Death Valley Legend Shares His Gold

Years ago a true Death Valley prospector of unquestionable experience shared his gold with me in correspondence. His last sentence here were profound words to the frustrated greenhorn Pyrite Pete back in the day, and still guide him today. In prospecting and life in general.

Dear Pete I will try to answer you questions, but first I want to share a quote from the book "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" by Traven, "Gold is a devilish thing". That much said, there does not seem to be a hard fast rule that tells us where this precious metal will manifest itself. A visit to one of the most productive mines (Round Mountain, Nevada) in this country is a great example of this phenomenon.

Ordinarily we can find gold in association with quartz and other heavy metals. But what the prospector wants is valuable lumps of gold. Eons of weathering of some of the earths surface tends to in many cases to have milled these metals into different deposits. The mistake many of us make is that we fail to realize =hat the crust of this planet has been in tremendous turmoil (Earth in upheaval, by Veloskovy), our highest mountains were once sea floors. In some places we find landscapes that have been inverted several times.

Now to the finding of gold. Most of the gold in this world has not yet been uncovered. The mines of yesteryear were wonderful, however with today's machinery and modern processes old claims have produced millions of dollars worth of gold (The Briggs Mine in Panamint Valley, CA ). For the individual prospector constant sampling with a mortar and pestle and a gold pan can still lead you to free milling gold, or the testing of gold veins in the same manner can lead to profitable ore. And on the subject of gold in quartz veins, again "gold is a devilish thing", gold may be evenly =pread or it might be in lumps or globs here or there (The Johnnie mine in Nevada CA).

The place to look. Do like the old timers, go to some place new, not where the pseudo adventurers hang out in clubs and comfortable camps. =o where you might stumble onto a geological phenomenon that no one dared look at before.

- Emmett Harder

Thanks Emmett and Ruth so much for your hospitality and sharing of your wonderful experiences. You can learn more about Emmet’s experience with mining in his book “These Canyons Are Full of Ghosts: The Last of the Death Valley Prospectors”