|If you are going out to do some rock hounding or|
prospecting, this book (available at Amazon), will
lead you right to many gem deposits with GPS
coordinates. Using this book, one person found more
than $10,000 in diamonds, another found precious
opal and yet another person found some previously
unknown ruby deposits.
|Location Map of the Cedar Rim Opal Field, Wyoming|
|The Silo sits on tons of opal. Essentially all rounded boulders and cobbles are |
opal coated by caliche.
|Hundreds of nodules in road cuts along graded |
roads in the Cedar Rim area in the White
River Formation contain opal.
|Decorative stone tile cut from massive silicified material at Cedar Rim. Specimen contains limestone clasts silicified by|
blue agate, quartz, chalcedony, black opal and common opal.
|Wayne Sutherland and Dan Hausel examine cobble of opal|
from the Cedar Rim deposit.
|Raw black opal sample from Cedar Rim, Wyoming.|
|Common opal under black light, Cedar Rim, Wyoming|
|Variety of agates and dendritic Sweetwater agates from the Granite Mountains, Wyoming.|
|Transparent opal from Cedar Rim|
|Cabochons of common opal from Cedar Rim field.|
|Sketch map of the Cedar Rim opal field showing location of opal discoveries.|
|Transparent opal with color play from Cedar Rim|
Following my reconnaissance investigations of the opal field, I prepared a mineral report and released it to the public. Dozens of people and reporters from around the region stood in line to purchase a copy of the report and headed to the field to stake claims and record the rush. The variety of people included rock hounds, prospectors, laymen, reporters and even some BLM agents. One prospector from northern Colorado who had a history of not being able to see anything even when standing on various outcrops again, proved his unique ability. This individual went to the field, staked a number of claims, and then called my office to find out why he was the only person in the opal field? After some discussion, we determined he had read his map incorrectly (again) and missed the opal field by a township. (by at least 6 miles)!
In the past, this same individual followed up on some of my other reports and had similar problems. In the Iron Mountain kimberlite district, I had mapped a dike, sill, pipe complex of kimberlite and identified a few crypto volcanic structures (that could be kimberlite). He went into the area with a backhole and missed the structures. I finally met him and his crew in the field and pointed out that they were missing the structures by only a few yards. Apparently, they did not want to dig in the depressions as they were "... concerned about getting their backhoe muddy."
At another discovery site for iolite, this same crew tried to find the location of the iolite gemstones and could not find the deposit. They dug a couple of trenches and completely missed the iolite again. and again, and again. While in the field following their non discovery, I took a sample bag, placed some iolite gneiss in the bag and wrote on the tag, "... this is what it looks like!" and also placed bright orange red ribbons on the outcrop with the words "dig here!". I figured the problem was resolved. But later I received a phone call and was told by the prospector they still could not find the outcrop!
I scheduled a time to meet the prospector and crew in the field to show them the outcrop and for my own curiosity, find out how in the world they could have missed the deposit again. They told me that they avoided digging the outcrop with their backhoe because "... the rock looked hard". What can you say?
Now that they knew where the outcrop was located, they dug a short, very shallow trench and exposed hundreds of thousands of carats of iolite gem material in just one tiny area of the outcrop - but for some reason, they left essentially all of the gem material in the field, which over the years, many prospectors and rock hounds have apparently picked the piles dry!
Periodically, I still get email, phone calls and letters from various prospectors and rock hounds who tell me they cannot find a deposit or outcrop I know exists - so this doesn't bother me that most people can not see an outcrop of gemstones, gold, rock, etc, even when they stand on it - it is just that most people wear blinders and some blinders are more opaque that others.
|Fire opal from Cedar Rim. During field investigations, the author (Hausel)|
discovered an entire hill covered with fire opal. This was the first report of
fire opal in Wyoming.
(1) Cedar Rim is a giant opal field - one of the largest in the world and is found in portions of 16 square miles and likely extends beyond the area of investigation.
(2) The first verified samples of precious opal in Wyoming.
(3) The first verified fire opal in Wyoming.
