Prospecting for New Areas

NOTE: The following are some general observations on what I look for. If you are in the Quartzsite or Parker area, the easiest way to look for gold is to pay $20 to the Quartzsite Metal Detecting Club. Doing so gets you access to over 360 acres of claimed ground. You can prospect worry free without the hassle of researching, staking, and recording. And paying over $150 just to file one 20 acre claim! I am a member. You should be one, too. Pay in person at Miner’s Depot, not by mail. You are going to Quartzsite anyway, correct?

https://www.quartzsitemetaldetectingclub.com/claims

Prospecting for New Areas

Some of you may have seen some of my sampling in my Instagram posts. That area was so typical of how a prospector looks at an area. First, the crazy looking ballast. Next follow the paved road to see where it goes into this unknown area. The video shows how things began.

Railroad_Ballast_Parker_Blvd from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.


 

One turn led to the La Posa County Fairgrounds. Boring. Other turn, “Dead End”. Yes! I follow all dead end roads and ones with signs that say “No Outlet”. At the end of the pavement I got out, not having time to follow the dirt road which continued past the pavement. I was hoping for some fluorescent quartz, maybe field agates if I was lucky.

Getting out, I immediately see rolled or rounded rocks. Some chunks of rock, some fragments, but mostly tumbled stones. Yes, streambed stuff on a hill, no doubt an ancient stream bed lifted up over the eons. There’s not enough rain in Arizona to have ever tumbled those stones in situ. So, I am thinking hillside placer of a sort. Maybe that’s why the railroad embankment had pebbles. I began then looking for my old friend black sand by eyesight and without my GMT with its black sand tracking feature. I found a few dark spots but not streaks like I want to find. None-the-less, I collected. My sample bucket later produced a goodly amount of black sand. My sign for looking further. Black sand doesn’t guarantee placer gold but no black sand seems to rule out placer gold.

I always advocate thorough research but we are all looking at ground as we drive city to city, never mind the text books. I’ll read up on that area now and there may in fact be nothing there but it is now an area to look into further. I am soon driving to Las Vegas from Kingman. The last time I went I pulled over for a bathroom break past a sign marked Kingman Wash — No Services. I always take those turnoffs. I picked up a piece of vesicular andesite that was glinting at me. Not used to sparkling volcanics. Pyrite or mica in the vesicles? No collecting area as it is in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

I will have a rock looked at even if collecting is in doubt. As a road cut, I wasn’t sure if it was AZDOT that had control of the roadside or the LMNRA. And collecting may be permitted at Lake Mead if the superintendent gives permission. Although no mining, of course. Speaking of doubtful ground, I still have to research the difference between Arizona Land Trust lands and “regular” state owned land. Maybe collecting is permitted in non-trust land even if no claiming is permitted. Another subject for another day, here I was just looking at an area.

After I got that andesite home I was so puzzled that I sent it off for XRF and fire assay. Both said decent values of gold and silver although XRF is unreliable, of course, for Au and AG. I was expecting copper from the XRF but no. Yet the assayer for the fire assay said there was an indication of copper by the colors he saw. Great, first conflict. I then collected some more andesite from the _exact _same spot a few months later to satisfy my curiosity. Reed Labs, another reliable fire assay group. ND: nothing detected. The mystery remains. And that is gold prospecting!

Looking at the area

Looking For Clues After The Railroad Ballast from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

Quick tailgate look at a sample

Panning out the Sample from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

January 22, Update

Sample Update Regarding Prospecting New Areas from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.


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Joe’s Rock Shop in Orderville, Utah

Text from my Places to Visit and Collect in the Southwest file

Joe’s Rock Shop
425 E 100 N or HWY 89@100 N
P.O. Box 116
Orderville, UT 84758
435-648-2737

37°16.671′ N 112°37.818′ W

https://www.facebook.com/joesrockshoputah/

http://stores.ebay/rocksrusUTAH

Joes Rock Shop has been family run since at least 1952. It specializes in digging, cutting, and polishing septarian nodules, petrified wood and more. Rough and finished stones of all types. Custom rock cutting done. Located in Kane County whose county seat is Kanab.

