Finding Fluorite in Montana Mountains
Asked Andrew Luna where he was going rock hounding this weekend. Duck Creek. What ya looking for? Fluorite. Hmm...gotta look it up.
But apparently it is about 1 mile hike into steep mountain terrain, but the real good stuff is 5 miles in. Suggested a camera to his hat to show those who dare not to tread just how beautiful the find is when they arrive.
The possibility of finding even purple stones, but those of multiple colors...just too darn enticing. But will be satisfied with my garnets and sapphires for the moment. Maybe a video will be on its way, but the adventure anticipation is awesome.
Scheduling a Rock Hounding Trip
What ya going for this time? How about lining up a trip to southwestern Montana and digging for those burgundy garnets. They are all over the hills of Ruby Reservoir.
One has to ask yourself, would the rubies be found on the shore of the water when it is down, or up in the hills in those draws of the Sauerbier Ranch? Some gem and mineral groups know the routine and take their entire group there to dig.
If you are lucky those Montana sapphires can be found there as well. You might get lucky and get two kinds of stones at the same dig site.
There is a new name to the mine in Alder that gathers the garnets aplenty in the area as they sell them for abrasives. Garnets are not just for jewelry, so you can amass some dandies too with gracing the land out of Alder with your buckets and shovels. Head on out soon.
OK, you got the weekend, just where might you go in Montana to look for unique rocks under the crust? Two recent destinations: Tobacco Mountains and Pryor Mountains.
What might you look for? Crystals are always lurking down below, but agates in the Pryor? Is that a bum steer or what? Mark Amundson goes walking down riverbeds to snag those dandies, but then again, high atop the hills out of White Earth Campground in Winston, there be agates just popping out of the side of cliff or under your feet as you scale the mounds.
You just gotta set a destination, explore a little possibilities and do it!!
Dig With a Kid
No matter where you want to explore the wild Montana outdoors, take a kid along to dig for gold, crystals, or garnets and you will have a happy time for all. Kids naturally take to rock or gold hounding like ducks to water. They exhibit great "dig in skills" and get to getting like an equal. It certainly is an antidote for the computer game attachment.
Boy Scout troops have their leaders bring buckets of rocks containing opals to a meeting, the kids get to examine the earthly treasure to find how the underworld formed the gems of life. It happened right here in Great Falls and can happen for you anywhere you through a dart at on a map of Montana. Just do it! Then set out with a bucket and a shovel with a kid or more and then chart the dialogue on the way out, there and back. You will find lots of gems in living with this recreational sport gone family viral as it will certainly be put in your family logbook as a memory to cherish.
Looking for gold or rocks with a kid is a win win situation. All is well in this realm.
What's Chromium Have to do With It?
When speaking with Will Heierman of Texas, an avid gold and sapphire collector, he said in reference to gemstone color, "It depends on how much chromium is present in the stone."
Got to thinking about the colors of gemstones and what makes them look the way they are. Lots of good information about the human eye and what it perceives in terms of the wavelenght of the vibrations in the color.
In some cases, a single trace element can produce different colors in different gem varieties. Thus chromium will produce a green color in emerald, but result in a red color in corundum. This is because there is a complex relationship between the gem's crystal structure and the trace elements.
Department of Environmental Quality Fails the Public
It was with donations to the Montana Enviornmental Information Agency that took the Montana State Department of Environmetal Quality to court to protect Montana waters because they were going to allow Hecla Mining Company to pollute extensively the waters of Montana by allowing the proposed company to pollute multiple rivers and streams with contaminants.
A Montana District Court judge has just invalidated the water pollution permit for the Montanore Mine, a proposed silver-copper mine that would have bored beneath the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in Montana.
The permit issued by Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality would have allowed Hecla Mining Company and its subsidiary, Montanore Minerals Corporation, to discharge mine wastewater and contaminated storm water into multiple streams that traverse public lands in the Cabinet Mountains and provide irreplaceable habitat for threatened bull trout.
Ditching Gold; Heading for Dogtooth Calcite
What better adventure to pull calcite out of the ground after hard clanking of the rock hammers and pickaxes; we might get some dandies after scaling a steep embankment in the Gallatin Red Cliff area.
