminoe Mountains, I found nearly a
dozen of these samples and started a gold rush in 1981. Even this area
remains essentially unexplored to this day!
Some faults and associated breccias may also be mineralized. Breccias are zones of broken rock containing distinct angular rock clasts. When found, gold may occur in the matrix of the strongly limonite-stained gossan surrounding rock fragments. Other faults, known as shears, may also be mineralized. These shear zones consist of granulated rock. Within many shears, gold is often found associated with rust-stained quartz. Many shear zones, particularly those in greenstone belts, have been quite productive for gold. In some gold mining districts in the world, nearly every foot of the exposed shear zone has been prospected at the surface.

A breccia (angular fragments) cemented by quartz - a good place to check for gold. Such breccias are formed in faults or by the release of gas under pressure which produces a breccia pipe. Note the difference between the breccia with angular rock fragments (left) and the Tertiary-age (about 30 million years old) paleoplacer with rounded pebbles (below left) and the stretched pebble conglomerate (very old paleoplacer nearly 2 billion years old) (below right) All three can contain gold. 

Consolidated conglomerate 

Ore shoots
Many veins have sporadic gold values with localized ore shoots enriched in gold. Some of these shoots may be enriched 100 to 1000 times the average value of the vein. The challenge given the prospector is how to recognize these shoots. 

Ore shoots can be structurally or chemically controlled. Where pressures and/or temperatures dramatically dropped during hydrothermal mineralizing events, structurally controlled ore shoots occur. Chemically controlled ore shoots may occur where there was a chemical reaction between the mineralizing fluids and country rock. Any where an igneous rock (hot) comes in contact with a reactive rock (such as limestone) is a great place to find gold and other minerals.

Paleoplacer with stretched pebbles from the Medicine Bow Mountains, WY
These ancient stream deposits were later deformed under great pressure
that flattened and stretched the pebbles in the rock. Such rock sometimes
contain gold, uranium and even diamonds - basically any type of heavy
mineral that would have been carried in rivers more than 2.5 billion years
ago before the earth had any appreciable oxygen.
When searching for structurally controlled ore shoots, it is necessary to look for places where one would expect the pressure to have decreased along vein systems. Some structurally controlled ore shoots are found in folds. Many fold closures in gold-bearing veins will be enriched in gold. Another type of structurally controlled ore shoot includes vein intersections. Some intersections of gold-bearing veins have been dramatically enriched in gold.

The Carissa mine at South Pass. The shear zone in the background is rich in gold [average grade reported at 0.3 opt Au, much higher than the ore currently recovered from mines in Nevada (0.02 to 0.15 opt Au) (opt Au= ounces per ton of gold)]. Although not visible to the untrained eye, this giant gold-bearing structure lies in a large fold in the shear. The ore zone is 970 feet long, nearly 1,000 feet wide and continues to a minimum depth of 930 feet (and likely a few thousand feet deep). The property was withdrawn by the State of Wyoming even though it very likely hosts a few million ounces of gold worth a few $billion. 

There are many other types of structurally and chemically controlled ore shoots. For example, while prospecting in the Gold Hill district in the Medicine Bow Mountains of Wyoming, I noted gold was almost exclusively found in veins adjacent to amphibolite. The same veins in quartzite were unproductive. Additional information on ore shoots can be found in various books on economic geology and ore deposits (see Earll and others, 1976; Evans, 1980; and Peters, 1978).

What does gold look like?
Most people have a difficult time identifying gold at first. Gold is very heavy! It is 15 to 19 times heavier than water, it is malleable (it will easily scratch with a pocket knife), and has a distinct gold color that does not tarnish. Most people mistaken mica, pyrite (fool's gold), or chalcopyrite (copper-fool's gold) for real gold. These latter minerals are brittle and will crush to a fine greenish black powder. But don't be fooled. Some pyrite (fool's gold) may contain up to 30 parts per million gold hidden in the crystal structure (about an ounce per ton). To test for this gold, you will either have to assay, or powder the pyrite and pan it for gold. And chalcopyrite may have as much as 20 parts per million gold hidden in its crystal structure. 

