Posted: Dec 22, 2013 19:08 Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)
Justin, hook up that wheel harrow, put some weight on it and drag it around the yard and see what it kicks up. Then go buy a bag rye and fix the yard. Pretty neat. Stick a shovel in the ground and get back to me. Has potential son. :]
Posted: Dec 24, 2013 12:39 Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)
Justin, is there any particular reason the ground is barren where your girl friend is poking around. It's a little odd that you have a bald spot right in the middle of an otherwise green field. Might be an indication of some chemistry change in the soil right there. Collapsed pocket indication? How deep is the topsoil? Or how close is bedrock? Not sure how much gold you'll find in smokey quartz pockets. Is the gold, indicated on the map, alluvial-placer, or primary-vien? Is there a contact in the area? How about a stream running through the hollow? Sometimes a stream will follow or expose interesting changes in the geology.
Joined: 19 Dec 2013
Location: North Carolina
Posted: Dec 24, 2013 14:12 Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)
I'm not exactly sure why it is barren in that one spot. I can dig a little and see. There is a small stream about 100 yards away from this area and I own more property closer to the stream. The local mine said it is a primary vein that runs through the area.
Posted: Jan 22, 2014 12:28 Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)
GUIDELINES AND EQUIPMENT FOR MINERAL PROSPECTING:
Whenever you wanna go and explore some wild isolated area (mine, mountain, desert...) there are two big rules:
-Don't go alone, and always tell someone who is not coming with you about where you're going exactly and when you think you should be back at the latest (so that person will call for help if you're not coming back in the expected period of time).
-Always check the weather forecast (bad weather can be very dangerous when trekking high up in the mountains, cliff-climbing or spelunking!)
A complete first-aid kit (including trauma stuff) is required for any big trek (but even for a short walk it's always a good idea to bring at least some small first aid kit, and notably stuff for treating a large deep cut from some sharp rock edge, which isn't unusual).
By the way, also be careful to venomous snakes (check rock fractures with a stick before putting your hands inside the hole).
Also bring a pocket knife, a lighter, a rescue whistle (helps the rescue squad to locate you), your identity card and national insurance card (useful in case of hospitalization), and a cell phone to call for help if needed (however you will get no signal in underground mines, and it often happens you get no signal when you are trekking high up in the mountains)
WATER AND FOOD:
At least two liters of water, but I usually bring 3 liters (sufficient water supply is vital!). Also bring water purification tablets.
Let's note that a 'water bag' (3L capacity, with straw) is quite a practical mean of carrying water (you just stuff it inside your rucksack, with the flexible straw hanging out of the rucksack).
A big sandwich (digging the ground and breaking rocks in the sun is quite exhausting). A few cereal bars is also a good idea to fight exhaustion (just don't throw the packaging in nature, respect the place and the people, don't leave the place in a mess!). Bring a bin bag for carrying your trashes back home.
At the other end of the digestion process, you might want some toilet paper.
Bring a cap to protect your head from the sun (you don't want to risk a sunstroke in an isolated area!), and don't forget to apply sunscreen, by the way.
Wear trekking shoes (ankle protecting), trekking socks, and long legged trekking pant.
For mountain trekking you also need a warm waterproof jacket with hood (indeed, high up in the mountain, weather can change very fast, and bad weather is a threat that shouldn't be underestimated)
-map and compass so not to get lost when you're trekking in vast wild areas such as deserts, mountains, jungles...the compass is also useful when exploring vast underground mazes.
-a LED head lamp, and replacement batteries.
It is used when spelunking, but it can also be useful when excavating some deep crystal pocket. Some LED head lamps can last for more than 120 hours when set on economic mode (Petzl is a good brand for instance).
When spelunking, you also need an additional spare head lamp just in case your main one would fail (as you definitely do not want to find yourself out of light down the mine!).
-optional: trekking rope, 8mm diameter 30meters long. Such a rope is not meant for climbing or rappel, but once carefully hooked to a tree trunk it might help with a slippery slope (just be careful that the rope doesn't rub against some rock edge or it might suddenly break!)
-protective plastic glasses (these are essential, so to protect your eyes from bad rock splinters). Don't ever strike the rock without wearing these.
-some gloves to protect your hands when searching inside rock cracks and crystal pockets
-a safety helmet (recommended when you plan to be working at the foot of some cliff or inside a mine)
By the way, let's note that there's an increased risk of rockfall in the spring thaw period, and also after heavy rainfall.
Of course, don't start any digging if there are menacing unstable rocks above your head: these should be knocked down first, so you can work safely then.
Also, when visiting mines, watch where you put your foot: there can be deep shafts in the middle of the way (both inside and outside the mine), sometimes hidden under a few rotten wood boards covered with some mud and gravels, or hidden by thick vegetation.
