The Gold Lady in Golden Valley, Arizona

Located now in Golden Valley, The Gold Lady is a great prospecting and metal detecting store. The Gold Lady knows her stuff and she is an unstoppable when it comes to her own detecting; she is constantly in the field and mightily protests when health prevents her from going out.

The old store was fine but this new location promises good things. The Gold Lady has been advocating the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 for some time. Although I only saw it work at her old shop, its operation looks simple with a fairly flat learning curve. It looks like a great choice for the beginning prospector. Prospecting supplies and perhaps local maps.

The Gold Lady
52 Hope Road, Suite 2
Golden Valley, AZ 86413 (Northwest of Kingman)
928-692-5035

35°13.168′ N 114°10.443′ W

Google Map link:

https://goo.gl/maps/zEhWvpgeJ9Bhq68NA

http://thegoldladystore.com

My last writeup:

The Gold Lady (internal link)

My travel list:

https://southwestrockhounding.com/sw-travel-list/

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Classifiers or Screens

Simple look at basic screens or classifiers. Uniform material makes for the best panning. Deciding how far down to screen depends on your patience and the size of the gold you are recovering. Probably small. I’ll try to put together a video that shows wet classifying, running coarse material down to fine.

In this video you’ll see regular screens and deep ones. Deep ones allow you to overfill a five gallon bucket just enough to work your material wet. They’re not meant to process more material, you really only want a screen a third full at the most when classifying.

Common Classifiers or Screens from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

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A Mystery Metal, The Whites’ GMT and the Falcon MD-20

Yesterday I went out to Lathrop Wells in Nye County looking for placer gold in featureless alluvium, possibly 240 deep where I was. I had the audio on my metal detector turned way down to save on battery life. I wasn’t listening for gold nuggets or gold in quartz that day, instead, I was reading the display on my Whites’ black sand tracker feature. It gives a numerical reading on any ground the coil is moving over. I sample when I see it go above 45, unfortunately, it only hit 42 once.

But one sandstone rock with black streaks blasted out despite the volume on the speaker being turned down. Well, I thought, that’s interesting. Aside from the possibility of gold, I wasn’t aware of any other metallic ore in this ocean of alluvium. No mining district here or any past mining activity. The signal sounded like the hot rocks I encountered everywhere in the the canyons of the forks of the American River. You get what sounds like a good signal and then you listen as the GMT cancels the signal out. I should explain.

A decent gold signal is a strong, low, mellow tone that happens each time the search coil passes over a rock. The signal remains no matter how many times the search coil goes over the target. What usually happens with a bad rock, often with an iron component, is that a signal is heard initially but that signal disappears after several passes. With each sweep the GMT is logging information to determine if a rock is ferrous or not. If so, the signal weakens and then goes away. This is called cancelling out. This rock did not cancel out. That’s what you look for with gold. Most non-metallic rocks are neutral and the GMT also passes them by without raising any signal.

The signal, however, was weak and wavy. Not good. You want to hear a steady signal, nice and low. You’ll rarely hear this. The Whites also has a probability of iron meter. It was reading at nearly 100%. Okay, I thought, this is coming home with me to figure out later. When I broke it open at home it revealed a dark material like that which it showed from the outside, hardness about three. Not attracted to a magnet, not even my super magnet. No U, no UV. Dull, off-white streak on a black streak plate. Metallic luster when freshly broken, annealed appearance in some spots with fresh breaks. Crushed and panned a piece, nothing unusual, no free gold at the macro or micro level.

To get the ID process going I mailed off a chip today by regular US mail to Kerry Day. He charges less than ten dollars for a seasoned opinion based his experience and the results produced by his electron scanning microscope and its supporting software.  I’ve written about his service many times before. I taped a small chip to my business card, put it in a normal envelope and the charge for mailing was less than $2.50.  Make sure your sample fits into a No 10 first class envelope, anything bigger might be considered a package and then mailing rates go up enormously.

My Falcon MD-20 handheld metal detector indicated that the material was non-ferrous, despite what my Whites said. Ferrous material produces a noise when an object goes away from the Falcon’s probe. Non-ferrous produces a signal as you move material toward the probe. This material only produced a signal going toward the probe, however, there are cases where a material is so strong that it may overwhelm the device and make it impossible to determine which is which. There were also some tiny gold colored spots arranged in lines here and there in the black material.  On seeing gold coloring, always assume mica or pyrite. The nice thing about the Falcon handheld and the GMT is they do not react to pyrite. Never. I have lumps of pure pyrite and both devices stay silent when moved over that nonsensical material. Pyrite is an iron associate but too weakly so. Yet the rock continued sounding off. I suspect that it was is not those gold colored specks making the noise but the black material.

