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I spent a few days in the Little Lost River valley this week. I had the Goldmaster 24K along to detect with. Didn't find any gold, but it was a great trip. I covered 15 miles, and climbed about 1,000 to 1,200 vertical feet each day. Found two adits I hadn't previously known about...one may be a couple hundred feet long. But, right where I camped along a creek, I found an interesting piece of ore. It's obviously copper, which was waht they mainly mined in this canyon, along with a little gold, silver, zinc, and lead. When I took a close look at this piece I noticed an area about 3/8" across that was golden-colored. I assumed it was pyrite, but after viewing the macro shots I took, I'm no longer sure it isn't gold. Thought I'd ask you guys what you think. The overall rock is about 6" across and 1 1/2" thick.

Jim

 

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Jim, 

The color sure looks right to be gold but I seem to see some cracks in the possible "gold" which would lead to me think pyrite since gold very rarely cracks if ever, one way ot tell for sure is to stick it with a pin or knife point, if it breaks, chips or shatters best guess is pyrite, but since gold is malleable it would just scratch or indent like lead would and then it very very possible it is gold!

Even if it does seem to be pyrite, pyrite does at times have gold within it, and from the color that might be a good possiblity.

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1 hour ago, Au Seeker said:

Jim, 

The color sure looks right to be gold but I seem to see some cracks in the possible "gold" which would lead to me think pyrite since gold very rarely cracks if ever, one way ot tell for sure is to stick it with a pin or knife point, if it breaks, chips or shatters best guess is pyrite, but since gold is malleable it would just scratch or indent like lead would and then it very very possible it is gold!

Even if it does seem to be pyrite, pyrite does at times have gold within it, and from the color that might be a good possiblity.

AU Seeker, question from the great unwashed, but wouldn't pyrite be more cubical? Would pyrite react to a strong HCL?

Edited by Edge
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To me its layed out like pyrite. But it does have the color. If that was gold, the GoldBug would definitely bang on it. And other VLFs. Thats a pretty good size chunk in there.

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Thanks, guys. I suspect pyrite myself. By the way, how do you edit a post? I don't see an edit button anywhere. I mentioned hiking 15 miles, and didn't mean to claim I did that each day...LOL At 69, those 15 mile days are well-behind me. I did do 15 miles over the three days,  but the longest day was 6.8. If I tried to do 15, I'd still be laying out there. In fact, coming off the hill, I got a reminder of how I felt. See below.

 

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If it turns out to be pyrite, you can take a bit and crush and pan.  That will show any free gold.  If there is gold in the pyrite, it can be separated chemically, and won't show crushing.  The chemistry is well beyond me of separating gold from pyrite.

If it were gold, you could also crush it, but I'd think hard about whether there's a specimen inside.  Crushing would ruin a specimen.

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Actually, I like it better as a specimen. There's really not enough to detect, or make recovery practical. There's only 1 mine in that canyon that produced much gold, and it has fallen in....that's one of the two new adits I found on this trip.

Jim

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9 hours ago, Edge said:

AU Seeker, question from the great unwashed, but wouldn't pyrite be more cubical? Would pyrite react to a strong HCL?

Yes pyrite is cubical, hince why the cracks made me think it was pyrite, and in the last photo all of it looks flat to the surface.

Yes pyrite will react to HCL as well as most other acids.

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The rest of that rock will react with HCl too. If you put a drop of acid on it you won't be able to tell where the reaction is coming from. It will just be a gassy pile of foam over the spot you want to test. 

Just put on your glasses and poke the yellow with a needle. You will see right away that the material is hard, brittle and crumbles along cleavage lines. Gold will just dent like a cold piece of chewing gum.

That black and rainbow colored patination around the crystals are indicative of copper sulphides. It is definitely copper. But if there is any question about it the guy holding the rock needs to carry out the tests to learn for himself. It is a great exercise to learn mineral ID.

That type of ore is the biggest ore of gold. More gold  comes from copper sulphide ore than free gold by a large margin. But it is not the type of ore a "gold prospector" is looking for. It is not the type of ore that you would expect to find free, native gold in. Ore like that probably came from much deeper than the iron rich gossan that often hosts free gold. 

Edited by Bedrock Bob
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Free gold is generally associated with iron in oxidized veins close to the surface. As the ore turns to sulphides the free gold is much less prevalent and tends to be alloyed with the copper. That ore came from below any supergene enrichment zone which is generally where free gold values will stop or taper off drastically. 

