Category Archives: Prospecting

The basic idea’s sound enough

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by.

shaker drywasher

Most of you probably won’t find this of interest, but possibly Eddie and Keith might.  Keith saw earlier efforts directed to a similar end back during the early 1990s, and I described something similar to Eddie last December.

The idea here’s to have a portable enough contraption to be light and easy to manage through some walking distance, fast enough in the assembly, unstable enough to allow a lot of shaking.  The whirlygig on the weedwhopper needs to be out of balance enough to provide the vibration.  But the bearing will be side loaded, so it might self destruct before enough use to justify it.

The next frame will be an aluminum golf-caddy on wheels, which is capable of being as unstable as the chair frames.  That would also allow it to be rolled instead of carried where it’s to be used.

There’s going to have to be a grizzly up ahead of the platform/table, which might cause too much weight for this method to allow enough shaking of the table/riffles to do the job.  Might also need a counter-balance at the bottom to keep an angle on the table, which will also need to be tested.

I don’t know how much adjusting will be needed on the table to keep things moving, but slowly enough so’s it doesn’t move too fast.  Also don’t know how much classifying would be needed ahead of the thing, how large the material could be for it to work.

You can see the two front legs on the frame are off the ground.  That’s so it can be rocked forward, both to provide instability, and to allow adjustment of the table angle.  Naturally it has to have a bottom surface on the riffle/table.

But the whole thing as the huge advantage, provided it works, of not throwing up a mile-high cloud of dust.  I doubt it will move as much material as a store-bought portable drywasher, but it lacks a lot of the disadvantages, and it is an inexpensive alternative.

Might be worth trying, anyway.

Old Jules

The Lost Adams Diggings Revisited

Lost Adams Diggings Number 2297

I probably shouldn’t be telling you this because some of you might still think I have good sense.  But I’m going to anyway because I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t care whether you do or not.

What you are seeing in that Google map is the Lost Adams Diggings.  The line wandering along the lower right corner is the continental divide.  The areas with snow on the surface are shaded part of the day so’s not to have melted yet, the dark areas are lower, now in shadow.  The tiny short lines all over the place are deadfall left by a forest fire that swept the area in the 1990s.

Elevation’s around 9000 feet, the trails are all blocked with deadfall from the fire, but even back in the day the area never saw much human traffic.  It’s one of the more remote, tougher places to get to in the continental US.

Which is the reason those three dark lines you see running diagonally in the upper center have no business whatever being there.  Those are artifacts of human activity.  Those, and the lower left-of-center dark spot resembling an arrow.  The dark lines at the top, unless I miss my guess as I’ve done frequently before, are what is known in legend as ‘The Zig Zag Trail”.

A person wanting a closer look would have to go in on foot, crawling over deadfall.  Or a person 70 years old would probably have to have a donkey or pack goat or three.

I decided over the years this is the place after I’d already published the Lost Adams Diggings book because of various pieces of information acquired after the book was published. 

Soooooo.

I just happened to notice on Coleen’s Workers on Wheels Newsletter:

NM: Seasonal Camp Hosting and Mini Storage
by Mountain Spirits RV Park – Mimbres, New Mexico 88049
(Work Camping with Stipend in the Historic Mimbres Valley)

Mountain Spirits RV Park in Mimbres, New Mexico, needs camp host couples for the 2013/14 season. Our campground consists of 20 RV sites and 52 self storage units.

The park is located 25 miles east of Silver City, New Mexico, at an elevation of 5800 feet. We are in the historic Mimbres Valley, which is the gateway to the Gila Wilderness.

Couples share duties for this position. They include cleaning and maintaining a neat appearance of the office and two modern restrooms, waiting on customers and residents during 8-5 business hours, and checking in guests. Yard work includes weeding and watering of landscaping and yard areas.

Couples will work the same three days and same shift.

We offer a 30amp space, free WiFi, and $100.00 a month credit towards electric and propane use. We also offer a $100.00 cash stipend per month to help with expenses.

We would appreciate at least a three month commitment, if possible.

The nearest shopping is in Silver City.

Cell phone coverage is either Verizon or TracPhone.

If interested in camp hosting with us, please call 575-574-7000 or email coveroadnm@yahoo.com. Be sure to let us know that you saw our Help Wanted ad on Coleen’s Workers On Wheels website when you contact us about this campground job. Bill and Wanda, Managers. Mountain Spirits RV Park – Mimbres, New Mexico 88049. Posted June 2013.