Septarian nodules are limestone rocks filled with calcite and aragonite. Decorative patterns are revealed when cut open. Some show crystals from the outside. Orderville is the most famous locality for these uncommon stones. The owners provide local rockhounding directions when asked. They also ship by mail and are closed in the winter. A rock yard and eccentric oddities sold in the store itself.

A “glamping” campground with Yurts was operating across US-89 from Joe’s Rock Shop when I visited in the fall of 2019. This area is picturesque and somewhat close to Zion, now charging thirty dollars to drive through. At least three other rock shops are along Highway 89 in Orderville. Maynard Dixon’s summer home and a museum to him is further down the road in Mt. Carmel. If you don’t know who Maynard Dixon is, I weep for you.

My purchases. The one in the background has been polished on three sides and also left naturally open to display its crystals. The second is unpolished broken rough. Mild cream colored response to SW UV.



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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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Annotated Reading List of Rock Related Titles

List with comments of books I used in writing and researching my now dead book project. Nine page .pdf.

Recommended_Rock_Reading

 

 

 

I’ve learned .pdf files aren’t mobile friendly. If you want to try an experiment, see if you can open this epub file. An iphone should open it in iBooks, the native Apple e-book reader. If you don’t have that, there are a number of free epub readers from different app stores. On my phone this file becomes extremely useful, no more pan an scan, pinch and zoom.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/uq3xkxiouqhwdm1/reading_and_resources_08_16_2018.epub?dl=0

Tell me if you can open it: thomasfarley@fastmail.com

 

 


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On Cats and Collecting


A single cat always accompanies professional geologist RC on his travels and collecting. It ranges free while he works. I’ve bought dozens of well labeled teaching specimens from him in building my reference collection. On my own initiative, I’ve removed locality names.

RC with Geological Specimen Supply

T Cat goes out in the field. The Sparkletts box under him is a composite. I get egg boxes from the market, cut them horizontally in two, jam the top half down over the bottom half and glue them together, so double-walled but half as high. Eight inches high, one foot square. Then, to keep the flaps down, I get Sparkletts water boxes and cut them in two horizontally as well, but glue the top flaps to a piece of cardboard inside, making a solid top. These are a hair bigger than the egg boxes but not as tall. Half of one works as a lid, pushed down over the egg box. There’s one of these under T Cat. Each one is filled with strips of The Wall Street Journal, though any fish wrap will work. The Journal comes every day in the mail, Monday’s paper on Monday.

Every piece of rock gets wrapped up. The paper gets reused. These boxes are strong, will hold about 50 student specimens, and two will fit on my pack frame. Depending on what’s in them, I may or may not be able to get up!

The Idaho Spuds Box is full of giant oyster fossils, about a foot long. Still not unpacked! I didn’t take enough field boxes on that trip.

T Cat comes to a bell, so when I’m ready to leave, he’s in the van. He was waiting for me to finish packing. T stands for Tyrannosaurus. He was the biggest of the bunch, twice as big as the smallest. Born in a basket beside me Memorial Day last year.

I have a 7 pound and a 10 pound sledge in the van, a pick, shovel (more for roads than for rocks) a couple of Estwing geologists’ hand sledges and a couple of Estwing 12 ounce rock hammers. These have chisel heads and are easy to trim with. Estwing stopped making them, but now make a brick layer’s hammer that’s the same.

I don’t want to have to lug rocks very far for those I sell. I can tie a couple of field boxes onto a pack frame, but I want whatever I’m collecting to be close to the van.

Different story when I’m looking for something for my collection, since weight isn’t going to be much. A couple of hours of hiking results in the the best exposure of Ordovician brachiopods in the Great Basin. A couple of hours hiking gets you to the fossils. One year I was up there with a geologist friend and a student. After a long day with our noses in a shale talus slope, picking out pencil eraser sized brachs, we had hiked about half way back when my student said he had forgotten the rock hammer back at the rock pile. I had five, and I sure wasn’t going to hike back for one, all uphill!

One hammer wasn’t a big loss.

