Professor Hausel's Guide to Finding Gemstones, Diamonds, Gold, Rocks & Minerals 

Discoveries - Diamonds, Gemstones, Gold, Minerals, Rock & Roll

"Hey! I'm on the cover of ICMJ's 2005 Prospecting & Mining Journal!." Other than a photo I took of a rainbow rising from the Duncan gold mine head frame that ended up on the cover of the Wyoming Mining Association's magazine, I've never made the cover of anything before. This is exciting! I was skipping and dancing like Snoopy around my office at the University of Wyoming and had no idea half of our staff was watching me behind a wall of file cabinets and giggling. So what if I can't dance? Anyway, what next? The cover of Play Prospector? Prospector Illustrated? Popular Prospector? Home and Prospector?

Anyway, there I was on the magazine's cover after I had made a couple of discoveries: a World-Class colored gemstone deposit at Grizzly Creek in the Laramie Mountains & mexican opal and agates at Cedar Rim in central Wyoming. These were two extraordinary deposits. But over the years, these were just two of the many mineral discoveries I made. 

How did I do it? Instead of wasting time in staff meetings, I went out into the field and used geology & geochemistry as a guide. Sure I was told that I was not a "team player" because I seldom made an appearance in staff meetings. And when told by others I was wasting my time - as long as I had sound scientific reasoning, I ignored them & continued making discoveries. 

One of my favorite deposits was Grizzly Creek. Grizzly Creek hosts the largest iolite gems in the world including some that likely weigh >hundred thousand carats. During reconnaissance, I even picked up a detrital 24,150-carat iolite and carried it out in my backpack (the size of a football) & placed on exhibit at the WGS building on the UW Campus in Laramie. The gem potentially encloses $500,000 to $2.5 million in gems based on weight alone. But much larger iolites were found in outcrop that could not be hauled out in my backpack along with millions of carats of gem-quality kyanite. Several were easily over 100,000 carats and others in the outcrop may have bee more than a million carats!

At Cedar Rim, boulders of common opal weighing >77,000 carats were recovered. Opal was identified in parts of 40 km2 area making this one of the largest opal fields in the world. I was led to the deposit following information from a local rock hound from Riverton. In this area, millions of carats of common opal, agate, and the first specimens of fire opal and common black opal from Wyoming with traces of precious opal were found.

Over 30 years, I made discoveries: Rattlesnake Hills gold districtkimberlites, gem peridot, ruby and sapphire deposits, kyanite, iolite, cape ruby (pyrope garnet), cape emerald (chromian diopside) nickel, palladium-platinum, >100 gold deposits, and several minerals previously unknown in Wyoming. Along with six others, I was recognized for the discovery (along with 6 other geologists) of the Donlin Creek gold deposit in Alaska - a deposit that hosts considerably more gold than the Homestake mine - indicated resources and inferred resources of more than 180 million ounces of gold! Now, multiply that by today's gold price. The nifty thing about this discovery was that three Wyoming Geologists were part of the discovery team - and it was so nice to be able to share this discovery with two of my friends - Dr. Paul Graff and Mark Bronston! Wow, think about it - this discovery contained more gold found in the entire history of gold mining in the Klondike, and more than 500 times as much gold as mined during the entire history of Wyoming. And this doesn't even include all of the gold found in the Rattlesnake Hills greenstone belt! Not bad for a geologist who was harassed by the Wyoming State Geologist in 2006. 

My love of geological mapping resulted led me to map >1000 km2 of complex geological terrain including the South Pass, Seminoe Mountains & Rattlesnake Hills greenstone belts, the Copper Mountain supracrustal belt, the Donlin Creek-Snow Gulch epithermal gold deposit, the State Line, Iron Mountain & Middle Sybille Creek kimberlite(diamond) districts & Leucite Hills lamproite field. I shared the outcrops with rattlesnakes, coyotes, antelope & now with you.

My specialty is geological mapping, finding new gold, base metal, diamond and/or colored gemstone properties. I am very good at finding mineral deposits and one of the few in the US who specializes in Archean greenstone belt gold mineralization and associated metals as well as in diamond deposits.