Any of you who think you might be interested in being the other half of a couple to apply for that, I’d be obliged if you contact me.  josephusminimus@hotmail.com and we can discuss it.  I’d hope if you’re the other half of a couple with me you’ll look after my cats on my days off while I go trekking up into the high canyons.

Searching for The Lost Granfalloons* – Mine

FAST-GROWING SUNSPOT: Barely visible when the weekend began, sunspot AR1619 has blossomed into a large active region more than three times as wide as Earth.  So far the growing sunspot has not produced any significant flares, but the quiet is unlikely to continue if its expansion continues apace. Fast-changing magnetic fields on the sun have a tendency to reconnect and erupt. NOAA forecasters estimate a 20% chance of M-class solar flares during the next 24 hours.  http://spaceweather.com/

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably been watching SS 1619 and wondering what the hell is going on with Old Sol. Likely you’re wondering, as I am, why he persists in blessing us with all those weird smiley faces with Errol Flynn mustaches.  Wondering what he’s got up his sleeve.

I have the advantage on most of you because I’ve been messing around with rare earth magnets, glueing them behind cabinet doors in the RV to keep them closed.  So rapidly changing magnetic fields are fresh on my mind, along with the wrinkled, crispy fingertips acquired by fastening them in place with super glue.

Which has created a loose granfalloon Old Sol and I both belong to.

But I’m what most people would call a real cool guy, full of compassion and sensitivity for all you who aren’t in a granfalloon with Old Sol right now.  So I’m not going to arouse your fears and spoil your Thanksgiving holidays by telling you what he might have up his sleeve.

One of the shortcomings, in fact, with granfalloons is that it might be anything, anyway.  Your guess is as good as mine.

But I’ve digressed.  My main purpose in posting today is to tell you about some other granfalloons of my past are cropping up hither thither and yon in my sinookas**.  For reasons I dassn’t speculate about, a good many of them involve a search I used to do for a lost gold mine.  Strangers from hell to breakfast are sending me emails wanting to talk to me about it, hinting around that, though they haven’t been within a thousand miles of that country, they know where it is.  Or might be.

Some granfalloons just don’t let go once they get their teeth locked into your leg.

So maybe  all this busy, busy, busy*** going on around here right now is about me going out and searching for the Lost Granfalloons – Mine.

Not that I plan to bank any money on it.  I’m spang out of money until my SS pension check arrives.

Old Jules

* granfalloon – a false karass; i.e., a group of people who imagine they have a connection that does not really exist. An example is “Hoosiers“; Hoosiers are people from Indiana, and Hoosiers have no true spiritual destiny in common, so they really share little more than a name. Another example is a Cornellian, a student or graduate of Cornell University.

**sinookas – the tendrils of one’s life.

***Busy, busy, busy” – what a Bokononist whispers whenever he thinks about how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.

Escape Route [or Rout] Projects and Such

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I suppose any vehicle as old as this one and built as this one was built would inevitably require some fixup before becoming a cabin on wheels.  I mentioned in an earlier post about the springs sagging, and the springs have arrived, waiting for the new shocks to get here.

But I’m going to remove that AC unit up there to get rid of the weight, replace it with a roof vent, which is in transit.    That’s a lot of weight up there to be carrying around for something I’m unlikely to use much.  And there’s evidence the roof structure doesn’t need the challenge it provides.

I covered that crack in the front window with Gorilla tape for now, but ultimately I’m thinking I’ll cut a flat piece of panel to place behind it and fill in the bubble-void with insulation foam. 

Probably put a compartment in it for a GPS receiver with a better view of the sky than I’d get from the dashboard.

I’ll run Delorme Street Atlas on the laptop when I’m trying to navigate around towns, but I truly love Terrain Navigator where there’s enough variation in the terrain to justify using it.  I’m rigging a stand for the laptop to swivel from one of the passenger-side neck-support posts.

This thing just posted by itself.  I’m just going to finish it, editing in the rest, I reckons.

Anyway, once I get the AC off I’ll do a complete over on the roof with this stuff, and new caulking anywhere my imagination leads me.  The critical path on this part is that I can’t pull off the AC until the 14×14 roof vent arrives to replace it.

I’ve been feeling the walls and ceiling inside and out, drilling through and squirting in a lot of that Great Stuff foam where I find a void, of which there are a sufficient number to allow me a sense of accomplishment.

Then there’s the matter of the cats.  I’m making that overhead into a travel space for the cats to enjoy themselves in while we’re on the road.  A place where they can’t contrive to get underfoot, or jump out at a gas station to find a new life for themselves.