There is more than the shiny yellow that comes with summer explorations in Montana. This weekend will be some gathering of the unusual. Hopefully we will hit is big. Andrew Luna knows his spots! We be on that one. Stay tuned. Check out more info on Treasure Hunting 2019
Finding a Way
Last year prospectors were wondering if they would even have access to their claim on the Blackfoot River.
With multiple talks with the Governor's men, Senator Daines's staff, national mining magazine reps, and national mining crisis consultants, the pressure must have worked because voila:
The culvert in question was demolished accidentally by the USFS truck with too big a load, the USFS put in a new spout for the bull trout to reign supreme, and plans for a side railing for equipment to cross the creek are in motion.
Imagine that: the bull trout and the prospector CAN REIGN SUPREME, and the USFS can cooperate not dictate!! With pressure, they can be problem solvers. It took change in their offices, and a woman in charge to make it happen. But it did!! The prospector is respected for once on Stemple Pass. Amazing!!
What Does Reclamation Look Like?
When your equipment breaks down, your team is there, what do you do?
Even though you have torn up the hillside with the approval of the US Forest Service with your POO Plan (Plan of Operation), the trees and underbrush pushed to the side, so you can dig down 20 feet below to gather the gold, do you start putting it all back because you got your tea cup of gold?
Yep, that is what some of them are doing. The trees that were downed for access, are put across the land again so the dirt and hillside doesn't just slide down the mountain. You can move the debris back in place and then it's ready for seeding on top. You don't need to bring in new dirt, just rearrange what was once there, only in a different fashion. Reclamation happens all over, and you don't even know it sometimes. Good use of your time while waiting for parts.
Doing it as you go seems like a good idea. You gotta get it done by the end of the summer, so why not while idle?
Gold Nugget Turned Out to Be Much More
A prospector in Australia was sure the rock he found while using a metal detector had a gold nugget in it. He took it to some scientists and they discovered it was really a rare meteorite that was formed somewhere between Jupiter and Mars.
What a deal!! Come to find out it might be a source of finding out just how old the universe is. It's amazing what people find while looking for gold. Check out this website to learn more: https://www.msn.com/en-us/video/science/mans-gold-nugget-turns-out-to-be-a-super-rare-meteorite/vi-AAEwmPK
Comparison Gem Shopping in Montana
Phillipsburg is supposedly the place to head when the penchant for sapphire mining comes to mind. Gravel comes in a variety of forms with mini buckets, boots, bags and 5- gallon buckets.
One hundred dollars got a boot for $75 which the lady assured me that was the best deal. Hmm...not so much. Then the $25 mini bucket yielded specks of sapphires, not big enough to cut. Where were my multiple big ones garnered in just a half hour of shoveling gravel and running two layers through a jig shared with another visitor?
The best deal by far is the results one gets at Blue Jewel this year. Last year California friends visiting found an $8000 museum quality one in their bucket.
The value for the bang of the buck certainly is not pouring money into packaged stuff at Phillipsburg, as evident by processing gravel recently. But then again, everyone's luck is different.
Extraction of Gold in Montana
As the piles of gold were laid in front of me on the table for viewing, the significance of the types of gold was evident. Some come in mini nuggets that makes the vial rattle with their weight against the glass, others come in jewelry quality with their bright yellow color, but then there is the dirty looking stuff that is blackened because of how it was formed through multiple smaller pieces coming together to form a much larger nugget.
Then there is always the flour gold that is the yellow version of the food staple, but there is an element in between the flour and the mini nugget and that is like the fly poo left behind by those critters, not quite dust, and not quite a nugget, a spot somewhere in between that the miners coined in description.
But all in all, no matter how gold comes out of the earth in Montana, the effects of intuition and knowing the workings of the earth's formation leads miners to amassing plenty enough money value each day that you are successful at predicting just where you might find it. All these types have been found this week in July in Montana.
Why is Water a Nuisance in Mining Gold?
When you have the right combination of people to mine as a group with expertise in heavy equipment use, metal detectors, working with the government and the sales of gold nationally, you have a success story.