While at the Wyoming Geological Survey, I conducted field research & mapped several Archean and Proterozoic belts along with Tertiary volcanic terrains & several generations of kimberlite, lamproite and lamprophyre. Much of what is currently known in Wyoming about hard rock mining districts and Archean geology is from my field work & research. I was awarded the Wyoming Geological Association's highest award in 2004 - the only geologist from the Wyoming Geological Survey to receive this honor.

I discovered the Rattlesnake Hills gold district in 1981. This greenstone belt had been intruded by >42 Tertiary alkalic plugs and dikes that should have been an obvious gold target for exhalite, replacement deposits, breccias and stockworks - but it remained overlooked by all others. The Rattlesnake Hills are now compared to Cripple Creek.

While at the WGS, I mapped >3 dozen underground mines (scale 1:120 & 1:240), explored and mapped the Lewiston, South Pass-Atlantic City, Miners Delight, Bradley Peak, Silver Crown, Cooper Hill, Copper Mountain, State Line, Iron Mountain, Leucite Hills, Middle Sybille Creek districts and fields and mapped the South Pass, Rattlesnake Hills and Seminoe Mountains greenstone belts at 1:24,000 scale. In total, I produced >1,000 square kilometers of new geological mapping.

Winters were long in Wyoming, so I wrote papers, popular rock hounding and prospecting guides including mining books as snow fell and temperatures dipped below a minus 50. All of that paper was good for reading and then starting a fire in the fire place.

When the snow plows were working, I traveled to give lectures on geology and prospecting. My talks and lectures were popular and cheap, and I was presented the 1992 AAPG's President's Certificate, the 1994 Laramie Lyceum's Distinguished Speaker Award, and 1998 University of Wyoming Department of Geology and Geophysics Distinguished Lecturer. I was also the only member in history of the Wyoming Geological Survey to be inducted into a Hall of Fame for my work. The National Rock Hound & Hall of Fame inducted me in 2001 and I was presented the Education Award due to the efforts of members of various rock hound and mineral clubs around Wyoming.  I was inducted into the Millennium Hall of Fame in 1998 and nominated for two other Halls of Fame for contributions as a polymath.

Ok, I admit it, I was a workaholic! Instead of vacations, I took working vacations to learn more about mineral deposits and consulted for several mining companies. I was on the discovery team of Donlin Creek gold deposit in Alaska. How many other geologists do you know who found a $100+ billion gold deposit and got nothing more than a consulting fee. So, I'm not smart when it comes to money and contracts! This 180 million ounce gold deposit was discovered by 7 geologists in 1988 and 1989. In these summers, I took leave from the WGS to consult for WestGold. I did all of the original mapping of this world-class gold deposit. I

Along the way, I consulted for several companies on gold, base metal and gemstone deposits including Chevron Resources, Echo Bay, Bald Mountain, DiamonEx, Black Range, Western Archon, Endurance Gold, Fowler Resources, MK Gold, Twin Buttes, Teras Gold, Ice Resources, Sachem Prospects, Gold King mines, Wyoming Gold, Saratoga Gold and others.

Imagine a company finding two of the largest gold deposits in North America, two of the largest colored gemstone deposits on earth, dozens of diamond deposits, nickel-palladium-copper-gold, hundreds of gold anomalies, several dozen colored gemstone deposits, mapping >1000 square kilometers of mostly unmapped terrain, publishing nearly 1000 papers, books, maps and abstracts. Is this company Anaconda Mining? Homestake Mining? DeBeers? Nope, just a single geologist curious about the world.

I found gemstones in Wyoming - a state that was suppose to be gem-poor. One has gems nearly as large as a small pickup truck (at $15 to $150/carat), and another could have 2 trillion carats of colored gemstones. Along with these I recovered the two largest iolite gemstones in the world - one weighed 1,750 carats, or just a little more than half the size of the famous Cullinun diamond, and the other weighed 24,150 carats. 

Some of my first work in Wyoming was to search for diamondiferous kimberlite. I was hired by Dr. Daniel Miller, State Geologist of the Wyoming Geological Survey, to map and find diamond deposits. Dr. Miller and later Gary Glass, were two very good directors. However, the State of Wyoming then became "Director Challenged".


I apologize to my family - I just had an insatiable curiosity of what was behind the next hill and the next rock and spent a lot of time in the field, when I should have been home. It was an infliction. So, I just wandered and continued to find gold, palladium, gemstones and base metals where other men had gone before (but apparently forgot to look down at the rocks). Here are some discoveries:

  • 1978-79 Mapped the Colorado-Wyoming State Line district & discovered some overlooked diamondiferous kimberlites (Hausel & others, 1979, 1981).