Large specimen of mica (muscovite) shows a mirror-like surface, bronze-color, and will break into tiny pieces by a pocket knife unlike gold. Tiny mica flakes will easily move around in a gold pan while panning. As you pan, if the gold material stays flat on the surface of your pan and is difficult to move, it may be gold. However, if it moves easily, rotates or spins in the water, it is not gold. Mica is hard to pan out of a gold pan simply because it is essentially 2-dimensional and will cut through the water like a knife. 

Gold in the pan is angular, heavy and a brightly yellow-gold color. It does not have mirror-like surfaces and will stay put in the pan. Pyrite will crush to a greenish black powder and the same with chalcopyrite (photo of gold from Dickie Springs, Wyoming courtesy of Dr. J.D. Love). 

The search for productive gold deposits requires a good background in prospecting and economic geology as well as some luck. However, there are literally hundreds of occurrence and deposits in nearly every state in the West including Alaska. The best way to begin prospecting is to get a book that describes the gold mines and placers and visit these as I have found there are always many deposits near old gold mines that have been overlooked. This is how I found more than a hundred gold deposits and anomalies. An understanding of geology also helps: I found an entirely new gold district (Rattlesnake Hills in the early 1980s) that was missed by everyone else, simply because of the geology. It had very favorable geology and is currently being explored and drilled by several companies even though I discovered this district nearly 30 years ago! I was also on the discovery team of the giant Donlin Creek gold deposit in Alaska. Part of our discovery team (Rob Retherford, Bruce Hikock, Toni Hinderman) had recognized that some place gold at Donlin Creek was like corn flakes, very angular. Paul Graff visited the area with Mark Bronson and Richard Garnett and WestGold decided to explore this region. I was hired to map the deposit - it was a major discovery that includes more than $42 billion in gold! Yet this discovery occurred all the way back in 1988 and the gold deposit, considered one of the largest in the world, still is not being mined (but is under exploration).

So, get hold of books in your area that describe where gold deposits are found. Pick out the exciting areas and look at the deposit described in a book and look around for what the old prospectors missed (they missed a lot!). Search for publications at your local geological survey (usually they have a few good publications). If you are in Wyoming, I published numerous books that are available on the Internet, the University of Wyoming bookstore and the Wyoming Geological Survey. In particular, get copies of Bulletin 68 and 70 and Report of Investigations 44. If in Arizona, there are likely hundreds of lode gold deposits that have been missed because of so many eluvial placers with no reported gold source (the gold came from somewhere!). Colorado and California have hundreds of possibilities, but personally, I would look in Arizona, Wyoming, Montana and Alaska. For additional information on gold, gold in Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and South Dakota, watch for other blogs and keep track of my GOLD and Consulting websites as I will periodically update these. Myself and my son (Eric) who is also a geologist, are currently writing a couple of books on gold and we will tell you exactly where to look.

"Old mines never die, they are just forgotten". And enormous gossan exposed at the United Verde mine in Arizona. This property was mined for copper, gold, silver and zinc over many decades and then it was closed. Was it mined out? No - few mines are ever mined out. It is just that the economics prior to the 1960s made it uneconomic to mine. But at today's high gold prices (compare $1700+ per ounce to $35 per ounce) many of these old mines are likely economic. It is reported that the former miners did not recover the low-grade zinc and copper ore that likely contains more than a million ounces of gold. Additionally, after examining the aerial photos over this region, it is apparent that there is a 10+ mile gossan that likely is underlain by several massive sulfide deposits that remain unexplored. Remember, old mining districts often contain many opportunities. 