It isn't with the running of water that gold can be extracted from the earth, it is a front-end loader, a Minelab 7000, and diligence to go layer upon layer of earth to amass your pile of yellow. Now, where in this description do you hear water running?
This fall the earth will be reclaimed with the material removed and no one will really ever know that the gold deposited by the glacial movement long ago in Powell County was ever searched for the deposits embedded in the rocks and dirt. There still is gold to be mined in Montana and it is happening all over. Miners are having success...may you too!
Rare Earth Minerals in Montana
Because the United States is so dependent upon other countries for their minerals, there has been a switch in the US Government where they are coughing up money for grants and studies in Montana.
Recently it was reported Montana's only antimony mine is getting help in the form of a grant to produce more antimony which is good for bullets and missile warheads.
When talking with Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology in Butte, it was reported moola was coming in for a study on tungsten which Montana has a lot of. It is needed for steel. Someday we might get independent. Growing up; maturing America is looking in our great state for answers with our wealth of minerals. Oil might be good, but rare earth minerals are better.
People ask, "Where can I get my sapphires cut?" Good question.
In Great Falls the best place was the Yogo Shop as Phyllis would send her rough sapphires for a customer to Thailand and she swore by their quality. But with her closing her shop, the hole has to be filled.
Some say there is Drew in Livingstone for whatever that means. But with a stop to Blaze N' Gems one finds that Thailand is not so trustworthy to him, but he has found good luck in Sri Lanka. He has a form for a person to fill out and it takes two months to get it back. I guess if you send in your summer's find, it makes for a fun package mid winter. See form attached on the rock page of this site.
Gold Found Right Inside a Rock
If rocks come shooting out of rocks like in this phot0, wouldn't you think that your gold search would have to be modified from a gold pan in a stream to a metal detector following out every bing of your instrument?
Bruce, the owner of the Blue Jewell shared this example of gold he found in southern Arizona's quartzsite district in which he dug up every beep on his metal detector whether it was a bullet, coin, pin, or rock. Hitting this with a hammer show cased a dandy, shiny piec of gold that defies the term, "Gold isn't shiny, it's a dull color." This piece looks very bright to me!!
How gold is formed in the earth as it is evolving is under debate. Bruce says the Dr. of the book he follows says that some are formed from bacteria in developmental stages. One would have to check out his book for more details, but this guy is an expert. See this link.
Book Reviews. Washing rocks in a river is definitely out to find gold in this format. But Bruce had a vial full of gold nuggets he found in prospecting with a gold detector too.
My How Times Have Changed
Last year it was no, no, no with the US Forest Service and the Blackfoot River Prospecting Club, and this year it is yes, yes, yes, with an Avon prospecting group that have a POO (Plan of Operation) accepted and are able to take to the hillside, shoveling off forest life, baring open the land.
Then the two-part step to prospecting using the gold detector is filling the pockets of both state and national claim holders.
I wonder if it had anything to do with the new supervisor assigned out of Helena that got things in motion after all the local, state, and national pressure put upon them last year? Maybe they learned something...like prospecting does not mean there is not the cooperation of the participants in a good way. Growth for the miner might mean movements in policies that have needed to be changed for a very long time!!
Blue Jewel Mine Coughs Up Sapphires
Both staff members at the Blue Jewel Mine out of York, Montana carry around in their pockets sapphires they pull out to show potential diggers to their site.
The stories abound of how long Bruce and family have been at this process of digging on this site and the success he has had. He doesn't hesitate to tour you around his compound showing you the operations of going through the earth that started with his grandfather long ago.
Sometimes the piles of gravel one digs in are good, and sometimes not so good, but that is a familiar scene in any sapphire site. Bruce's operation is different than it used to be. One must buy 6 buckets for $100 bucks. Splitting it is optional if you have buddies, but this place used to provide sapphires for B52's in the war by the TON!!
Head to Blue Jewel Mine if you want to find sapphires. We lined our pockets in a short period of time. Good establishment.
Hot Off The Press!!
Just received. The announcement for the 5th annual Mining and Mineral Symposium. Set your calendars right now for a kick buns type of rockin' experience. Every year just gets better and better.
