|From a tent in Atlantic City, I mapped the entire South Pass Greenstone Belt and several underground mines beginning in|
1983 to 1988. Being a so-called snowbird (the Wyoming Geological Survey was too cheap to provide per diem to rent a
cabin) while mapping the region provided me with great access to many gold prospectors and a few entertaining scam
artists. Many evenings I spent sharing spirits in the Atlantic City Mercantile while listening to the various stories and
reports of gold; but there were just as many evenings spent with the coyote choir on the plains near Lewiston where only
myself and a few dozen coyotes sang ballads to the local prairie dog population and ghosts from Lewiston.
Where a paleoplacer consists of relatively unconsolidated gravel, it can be mined similar to a sand and gravel operation. If the operation is near a road, the sand and gravel can be used as a by-product for road construction. The opposite may also occur where gold can be extracted as a by-product of sand & gravel operations if it is found such operations have anomalous gold. Where paleoplacers are extremely old, such as in the Witwatersrand of South Africa, the gold is recovered from underground mines to depths of more than 13,000 feet.
Small paleoplacers are found scattered around the Atlantic City area at South Pass and there are also likely overlooked paleoplacers. The closer these paleoplacers sit to gold-bearing shear zones, the better they should be. To find these on Google Earth, visit the to Atlantic City, Wyoming area. This is where I figured I would end up retiring after I got tired of the Wyoming Geological Survey, but already, the area is getting crowded. Just look at the populations signs!
|Ugh! Where are all the people coming from?|
|JP, Jim and the GemHunter on Rock Creek, 2015.|
|Rock foliation in the Miners Delight formation seen on the side of hills from Rock Creek |
(photo by the GemHunter).
|Examination of the gravel in the Dickie Springs - |
Oregon Buttes paleoplacer to the south of South Pass
at Dickie Springs (photo by the GemHunter).
One of the more popular areas is Dickie Springs because it has water, and gold has been mined in that region in the historical past as well as in recent years. To find Dickie Springs, do a Google Earth search for “Dickie Springs, Fremont County, Wyoming”. When you arrive at the spot, note that Dickie Springs sits in a drainage that flows to the northeast to the Sweetwater River at the edge of the exposed portion of the South Pass greenstone belt (and its not the only drainage).
Now keep in mind: there is not only a world-class paleoplacer gold deposit siting along the southern edge of the South Pass greenstone belt, but there is also a hidden, world-class, lode gold deposit in this region that supplied the gold to the paleoplacer. And greenstone belts are known for major gold deposits. So, where is this deposit? Several years ago, Hecla Mining had a possible lead, but their project was terminated by management. It will likely take detailed geophysical surveys and drilling to find it (or is there more than one?).
|Dave Freitag shows a vial of gold recovered from his paleoplacer gold|
property at Dickie Springs (photo by the GemHunter).
|Oregon Buttes lit up by sunshine. View from South Pass (photo by the|
|Gold from the Dickie Springs paleoplacer - photo courtesy of Dr. J. David Love.|
|Generalized geological map of the Wyoming|
Province should the location of greenstone belts
in Wyoming. South Pass lies in Western Wyoming
at the southern tip of the Wind River Mountains.
|Fisher dredge sits on Rock Creek abandoned in 1942 when the War Minerals Board closed all gold mining operations in|
the US to focus the US industry on the war effort (photo by the GemHunter).
|The GemHunter lectures to a group of gold prospectors about the geology and gold deposits of the South Pass greenstone|
belt and associated paleoplacers (photo courtesy of David Miller).