Update on Railroad Pass, Clark County, Nevada

My investigation of that area has somewhat stalled.

I was hoping that the fluorescent properties of alunite might guide me to that mineral on the hill. It is said to be extremely difficult to identify using physical or chemical means. Unfortunately, further research says its UV characteristics are uncertain.

The alunite examples I got from Minerals Unlimited are from  Marysvale  in Piute County, Utah. Mindat confirms that the mining district there indeed has alunite.

The host rock is richly pink, possibly from feldspar. The florescence the rocks show is confusing.

I read originally that alunite fluoresces orange under LW. Another website says it glows white under SW. Another authoritative site site says yellowish-white under both SW and LA. A hardcopy book I have says alunite is not normally a fluorescent mineral but when it does, it appears white to grayish.

The problem is that the specimens I receive glow softly green under SW and not at all under LW. Some of the rocks don’t light up at all. I have one rock from the hill that also lights up green under SW but it is much brighter than my reference samples and it has an afterglow. The ones from Utah do not.

Not all minerals are well researched for all the characteristics they may possess in all localities. For example, extremely few fluorescent mineral list mention that some benitoite glows red. But some small pieces do. UV may not be helpful after all but I have found a few other things lately in my self-quarantining.

I have Castor’s well respected Minerals of Nevada in my library. He says alunite is “abundant with pyrite at Railroad Pass.” Okay, as a gold prospector I certainly know what pyrite looks like. And two Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Examination reports mention quartz and alunite veins. Another mention of quartz. While I have found only one piece! Something is wrong.

In one of those examination reports are clear directions to another site on the hill, in the opposite direction of the area I was looking at. Armed with this information, I think I am now better positioned to find some well mineralized rocks. Just wished my back and leg were getting better.

I am now in physical therapy but and not making any progress, indeed, I having set backs. Still, I will probably make it back to the hill soon. Gold fever trumps all illnesses. Even when you are only looking for colors.


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