Continuing On With all Matters Right and Relevant




A Few Miles Up Wheeler Pass Road

My writing website is here: https://thomasfarleyblog.com/

A Few Miles Up Wheeler Pass Road

Wheeler Pass Road near Pahrump, Nevada. Not to be confused with Walker Pass Road in California.








On a personal note.

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Requiem for a dead lizard. Before pest control came out to spray the house I am now renting, I told the landlord that “there was a group of happy lizards around the house so the pest control people should be cognizant of this.” The landlord said he talked to them and nothing they used was poisonous to animals.” Two hours after the guy left I found this dead lizard a few feet from my back door. Maybe a coincidence but I haven’t seen the other two or three several hours later and they were always running around and present. When I worked in the green trade in California I had to get a qualified applicator’s certificate from the State so I am kind of sensitive about this. I know I shouldn’t be upset about the loss of a few lizards but I told everybody in advance. And I am upset. #lizard#wildlife#littlethings#pahrump

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In The North Nopah. Again.






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Sorry this isn’t in portrait view. Above the shelters I heard a continuous noise on this fairly windless day. Did not have my external mike. Huge amount of bees around this opening. Constant wind noise which I usually hear from a mine with an unblocked opening somewhere. You tell me, air shaft for the mine or from a cave? People were definitely up here and though it doesn’t look like a man made opening, I’m thinking it could be little else. Could not feel any wind because of the bees preventing me from getting close but that has to be wind noise, coming or going. I wonder if there is moisture below and hence the bees. You tell me! #mines#geology#rocks#caves#limestone#exploring#tunnels#nopah#bees#desert#mojave#inyocounty#geologistonboard#geologyrocks#adventure

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Moving Out and Up!



Two Minutes Walking in A Desert Wash

I’m documenting some different things at Wikimedia Commons for anyone to view or use.

Wikmedia Commons uses an odd video file format that may not play on your device. It’s called .webm. These videos open and operate reliably in the Firefox broswer, my iPad, but not my iPhone.

Editing or otherwise working with a Wikimedia Commons hosted video may prove fruitless unless you have a commercial converter. I use Movavi products for all of my video work. They are very cheap compared to anything Adobe and are far simpler to use.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Red_Rock_Wash_At_Red_Rock_Canyon_National_Conservation_Area.webm


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Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park

I didn’t mention State Parks in my book very much because they don’t allow collecting. Still, I visited several and took many photographs that had no home. As I have said in previous posts, I am uploading the better ones to Wikimedia.

This one turned out well. A couple and their dog look down into the signature feature of the park, the so called Fire Wave. It’s a sandstone bowl, a confusion of swirls and layers and depressions. Like a crazy skate park might look if Fred Flintstone designed it.

This image would be better cropped, so that the couple are nearer. I didn’t do that, letting a user make their own decisions. Any editor wants the full image, as many pixels as possible. The original is 6,000 by 4,000 pixels, good enough for any magazine printing and even some decent enlargements.

If Wikimedia allowed posting RAW files then I would do that.

Here’s a 1,000 pixel size image at this site and then there is a link to the Wikimedia page where you can see that it is in the public domain and choose from a variety of download sizes.


https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_Couple_Looks_Down_into_The_Fire_Wave.jpg

Here’s how I might crop the image but it does loose the power the distance provided.



Or here is another way that emphasizes texture.


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A Quick Search for Camptonite

Why don’t more rockhounds collect rocks? I don’t know. As to me, I like rocks, the odder the better. Today I’ll spend a little time looking for camptonite south of Las Vegas. I have some specific coordinates so I shouldn’t be wandering too much. This particular spot is not within the LMNRA. The rock will be there or it won’t.

Camptonite might win a prize for strangeness, with Mindat.org classifying it as an “Exotic crystalline igneous rock.” It looks better than the rocks I have which are peppered with black tourmaline.

Here’s a picture of my reference sample, a display quality piece I got last year from RC at Geological Specimen Supply. It’s out of stock right now but you should check his website frequently to keep building your reference collection. Yes, of rocks.

“The lessons of geology are clear and it is foolish not to take advantage of them: to be successful in hunting for minerals and gemstones, the collector and prospector must know not only the minerals themselves, but the rocks in which they are most likely to be found. He must also learn what minerals make up the various kinds of rocks and the rock formations which appear favorable for mineral deposits.”

John Sinkankas John. Prospecting for Gemstones and Minerals (Van Nostrand: New York. 1970)




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From The Striped Hills

Acting on a non-ferrous signal from a rock in a wash near Lathrop Wells, Nevada, I moved upstream to see if I could find the source of whatever metal was causing my detector to ring out.