Once we’re parked somewhere it will go back to being a bed, whatever, but on the road it will be a cage.  They won’t like it, but they’ll like it better than all the alternatives they’d find in the alternative Universe they’d be choosing for themselves if they got loose.

And against the advice of people who know a lot more than I do about these matters, I’m going to find, or construct a small trailer to pull behind for large bags of cat food, tools, extra clothing, and probably some prospecting gear.

This thing’s for sale in San Antonio [Converse] on Craigslist for $100.  If I weren’t so far from SA I’d snap it up, gut it and convert it to a light haul trailer with a top to pull behind the Toyota.  Might be a ragged out popup is sitting behind someone’s house within a 40 mile radius they’d part with at a similarly righteous price.

But I’ve messed this post up enough for now.  Maybe I’ll go into this more later on a post I haven’t already posted.

Old Jules

A Matter of Curiosity, Mostly

Good morning readers:

I doubt anyone among the current readers is going to put my speculative assertions about the abundance of platinum of a few days ago to the test.  But someone who finds the blog on a search engine someday might.  It would be a lot simpler and easier today than it was a decade-or-so ago.  Not to mention cheaper.

So, for that potential reader, here’s what I’d suggest as a minor project:

Get one of these – They’re getting cheaper every day.  $100 will probably get you one.

QX5 Microscope – Digital Blue QX5 Digital Microscope

The QX5 Microscope is the upgraded version of the award-winning Intel QX3 computer USB microscope.

Explore the microscopic world with the only USB microscope that connects to a computer. The QX5 USB Microscope includes software that allows you to view, edit, animate and even measure samples, then create slideshows and videos. The QX5 USB Microscope has the mobility to come out of its base for the viewing of larger or possibly live samples in their natural habitats.

Then build one of these:

Build a high resolution spectrograph in 15 minutes

http://sci-toys.com/scitoys/scitoys/light/spectrograph/spectrograph.html

Find a weathered Quaternary caldera and dig into the inside of the rim, near the top, saving the sample below about an inch deep to a foot deep in a five gallon bucket.  Carefully, carefully, carefully pan down the sample until whatever’s heaviest is all that’s left on the bottom of the pan. 

Then do direct microscopy on the sample, after familiarizing yourself with the appearance of micron platinum.  If you see some prime suspects work the sample down a lot further, but saving the spoils because you’re going to be interested in whatever else is left in the sample, and micron minerals are prone to float on the static surface of the water.

Once you’ve got it separated, use the spectrograph you built to determine whether what you’re seeing is actually platinum, and what else is in there with it.

If you don’t have a Quaternary caldera, but would still like to give it a try, go somewhere with a history of active vulcanism during the Quaternary, find a corrugated culvert 4-5 feet diameter going under a road  downstream, but as far upgrade as possible.  Crawl into the culvert with a whisk-broom and large spoon and take concentrate samples from the bottoms of the corrugations.

Then do your direct microscopy and spectograpy on the concentrates, same as above.

You could do something similar from streambeds in mineral bearing areas, but you’d need to learn to ‘read’ a channel so’s to know where to take your samples.

Old Jules

Recapping the Lost Gold Mine Search

I think I’ve posted most of this before in earlier posts, but for those who weren’t here to read it at the time, I’ll do it again. 

A longtom sluicebox axed out of a 3 foot diameter log, a spring 75 feet above the sluice, an arrastra below.  I’d been walking past the arrastra a few years before I recognized it for what it was.  One day I was leaning against a deadfall aspen getting my breath, gazing at it, when it dawned on me that 500 pound rock had a reason for being shaped the way it was.

A burned out cabin ruin with an aspen tree growing out of the inside, bear claw marks 12 feet up, 3 hand forged nails. 

A mysterious map chiseled on the face of a 300 pound rock surface depicting the exact layout of the canyon, the cabin, the waterfall, all so accurately depicted the person had to have scrutinized the layout from the mountaintop, then scratched it on this stone 600 vertical feet below and half a mile away. 

The rock was carefully placed on the canyon wall above eye-level so it was easily seen, but only by someone looking up.

Dozens of places upgrade where the man worked the quartz outcroppings.

Symbols carved into rock faces long ago on the upper-west face of the mountain below the most heavily worked quartz outcroppings near the crest.  None of it made a hell of a lot of sense.

One day I was climbing around up there with my lady friend of the time, Jan.  Following the guy around, trying to figure out what the hell he was doing and why.  We came to a rock face with a quartz outcropping he’d been working, but stopped, obviously half-done.  Not like him at all.