-A lighter can be useful in underground mines/caves to detect lack of oxygen (i.e. a standard type butane lighter, not the windproof ones!). Indeed, in some underground galleries there can be a dangerous level of carbon dioxide (odorless asphyxiant gas) taking the place of oxygen. Try to light the lighter and slowly bring the flame down to floor level (as CO2 is heavier than air and tends to stay down): if the lighter can't be lit, or keeps going off as soon as you light it, or when you bring it down toward the floor, that means oxygen level is quite low, which is most likely associated to high CO2, and you'd better leave now (but don't race). Warning signs of exposure to CO2 can be shortness of breath, headache, sweating, then dizziness, fast heart beat. It also happens that oxygen is not replaced by CO2 but by nitrogen instead, in which case there are few warning signs but the lighter test still works. CO2 tends to accumulate in lower levels of mines/caves. Be careful when evolving in a CO2 contaminated atmosphere, sometimes the concentration might rise suddenly within only a few meters (like a "wall" of CO2), causing loss of conciousness. Of course, do not use any lighter in a coal mine (due to explosion risk). However, keep in mind that the lighter test is only a vague indicator of a potentially dangerous atmosphere, and while it's better than nothing, the use of gas detectors remains a safer alternative. Here's a video of the lighter test:
Also, if there's an odour of rotten egg (foul-smelling) in a gallery, which indicates presence of hydrogen sulfide (highly toxic gas), then just leave. This gas is even more pernicious that it soon numbs your sense of smell (so you might think it's gone when there's actually a dangerous increase in concentration). Warning sign of exposure to H2S is itchy/stinging eyes (throat irritation and coughing might also be felt). This gas is slightly heavier than air and tends to accumulate in lower levels of mines/caves, as it is soluble it can also accumulate in stagnant waters which might release the gas when disturbed.
At last, let's add that dangerous gasses can be generated from fires or blasting (CO, CO2, NO2, N2, H2, SO2...), or from the use of diesel/gasoline engines (which must be avoided underground).
PROSPECTING TOOLS (for small work):
-a 1.5kg club hammer (aka crack hammer). About 30cm total length, with fiberglass handle (not wood handle!). It's for striking the rock and for use along with the chisels.
-a pointed tip rock chisel, about 30cm long, body of the chisel being about 2cm diameter (better with plastic hand guard to protect your fingers from the club hammer)
-a flat tip rock chisel, about 30cm long, body of the chisel being about 2cm diameter, and the cutting edge should be about 2 to 2.5cm wide (better with hand guard too)
By the way, better buy good quality sturdy rock chisels (rather than cheap junk that will become blunted after a few strikes on hard rock). Estwing is a good brand for instance.
Also, take good care of your chisels and other metal tools: once back home, immediately apply some rust inhibitor/remover spray.
-a quality flat metal file, with plastic handle, for field sharpening of the chisels whenever required.
Of course, at home, it's much more convenient to use a sharpening grindstone fitting an electrical drill (but beware not to overheat the point of your chisels!).
Please note that when sharpening the point of a chisel, the angle at the point must be about 80 degrees.
-two tiny rock chisels for precision work: one pointed tip, and one flat tip. About 15cm in length, and not exceeding 1cm in diameter.
The one I use most being the pointed-tip one. Beware that such carbide tip chisels shouldn't be driven into the rock, these are only meant to strike and fracture it. Usually, such tools are only sold by professional stone cutters suppliers.
-hammer-through screwdriver (these are made to be hit with a hammer just like a chisel) with flat tip, 25cm blade length. It will be useful to dig and scrape inside deep narrow fissures.
-a wrecking bar, about 50cm long (note the curved U shape in the picture below). It is used to split fractured rocks (it is doing well when you want to finish the job without striking the rock which could cause the crystals to break).
-optional: a 1kg wood splitting wedge (made of steel). Such wedge can be inserted inside an open crack so to split a boulder.
-optional: an Estwing rock pick (with chisel edge, 672g head weight). Can be used for digging into soft and friable rocks. However, it's pretty much useless for extracting minerals out of hard rock (which is why mine actually rarely leaves home).
-a small scrub brush (with 3cm long hairs). To clean off dirt/clays so to expose underlying crystals.
-some wrapping material to protect specimens for transport (for instance a roll of plastic grocery bags, paper towels, toilet paper, or newspapers).
-geological map of the area (to locate interesting spots)
-optional: a small quality monocular (to visually locate remote interesting spots high up in the mountains)
-A tiny notebook and a pen, so to record the precise locality of each find. Indeed, locality is essential data as it tells us about the story of the specimen and its origins (i.e. in which environment and conditions the mineral occured).
-a sturdy and comfortable trekking rucksack to carry all this equipment (let's note that models with some outer pockets are convenient). 35 Liters capacity should be enough (unless you also need to carry some extra equipment).
MINING TOOLS (for heavy work):
rotary hammer (with drill-bit, pointed chisel, flat chisel), angle grinder or handheld concrete saw (with diamond blade), sledge hammer (5-6kg, unless you can handle heavier) with fiberglass handle, large mining prybar (150cm), wedges & shims (set of 5 or more), shovel and pickaxe, bucket, brush and trowel, telescopic ladder (about 5 meters tall), important water supply (unless there's a clean stream nearby), etc...Don't buy cheap junk, stick to professional quality tools, meant for rock use. Of course such heavy and bulky equipment is not for prospecting trips.
Posted: Jan 22, 2014 12:41 Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)
Here's a picture of the minimum equipment I carry for a short prospecting trek:
pointed chisel with handguard (Estwing), flat chisel with handguard (Estwing), club hammer (1.5kg), small pointed chisel with tungstene carbide tip, tiny pointed chisel and tiny flat chisel, protective glasses, hammer-through screwdriver, flat metal file, wrecking bar, trekking rope, protective gloves, LED head lamp (Petzl) and spare batteries, compass, lighter, waterbag.
Although not shown in the picture, my rucksack also always include: newspapers (for wrapping specimens), small first aid kit (mainly stuff for treating a big deep cut), rescue whistle and cellphone, cap and k-way, and some food.
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