The big thing you need to consider is the element of technology as it plays in mining. One year the charts of all the underground pathways of the Butte big hill were rotated upside down and all over for the visual experience of the mineral minds.
Then the next year dudes from everywhere showed their underground evaluations from technology above ground in multiple color as to where each and every mineral deposit was below their feet.
Mining students spout their stuff with words that make your head spin, but if you sit back and enjoy the ride of every 30 minutes a new presenter spews geological showers of words and pictures you will enjoy. The meet and greets, tours, and contacts are just the best. All your information is right here. Make your plans now!!
Gem Mountain Getaway
Planning on heading out this 4th of July weekend? Think about heading to Phillipsburg for your taste of Montana sapphires.
You can hit the mine 12 miles out and have the family and kids process gravel in water troughs and then search for those dandy gems through the flipped-up squares on picnic tables all around on the compound.
Or you can do the same thing in town at their store on main street with many other shops offering similar experiences. Either way you will be among many other tourists who flock to this town for the best experience in sapphire hunting.
Then the next question posed to you would be, "Just where do I get my gems cut? And who gets my dandies?" You will figure it out. Good luck!! Been there, done that, searching in my backyard for the same thing. Lifestyles differ, but sapphires don't change. They're good.
Rare Earth Minerals in Montana
Wikipedia said there was no mining of antimony in the US; wrong. The United States Antimony Corporation operates in Thompson Falls and coordinates many antimony and other crucial products for our country.
Antimony is instrumental in the manufacturing of many products, especially as a fire retardant, and in bullets plus in missile warheads.
When a writer mentioned our country closing a gold mine in the Bear Tooth, she mentioned that America wants to use other country's minerals to reserve ours. I wondered if the deviousness of this choice was true. Why doesn't America support the development of its minerals? John Lawrence, the CEO of this corporation said one man has taken 32 years to get a permit to mine. Let's get with it, America!!
Spotting with the Naked Eye; Are You Good Enough?
Bought a bag of gravel for ten bucks at the El Dorado Mine along York Road out of Helena. Before I got home to process the gravel for possible sapphires I thought, "I bet I could find them without soaking them in water!" So, I sat in my car before a meeting and filed through the ziplock bag. Found nothing. Blamed the poor showing on the source.
Several days later I decided to run them under water in a colander to see if the water showed up anything. Wham, bam, thank you mam' there were two shiny blue stones my eye didn't catch. Proud owner of some sapphires I thought I could spot, but didn't in the raw. They always say go through your gravel several times. I am sure at least once would be good, and not have elevated skills as it is good to double check on what you think you can do while prospecting.
Just What Is This?
Um, when you find black sands in ribbons in the small cliffsides you know some chemical changes had happened long ago to bring about the formation. Wherever there are black sands, often gold is nearby.
So, you bring home your buckets of dirt and decide to process it in your variety of mechanisms that you have. When the metal fragments go up the spiral of the gold genie that allows the nuggets to fall through the hole in the back of it and the heavy metal shows up silver instead of gold. What do you have?
Definitely an investigation is launched. Osmium in the mountaintop dirt? Or is it rhodium? Why did we find this in the Montana dirt? Always something new while out prospecting. Just would it be antimony or silver itself? Heavy stuff.
Barite on a Rock Wall
Hunting barite this weekend you say? Scale this wall you might add. Only some of us find it right at our feet having been shoved down by scalers of the daring type.
Barite has been hunted for awhile. Remnants of the search are out front with collapsed entrances to old mines right by the road out of Basin. Those pretty yellow cubes all stuck together abound all about. Just fill your bag, bucket or pockets to go home and clean. Rock hounding is fun.
Follow the Cataract Creek Road way up top and back again to search for nests of crystals while you are in the area. You will be glad you did.
Walk into a Montana sapphire shop and find right on the counter sapphires of a different sort from way down under the earth, Australia. How cool is that!! The El Dorado Sapphire Mine out of Helena, sells them for the sapphire seeker along with bags of gravel that can be taken home or processed right outside in their yard with shakers, tubs of water and tweezers.