The next year I went back. Going up the talus on hands and knees, I put my hand on the missing hammer. Rusty, but it wore off. I’ve lost hammers, but that’s the first time I found one. Only time.

I don’t like the west side of the Sierra Nevada. Too much vegetation, so it’s hard to see the rocks. And then, poison oak, ugh. When I can collect in roadcuts, I do. Phyllite and serpentine, both from roadcuts in the American River Canyon near Auburn. In the coast ranges, I get graywacke from a roadcut. The rocks are more likely to be fresh where a road was cut through. Hopefully a road without much traffic!

Some rocks have to be collected from a dry stream channel to be unweathered. Tumbling down the stream removes the weathered stuff. I find the white anorthosite in the river bed of the Santa Clara River. Took me forever to find a way to drive down into it, but eventually did. In all of the roadcuts I looked at, it was weathered all the way to China, and besides, in the San Gabriel Mountains, you have to buy a pass to even park at the side of the road, so I stay away.

https://geologicalspecimensupply.com/

T-cat is indeed an orange tabby. He rode down with me to Ridgecrest tonight, and took up the same position on the boxes, though leaning on my shoulder. Helped me with a Jumbo Jack at Ridgecrest.

His mom was a tabby, became a meal for a coyote, unfortunately. She had already used up eight lives, out collecting with me near Lompoc, ran across the road to the van at just the wrong moment. Going full tilt, she hit the outside of the front tire of a speeding car, was slammed to the road and then bounced into the air, screaming. Landed, writhing, on the pavement. I thought that was the end of her, but I could see nothing broken and not a drop of blood, only a pink ear. Tail was still attached. I gently picked her up and put her in the van. She tried to climb onto the back seat but needed a hand up. Spent the rest of the day on a pillow, was better the next day, and came back to life the day after. Lucky. One second faster and she would have been under that tire, and flat. After that, she had a low reserve of extra lives, I would say. Went out one evening and disappeared. Coyotes ate two of neighbor’s daughter’s cats also, so he shot two coyotes and they have stayed away, recently.

Brother, Ralph, dark tabby, eats anything and everything. Brought in a rabbit this morning and thought it was ok to eat it on a Navajo rug. Caught that in time, so he had his snack on a towel and didn’t complain about the move. Ate all but the back legs, started with the head and ate all of it, amazingly, leaving nothing. Rabbit was half his size. Second time he’s done this, and he has made some plants in the yard grateful, as the rabbits have lost interest in them. Sister, Cucumber, snacked on the back legs. A calico tabby – tabby markings but with some orange in her fur. Cool as a cucumber riding in the van, sits on the back of my seat with her front legs over my shoulder and looks out the front window, purring in my ear. Here she is at the Gold Nugget Mine, east of Quartzsite, where I was collecting milky quartz. Not as easy to keep track of when she’s out running around, she comes to the bell. All three do, actually. When T-Cat is out exploring, he really stands out.

Cats are smarter than dogs. All Pavlov could do was to get his dogs to drool when they heard a bell. These cats come to the bell and jump in the van when they hear it, if I’m outside. Their reward is a tube of Churu.

RC

https://geologicalspecimensupply.com/

T-Cat in the field



Cucumber at a mine

https://geologicalspecimensupply.com/

——

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Sandstone Collecting and A Gila Monster

Sandstone Stuff

I self-collected my first piece of sandstone yesterday in a desert wash near Las Vegas. It has two bullseyes which I think is extremely unusual. Most sandstone exhibits bedding or strata.

Here’s a single still picture below, then two videos. The rock is this picture is wet from my cleaning it; it looks better when dry.

My friend the geologist R.C. says. “The curved lines are liesegang banding, an iron oxide stain. It forms the picture rock like that sold in Kanab, just from a different rock formation.”

I have a piece of picture rock that has been heat treated to bring out the iron color. I bought that small slab two years ago. I show it in the second video.

Here’s a short vid with good color of my rock. I made it on the tailgate of my truck when I first found it.

This is a longer video with sound and indoor light. It’s a more informative video but the color of the rock is not so good. I am still learning about video.