It looks like great polymetallic ore. Just not the type of ore that generally carries values in free gold. 

Edited by Bedrock Bob
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Thanks gents, AU and Bob.

Pretty piece of ore Idaho, will Grace your specimen shelf.

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Yes...I appreciate all the input. It was definitely a nice find, but ironic that I found it at camp, and not when out covering all the hard miles prospecting. I guess we just never know where the next find will come from. here's a couple of pics of the canyon where I found a fairly deep adit. Just a glimpse of the country I'm privileged to roam. One looking down, and the other up the canyon. I was standing at about 8,000'. The adit is about 100 yards below me.

Jim

 

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A simple, quick, streak test (use an unglazed, white porcelain tile) will distinguish Pyrite from Gold.  Gold gives a gold colored streak  and Pyrite produces a greenish-black colored streak.

Gorgeous country to me mineral hunting in!

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Well guys, it's hard to believe but I'm in the ICU at the local hospital. Had chest pains early Sunday morning. Fooled around for several hours thinking it was heartburn. Finally went to the emergency room and they did some tests, and also thought heartburn from the EKG, but the blood tests came back and showed some heart muscle damage (very light). Sunday night they decided they needed to do a catheter look-see, and found two partially-blocked arteries. So, I now have stents in place and am recovering. I'm very lucky I didn't have a major attack while out in the mountains. Sometimes you get lucky!

 I can't do a streak test....can't get the pyrite in contact with the porcelain. Normally, the streak is the first test I do.

Jim

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45 minutes ago, Idaho Jim said:

 

 I can't do a streak test....can't get the pyrite in contact with the porcelain. Normally, the streak is the first test I do.

Jim

Hope you are doing well. 

I suggest you take a pin or nail and try to scratch the suspected pyrite. Since it's brittle, you will see bits of pyrite come off. If nothing comes off, it could be gold.

Edited by Morlock
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6 hours ago, Idaho Jim said:

Well guys, it's hard to believe but I'm in the ICU at the local hospital. Had chest pains early Sunday morning. Fooled around for several hours thinking it was heartburn. Finally went to the emergency room and they did some tests, and also thought heartburn from the EKG, but the blood tests came back and showed some heart muscle damage (very light). Sunday night they decided they needed to do a catheter look-see, and found two partially-blocked arteries. So, I now have stents in place and am recovering. I'm very lucky I didn't have a major attack while out in the mountains. Sometimes you get lucky!

 I can't do a streak test....can't get the pyrite in contact with the porcelain. Normally, the streak is the first test I do.

Jim

Jim,

Well I'm very glad to hear that everything will be OK, good thing you went in!!!

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Morlock, I'm gpoing to do that. somebody else also suggested that, and it's a good idea.

Seeker, I got truly lucky. Won't be able to do any more uphill prospecting this fall, but that's a small price to pay for getting my heart in good shape.

 I'll be back at it next spring, and maybe sooner.

Once I get the scrtch test done, I'll post what I find out.

Edited by Idaho Jim
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  • 1 month later...

I thought this might be interesting to you guys that responded. I bought a Falcon MD-20, and used it on the stone. The only spot that gave a signal was where the pyrite is. Also, the signal given was as a metal. Supposedly the Falcon can't see pyrite. So, there is either gold, or other metal, in the pyrite, or under it. I did the scratch test, and it  broke up, indicating pyrite.

Jim

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7 hours ago, Idaho Jim said:

I thought this might be interesting to you guys that responded. I bought a Falcon MD-20, and used it on the stone. The only spot that gave a signal was where the pyrite is. Also, the signal given was as a metal. Supposedly the Falcon can't see pyrite. So, there is either gold, or other metal, in the pyrite, or under it. I did the scratch test, and it  broke up, indicating pyrite.

Jim

The MD20 has 2 different types of signals, a positive and a negative signal, a positive signal which will be non-ferrous metals will sound when approaching the metal, or "going towards", and negative signal which will be ferrous metals will sound when leaving the "metal or going away".

So if the signal you got was when you were going towards the metal it is either gold, silver, copper, lead, or etc.

If the signal you got was when going away from the metal it is some type of iron.

So which type of signal did you get from the specimen?

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Toward the rock, or metal, as i said. An interesting thing, though....I think the Falcon will show metal on some hot rocks that don't have metal. I've seen some "metal"

signals on some dark material that my GM 24K says is ferrous.

Jim

Edited by Idaho Jim
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