These sapphires look way different than our Montana ones, as the Australian ones are dark, not varied in colors like our local ones that range from pinks, orange, blue, green, purples and various shades in between.
Take a peek outside our state's capitol on York Road, near Canyon Ferry Lake.
Rare Earth Minerals in Political Volleying
The United States is in a precarious position in the world because it does not supply the volume of rare earth minerals needed in production of products. Our country is very dependent upon China for them and yet our President wants to apply aversive pressure to a country that is supplying us with these crucial minerals.
Not wise to play around with the country that holds the goods. But when one wants to bully others, games can get nasty. Working our own country for mining minerals might be more important than threatening other countries with all kinds of sanctions etc. We need to get to getting with the goods in our homeland. China has us over the barrel. The perspective is not good. Check out this article; it's a little scary. https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/why-china-s-threat-to-restrict-rare-earth-minerals-is-so-serious/ar-AAC9sdJ?li=BBnb7Kz
The Publication Has Arrived
In 2017 in October an attendee got a small copy of the abstracts that were to be presented at the Symposium offered by the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology.
This last October attendees were notified they would receive the copy about January of 2019. It just arrived in the mail April 8th, and it is such a treat to hold in your hand. Having taken copious notes to savor all the knowledge exchanged while listening to this myriad of topics presented, to have the visual reference to thumb through is just fabulous. I am sure the time it took to get all the t's crossed and the i's dotted took perseverance. But none the less, the arrival is welcome and I would imagine available for inquirers to the Bureau. You just might enjoy it as well. It's a masterpiece.
Billings Rock Shop
Want to take your rock breath away? Try stopping into the Stones and Bones rock shop on 24th in Billings and see what you will feel when you open the door and step into the room filled with every kind of rock imaginable.
Crystal, the operator exhibits knowledgeable skills of many uses of the stone from decorative, healing, lapidary, and more, and is ready and willing to answer any of your questions about rock hounding in Montana, and all over the world. Her rocks rock!!
Just the choices of pendulums is an eye catcher, plus all the egg rocks all in a circular fashion. The fossil display is profound, and whatever avenue of rock pursuits you might have, certainly she can answer your questions. Stop by for the rock of your life. It's amazing.
Don't Underestimate the Power of China to Influence Our Minerals; Oh, and What About Russia?
Story told today about China flooding the market with cheap minerals driving the market down in order to put out an American company out of business. Foreign countries affect our mining operations here and their resources. When we are dependent upon foreign minerals, other countries can affect our market value for many precious metals.
It is the critical metals that the US is dependent upon, almost to the 100% level that are affecting decisions in Washington DC. The demand for these rare earth metals for technology's needs and specialty manufacturing processes have increased our issues in the US. More freedoms to mine and prospect need to happen in order to develop mining independence. Why do you think the only platinum mine in the US in Montana was bought by a foreign country? There is a crucial need for it.
Barite Crystals: Where can they be found in Montana?
Looked this question up on the internet and here is what it said: Boulder River Barite Nice cubic crystals of barite can be found about five miles west of the Whitehouse campground along the Boulder River. Take the Bernice exit off I-15 between Basin and Butte. It is about five miles to the campground. For information, call Montana Tech at 406-496-4395
Just sounds like to me, this might get put on a list for 2019 prospecting for the summer. If you can buy them at Rockin' Rudy's in Missoula, why not go out in Montana and dig your own? It's worth a try. If you want more ideas of where to go in Montana, check out this website; it has some good ideas with specifics: http://southwestmt.com/maps/gw_rockhoundingmap.pdf
Seven Rivers in Montana that are Full of Gold
If and when you get the itch to ditch a prospecting club and strike out on your own, to make a plan of an independent venture, look no further than government land on any of the seven rivers listed on this web site. You can set up shop, go to work with your sluice or gold pan, and/or bring home gravel to work; either way, the possibilities is unlimited because "gold is always being unearthed every day in the world." Is the lucky number 7? http://raregoldnuggets.com/?p=4564
Smokey the Bear: Hear This!!
The first line of your letter says you are a dirty BOOGER!!! No if's, and's or BUTTs about it.
