August 24:—SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: Retail show; Southwest Gem and Mineral Society of San Antonio; Sat. 10-5
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 Post subject: Prospecting trip
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:52 am 
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Location: Central Queensland, Australia
Ok, we're ready to go. All digging gear, clothes, food, swag (bedroll) packed. The temperatures aren't going to be kind, it hasn't been too bad all week but it's supposed to heat up for the weekend. Lucky there is a creek with clean, permanent water on the place. Might be swimming as much as digging.

We have no idea of the likelihood of finding anything interesting. The geology of the area consists entirely of weathering intrusive granites with volcanic plugs dotted about the place - so I reckon that's a good enough reason to go scratching in all the gullies coming down the sides of the ranges. I can't recall the property owner saying he had found anything of note, though amethyst and smokey crystals are common in the area. There are rumours of zircons and other things being found, I think the geology makes it a possibility.

Fossicking often leaves you coming home with little or nothing to show, especially in an unproven area like this one - but you gotta be in it to win it. Hopefully I will be home on Monday with something interesting and facetable :)


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 Post subject: Re: Prospecting trip
PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:20 am 
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Location: N Dakota
Well Lefty it's February and not a word from you. I'm guessing:
A) you found the mother load!
B) you were attacked by an angry mob of Roos protecting their gems
C) you struck out and are still in the pub drowning your sorrows
D) the A/C went out on the way and you are recovering in the hospital from the beating the missus gave you for not fixing it before you left

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 Post subject: Re: Prospecting trip
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 4:08 pm 
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Dan&Sally wrote:
Well Lefty it's February and not a word from you. I'm guessing:
A) you found the mother load!
B) you were attacked by an angry mob of Roos protecting their gems
C) you struck out and are still in the pub drowning your sorrows
D) the A/C went out on the way and you are recovering in the hospital from the beating the missus gave you for not fixing it before you left


Dan&Sally wrote:
Well Lefty it's February and not a word from you. I'm guessing:
A) you found the mother load!
B) you were attacked by an angry mob of Roos protecting their gems
C) you struck out and are still in the pub drowning your sorrows
D) the A/C went out on the way and you are recovering in the hospital from the beating the missus gave you for not fixing it before you left


None of the above Dan :) The people accompanying me were more interested in drinking than prospecting and were mostly either too intoxicated to dig or too hung over to dig. :| There was plenty of talking about digging, collections of stones (from other localities - they were former sapphire miners) pulled out and passed around. But very little actual prospecting.

There is a little pub a few miles down the road (the town consists of about a dozen houses, a school and the pub) and we did indeed end up there. My mate managed to sell a jewellery piece to the pub owner and the property owner managed to sell some timber for a bar top (he's a timber cutter) to the leader of a group of bikers who had noisily pulled into the pub for a beer, while I sat there sipping coke, trying to make out I was drinking the hard stuff.

But there was some excitement that weekend - a wild storm ripped through and almost blew apart the shed we were sheltering in at the time. Pretty freaky actually, was more like a low-category cyclone than a storm. We spent until 9 o'clock that evening chainsawing fallen trees by car headlight and dragging them off his quarter mile long driveway so we could get out of the place.

So an entertaining weekend all things considered - but next time I go digging, I'd like to spend most of the time actually digging :?

The property owner's cabin, all built from timber from the property...

Image

Image


The only "find" of the trip - he gave me this little smokey amethyst crystal.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Prospecting trip
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 4:37 pm 
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Sweet little cabin. Sounds like a good weekend of "prospecting".

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 Post subject: Re: Prospecting trip
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 7:16 pm 
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It is a very nice little cabin, heaps of character. There's a loft with beds but I ended up rolling out my swag on the front porch instead (and had rain blow in on me). No mains electricity, he runs a generator and a battery bank. No main water supply, he pumps out of the creek down the bottom of the hill which has permanent water for all his general use and rainwater tanks for drinking water.

My mate is a jeweller and former sapphire and opal miner. He's been run off his feet of late, I think he just wanted to get out of the shop let his hair down a bit but I thought we might get to do a bit more digging than we actually did. Pretty sure the owner will let us go back any time though, probably let us take the trommel and pulsator there. He's got a decent-sized Bobcat there as well, we could rip through a fair bit of dirt with that set up.

Won't be digging for a couple of months now. At this time of year the monsoon sweeps down from Southeast Asia and everything is continually wet, if not flooded. Best off to stay home, facet, cab, tinker with prospecting gear and make plans for the dry season. There are places I'd like to take my machines but I'm not sure about asking the property owners, they might not appreciate someone trying to rip bigger holes than you can make with a pick and shovel. I'd like to get into the place I get those pyrope garnets and move a heap of dirt - the very dark stones constitute the great majority but there are lighter coloured ones among them, including Rhodolite garnets and even the odd green one has been found there (I found a small amber coloured one). They're only garnets but the more dirt you can move, the better your chances of turning up some good, less-common ones.

So I'm trying to come up with some manual things to process dirt faster than you normally would just sieving. A throw screen lets you sieve dirt as fast as you can shovel it but then you usually have to wash it in a small sieve and go through it. I'm thinking of something like a wiloughby to concentrate the heavies on the same principle as a pulse jig...

Image

...but something a bit larger than this one (but still portable). Given that most of the things I'm chasing are heavy and will concentrate to the bottom when agitated in water - what if the sieve in the photo was a two-part vessel a lot deeper than this one that allowed you to remove the top section containing say 90% of the material that you have just bounced up and down in the water container and throw that while the heavies would be caught in the bottom section.

How much gravel you could bounce up and down without your arms falling off would be a consideration (the stronger the spring the better I guess) and how to ensure the heavies did in fact end up trapped at the bottom would be a matter of experiment I suppose.

It's gotta be do-able I reckon. How practical it would be, I'll have to try it to find out.


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 Post subject: Re: Prospecting trip
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:59 pm 
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Why not offer a percentage of the find and offer to reclaim the area? Maybe

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 Post subject: Re: Prospecting trip
PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:00 am 
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Dan&Sally wrote:
Why not offer a percentage of the find and offer to reclaim the area? Maybe


Might be worth a shot Dan. They're mostly only pyrope garnets so I'm not sure if there's a great deal of value to be had, unless I stumbled across a patch of spessartine. Apparently a bloke had taken out a lease to prospect for diamonds which he believed lay under the garnet deposit. He had been chased off a neighbouring property by angry landholders so I'm a bit dubious about asking. There's almost certainly so much gemmy stuff in my region but it's all on private property and this is one of the very few places I've managed to get permission to go digging.

If I get some lighter coloured/pink/green ones I might try to bribe her with a nice pair of earrings or something :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Prospecting trip
PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:36 pm 
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its not a bribe, its a peace offering. A thank you, an appreciation gift. And dont forget the wine, or tea :smt002 :smt002 :smt002

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