  • 1980 - Completed map of Sheep Rock kimberlite district. Discovered Radichal kimberlite & strong kimberitic heavy mineral anomalies indicating presence of hidden kimberlites (Hausel & others, 1981). Found a second possible kimberlite at Grant Creek in the Albany County Road 11/12 that remains to be unverified.

  • 1981- Discovered significant gold in Seminoe Mountains greenstone belt that led to a gold-rush. Visible gold recovered in >dozen quartz samples. Several anomalies included gold in propylitically altered greenstones & banded iron formation. Assays from a trace to 2.87 opt Au (Hausel, 1993, 1994).

  • 1981 - Discovered Rattlesnake Hills gold district. Identified significant gold in Archean pyritiferous veins, exhalites, stockworks, banded iron formation & Tertiary breccias associated with alkalic plugs (Hausel, 1994, 1995). This was a major discovery based on favorable geology (Hausel, 1980, 1989) & verified by follow-up reconnaissance (Hausel and Jones, 1982a,b) & mapping (Hausel, 1995, 1996). Company drilling verified presence of significant subsurface gold in the district. As of 2014, several anomalies remain unexplored.

  • 1982 - Mapped hydrothermally altered (propylitic & potassic) zones at Copper King Mine in Silver Crown district - a large-tonnage, low-grade, Au-Cu porphyry. Years later, company drilling identified a Au-Cu resource equivalent to >1 million ounces of Au (Hausel & Jones, 1982b; Hausel, 1997). Recently, resource expanded to 2 million ounces.

  • 1985-89 Mapped eight 7.5-minute quadrangles in South Pass greenstone belt & identified >100 Au anomalies. Recognized importance of saddle-reef Au deposits in the extensive shear zone complex that runs from the Carissa mine to the northeast (Hausel, 1991).

  • 1988 Discovered significant gold at Purgatory Gulch, Sierra Madre. Several samples contained visible Au. Area remains unexplored (Hausel, 1997).

  • 1988 Identified major gold deposit at Carissa gold mine. Includes 1000 by 980 ft ore shoot that continues to a minimum depth of 930 ft based on drilling. Target is open at depth (Hausel, 1999, 2009). This deposit likely hosts several million ounces.

  • 1988-89 Mapped significant alteration associated with Donlin Creek (Snow Gulch-Ruby Gulch-Lewis Gulch-Queen Creek) disseminated gold deposit, Alaska - a deposit with a 10-mile strike length. In 2003, this was described by Northern Miner as the largest undeveloped gold deposit in North America. More recently Northern Miner reported this as one of the largest untapped gold deposits in the world based on drilled resources of >29.3 million ounces & inferred resources of 10 million ounces. The size of the deposit (41 million ounces) rivals the Homestake (produced 40 million ounces over 100 years) and is essentially equivalent to all gold produced in Alaska in the 19th and 20th and 21st centuries! Seven geologists were presented the Thayer Lindsley Award for significant International Mineral Discovery at PDAC (2009) in Canada for this discovery. Recent exploration suggests this deposit could end up as a 180 million ounce discovery.

  • 1989 - Discovered gold at Garrett, Wyoming and first specimens of berthierite in Wyoming. The gold occurred as a contact deposit of arsenopyrite-berthierite mica quartzite at the contact with amphibolite in a greenstone belt fragment. This stratiform deposit was traced on the surface for more than 1 mile and remains unexplored. Part of the mineralized structure continues under the adjacent river thus there is likely placer gold downstream.

  • 1990- Found zone of high grade gold and silver mineralization (>1 opt) at Mineral Hill. One channel sample yielded >4 opt Au and >10.5 opt Ag (Hausel, 1997).

  • 1990- Found the first verified amethyst in Wyoming at the Artic Mine in the Mineral Hill district.

  • 1990 - Discovered the first known moonstone gems in Wyoming in the Laramie Range anorthosite complex.

  • 1990-91 Mapped Seminoe Mountains greenstone belt: discovered gold, zinc, lead & 'kimberlitic' diamond-stability indicator mineral anomalies (Hausel, 1993, 1994).

