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Exploration And Windy Rocky Mtn Nuggets


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I like the results.

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Some sort of unique 'piece' could be made from those nuggets which could enhance the value over just gold alone I would think.

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3 hours ago, mn90403 said:

Some sort of unique 'piece' could be made from those nuggets which could enhance the value over just gold alone I would think.

My artistic talent is basically zero unfortunately. I'm pretty good with my smelting furnace though. :laugh:

Actually these ones probably escape melting for now, I'm keeping them all to track various trace elements. It's actually a timely post that you made on the NE Washington floods, because I'm starting to suspect something similar took place a very much longer time ago when the Rockies first started rising up from the inland seas, or sometime in the intervening millions of years, but on a smaller and more localized scale across many places in the younger Rockies. Maybe ~35-45ish million years ago. Not sure what happened yet, but something massive seems to have gone down with water flows around then across a 3 to 5 state wide area. 

But yeah I agree, that type of flat gold is good for lining pendants and such. This stuff is running close to 99% pure too after I remove the iron staining. It's definitely very old and very travelled, very pure and depleted of Ag/Cu.

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On April 22rd 2012 I was chasing the Sutter's Mill Meteorite and I was on the wrong side of Lake Tahoe.  Without anything better to do I drove on to Elko, Nevada.  I knew a geologist there but he was in Mexico at the time.  While I was there I learned a little bit about the Carlin Trend and stopped into a book store and met a knowledgeable man.

He told me that all of the rivers once flowed West.  That was long before the Sierra Nevadas were there.  He told me that I should keep that in mind while detecting for gold.  He also told me that most of the gold around Elko was fine but there were a few detectorists who did really well but on private land or mining property land.  There was very little open land.

This would confirm your research of significant releases heading west from the great divide.

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Yep, in the days before the Rockies rose up, 55-75 million years ago, the rivers likely flowed from the West Coast areas (well, the East slope of whatever hills/mountains were there at the time) into the giant inland seas. These seas are the basis for much of the oil, natural gas, and coal reserves in the Western US from Texas up to North Dakota and into Alberta.

It's hard to conceive of placer gold coming out of formations that old. But it does, at least around 45-50 million years. In 2006 a mudhand on a BP rig I was directional driller on mentioned while having coffee up in the doghouse that he saw gold come over the shaker tables in Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah after he heard I was into prospecting. I laughed it off, we drill through micaceous or pyrite bearing rock often, easy to confuse with gold.

Then I heard it again on a Noble rig I worked in the Piceance Basin. And then again in Wyoming I had mud hands insisting they saw gold come over shale shakers. So I resolved to go set a bucket under one and pan it out. Things were absolutely insane at the time though, I was working 45 hour shifts with 4 hours sleep in between, drilling 24 well pads on the fastest land rig in the world (at the time). I never did get to panning the shale shakers, or even getting to walk down to the mud system to take a look.

But there absolutely are sedimentary formations right on surface bearing very find gold. I later discovered this was already known and wrote about. I've verified myself too, it's no mystery. It's not Carlin style mineralization though, it's straight up placer gold in mudstones, sandstones, claystones. 

But now I'm quite certain at least one formation is bearing nuggety gold too. 

Something happened in the young Rockies (early-mid Laramide), I'm sure of it. I don't know what it is yet, but some massive flooding happened out here like 35-45 million years ago. Some of the evidence is (I believe) misattributed to more modern glaciation, but I don't think it's entirely right. Silt, sand, gravel, all the way up to glacial looking massive boulder conglomerate. Over a truly massive area. I think it has something to do with the mountains rising up and the giant Cretaceous inland seas. Maybe they didn't simply dry up but formed massive lakes that also burst like the glacial lakes Missoula and Columbia in recent times in Washington as the Rockies rose up and dragged the lakes thousands of feet higher? Was it the rising up of the Colorado Plateau that elevated the remnants of an old cretaceous inland sea, and a natural (non-glacial) dam finally broke somewhere along the way? Something similar happened in more recent times to ancient Lake Bonneville, so it's not impossible to conceive of.

We have evidence of something similar, in the same general time frame. It's called ancient Lake Gosiute. Most of the baking powder mined in North America comes from the remnants of this old lake. I think it's related.

I've found an apparantly non documented ~70 million year old gap angular unconformity that corresponds with these flood formations so far, the bouldery conglomerates being the top layer of the angular unconformity, laying flat. Not sure if coincidence or what, but it appears that something has erased 70 million years of geologic record in localized areas, and a massive flood could have done such a thing.

Fascinating stuff to me. So much more than just the gold. But the gold is a potential fingerprint to identifying and tracing what happened.

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Sure looks like glacier gold . . any large boulders?

Glad you got there first :smile: 

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29 minutes ago, BMc said:

Sure looks like glacier gold . . any large boulders?

Glad you got there first :smile: 

Lots of boulders, not as big as where you are probably thinking about though. But none show any striations, nor does any of the bedrock. Could be erased by erosion though. The harder/crystalline boulders were often cleaved in half, but no wear on the broken faces. Like they were crushed under a press by enormous weight, but never moved after that. I do see remnant evidence of water erosion on them though (rounding, flow lines) predating the cleaving.

I suspect they were glacial in origin, but transported by water later and then buried, crushed, later exhumed by winds. Just my guess though.

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