There were no records of any commercial mines in the Striped Hills near Lathrop Wells, however, there were passing mentions of old copper prospects in the area. These are limestone hills and I didn’t think of them as producing any metallic ore from uplifted seabeds. Where would copper come from by way of calcium carbonate shells and the skeletons of ancient sea creatures?

— Update: Actually, there are carbonate or sedimentary based minerals like azurite and malachite in the copper group can definitely arise in a sedimentary location,  given the right conditions. As RC with Geological Specimen Supply explained to me, “Limestone against granitics often gives rise to a contact deposit. If the granitic is quartz monzonite, the mineralization is often copper.”

— Update: Another contact deposit appears to have happened at the Yellow Pine Mine in the Goodsprings District in Clark County, Nevada. The Yellow Pine is a world class locality for hydrozincite. It was there a friend and I conducted a nighttime fluorescent mineral hunt with great success. 

There were some volcanics in the area as I noticed when I first got out of my truck. Quartz pieces were scattered here and there. Most quartz arises from or is related to volcanic activity.

These exploratory diggings proved very difficult to find as the road to them had long been cut to pieces by countless desert storms over the decades. An ATV might make it in, but first you have to know where you are going. To find out, I set out hiking on foot with my tools, just as I have done with most of my gold prospecting.

I had GPS coordinates for some of these ancient claims but a GPS fix on an old mine is likely a conversion from the Public Land Survey System which does not use latitude and longitude. That means you will probably wind up in the middle of a claim area, which could be twenty acres in size, not at any particular excavation or tunnel entrance.

The result was that I spent three half-days hiking up and down over many steep hills and on treacherously slippery, broken rock. This was mostly highly fractured quartzsite, a metamorphic altered from slate and before that shale. All first arising from ancient seabeds now raised up. Tough. Seen tougher.

I eventually found some pretty rocks as the last picture shows, however, all of them are essentially deposits like chrysocolla. The greener material leans toward malachite and chrysocolla, the bluer toward azurite. There is an extremely small amount of copper infused quartz.  Nothing I found rang out like what I found in the desert wash that drains this area. By way of comparison, the copper mineral group member bornite definitely rings my detector as well as, of course, native copper. 

I noticed a tremendous amount of black sand on the hills I hiked. All of it proved sterile when I processed two buckets of sand and gravel. To be fair, I didn’t have any fire assayed so I don’t know for sure. Processing microscopic gold, however, is for large scale operators. I will be back, though, if not for the minerals, then for the peace and quiet.




















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Mineral Habit in Tucson (another mineral show)

Mineral Habit is setting up in Tucson right now. It’s a collection of vendors focused primarily on minerals. Address is 1920 North Oracle Road in Tucson. Their billboard website supplies the map below.

Wendi “Ace” Elkins will be there, she of Minerals Unlimited in Ridgecrest, California. (internal link) If you haven’t met her, visited her store, or wasted enormous sums of money at her website buying obscure minerals that leave your family cursing you for flagrant, wanton, and irresponsible spending , then your life has been pathetic and small. Redeem yourself by visiting Mineral Habitat starting on February 4th through the 10th.

As with every show, go with cash in small bills and lots of them. Not all vendors take plastic. If you do use credit cards in Tucson, call your credit card company ahead of time. Dealers come from all over the world so charges may appear from Nairobi, Indonesia, Malaysia, or Murmansk.

Please tell Wendi that Thomas Farley sent you. With luck she won’t jump back or call 911. My past purchases mark me as insane but as a madman with a little money, I am tolerated.  Ace has been working in the same shop in Ridgecrest since she was eight and is a delight to talk to. I have rarely stumped her with my requests and all things come neatly labeled.

I’ve built my rare earth mineral collection nearly totally from her inventory. So, if you yearn for  xenotime (Y) with biotite  from Iveland, Setesdal, Norway, then you need to talk to Ace. And if you don’t need that, talk to her anyway. You’ll find something.





Some of my rare earth mineral collection, recently depleted a bit.





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The Gold Cube Part Two

The Gold Cube Part Two

Part One here



Ran the Gold Cube out on my apartment balcony yesterday. I used a about two pounds of sand from an Arizona location I found while traveling to Quartzsite. I spotted 10X gold in my pan in the concentrate that developed but I may have pulled a rookie move. I may not have thoroughly cleaned my gold pan before running this test. Leaving that mystery aside, some comments are in order.

First, this test was totally unfair to the Gold Cube. The material I had was simply scooped off the top of the ground, four or five trowel fulls and not classified at the site. Raw material, not concentrate. Later, I classified most of it to fifty mesh since I knew it was extremely fine gold. I had seen small bits of gold while I looked it in harsh direct sunlight but, again, very fine. The question was whether the Gold Cube could recover those tiny microdots. While I can’t be sure from this raw material, there are many, many other reasons why I like the Gold Cube very much.