  • 1991 - Investigated gold paleoplacer & discovered diamond indicator minerals on north flank of the Seminoe Mountains (all tested have been diamond-stability (G10) pyropes!).

  • 1991 - Discovered first specimens of ilsemannite in Wyoming at Sheep Mountain (Hausel, 1991).

  • 1991-93 Discovered significant zone of gold and silver mineralization at Copper Creek, Sierra Madre. This deposit remains unexplored! (Hausel, 1997).

  • 1992-93 Mapped Rattlesnake Hills greenstone belt & associated epithermal & exhalitive gold mineralization (Hausel, 1995, 1996).

  • 1993-94 Mapped Cooper Hill mining district, Wyoming (1:12,000 scale).

  • 1995 Discovered significant nickel and palladium anomaly with copper-cobalt-gold-platinum mineralization at Puzzler Hill pyroxenite massif (Hausel, 1995, 1997).

  • 1996 Discovered gem-quality sapphire, ruby, kyanite & iolite at Palmer Canyon, Wyoming. Recovered largest iolite gem in world (1,750 carats) at that time (Hausel, 1998).

  • 1996- Recovered large rubies in Tin Cup district - deposit was later called the Red Dwarf ruby deposit (Hausel, 1997). Developed exploration model for rubies & sapphires that led to discovery of nearly a dozen ruby-sapphire deposits (Hausel, 2003; Hausel & Sutherland, 2000, 2006).

  • 1997 - Discovered gem-quality peridot in Leucite Hills. Recovered >13,000 carats from two anthills & gems 0.5 inch across in outcrop & soil (Hausel, 1998, 2004).

  • 1997-99 Discovered several kimberlites in Iron Mountain district, Wyoming. Completed 1:24,000 scale map of district & identified cryptovolcanic structures to the west at Indian Guide (Hausel and others 2003).

  • 2003 - Recognized one of the largest opal deposits in North America - the Cedar Rim field with giant common opals, some weighing >77,000 carats. Discovered first verified precious opal in Wyoming, first verified 'fire' opal in Wyoming & source beds of Sweetwater agate (Hausel, 2005, 2008).

  • 2004 - Identified one of the largest colored gemstone deposits in world at Grizzly Creek with the largest iolite gemstones on earth along with significant resource of gem kyanite. Recovered largest iolite gem in the world (24,150 carats). Some in outcrop estimated to weigh >1 million carats (Hausel, 2004; Hausel and Sutherland, 2000).

  • 2005 - Discovered potentially the largest colored gemstone deposit on earth in Sherman Mountains. This world-class iolite deposit may have as much as >2.7 trillion carats of gemstone based on past mapping & sampling (Hausel, 2005). In recognition of discovery, WGS director confiscated field vehicle to stop research.

  • 2005 - Discovered several crytovolcanic structures (kimberlite-like anomalies) in Wyoming Craton (Happy Jack, Horse Creek, Eagle Rock clusters).

  • 2005 Mapped Leucite Hills lamproite field & identified diamond-stability indicator minerals in NE portion of the field - recommended exploration for hidden olivine lamproites - remains unexplored (Hausel, 2006).

  • 2006-2008 Discovered cryptovolcanic structures with characteristics consistent with kimberlite (i.e., structurally-controlled depressions with vegetation anomalies, montmorillonite-carbonate blue ground). These include Harrison, Lost Mountain, Twin Mountain, Lost Lake, Lone Pine Lake, Molly, CML, BG, BA, WPA, Gold Lake, Prairie Divide, Lady Moon Lake, Red Feather Lakes & Douglas Creek clusters.

  • 2012 - Mapped Copper King fault and found visible gold in granodiorite. Fault offsets east flank of Copper King ore body. This zone remains to be drilled (previous company drilling identified a 2 million ounce equivalent of gold-copper mineralization). Found similar hydrothermal altered zones in the region that remain unexplored. The Copper King ore body is deeply eroded which means - all of you Cheyenne prospectors may be missing out on some placer gold running into town from the west!

Many of the above cited references can be found at some of my other sites - such as the Mining Journalpbwiki, Good Reads, Open Library, Cheyenne Chapter GPAA, Wyoming Prospectors Association, Wyoming Authors, Everipedia, and Amazon Books.