Fisher dredge on Rock Creek, South Pass, Wyoming showing unmined ground
While you are looking for gold deposits, remember, there are probably just as many if not more gemstone and diamond deposits that have been missed by prospectors and geologists. I recently found a major field of cryptovolcanic structures that are likely diamondiferous kimberlites sitting right along Interstate 80 west of the State Capitol of Wyoming. With a good arm, one could probably hit some of these with a rock next to the interstate. These remain unexplored and were just discovered a couple of years ago! 

Some of these are so obvious, that it makes one wonder what everyone has been doing. Take for instance the Cedar Ridge opal deposit. Probably the largest opal deposit in North America was sitting right on the side of the main highway to Riverton, Wyoming and exposed in numerous road cuts in an oil and gas field and in a pipeline - but totally overlooked. Even after the announcement of this major field in 2003, it still remains pretty much unexplored! This deposit contains opals in road cuts that weigh more than 100,000 carats and has common, fire and precious opal and some spectacular 'Sweetwater' agates. How anyone could have overlooked this, is beyond comprehension. But it sat there for several million years, untouched, other than a few brief mentions of the presence of opalized rock in old USGS reports! 

Then there is likely the two largest colored gemstone deposits on earth that I found at Grizzly Creek and Raggedtop Mountain in the Laramie Range. How these can remain essentially untouched is beyond my understanding. At one deposit, I found gem iolite as large as 24,000+ carats with pieces in the outcrop that likely weigh hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of carats. The other deposit may host as much as 2.7 trillion carats based on past geological reports (that missed the fact that these were gemstones). Just imagine how valuable these deposits are even if you mined them, cut the stones, sold them and only made $1 profit! The primary gemstone, iolite, can be cut for $0.5/carat and is sold for $15 to 150/carat. Nice profit! For those of you who wonder - I do not have claims on any of these, it was considered unethical when I was employed at the WGS (Although, today I am a consultant).

Stacked pay gravel on Rock Creek placer, South Pass.
Note the distinct clay and silt false bedrock layer. The
gold occurs in the gravels above and below the false
bedrock. The clay and silt represent a very dry period. 
There are many placer and lode deposits to be found, although the discovery of entirely new mining districts is rare. In all my years as an exploration geologist, I have only been able to find one new gold district. However, I have found many gold deposits within known districts and you should be able to do the same armed with a little knowledge.

Some of the better areas to search for gold are historical mining districts. In my experience, it is rare that any ore deposit has been completely mined out. Many historical and modern mines still contain workable mineral deposits as well as nearby deposits that have been overlooked. Many well-known giant mining companies of the past were notorious for overlooking significant ore deposits and ignoring others. For example, AMAX explored a large porphyry copper-silver-gold-lead-zinc deposit in the Absaroka Mountains southeast of Yellowstone. They focused on the prophyry and ignored nearby vein deposits that assayed >100 opt silver! Thus, one could potentially make a living just following up on the exploration projects of many of these past giants [as well as some projects of present giants]. 

Pyrite (fool's gold). Note the brassy color (not gold colored). 
Pyrite is brittle and the upper photo shows crystalline (cubic) 
pyrite. Upper specimen from the Lost Muffler gold prospect, 
Rattlesnake Hills and lower specimen from the Pickwick 
vein, Kirwin district, Wyoming. But don't throw them away: 
pyrite can contain a few hundred parts per million to potentially
2,000 ppm (64 ounces per ton) hidden in its crystal structure! 