I stepped back a few paces studying it, mildly confused.  Glanced at the ground at my feet and there lay an arrowhead, quarter-inch of the point broken off.  I believed I was looking at the reason he quit before the job was done.

But that long tom and that sluice were testimony the man [or men] working there were in a production mode.  They weren’t prospecting, they were processing ore.  Scrapings from the bottom surface of the sluice, burned and panned didn’t turn any signs of anything heavy.  Downstream just below the V-bottom of the canyon went 100 yards or so to a stricture might have once had a beaver dam, landslide, something clogging it so’s there was a flat bottom with maybe 7-8 feet of sediment.  Along one side a channel had been cut going through the sediment, but not all the way to the bottom of the V.  It would have been a major job getting to the bottom for sampling, never got around to it.

But from the bottom of the existing channel the pans showed a huge amount of heavy, heavy, heavy bead-like material, rusty brown.  Eventually spectroscopic assays showed what was mentioned a couple of posts ago.

And there was considerable more of it in other nearby canyons.

But we never found the source of whatever the guy was running through that longtom, what he was crushing with the arrastra.

Old Jules

The Undone, the Undead and the Unexpected

I should have named those claims the Onyx.  Everything about them, start-to-finish was Onyxpected.

Keep in mind, I was looking for evidence of a fairly specific group of legendary dead men who met their demise in the early 1860s.  Not just any old group of dead guys.  Special dead guys, though mostly nameless.

I’d been compiling, studying the versions of the legend, of accounts handed down by searchers, survivors and a lot of lies I couldn’t afford to judge without checking them out.  The evidence I was looking for was a burned out cabin ruin, maybe a sluicebox, something akin to a waterfall.  A pair of bare peaks roughly 20 miles to the north the legend called, ‘Piloncillos’.  Baldies.  Possibly a formation resembling the head of a bear.

Keith and I had been bouncing around that country for a couple of years, chasing dead men.  The Zuni Mountains, Santa Rita Mesa, Largo Canyon, Red Hill caldera, Pelona Mesa, the Sawtooths.  We saw a lot of fine real estate,  had plenty of adventure, but we hadn’t found anything to nail theory to anything on the ground.

Eventually I began assembling fragments of various versions of the legend, each at least mildly supported by some other version.  Began drawing circles at ten mile intervals outward from somewhat verifiable points, overlapping circles.  I ended up with a slice of orange peel on a map where the circles converged.   On a 7.5 minute USGS topo I counted 32 canyons within the orange peel that seemed to have possibilities.  Numbered them 1-32 with little stickers on the face of the map.

Keith was tied up in Santa Fe a day-or-so longer than I was, so I headed out, intending to cross some canyons off the map before he arrived, meet him at a camp on Elk Plateau when he got there. 

But canyon #3, I learned from a Hispanic rancher I met when I went to cross off Cabin Springs [canyon #2], had a burned out cabin ruin and something he described as a water-trough cut with an axe out of a 3′ diameter tree.  Late evening I arrived and set up camp on Elk Plateau to wait for Keith, me in a state of high anxiety.

But I’ve digressed. 

I was going to tell this story in full, but leading into the subject of platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium and osmium.  How, in those days a person would have a hell of a time even assaying for them, how if located, they had to be sold through the Platinum Consortium, which wasn’t interested in buying.  How the melting temperature of the stuff makes a serious challenge of smelting it, in any case.  How it takes a special kiln, a special crucible to do anything at all with platinum.

How the New Mexico Bureau of Mines assured me our expensive spectroscopic assay was meaningless, a scam.  “There’s no platinum in New Mexico,” they assured me.  How at the precise time they told me that piece of fiction, the Platinum Consortium was mining the tailings of 19th Century gold mines near White City, New Mexico, for platinum they didn’t want when those mines were active, maybe didn’t even recognize.

How Sunburst Mining Company opened an operation mining platinum, gold and silver in microscopic quantities on the edge of a caldera within view of the peak above my claims a couple of years later.

I’d figured on telling you how they employed over a hundred people over there for a few years, got crosswise with New Mexico Department of Environment, ran into financial problems in other mining locations, went kaput.

And I was going to tell you how Keith and I found a canyon of maybe the weirdest geology I’ve ever come across.  Named it No Name Canyon.

But hells bells, I reckons I’m going to have to save that for another day.

Meanwhile, if you’ve missed the other background on all this you can find it by exploring the tags and whatnot or searching the site for ‘lost gold mine’.

Old Jules