Gemstones, Minerals & Rocks
In 1977, I was employed as a research geologist for the Wyoming Geological Survey in Laramie after being hired by the late Dr. Daniel N. Miller, Jr, one of the most respected State Geologists in the Country and a person of integrity. He was so important to the Wyoming Geological Survey, that the building on the University of Wyoming campus was renamed in his honor!
Next to nothing was known about gemstones and precious metals in Wyoming in 1977, but over the next 3 decades, I tracked down hundreds of mineral deposits & found some of the largest individual gemstones and gemstone deposits on earth: some gems I found were as large as a Smart car! These deposits were found in the wilds, along roads, highways and even the interstate. Many of these discoveries were published in papers and books listed on wiki and Amazon.
Using geology as a guide to finding gems & gold provides a great advantage. For example, after I discovered the Palmer Canyon iolite deposit in the central Laramie Mountains, I noted this deposit also contained ruby, sapphire and kyanite. The ruby & sapphire were associated with a small outcrop of vermiculite sometimes referred to as 'glimmerite'. Glimmerite is a rock composed almost entirely of vermiculite mica and is geochemically enriched in alumina. Ruby & sapphire are aluminum-oxides thus, under the right geological conditions with the right chemistry, pressures and temperatures, amphibolite-grade metamorphism produced alumina (silica-poor) rock that hosts ruby and sapphire. Several samples I collected of the Palmer Canyon vermiculite contained 20 to 25% corundum (ruby & sapphire), with some rubies weighing more than 12-carats after faceting. Armed with this information, I found another half-dozen ruby deposits simply by searching vermiculite deposits in Wyoming. There was already a publication in the university archives on Vermiculite Deposits of Wyoming!
Similar gems will be found in vermiculites and some aluminum-rich serpentinites in Montana, Arizona, Nevada, California, Colorado, Utah, South Dakota and Idaho - so get out and start looking! See if you can find old geology reports on vermiculite in your area - vermiculite was at one time in the early 1900s, a sought after commodity for insulation. Even so, it was the iolite gemstones that were so fascinating. Using the geological, mineralogical and geochemical characteristics of the iolite deposit at Palmer Canyon, I developed a model and found a couple of more deposits and provided predictions where others will likely be found some day.
Thus, Wyoming, which was thought to be almost devoid of gemstones, is now known as the most diversified gemstone state in the US, and is one of the more popular places in the country for rock hounding. And gold! I found hundreds of gold anomalies and was on the discovery team of one of the largest gold deposits in North America in 1988. Six other geologists and myself were responsible for putting Donlin Creek on the map in Alaska.
Donlin Creek has a drilled gold resource similar to that mined at the Homestake mine over a period of more than a century (about 43 million ounces). This one discovery that we made in 1988, contains 2.5 times more gold than mined in the entire Klondike during its entire mining history! And how does it compare to Wyoming? The Donlin Creek discovery has more than 120 times gold than mined in all of Wyoming! I also discovered the Rattlesnake Hills gold district in 1981. An entire gold district missed by everyone else. This led to the recent discovery of a gold-bearing breccia that is being compared to Cripple Creek, Colorado - another major gold deposit. It's no wonder why the last State Geologist I worked for was jealous of my work. And I would still be working in Wyoming making new discoveries every year if it wasn't for him.
I also made significant gold discoveries in the Seminoe Mountains, South Pass, Sierra Madre and elsewhere. To make gold and gemstone discoveries requires an understanding of geology and gold prospecting which is why I am trying to help all of my readers and supporters to understand geology and mineral deposits. I get nothing from doing this other than the satisfaction of hearing about your successes - and hopefully sell a couple of books along the way.
Then there are the diamond deposits. In 1977, I became one of the few diamond geologists in North America and mapped the State Line diamondiferous kimberlite district, the Iron Mountain kimberlite district, the Sheep Rock kimberlite district and the Leucite Hills lamproite district. As a consultant, I suggested to companies to pick up properties in Colorado and Montana, both where diamonds were found and I found several previously unknown diamond deposits and possibly >300 others that remain unexplored.
But then there were all of the iolites, garnets, chromian diopsides, beryls, apatites, fluorites, tourmalines, specularites and other gemstones I found between 1977 and 2007. Nearly every year I found a new gold and or gemstone deposit in a place that was suppose to be devoid of these minerals. Now, ask yourself, what discoveries have been made in Wyoming since I left?
Personally, I would contact the Wyoming legislature and voice your support for the Wyoming Geological Survey to conduct MORE research in gold and gemstones. At one time, it was a world class geological survey - but now, we hear next to nothing from these people. I would also contact the governor's office. One problem with State Geological Surveys is that state geologists are at will positions appointed by the governor - and some state geologists do little to nothing other that make very bad decisions. And being good buddies with the governor, some get away with murder, so to speak.