 

Update: Just noticed that a piece of sandstone I bought at Vanderford’s Gold Strike in Goldfield, Nevada also exhibits orbs. Perhaps they are more common than I thought. Much to learn and notice. Let me know in the comments below if you have any bullseye sandstone.

 


 Rolph’s Luetcke’s sends some pictures of his sandstone collection and shares some of his recollections on same.

Hi Tom,

Cool piece you found. I have some from Nevada and got those in a neat way. One trip up to Oregon to collect Obsidian and Opal back in the 70’s. One motel had a bunch of the picture rock lying in the weeds by the side of its property. The gal who owned the place happened to come out when I was looking at the stones and I asked her about them and she said she was sorry about that mess and she had meant to get someone to clean it up. I smiled and said I would be glad to remove them for her. She was so very happy to get rid of that junk. To some it is junk, to me it was treasure and free for the picking. I still have some of the pieces lying out in the back yard. Made some cabachons out of the material too and it worked up fairly nicely as you can see.

 

The next is from Arizona and a fellow who used to run the Pima College mineral class used to stop by our store, that is another story, but they had gone collecting and got a bunch of this stuff and gave us a nice piece.

The next piece is a stone from the mountains just to our West. We used to have access to one canyon that is actually visible from our place but someone locked the gate now. I went up there often when we first started here to get flat rock for a big area I used the stones as “paving” stones. Many had these banded patterns and those were the favorites to pick up.

The last one is from Sedona, the sandstone there had wonderful banding and I have better ones too but this photo was fairly easy to find. The patterns in the sandstone were iron also.

 

The Gila Monster

Today I saw our area Gila Monster on my late afternoon dog walk. I went back to get my camera and got some nice photos. Thought you would enjoy seeing it, my favorite lizard. This one seems to show itself every 4 years. We first saw it in 2011 then again in 2015 and now this year. You are welcome to post those photos or for that matter, any we send you.

Have a great day.

Rolf

Rolf and his wife Mary run Sunshine Gallery and Gifts in St. David, Arizona. It is a destination rock and mineral shop.

Another angle

——

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Visual Rock ID Sessions at UNLV

This just in from the Geoscience Department at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, located in downtown Las Vegas. Session is back in and rock ID for the public continues as it has for some years. This year they have changed their days and increased their hours. The Department’s notice below, my comments below that.

From The Department

From: Geoscience Department
Date: August 30, 2019 at 4:03:35 PM PDT
Cc: Maria Rojas
Subject: UNLV Visual Rock I.D. Sessions

Hello,

Here in the department, we hold visual Rock I.D. sessions on Monday 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Tuesday 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Thursday 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm (does not include holidays) for the Fall 2019 semester. We will not be accepting any more walk ins after 4:45 pm.

Rock IDs are visual inspections only; we do not keep or buy any rocks/fossil and we do not give any monetary value.

In terms of making an appointment, you don’t have to make one, you can just come during the listed time and day.

Regarding the limit on amount of rocks brought it, we have a limit of 3.

For parking and directions please click on this link for more information. https://geoscience.unlv.edu/rock-identification-2/

To do Rock I.D., make sure you come to Lilly Fong Geoscience Building Room 104.
Questions or concerns feel free to contact us (702) 895-3262 ; geodept@unlv.edu


University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Department of Geoscience
4505 Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, Nevada 89154-4010
702-895-3262
https://geoscience.unlv.edu/

My Comments

I’ve been to several sessions and met good people. You will be lucky if you run into Drew Barkoff, he is a P.hD student and has been a friend of my book. I am always astounded at what he knows and I learn tremendously every time I talk with him. I also met Sara last year, a Masters student. Everybody is excellent.

Locality is extremely important in any ID, of course, so bring in as much information as you can. A geologic map or a small printout of same, no matter how simple, will help tremendously. You can find these at either MyLandMatters.org or especially at Macrostrat.org. I once brought in a rock from Plymouth, CA and did not and could not expect anyone there to know the geology of the area. Bring a map if possible. Oh, and a small flashlight since the conference room is dim. And a loupe. They have some simple things like streak plates.