Unable to resolve the difference between the two metal detectors, I gathered up the rock pieces and went back to my truck and the GMT.  I ran the coil over the rocks again. Sure enough, I hadn’t read the meter right in the field. This time the meter did not go above the halfway line, indicating something less than ferrous. The signal remained weak but still would not cancel out. Now, I just wanted to figure out what the material was, never mind that it wouldn’t be worth anything.

After further research I discovered that there are three long abandoned copper mines in the hills that drain to the wash I had been in. I still don’t know what that black material is but I am now convinced that I have a rock with copper. Not worth anything but a nice find. Those exploratory diggings are now unclaimed and the ground is on open BLM managed land. A little close to the Nevada Test Site boundary but at least a mile away. I may go exploring there to look for copper mineral specimens. Here’s a link to one mine listed at the the MRDS if you want to go:

Lucky Claim:

https://mrdata.usgs.gov/mrds/show-mrds.php?dep_id=10046589

Materials Type of material
Malachite Ore
Hematite Gangue

Fractured quartzsite with slight banding

Lathrop Wells Collecting from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

Tuff, Explosion Tuff, and a Cat

Got to get out the door quick to hound some more ground. A few words here on tuff since I am investigating a tuff formation outside of Las Vegas. See previous posts.

Tuff are rocks formed from solidified or lithified volcanic ash and rock fragments thrown out of a vent. They can be all colors and densities but a common feature are clasts, rock fragments within the tuff. Not all tuff contains clasts but this is very common.

UPDATE: November 11, 2019. Made a better video than the previous. Retains cat content.

Volcanic Tuff and Cat from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

Most of my tuff reference specimens come from here:

https://geologicalspecimensupply.com/?step=contact_information

I might have found an example of explosion tuff. This is where rocks settled onto the ash, rather than being embedded in it. Need to collect more of that, break some of it open, look for other things while I am out in the field, and on and on. . .

Another look at this possible explosion tuff and a still photo of what I am calling “The Shark”. A single, angular clast sticking out of tuff from the same area. Looks like basalt to me. Is this explosion tuff?

Explosion Tuff? from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

The Shark

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Mystery Crystals Revealed as a Mystery

Results

The results are in on those small crystals I found in tuff near Jean, Nevada. Kerry Day says they are a mystery mineral, possibly orthoclase. That’s a feldspar member, a group of rock building minerals. Although the geologic map for the area lists sanidine as being present, geologists aren’t all skilled mineralogists and sometimes small mistakes occur. Sanidine is another feldspar mineral, closely related to orthoclase.

Feldspar imparts a pink color to many granitic rocks. Feldspar minerals aren’t much collected unless they display good crystal form or come from a rare area. Like the anorthoclase found at the Mt. Erebus Volcano in Antartica.

Mindat.org says orthoclase is “a alkali feldspar intermediate between low sanidine and high albite.” Hmm. I’ll have to read up on that but in the meantime have asked Wendi at Minerals Unlimited to send me specimens of those two. I’ll put them under my microscope to compare them to what I have. Positively identifying any of these minerals by sight,  however, is really impossible.

Minerals.net has an excellent article on anorthoclase which says that distinguishing between albite, sanidine, orthoclase, and microcline requires x- ray analysis, probably X-ray diffraction. The usual visual and physical tools for identification: determining luster, hardness, cleavage or fracture, and so on, don’t matter much when minerals are quite alike. Rather, something like the percentage of potassium in a specimen may make the difference.. And you’re not going to determine that with with a field guide or anything else online. Test.

This is a labeled spectra of the crystal sample I sent Kerry Day. His conclusion:

“Mystery mineral = Not Sanidine, insufficient K. Probably Anorthoclase. (Now orthoclase, ed.) The spectrum does not fit Chabazite.”

With that comes his qualifications:

“That spectrum was created with a Cambridge S100 SEM, a XR-100-CR pin diode detector and DTSA software. X-ray counts are on the vertical axis and X-ray voltage is on the horizontal axis. For various reasons peak heights are not directly comparable.

The accelerating voltage was 25 KeV. This setting exaggerates the higher voltage peaks. Detector efficiency peaks at Ca, thus, all Ca peaks are greatly exaggerated. NA IS VERY POORLY DETECTED BY MY HARDWARE. [NA is sodium, ed. note]

Some elements create more than one peak. All elements have been labeled.

My X-ray detector cannot detect Li, Be, B, C, O, N or F. [the lighter elements, ed. note]

Uncoated specimens charge up under the beam and generate false peaks such as Al (1.49), Si (1.74), Cl (2.61) and Ni (7.47). These elements are coming from the inside of my SEM chamber. Surrounding minerals also contribute. Any element I believe to be extraneous I did not label.”

