When I reached Bradley Peak, I found a small number of old mine dumps on the northeastern margin of Bradley Peak in an area that had been known as the Ernst Mining district, and also the Seminoe Mountains Mining district. Here I combed the mine dumps and picked several quartz specimens with limonite boxworks that contained visible gold. If one sees visible gold with the naked eye in a hand sample, a rule of thumb is that the sample will assay at least 1.0 ounce per ton in gold (opt Au) (Hausel and Hausel, 2011).
gold but still assayed 2.87 opt Au (which means that a ton of this material would contain nearly $4900 in gold).
A gold rush followed after the Wyoming Geological Survey released information on the discovery, but unfortunately, a company known as Timberline Minerals staked all of the public land and kept all other companies out of the area (the Seminoe Mountains are surrounded by private land to the south. Along the north, there is public land and I initially accessed the area by way of Sunday Morning Creek on the north - a very rough road). Timberline was more of a promoter than exploration group and tried to sell the property. This effectively locked up the district and kept any serious exploration from occurring. Anyway, I was told that all motels were filled with geologists in Rawlins, Sinclair and Saratoga following the release of our report.
|One of the Penn mines in the Seminoe Mountains as it appeared in 1981.|
|The same mine dump in the 1800s. American Heritage Photo, |
University of Wyoming. Note that there has been considerable
forestization during the past 100 years.
While mapping this area, I met two wonderful prospectors, Donna and Charlie Kortes (the Kortes Dam was named in their honor). They showed me where they had collected some quartz with visible gold at the Sunday Morning mine - I also collected a specimen of milky quartz with gem-quality chrysocolla and cuprite from the adit. Some extraordinary banded iron formation is found in this area, some would make excellent decorative stone.
|Specimen of massive cuprite (red) with malachite (green)|
and tenorite (black) from the Sunday Morning mine.
- Hausel, W.D., 1981, Report on selected gold-bearing samples, Seminoe Mountains greenstone belt, Carbon County, Wyoming: Geological Survey
- Hausel, W.D., 1992, Economic geology of the Seminoe Mountains mining district, Carbon County Wyoming: Geological Survey of Wyoming Mineral Report MR92-6, 32 p.
- , W.D., 1993, Preliminary report on the mining history, geology, geochemistry, and mineralization of the Seminoe Mountains mining district, Carbon County, Wyoming: Wyoming Geological Association Jubilee Anniversary Field Conference Guidebook, p. 387-409.
- , W.D., 1994, Economic Geology of the Seminoe Mountains Mining District, Carbon County, Wyoming: Wyoming State Geological Survey Report of Investigations 50, 31 p.
- , W.D., and Hausel, E.J., 2011, GOLD - Field Guide for Prospectors and Geologists (Part 1 Wyoming Examples). CreateSpace, 366 p.