Parking can be tough. Many meters accept quarters but in some lots you will get only 10 minutes to a quarter. On many of those meters they have a credit card system also in place. You call the number on the meter and voice prompts walk you through a ten minute process to register your credit card, take down your license plate, and so on. It is frustrating and lengthy to set up for the first time, considering you will be in full sun the entire duration. If you return at a later date your account will be all arranged and it will be just a matter of calling the number back.

There may be other options for parking listed at the link the Department mentioned above that I do not know about. Check them out. If you are a short distance from campus a Uber of Lyft may be a good idea.

If you have large or heavy rocks, bring a cart or hand truck. You will need it, the Geosciences Building can be a long walk from wherever you wind up parking. Everything is on the first floor and handicap accessible. There is an outstanding display of rocks and minerals on the first floor and I noticed that they must have replaced all the lighting this semester. Things look great. This collection is almost worth a visit it just by itself. All campus staff is friendly and people will happily point you out to the Geoscience Building. Take water and they have a nice water fountain bottle filler near the conference room.

Good luck to anyone going and understand that at times people may get hung up or delayed for a little while before meeting you. Such is life.

——

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The Best Geology Dictionary I Have Ever Found

Just got an amazing dictionary. This is the Glossary of Geology written in 1957 by the American Geological Association with the National Academy of Sciences. The full title is the Glossary of Geology and Related Sciences. J.V. Howell was apparently working as the editor of what the Geological Institute calls a coordinating chairman. The book is  fantastic.

The dictionary provides many word origins along with the use of a term in a sentence. This is proper dictionary writing. Tough, technical words are explained in plain English, making a difficult vocabulary at least approachable. Without wallowing in unnecessary details, this dictionary opens the door to learning that most resources barely open.

Look at this Wikipedia definition of unconformity:

An unconformity is a buried erosional or non-depositional surface separating two rock masses or strata of different ages, indicating that sediment deposition was not continuous. In general, the older layer was exposed to erosion for an interval of time before deposition of the younger, but the term is used to describe any break in the sedimentary geologic record. . .

Now, the Glossary:

A surface of of erosion or nondeposition — usually the former — that separates younger strata from older rocks.

The Glossary then mentions four related unconformity terms which are described under their own names elsewhere in the dictionary. It also cites the name of a leading author on the subject.

This dictionary lets me get started whereas other dictionaries stall me when I first try to learn.

I got this title at abe.com which I have used since at least 1996. Downside? Six point type! Absolutely crazy small print. Fortunately, Amazon.com has dozens of magnifying device for viewing book pages and I have ordered one. Small price for clarity.

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Keep That Spray Bottle Handy!

Found this crazy looking piece on or near the east border of Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada, where limited, non-commercial collecting is allowed. In response to the photos I posted to Facebook, Joel Coombs on The Rockhound Connection responded, “I believe that rock is slightly metamorphosed limestone. I have found smaller pieces with the same colors. Put a drop of pool acid on it. If it effervesces it is limestone.” I did put some acid on the back of the rock and it did indeed fizzle. This all agrees with Jim Boone’s identification of plain looking limestone in the same location.

I found it on the side of the road, a dusty and dirty rock but one showing interesting markings. My spray bottle revealed what I thought might be great material for a cab or a slab. (If I wanted to do that since I rarely get around to lapidary.) A friend pointed out, though, that the red areas were rusty splotches, possibly iron or hematite related and that being soft would not easily cab up. Something like Superglue might be applied to those areas, then the whole piece sanded later on.

I decided to keep it as it was. A former rock shop owner suggested clear glossy spray lacquer which could always be sanded off later. The first picture is of the rock wet, the second is after three coats of spray, now dry. The third picture is of the untreated back. Given the ease of effort, I think the spray worked out well for this particular rock.

How did I find it? I was volunteering on Tuesday to help fill in potholes on Gold Butte Road, the somewhat paved road that provides the main access to the Monument. Right now, under the direction of The Friends of Gold Butte, many volunteers are helping out on this multi-day project. Clark County and BLM are also supplying workers and cold patch. I found the the rock on a break. But I had my spray bottle nearby. https://www.meetup.com/Friends-of-Gold-Butte/