I love the simplicity of the machine. No spray bar to mess with, no valve to adjust, just turn on and go. Compare this to setting a river or creek sluice in which I always pour screened or classified material. (I use a Le Trap sluice and I never shovel into it directly. Or the Keene models when I had them.) With a sluice, you have to find the right spot to begin with, never easy, anchor the silly thing, get the angle right, make sure the flow through is correct, adjust, and then adjust some more. And then you have to get the sluice out of the river without losing any values when it’s time for a cleanup. Not easy when you are by yourself. Compare that to the Gold Cube.

No ideal place on the river to find, no flow to adjust, no angles to set, no need for constant fine tuning. No problem with recovery for cleanups. Just get it level and proceed. It ate up my fifty mesh sand almost as quickly as I could feed it but I am sure it takes longer for bigger gravel. Whatever.

I am probably going to bring home concentrate from the desert rather than setting it up on a river. This will be a different experience than true field use so I won’t guess at how that might go. I might use it at a campground if there is a creek or faucet nearby to get enough water. Again, another day. That’s my overall impression of the Cube. Now, some details.

A word on weight. With the setup seen below, I was using about 18 gallons of water. That’s about 150 pounds. Throw in the Gold Cube at around 35 pounds and then a five to ten pound battery and you are looking at around 200 pounds. I mention this because my 13 year old balcony can easily support this weight. If your balcony or situation is much older, you should make sure it is structurally sound.



The next photo shows me applying Jet Dry, something fairly common to matting material. A YouTuber advised to prep the Gold Cube’s fresh mats by brushing the liquid into the mat while at the time pressing hard to release any air in mats. The maker’s literature may contradict using chemicals. In any case, I kept brushing until no more air bubbles came out.

This is a seven dollar level from Home Depot that sticks very well to the frame.



A look at the first or top tray which collects the bigger gravel and most of the gold if you are lucky to have some.



Recommendation is to wash out each mat under pressure into a tub. Tried this with my camping shower head but it did not have enough force.



Took all of the trays to my garden plot at one of the community gardens in my apartment complex. I don’t do much gardening, only five plants, but I am assured a hose and a place to washout everything I bring home from the hills. Used water under force to clean out the trays, each of which has a mat.



This is the result. The Gold Cube is not a finishing machine, rather it is a super concentrator. To clean up this black sand you’d need a Blue Bowl, good luck with that, or some other means to collect all of your values. I prefer careful panning and then storing my placer gold for some time in the future. I never make money by panning or sluicing. I just collect. Now, back in the day, when I helped out with dredging, that was another story!



Gold appeared under my 10X loupe in the pan  but I couldn’t picture it with my scope. Anything glittering is incredibly difficult to photograph up close. The lights I need to photograph wash out the gold color, take away the lights and you can’t see the gold. Another project, another day.

Each tray looks similar so it may be easy to get confused when stacking them. In an extremely clever move, the maker has designed them so they only fit together when turned the right way. If your tray is not stacking properly then turn it around. It will then stack correctly. There’s just enough difference in the trays to prevent wrongly placing them. I kept trying to force one tray onto the top of another, needing only a quarter of an inch or so of stretching to make the tray fit. But this plastic does not stretch. Turning the tray around results in perfect placement. Correct stacking is crucial to making water flow through the machine. So engineered, you should be able to assemble the stack in the dark since they will only fit just so.

These two Gold Cube posts are just my first impressions of the machine. I do have a few pounds of paydirt from NorthernNevadaGold.com but I was planning on donating it to a rock club I belong to. Maybe I will break down and process it. Then again, I would much rather find my own sand and gravel and I do know a few spots I would like to investigate. Stay tuned.

Kevin Singel has a page on actually operating the Cube, both in the field and off. Great hints and tips:

https://findinggoldincolorado.com/using-a-gold-cube-in-colorado/

The company that makes the Gold Cube is on eBay at goldcubeusa. For all you haters and trolls, this post is a non-sponsored recommendation! I pay for all of my equipment. And I pay extra for my web hosting to make sure there are no ads on my site. My videos are first done with Vimeo, a service that I pay for to make sure there are no ads on them. When they get published to Google there is nothing I can do. But I certainly don’t make money from them nor do I have any account set up with Google to get money from them. Now, go back to your basements.

https://www.ebay.com/usr/goldcubeusa?

Kevin Singel has a page on actually operating the Cube, both in the field and off. Great hints and tips:

https://findinggoldincolorado.com/using-a-gold-cube-in-colorado/


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