So, what do we have?

One Method For Further Testing

Calculating a mineral’s identity by its geochemical composition is a good step when the usual ID methods fail. Kerry Day uses a method called qualitative EDS analysis. A qualitative test differs from a quantitative test in that it may be less precise but it is far, far less expensive. Quantitative testing is usually only needed when publishing results in the sciences or when working in an industry with critical concerns. NASA needs quantitative, you probably don’t.

Kerry Day uses his own Scanning Electron Microscope or SEM to perform mineral identification. He writes, “When high energy electrons from a scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) bombard a mineral grain, they generate X-rays of voltages specific to the atoms being bombarded. An Energy Dispersive Spectrometer (EDS) then detects these X-rays and displays them in graph form on a computer. Interpretation of the raw graph is called Qualitative EDS analysis.”

An element-based formula can express a mineral’s chemical makeup. Like this for turquoise:

CuAl₆(PO₄)₄(OH)₈ • 4H₂O

Cu is copper, Al is aluminum, PO4 is phosphate, OH is hydroxide, and H2O is water. The subscript values indicate their proportions.

Day considers the elements reported in a sample. Relying on years of experience, he then tries to match these elements to a mineral formula. His equipment does not test for every element nor do other kinds of analytical tests but the major elements present are often enough to identify a mineral in this manner.

Day charges $8.00 for each spectrum conducted, with the peaks of the spectra indicating which element is present and the height of the peak roughly approximating its proportional abundance. His report generates a labeled-spectra which is e-mailed and which you can see above. Kerry says, “A sand-sized grain or a scraping in a gelatin capsule or taped to paper is sufficient for the this analysis.”

You might pay more for postage than the test itself if you send your material as a package. Fit your sample instead into a No. 10 envelope. The USPS should charge less than $2.50 for a first class envelope to Canada. Although Day accepts cash tucked into a sample’s envelope, you can pay for testing through his Etsy store. That will prevent customs or your shipping company from delaying your sample should they have a problem transporting money.

His website:

http://kaygeedeeminerals.com/sem-eds_service

His Etsy store, under the name KGDOLMC, is here:

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/KGDOLMC?

His selection of minerals and rocks, by the way, is wonderful. Inquire if you don’t see something you are searching for. I have bought many things from him. Back to testing.

This testing is primarily for minerals, not elements. For example, an EDS analysis of colored chips from a petrified wood sample will probably reveal the mineral quartz, the host mineral, and not the trace elements coloring the chips. In the case of pet wood, Bob Jones says these colors could come from vanadium, chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, and many more. Any of the so-called transition metals. Again, these are elements, not minerals and Day’s equipment may not pick them up. An EDS analysis may disappoint when a minerals are expected and instead undetectable trace elements produce an inconclusive report.

If known, you might include in your correspondence with Day the minerals documented to exist in your collecting area. Mindat.org might provide this for a well noted area or perhaps a list might be had from the applicable geologic quad.

What Now With My Mystery Crystals?

I’m wrapping up my efforts with the samples I collected. I’ve noted their location in a Word doc and have included portions of the Jean Quad, the geologic map of the area. Along with the test results Kerry Day provided. It’s not everyday that you find crystals that come in squares, rectangles, and sometime arrowhead shapes. It’s been fun. My mineral friend Rolph in St. David Arizona, says orthoclase is common there and brings about a sparkling character to many areas.

I’ll now store away my samples with this paperwork and go on to finding other things. Perhaps I’ll make this file available online in case the one or two feldspar specialists in the world ever decide they want to look up this occurrence. Maybe some student twenty years from now working on their Masters’ thesis. It could happen! 🙂

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Unexpected Geode Find!

Returned to my collecting area with a rock that showed interesting character but little lime/green under SW UV. Best to break it open to see if any more UV would be revealed. While I hoped for decent response, I was not expecting this rhyolite to be a geode.

Last year I collected a similar looking rock from the Armagosa Valley in Nye County, Nevada. Bryan Smalley cut it open and it was just a sad looking mix of brown rhyolite and quartz. This is now my first self-collected geode. I normally would not hunt them since I have no idea where they might be.

I am still looking for uranium occurrences and have had yet to find any. I may, though, have identified sanidine crystals in tuff so that is a good thing. I’ll be back.

Breaking it Open In The Field

Unexpected Geode Find! from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

 

Under SW UV, Along With My First Brachiopod (Shell)

Unexpected Geode Find Under Shortwave UV from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

Other

I also found my first brachiopod! Photo below:


Concrection?

