|Yes, its a silly looking hat. But in Wyoming, even the GemHunter needs to be warm.|
During the first couple of years I worked at the Survey, I was asked to assist in building a Childrens' Museum in downtown Laramie - it was going to have a geology theme. I donated rocks and assisted in building a mine tunnel for the kids to walk through and on the outside of this exhibit, one board member requested we put on a simple pie diagram to show kids and parents how important mining and oil and gas was to the state. It was a pie diagram showing ad valoreum taxes to the state. Whoa - was this a bad idea.
|hydrothermal alteration mineral assemblages found in the Silver Crown district, Wyoming.|
|Visible gold is seen in rock sample adjacent to brassy pyrite in|
this sample from the Copper King
When I left the Wyoming Geological Survey, they actually had a Chinese and Russian communist on the staff and a director who thought the US Constitution was made only to control others, and had nothing to do with him. Now why did some of my friends give up their lives in Vietnam?
|Stockworks at the Copper King|
Most people are under the impression when a commercial gold (or other metal or gemstone) deposit is found, it is "Eureka" and then the mining begins. Unfortunately, that never happens except in the movies. "Mines are made, they are not found" was stated at some talk I attended at the Northwest Mining Convention many years ago. It takes the right circumstances, people, investments, government support, etc, etc, etc. Take a look at the Pebble deposit in Alaska. A prophyry deposit so large that it dwarfs the Bingham Canyon deposit in Utah. Can you imagine finding a $100 billion deposit and no one can figure out how to make a mine out of it? I can. We found a $60+ billion gold deposit at Donlin Creek Alaska in 1988, and no one can figure out how to make a mine out of it yet. I found a gold district in Wyoming in 1981-1982 at the Rattlesnake Hills that likely has $5 to 10 billion in gold, and again, no one can make a mine out of it.
|Pervasive propylitic altered quartz monzonite|
And it is apparent that the deposit is bigger - based on exploration and drilling - it is open in every direction (except up, maybe). That's right, drilling has yet to find the limits of the ore deposit. However, the ore appears to end to the east - or does it? I recently mapped a fault and found that the footwall on the east side had down dropped - how far down is anyone's guess at the moment, but it needs to be drilled to find out if the mineralization continues in that direction. I would be very surprised if it does.
Then there is the problem of having similar anomalies in the area. Terry Klein of the USGS pointed out that there were similar hydrothermal anomalies nearby, and I worked on another I found that appears to be very large, but could not map the anomaly due to private land access problems.
Remember I mentioned that the deposit doesn't appear to continue up in the sky. When I misled you as considerable erosion has occurred in this area since the Proterozoic. So, large amounts of gold are likely sitting in conglomerates and streams - including some that drain into Cheyenne. Can you imagine that - placer gold in downtown Cheyenne.
Hausel, W.D., and Jones, S., 1982, Geological reconnaissance report of metallic deposits for in situ and heap leaching extraction research possibilities: Geological Survey of Wyoming Open File Report 82-4, 51 p.
Hausel, W.D., 1997, The geology of Wyoming's copper, lead, zinc, molybdenum, and associated metal deposits: Geological Survey of Wyoming Bulletin 70, 224 p.