(4) The first verified black opal in Wyoming.
(5) Discovery of large massive opal-agate outcrops suitable for manufacturing tile and counter tops, and
(6) source beds of Sweetwater agate.
|Black Opal breccia from Cedar Rim, Wyoming.|
So how can you find gemstones in Wyoming? Learn what you can about the gemstones, their physical appearance and, in particular, what kind of rock to expect to find them in. Then start outlining areas to prospect and be persistent. If you do this, you will likely find many new gemstone deposits in the Cowboy State, such as those prospectors who recently found:
(1) more than $10,000 in diamonds including one of the largest placer diamonds to be found in the Colorado-Wyoming State Line district,
(2) Diamonds in North Carolina,
(3) Ruby deposits in central Wyoming
(4) Precious opal and fire opal in the Cedar Rim deposit
(5) Many brightly colored agates in the Cedar Rim deposit
(6) Spectacular iolite, kyanite, sapphire an ruby gems at Palmer Canyon,
(7) Diamonds in anthills in the Butcherknife Draw area,
(8) Gold at South Pass,
(9) Spectrolite in the Laramie Anorthosite complex.
|Blue opal in white opal surrounded by black opal breccia|
There are likely many opal deposits in Wyoming - essentially all unexplored. As an example, in my new 2011 book on Gold, I describe many gold deposits around the region. One of these in the Bear Lodge Mountains has the following description:
I also provide GPS coordinates to what could be a major opal fiend near Douglas Wyoming in my new Gemstone book.
- Barnes, L.C., Townsend, I.J., Robertson, R.S., and Scott, D.C., 1992, Opal - South Australia’s Gemstone: Department of Mines and Energy, Geological Survey of South Australia Handbook No.5, 176 p.
- Darragh, P.J., Gaskin, A.J., Terrell, B.C., and Sanders, J.V., 1966, Origin of precious opal: Nature, January 1, 1966, v. 209, no.5018, p.13-16.
- Darragh, P.J., Gaskin, A.J., and Sanders, J.V., 1976, Opals: Scientific American, v.234, no.4, p.84-95.
- Eckert, Allan W., 1997, The World of opals: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 448 p.
- Hausel, W.D., 1998
- Hausel, W.D., 2014
- Hausel, W.D., and Hausel, E.J., 2011.
- Hausel, W.D., and Sutherland, W.M., 2000, Gemstones and other unique minerals and rocks of Wyoming - a field guide for collectors: Wyoming State Geological Survey Bulletin 71, 268 p.
- Hausel, W.D., and Sutherland, W.M., 2006, World Gemstones: Geology, Mineralogy, Gemology & Exploration: WSGS Mineral Report MR06-1, 363 p.
- Keller, Peter C., 1990, Gemstones and their origins: Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 144 p.
- Kievlenko, Eugenii Ya, 2003, Geology of gems: Ocean Pictures Ltd, 432 p.
- Love, J.D., 1970, Cenozoic geology of the Granite Mountains, central Wyoming: US Geological Survey Professional Paper 495-C, 154 p.
- Sinclair, W.J., and Granger, W., 1911, Eocene and Oligocene of the Wind River and Bighorn basins: Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, v. 30, part 7, p. 83-118.
- Sinkankas, John, 1959, Gemstones of North America: Van Nostrand Company, Inc., New York, 675 p.
- Van Houton, F.B., 1954, Geology of the Long Creek - Beaver Divide area, Fremont County, Wyoming: USGS Geological Survey Map OM 140 map scale 1:62,500.
- Van Houton, F.B., 1964, Tertiary geology of the Beaver Rim area, Fremont and Natrona Counties, Wyoming: USGS Bulletin 1164, 99 p., map scale 1:62,500.
|Black Opal from Cedar Rim with a touch of color play.|
|Rare blue Cedar Rim opal with a touch of color play.|
|Fractured fire opal from Cedar Rim. Much of the opal and agate at Cedar rim is massive with few fractures. Only in the fire opal are fractures common.|