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The many faces of gold formations can keep you occupied with fascinating study and observation for a lifetime.  It is truly amazing how many ways gold can form in the most unusual places, like pinecones.  Each year I find a new way gold can be formed, and discover how old theories on gold formation are readdressed.  Scientists are reexamining geothermal theories as well as the different types of rock gold can be put into and how.  On this page we will explore some of the ways gold is formed.  


Gold can be placed in the pores of Iron Pyrite, as it is in this gold formation at the Hidee Mine near Central City, Colorado, with visible copper. (That's the turquoise color)


To the non-scientific person, how gold is deposited can be a mystery waiting to be unlocked.  An oversimplified attempt will be made to get your curiosity going to better sources.


Not all gold is placed in its matrix (background rock) under molten conditions.  Most of it is put into matrix formations using super heated steam and hot water solutions with sulphur, as it is at many of the mines in the Idaho Springs, Co. area. 


It can be placed in the pores of iron pyrite with a hot water solution, grow into massive crystalline structures in or with quartz, or shot into the rock in a super heated steam solution creating small crystallized gold formations in granite and quartz.  Don't know about you, but those two concepts opened up a world of questions waiting to be answered.


Have you heard about the crystalline gold (up to 4 kilos!) found in Latin America growing in the upper one or two feet of topsoil. It seems the trees take up the gold in the water they absorb from their roots and deposit it back into the soil when they die and decompose, leaving the gold to crystallize in the soft earth. SOOOO how much topsoil have YOU thrown off?

Another phenomena we have heard of that is similar to this discovery, is the routine practice of burning pine cones in gold bearing areas in the U.S. to tell if a gold deposit is near. Seems the trees also take up gold in the water they absorb and put it into their pine cones.


Check out the "For the Love of Gold" photo album for some truly amazing pictures of GOLD. 


Scroll down for some more information on where gold can be found in rock you may not have considered. 



Did you know gold can be formed in rock outside quartz?  There is and has been, among old prospectors, the ongoing belief that not all gold is associated with quartz, and there are many examples throughout the U.S. gold strikes that support the theory that gold can also be deposited in the fissures and breaks in rock such as slate and certain schists.  This is especially true if the rock has a brownish red to red color to it.  Red clay or dirt is an indication of mineralization and a high concentration of iron or copper.

While hot, gold will show a affinity to iron, but when sulphur is introduced, the iron will let go of the gold and attach itself to the sulphur where it precipitates out creating iron pyrite. This leaves the gold in the solution to find it's own place to settle, and that can be in rock that has a space for it to crystallize in.  Sometimes that is around quartz crystals, and sometimes in and around other rocks with spaces.

There are many examples of this type of evidence in California, Alaska, Nevada, and even Colorado. I am sure you all have heard of Farncom Hill in the Breckenridge district. I have found small pieces of wire gold when going through the slate there with a small backpack type highbanker on a claim we had permission to be on many years ago. I have since wondered about the other slate type of rock I often see in other mining districts.  From now on, I WILL be taking samples to test this theory out.

Now, you are wondering how you can put this knowledge into practice to find your own gold in the field. Placer deposits, as any placer miner can tell you, can hold gold from several sources, and looking at the pieces you recover with your pan will tell you how many sources you have.     Since these may very well be small, use a loop or magnifier to look at the small pieces.  Color of the gold will be the most obvious indication, and, when seen under magnification, the actual size, depth,
and coarseness will be another. Follow these upstream until one disappears from the samples and you will be nearer to one of the sources.

What do you look for if you are not sure if the gold comes from a quartz source or one of schist or shales? Look for both in a general location.  Even gold that is deposited in schist or shale will have quartz near it, although the quartz may be barren of gold.  Of the two, quartz is easier to spot simply because of its' white color.  When you find it, check out the surrounding rock that is of the reddish to reddish brown color for possible slates or schists that may hold gold deposits no one else has found.  

When you have located one of these "fields" of gold, you will know the exhilaration of finding gold that no one has seen before, and add to your knowledge about how to find gold.  When you do, be careful who you tell about your find, or you will have many people crowding in on all of your hard work.  If this has taken years to discover, you certainly will not want just anyone knowing where you have made your "strike".  You may be tempted to file a claim on the area, and that may or may not be to your advantage.  Once a claim is filed, it is of public record to everyone and many people will think nothing of "jumping your claim" while you are not there.  If you are on public unclaimed land, and can prospect your find without word getting out, there is no reason you will have to file a claim to the minerals, unless you plan to do enough disturbance to attract attention.  You will then be required to cease and desist and file claim to the area.  If you prospect responsibly and fill in holes and take care of the area you are in, as you should always do, there is no law that prohibits you from doing this.  If, however, you are not responsible in your recovery efforts, the public is entitled to reclamation funds from you for your negligence.  Prospect responsibly, and respect the land so that we do not lose further rights as prospectors.  NEVER undercut trees or banks in the pursuit of $25.00, less OR more, worth of gold.  Areas are closed every year to overzealous prospectors destroying land, river banks, and forests.  I live in Colorado.  Please, do not destroy my home.

Copy Right 2006-2013 Shirley Weilnau  all rights reserved


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