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#108... thanks for the good words, but it all of the posters on this forum who

are keeping this sub-forum going so strong with their facets and tid-bits of

knowledge which we must give Bill full credit for pinning "jim straight here."

But it is not about me... All I do is encourage all of the posters to put another

log on this electronic campfire (Dan Taylor gets full credit for calling this an

electronic campfire which it is and Not jim straight here.)

Look how this subforum is growing. Over the pages there is a lot of knowledge all

of you have posted... Gosh I really thank Bill Southern for paying the bills and

I'm just a pit-stop in the sands of time and there is a lot of knowledge that all

of the past contributers have posted... tailgate

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A  funny about Jim.   He took a WW2 era mine sweep metal detector to a coin contest at Rancho Jurupa... The detector had no battery and  was not working.  He went into the field and picked up visible

The word is out that Jim has passed away. I last saw and spoke with Jim a bit over a year ago. He spent several hours on both Saturday and Sunday in the ICMJ booth with me at the Pomona GPAA show. He

Bill what I'm trying to say and continue to say it badly, but at my age I'm on my way out. I've had my 15 seconds of fame years ago... My day is past. I liken myself as a caboose on a train... Thus

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You are 100% correct, this forum is great. Lots of people with lots of helpful tips and tricks. And I do thank Bill for keeping it rolling for us. Great place to hang out lol.

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Hi Jim!
I was re-reading your book "Successful Drywashing" last night. It was nice to see photos of some of the old timers that I had met over the years. I'll never forget meeting ole Dowie Critenden out in the Dale District back about 1988. I was with Woody Woodworth and Jack Ward. Dowie had his little dry washer with him.
Time sure seems to go by faster as we get older.
Re-reading your book "Advanced Prospecting and Detecting for Hard Rock Gold", hoping to glean some info from it to aid in my search for overlooked veins and pockets here in New Mexico.
I hope you are doing well.
Best wishes to you and yours!

Jim Sumrow
aka:Rattlesnake Jim or snakejim
Roswell, NM

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Jim... I remember you well... You are truly an ICON and please don't be a stranger. You are

an oldtimer and your experiences and knowledge will add depth this forum... jim

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Jim, thanks for the undeserved complement. I don't get on the forums as often as I used to. But, I do enjoy reading the posts and helping folks when I can.


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Hey Snake Jim, just started re reading the same book... Always seem to pick up some more usefull info for locating new prospects and it is getting tougher out there these days. Knowledge is power....

Thanks Mr Straight.

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Hey Snake Jim, just started re reading the same book... Always seem to pick up some more usefull info for locating new prospects and it is getting tougher out there these days. Knowledge is power....

Thanks Mr Straight.

Bill, as you stated; knowledge is power. Doing one's homework and research is the key to being successful. Jim Straight is a virtual encyclopedia of knowledge on mineral deposits and mining, and I thank him for sharing his knowledge with us.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Rattlesnake jim... You are busy posting good stuff on the icmj forum.

Infrequently I check it out as a guest but have never posted on it;

however I try not to miss any of your posts.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have never been to the Australian gold fields but I have read about lateritic

soils that are found there. From what I understand they form a shallow impervious

cap rock known in Australia as "ironstone" which I understand is magnetic and brick

red and has value such as making pottery and building bricks. As I have already

mentioned this layer is encountered at a reasonably shallow depth and being

impervious the surface vegetation cannot penetrate it.

Thus the Australian lateritic soils as found in parts of the Australian goldfields are

know as a "Cap Rock"; or also being magnetic as "ironstone" as I have previously

mentioned in the above paragraph. The Australian term "ironstone" became slangly

(romantically but erroneously known as a another hot rock) in the American gold fields.

So far this in my understanding regarding the term "ironstone" and I have no quarrel or

bone to pick with anyone on any of the forums who use it.

(So far so good? Peace be with us.)

However there is a question I would like to ask: Since most of the Pulses and many of the

Minelab VLF's are sold in Australia and setup to handle the Australian lateritic

cap-rock soils which require effort to "chip-away" with quality digging tools. I

understand that that it can take up to hours to hammer and cold-chisel a nice-size nugget

free without damaging it.

My Question: The American hot rock environment and Australian lateritic soil environment

are somewhat different... Thus a detector that is setup for the mineralized (magnetite

black sands) in our typical southwestern soils will be noisy if they are setup for the

laterites of Australia.

