The GEMHUNTER

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

Rocks Are For Breaking

I break rocks! I break things, I don't fix them. My wife won't let me touch extension cords: she recently handed me a pair of electric clippers and told me to  trim the bushes. Four extension cords later (in less than 15 minutes) I had yet to finish a single bush, but I finished all of the extension cords. 


Thank God for duct tape. I can fix most things with duct tape, but give me a tool and you will soon wish you had done the job yourself. It must be why some of us become geologists and others engineers.


You should hear those cords when you cut them. Boy do they make a "pop". Next, she sent me out to trim a cactus out front. Luckily, no one called the cops when I stepped out front with my katana (samurai sword) and traditional samurai uniform, but you could hear the neighbors gossip for months. In one slice, the cactus was lying on the ground begging for mercy.


When I was a small boy, I remember my teacher asked "what do you want to do when you grow up?" 

"Break rocks", I answered.


I sensed she misinterpreted what I wanted to do. Deep down inside she visualized me wearing stripes with a ball and chain attached to one foot while breaking rocks with a sledge, especially after I buried her 45 RPM records in the sand pile. But what the heck - any teacher should be able to take a joke.


I signed up for karate classes as a teen. I was playing in an rock n' roll band and few people in the early 60s respected long hair, so our entire band took up karate for self-preservation. When I graduated from high school, I went to a local university and then got a job first as an astronomy lecturer at the Hansen Planetarium. While in grad school, the Apollo astronauts brought back rocks for me to conduct mineralogical and geochemical research. Boy, were these boring rocks!


I graduated with BS and MS degrees and soon found work at the Geological Survey. On some geology field conferences, geologists stand around with cans of beer under shade trees and compare rock hammers like one would compare guns or body parts. "Mine's bigger than yours!"  In the geology profession, social status revolves around rock hammers and hand lenses. 


On one trip to the outback of Australia, members of an international diamond conference were impressed by how most termite mounds were so solid and silicified such that even the biggest rock hammers were turned away by a loud "clang" as the sledge bounced off the mound. Those little suckers are engineers! We had some Japanese geologists who were also black belts who attended the Aussie conference, so a challenge was issued. Who could take the top off these termite mounds with a shuto. A shuto, is the classic karate chop.


Now this was fun. Being a lifelong martial artist, I got a "kick" out of this. The termite engineers provided mounds for the contest. We were up to the challenge: we broke off more mound tops with our karate chops than other geologists could break with their mighty hammers. So we proved the adage, 'the hand' is mightier than the hammer.  


While I was working for the Wyoming Geological Survey, I would keep all of my vacation time and build up enough to run off to search other places around the world for diamonds and gold. In 1988 and 1989, WestGold hired me to do gold work and geological mapping in Alaska. I had already found many gold deposits in Wyoming, and so they were hoping I would do the same in Alaska. 


And I did! Along with 6 other geologists! Together, we found one of the largest gold deposits in North America (as well as the world) and was presented the PDAC's Thayer Lindsey Award for a major international gold discovery (hey, I'll take the gold instead of the award, but guess that will never happen). Now image this, the Donlin Creek gold deposit has more than 43 million ounces of gold!!! That's 3 times more gold than has been mined in all of Arizona, 120 times more gold than mined in all of Wyoming, twice as much gold mined in all of Montana and Utah. Even the famous Klondike pales in comparison - it is more than twice the amount of gold mined in the entire Klondike for its entire history.


Prior to the Alaska discovery, I made a discovery of probably the largest gold deposit in all of Wyoming - I found gold in several deposits in the Rattlesnake Hills. And along the way of all of these and other discoveries, I didn't forget about you. I published information on all of my discoveries and others as well as how you can also make your own discoveries - because there are still many, many deposits out there waiting for the right person to find them.