I may have also discovered a concretion naturally split apart. See below.

Concretions are typically sandstone based. Those might form around a piece of a shell (limestone in nature) or a bit of calcite. My rock fizzes hardly at all, which makes me think it is not sedimentary. Bates and Jackson say concretions can also form around a leaf, bone or fossil and that concretions can derive from “fragmental volcanic rocks.” I’m still reading up on this.

Picture below is my rock and a reference sample I have from Geological Specimen Supply. That rock comes from the Tule Wash in Imperial, County, California.

Location

35.830022, -115.285060

Jean Quad

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Version 9 of the Southwest Travel List is Out!

My latest list of Places to Visit and Collect in the Southwest is the best ever.  This post may say Version 9 but I have since done Revision 10.

https://southwestrockhounding.com/sw-travel-list/

Or get it here:

Version 10, November 6,  2019

This page always has the latest version of my Places to Visit and Collect in the Southwest. (And beyond!)

.pdf (Printing and desktop work)

Version 10 , November 6, 2019

SW_Places_To_Visit_Or_Collect_10A_

 

 

 

.mobi (Kindle format for mobile devices):

Version 10, November 6, 2019 

SW Places To Visit Or Collect 10 – Tom Farley


 

 

 

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Gold Today

It’s commonly stated that there is more gold waiting to be discovered than what has been unearthed so far. That’s probably true. What’s undoubtedly truer is that gold will be microscopic, invisible gold, beyond the reach of the small scale miner.

Today’s commercial operators can profitably recover gold the size of a red blood cell, something like 5 microns in diameter. To give you an idea of scale, a human hair might be 75 microns across.

Drew Barkoff told me last year that the reason it took until the 1980s to discover the tremendous gold deposits in north-central Nevada was that none of it was visible, even in samples containing nearly ounces per ton. The riches of this so called Carlin-type material became evident only through geochemical analyses.

Gold prospecting is now done at the parts per billion level, mineable grade now around 8.5 ppm. But you don’t need a dedicated gold mine to profit from it. Gold and other precious metals can make economic or add to the revenue of a copper mine or even a sand and gravel operation.

ASARCO’s Mission Mine in Sahuarita, Arizona is a large open pit copper mine. They recover precious metals as these tend to follow copper through flotation recovery and eventual smelting. In 2016 the Mission Mine produced 1.3 million ounces of silver.

Teichert Construction is the biggest road building company in California with sand and gravel operations throughout the state. They have, for example, produced aggregate in Sacramento County for decades from an old channel of the American River.

Unlike ASARCO, Teichert is a privately held corporation under no regulation to make figures public. Independent consultants working with Teichert on streamlining recovery sometimes speak off-the-record. They estimate Teichert at Sacramento recovers enough gold to pay for all the aggregate they produce.

The small scale miner is mostly confined to the world of visible gold, say, down to 10X magnification. It remains to be seen how much visible gold is still recoverable within the limited economic power of the small scale miner. But the power of their ingenuity is also immeasurable and we should not underestimate their ability to surprise us in the coming years.

The best way to keep up with the small scale miner and independent prospector is by subscribing to the ICMJ’s Prospecting and Mining Journal. I just call it The Journal:

http://www.icmj.com

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The Estate Rock Yard of Ed Rupprecht in East Las Vegas

Rupprecht Estate Rock
Care of Jason Fabbi G.G.
East Las Vegas, NV
702-544-1957

Appointment only.

jhfstones@yahoo.com

Small rock yard representing more than sixty years of collecting in the Southwest by Ed Rupprecht and his wife. Mostly rocks that take a cut and polish, little in collectible minerals. Mostly rough, some slabs. Please bring cash in small bills. Rocks in general are two dollars a pound, slabs more, some things different. Ask Jason for particulars.

Bring your UV lamps, there is a barn like structure on this property with good darkness. I got plenty of pretty lime/green pieces in quartz like rocks, no red or unusual colors. It was not a calcite fest, either, which was good. And I only had a SW lamp, so your luck will be better if your portable lamp has all three wavelengths. Pet wood, opalized wood, a septarian nodule or two, rhyolite, and on and on. Well worth looking at if you are in Las Vegas.

Contact Fabbi to see if the yard is open. Jason is an extremely talented jeweler with a long history of collecting and finishing stones. He is very active in the local club, the SNGMS and does much custom work. He made a handsome bolo tie for me out of gold in quartz that I found.

Visible light

Handheld iPhone photo in SW just to give you an idea. 18 watt Way Too Cool lamp.

Picture of the rock yard.

One more picture.

And a video.

Estate rock yard of the late Ed Rupprecht in East Las Vegas from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

A great man.