Any comments Please...

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Hi, Jim;

I think the laterite is a surface stone that may be iron based...

the capstone they refer to is what we call caliche...when you get a signal under the caprock it is time to get excited!


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Fred as you remember it was Peter Bridge who started and made popular using

detectors to find eluvial free-milling gold in the Australian goldfields in

the late 1970's using a Garrott VLF Deepseeker. At this time the goldfields

were rich with plentiful gold... Most any detector would find the shallow

surface gold... Being first was the key to success

About 1985 Minelab developed the GT-16000. It featured the ability to ground

balance and slowly track the soil matrix under a 8-inch circular DD searchcoil

which gave "great-depth" for larger nuggets, but was not sensitive (it operated

at about 6.5 kHz) toward the ubiquitous small "bread and Butter" gold...

However the slow tracker GT (Ground Tracker) raised the bar as far as other

manufactures, most of them in the USA. (And they really never caught up to


By 1989 most of the easy gold had been found.... more later

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Fred, Your memory and writing skills are awesome. I'm glad you stepped up to

the plate and hit a hope run as you are correct... However between the Ausie

slang dating back to Peter Bridge and the entry of Minelab into the USA by

the Gold Dust Twins, the term "ironstone" was coined.

Thus you are absolutely correct that laterite is a surface stone that may be

iron based. and the capstone they refer to is caliche... when you get a signal

under the caprock it is time to get excited.

All is good. However, I personally knew the Gold Dust Twins Richard and

Elizabeth. We met at the early GPAA Gold Shows and became friends. They were

early distributors of Minelabs. Thus as I was field testing for Western &

Eastern Treasures I became aware of the slang terms which being a trained

geologist bothered me... The caprock was also known as "laterite, cement,

coffee rock or kaolin"

Fred all is still good... You are correct. I field tested a prototype Fast

Tracker(FT-16000) for W&E and became good friends of "Hoss" Blackman and we

hunted together once at Quartzsite and in the El Paso Range near the LDMA

Duesinburg private property...

But I am still confused regarding the laterites in Australia at they do not

exist in the desert goldfields of the southwestern USA... ??? jim

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Hi Jim,

Would you mind going into more detail about something you said on another thread, please..? I didn't feel there was the right place to further discuss it..

I speak of Prospecting Associations / dues-paying members / no miner right's protection / ass'n = illegal / no rights to their claims / in-house claim 'jumping' etc..

I never gave any of this much thought, any thought actually..

This needs to begin somewhere, so let's start here: Are you saying clubs have been / are being allowed to register claims under a club name..? I ask this more from the claim-holder's POV, because I can't believe a prospecting club would be silly/dumb/stupid enough to even want to register a claim in such a manner.. I can understand wanting to avoid a possible future "this is MY claim not OUR claim" situation.. But really..? They were/are allowed to register under a club name without any ties to an individual / individuals..? Do you think someone on the 'inside' allowed this to happen and continue for ease of possible future DOI take-away..?

From this point any of the others carry about equal weight, although the claim 'jumping' in conjunction with dues-paying has my interest..



Edited by Swampstomper Al
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Al... Gosh after reading you above post... I thought it best to go to the other

thread and post once more on it... It is truly a can of worms and it can become

hostile and like religion, politics and sexual orientation very abrasive...

Thus check out my post on the other thread... I will say no more on the forums

regarding the subject you mention... as I said too much already.... Will try to PM

you... feel free to PM me too... jim

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But I am still confused regarding the laterites in Australia at they do not exist in the desert goldfields of the southwestern USA... ??? jim

Laterites are a product of long term stable soils that have had most of their silica and silicate minerals leached out. They are typically rich in iron, aluminum and clays. The exact character of the soils depends on the underlying rocks the laterites form from. They are an important ore of aluminum. If formed over rocks like serpentine / Peridotite / Dunite - they can be rich in nickel. They form in tropical environments where the weather is hot and humid with annually cycling periods of very dry weather and monsoon very wet weather. They also require very stable land surfaces as they are removed by erosion. In the western US deserts are not tropical, are way too dry, not often very humid and the landmass, because of repeated mountain building episodes is not very stable to allow this slow leaching - so true laterite soils are very unusual in the western US. The laterite soils of Australia have been stable for many hundreds of millions of years with the last major mountain building periods occurring in precambrian times.

for more on laterites see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laterite

Most of the capstones of Australia are different significantly from North American caliche. Caliche is a cemented soil held together with calcite / limestone. Equivalent materials in OZ are what the Aussies call calcrete. The capstones are mostly cemented by silica released by lateritic leaching processes.