Here's why: It's your job to provide access to prospector's claims in the forest. You were told that when the government couldn't afford roads into the woods and the country needed development. So prospectors built them long before you were born and when you came around you played King of the Hill and close roads and play games of the claim holders. Bad boys.
Here's just some of your many unsavory tactics: You make the prospecting club build their own culvert and bridge which is your job. Then you dictate who is at the meeting, excluding women. Then say you are going to deliver a POO Plan 2 1/2 years later, not following your rules of 15 day return notice, keep a reclamation bond for years and stopped mining operations for that long, use your position to negotiate your job to be done by someone else and various, other unsavory lies and mismanagement. Why are you allowed to do this? Stomping on prospecting rights of access all over the place is not in your job description, but you do it anyhow, because of power hungry tactics. Redirection is overdue!!
Gemstones Found on this Website:
Two years of traveling around the state of Montana exploring places to prospect for gems, fossils, specialty rocks, and gold then returning to write up the experience for you to see and learn from is an invaluable assest for you to access from your computer at home.
If you click on Treasure Hunting Year 1 Treasure Hunting Year 1 and Treasure Hunting Year 2 Treasure Hunting Year 2, click on the gold button, it will open you up to descriptions of what you might find on each site. This "trippin'" occured from the middle of May through the end of September for both years. That is a wealth of information with many excursions for your perusal. The array is far better than you can find in a book, because it is provable, true and direct. Check these links to make your summer time plans. With preplanning and exposure to your potential sites, better experiences are gained.
If the USFS decides they are going to close the road to your claim, one point to make in your rebuttal to their demands is that access has been there for a long time and the club or claim owner expect that access to continue, especially if there is no inclusion in the decision. Notification is key.
If the USFS claims ownership of any of your mining claim such as moving your tailings or making changes to your claim, know that if there has been meetings with the fire district or for water issues, if they haven't notified the mining interest in their decisions, they are in violation of procedures of fairness in operations.
Just click the orange links to learn more about all these sites.
NEWEST: Rocks in New Your City? find out what people did with them long ago..? on... Historical. What kind of clubs head south for the winter?... Other Clubs. February's newsletter just posted on Newsletter! getting caught up soon. Have you looked at the drop down buttons on the rock page? There are more elements than just one aspect. What about the influence of agates on the rock shopping list? check it out on... Rocks. Make plans to head to Butte mid October; a mining symposium coming you don't want to miss here . What does salt have to do with your bag of rocks?. Educational. Find a way to preserve your fossil finds on... Fossils. Valuable advice found for gold searches in Arizona on.. Book Reviews. Want to grow you own crystals? or Can kids really make a business out of selling rocks?: Kids. Will the bull trout reign supreme (NOPE!!)or will the USFS come up with an alternative plan for a culvert? Are prospecting books better than newspapers on.... Latest News What about checking in on a rock and mining symposium? or What about not getting dirty or leaving town to find rocks on... Treasure Hunting 2018 Can a magnet work as a tool?. Tools of the Trade. Just how valuable is a gun while prospecting? on... Prospecting Stories Find out where mining staff go to dig on a break from work... Prospecting Tips. What might be some new places for you to do some rock hounding in Montana? on Treasure Hunting 2019
NEWER: Check out what a prospecting advisor has to say about your rights on: Interviews. Try a bathroom tool to find sapphires on: Tools of TheTrade. Find out where a Montanan finds gold in the winter... Gold. What stones might help in the sleep department on...... Healing Stones Find out what else can be a part of ... Green Prospecting
NEW: Shortly, hear about the consultations for standing your ground on (It's there!!) .Interviews Check out Kelly Fowler's light weight creations that fit in your backpack to go prospecting in Montana creeks. Let's Make Your Own Equipment . What is working to help prospectors find gold in Montana?... Government plus the latest trials dealing with the USFS. Do miners always use words to communicate or is there another source of communication? ... Latest News?
We are a group devoted to the advancement of recreational prospecting in the State of Montana. We are called a coalition as we cover many aspects in the field of prospecting here and we seek to help prospectors with the government.