Some References 
Blanchard, R., 1968, Interpretation of leached outcrops: Nevada Bureau of Mines Bulletin 66, 196 p. 
Earll, F.N., and others, 1976, Handbook for small mining enterprises: Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Bulletin 99, 218 p. 
Evans, A.M., 1980, An introduction to ore geology: Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 231 p. 
Hausel, W.D., 1989, The Geology of Wyoming's Precious Metal Lode and Placer Deposits: Wyoming Geological Survey Bulletin 68, 248 p. 
Hausel, W.D., 1991, Economic Geology of the South Pass Granite-Greenstone Belt, Wind River Mountains, Western Wyoming.Geological Survey of Wyoming Report of Investigations 44, 129 p. 
Hausel, W.D., 1997, Copper, lead, zinc, molybdenum, and associated metal deposits of Wyoming: Wyoming State Geological Survey Bulletin 70, 229 p. 
Hausel, W.D., 1998, Diamonds and mantle source rocks in the Wyoming Craton, with a discussion of other U.S. occurrences: Wyoming State Geological Survey Report of Investigations 53, 93 p. 
Hausel, W.D., 2001, Placer and lode gold deposits: International California Mining Journal, v. 71, no. 2, p. 7-34. 
Hausel, W.D., 2009, Gems, Minerals and Rocks of Wyoming. A Guide for Rock Hounds, Prospectors & Collectors. Booksurge, 175 p. 
Hausel, W.D., 2010, How to find gold: Lost Treasure Magazine, July, p. 56-60. 
Hausel, W.D., Marlatt, G.G., Nielsen, E.L., and Gregory, R.W., 1993, Study of metals and precious stones in southern Wyoming: Wyoming State Geological Survey Mineral Report MR 93-1, 54 p. 
Hausel, W.D., Sutherland, W.M., and Gregory, E.B., 1988, Stream-sediment sample results in search of kimberlite intrusives in southeastern Wyoming: Wyoming State Geological Survey Open File Report 88-11, 11 p. (5 plates) (revised 1993). 
Hausel, W.D., and Sutherland, W.M., 2000, Gemstones and other unique minerals and rocks of Wyoming—A field guide for collectors: Wyoming State Geological Survey Bulletin 71, 268 p. 
Peters, W.C., 1978, Exploration and mining geology: John Wiley and Sons, New York, 696 p. 

Specimen of chalcopyrite in quartz (with green malachite and silver-colored specularite) from the Kurtz-Chatterton mine (a great, unexplored, gold prospect) from the Sierra Madre, Wyoming. The chalcopyrite is the brassy-orange material in the specimen. Some chalcopyrite can contain as much as 20 ppm Au (a considerable amount of gold equal to about 0.7 ounces per ton) hidden in the crystal structure along with some silver. 

Just hit a rock and you will smell garlic? No, it was not that Italian prospector standing up wind from you - it was most likely the smell of arsenic from the arsenopyrite that you just hit with your rock hammer. Arsenic-pyrite, or arsenopyrite, often is found around many gold or silver deposits and can hold up to 1,000 ppm gold (32 ounces per ton) hidden in its crystal structure. Whenever I find arsenopyrite, I have it assayed. Sometimes the mineral will assay high in silver, such as at South Pass. At Donlin Creek, Alaska, both arsenopyrite and stibnite yield high gold assays. Thus, arsenopyrite is a good guide to precious metals. The rock above contains considerable prismatic, silver gray metallic arsenopyrite with scorodite (reddish brown to yellow oxidized arsenopyrite). 

Cuprite (earthy red), malachite (green) and tenorite (black) from the Sunday Morning prospect, Seminoe Mountains, Wyoming. These minerals can all contain some silver and gold in their crystal structure. Malachite will emit CO2 bubbles just like soda pop when sprayed with dilute (10%) hydrochloric acid. Spray cuprite and tenorite with dilute hydrochloric acid and rub a well used rock hammer in the wet mineral and it will replace the worn parts of your hammer with native copper. 

Gold from Rock Creek at South Pass. 

Green malachite, a copper carbonate, often contains anomalous 
silver and gold detectable in assays 

Azurite (blue), tenorite (black) and cuprite (red) -
classical copper minerals. Don't make
the mistake many prospectors do - collect
these pretty minerals without having some assayed.
Copper minerals often contain gold hidden in the
mineral or replacing some copper atoms in the crystal
lattice. They also contain silver more often than not.

Not all assayers are created equal. Do some research and check on an assayer before using them.