Edited by Reno Chris
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Chris Ralph... Thanks for putting another log this forum... You are well known

and highly respected... Questions: I understand that the lateritic soil

can be used for bricks? That the "mineralization" (ferrous/ferric iron)

content in the Australian "eluvial" gold fields are different versions

of our desert south western USA gold fields. Can you comment on this?

Fred Mason: Back in about 1989 I had the opportunity to become in contact

by e-mail with Mr. "Bob" Sheppard in Western Australia, He authored a

booklet "The GT 16000 Owners Manual". It was currently then available

through the Warrigal Press. At this time I became aware that there was a

language difficulty while reading Australian publications. I'm glad you

stepped posted your thoughts.

More later... jim

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No worries, Jim...the technical aspects of caliche vrs calcrete were well explained by Chris. You and he are walking books of knowledge...

The important part to me is calcrete/capstone is very hard and when the target is below that level; happy days, usually. The areas of Western Oz that I have visited had very little trash.

however you never can be sure until you dig it up!

Mr Straight, I have to tell you that one of my biggest regrets is not meeting you in person and never having a chance to detect with you...


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Fred... We live about 100 miles apart. The Rand Mountain Slopes (Randsburg), the

Summit Range on the south side of the Garlock (right lateral)fault and the

Benson and Goler gulches have been my stomping ground since about 1962.

Do you have a copy of "Three Hours to Gold?" Read pgs 27-29. Also pg 39 and 45-46.

An example of the early primitive dry-washers is on pg 72.

Today (pgs 42-46) the remnants of the hundreds of shallow rich epithermal eluvial

electrum (silver gold alloy) are waiting for you with your 7000.

I have several close friends who are always willing to take me to the area. I did

great out there until a few days after my 80th birthday... I still have most of the

references on pgs 114-115. I personally knew J A Carpenter as I was a student

in his "Introduction to Mining" class in the Fall of 1948 (Mackay school of mines)

Gosh Fred Send me an e-mail. You are my Mentor!!! jim

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Catcha later Chris... Thanks for posting... Bless You... Mackay was a miner lol.

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Great Jess... let us know how you are doing with the 3500... jim

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  • 3 weeks later...

Good Morning Everyone. Today is the 4th of July. I have a tall

flagpole in my front-yard and already the sun is shining brightly

on the flag barely waving in a WSW 3 breeze. Here in the Inland

Empire (Rialto CA) area we are in a severe drought. I'm no longer

watering my yard-grass and it is turning into ugly straw. We are

facing a water shortage.

I'm a relic already... We did not run out of stones during the

stone-age; nor iron during the iron-age... Today we are in a swift

technical-age. Back in 1930 when I was born, there were about two

billion people on Earth... Today I understand there are now over

seven billion people and most of them are living no better than

the Neanderthals in the Stone-age... Problems gallour. The

saber-tooth has been replaced by... Hey just turn on the news! Wow

what a mess... But while we are temporarily floundering we will

eventually get our Act together and move on into what the Future will

be... Change, change, change... My poor head's spinning

While at the Mackay School of Mines; University of Nevada (Reno)1954)

one of my classes was Historical Geology. As a sidebar, sadly the

Mackay School of Mines no longer exists as a separate identity.

It slowly died beginning in 1948. My curriculum no longer exists.

(But I'm a small-miner and NOT recreational). Mackay was a Miner!

The Mackay School of Mines died when the post-WW-2 1950 staff

mostly retired by the late 1970's. The School curriculum was now

again obsolete...

Getting back to the subject, the History I referring to is that

of the birth of our Earth as recorded by the oldest dated rocks

found in the Earth's Physical History. More about this later as it

is time for me to take my Meds and have a bowl of oatmeal...

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Happy 4th of July Jim :)

The way this earth is getting beat up i can only hope to make it to your age (and i am only 20 years your junior)

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Hello jim. Happy Independence day.

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