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Gold prospecting holiday in West cork

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  • So my first scouting mission for gold commenced yesterday.

    I traced a large river to its source in Coolea up in the mountains.

    There was a waterfall type you can see in the pic below. I thought this might be a good spot to pan.

    ?ui=2&ik=322dce3aff&view=att&th=1383c91985413a54&attid=0.1&disp=thd&realattid=1406188058655588352-1&zw


    Below is just to show you the river and its source
    scaled.php?server=15&filename=goldcool2.jpg&res=landing


    Here are some pics of the mountains in the area.
    scaled.php?server=696&filename=goldcoolea3.jpg&res=landing

    Below you can see the river with its waterfalls in the mountains.
    scaled.php?server=406&filename=goldcoolea.jpg&res=landing

    I collected soil samples from down stream and found a few goods spots on my way to that waterfall. I Noticed a digger had dug a 3 foot deep path half way up one of the hills so got some soil that would normally be very deep.

    I only got to the base of the river near the waterfall and by the time i got there i didnt get to do much as it was getting late so decided to pan what i had collect.

    No Luck of course but sure its my first time=)

    I have a few questions about the rocks in that area.

    >I found tonnes of limestone. At least i think it is limestone. How can i clearly tell the difference between Quartz and Limestone. I got really excited about seeing these strips of white rock thinking i had found a Quartz vein etc

    >The land was quite marshy but in a dry spot i was able to dig a small hole (making sure i was'nt doing any damage to eco system in area) and get to a very black sand type. I didn't bring a magnet so could not tell if it was "the black sand" in relation to gold mining. What could this black sand be? Would it be crushed Igneous rock of sorts.

    >These peaks seemed to be formed by A glacier as the limestone was near the tops of these hills. I definitely saw some metamorphic rocks and sedimentary etc. So my question is, because these rock types are present here should i still try to make it to the waterfall and follow it up the mountain a bit to test the soils or would it be a waste of time?:D

    One last thing: I noticed a lot of Red waters and even green mucky run off's from streams. There was some very bright red/brown soil and other very red rocks. Would this be Iron and maybe copper in the soil? One rock I picked up was white quartz like with some green rock inside.

    Thanks=)

    >




  • How can i clearly tell the difference between Quartz and Limestone

    Limestone or Calcite (Calcite is also white in colour like Quartz and is often found in limestone) will react with acid, producing carbon dioxide gas, so you see it “fizzing” more or less. Any type of acid will do even vinegar.

    Quartz will not react with acid. (well except hydrofluoric acid, but thats nasty stuff)

    Also quartz is quite hard, if you had a piece of glass it would be able to scratch it, however calcite/limestone is soft, so on the same piece of glass it would not be able to mark it.
    What could this black sand be?

    It would help to have seen this black sand, but I have a feeling it is not proper “black sand”. From your description of the area, as being quite marshy this sounds like it could be organic material.
    I definitely saw some metamorphic rocks and sedimentary etc. So my question is, because these rock types are present here should i still try to make it to the waterfall and follow it up the mountain a bit to test the soils or would it be a waste of time?[IMG]file:///C:%5CUsers%5CStephen%5CAppData%5CLocal%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_image001.gif[/IMG]

    Metamorphic rocks are a good sign. They often contain quartz veins but that doesn’t guarantee gold. I’d say there is no charm in checking out the waterfall, just remember the rocks at Croagh Patrick are metamorphic, there is something like 10 tonnes of Gold in reserve there!
    One last thing: I noticed a lot of Red waters and even green mucky run off's from streams. There was some very bright red/brown soil and other very red rocks. Would this be Iron and maybe copper in the soil?

    Are there evergreen tree plantations near by? Generally the area they are grow in has acidic boggy soil. This will generally colour surface water a browny red colour. I am doubtful it is an indication of iron or copper rich soil.

    Hope this has been of some help! Hope you get out again, please report on your progress!

    Stephen




  • Step23 wrote: »
    Limestone or Calcite (Calcite is also white in colour like Quartz and is often found in limestone) will react with acid, producing carbon dioxide gas, so you see it “fizzing” more or less. Any type of acid will do even vinegar.

    Quartz will not react with acid. (well except hydrofluoric acid, but thats nasty stuff)

    Also quartz is quite hard, if you had a piece of glass it would be able to scratch it, however calcite/limestone is soft, so on the same piece of glass it would not be able to mark it.



    It would help to have seen this black sand, but I have a feeling it is not proper “black sand”. From your description of the area, as being quite marshy this sounds like it could be organic material.



    Metamorphic rocks are a good sign. They often contain quartz veins but that doesn’t guarantee gold. I’d say there is no charm in checking out the waterfall, just remember the rocks at Croagh Patrick are metamorphic, there is something like 10 tonnes of Gold in reserve there!



    Are there evergreen tree plantations near by? Generally the area they are grow in has acidic boggy soil. This will generally colour surface water a browny red colour. I am doubtful it is an indication of iron or copper rich soil.

    Hope this has been of some help! Hope you get out again, please report on your progress!

    Stephen



    Your spot on with all you say above. Lots of muddy land so is most likely organic material. There was a forest nearby with evergreens. Soil was soooo red.


    Went back the next day to look around and find some new spots. Managed to get some quartz crystals off a few rocks. But today was the best day yet. Have a look at my next post with added pics:D




  • I was up early around 7 to head off to my next spot which was an hour drive away and a very very old copper mine.

    Here are some of my finds
    scaled.php?server=221&filename=imag0380g.jpg&res=landing

    scaled.php?server=715&filename=imag0378b.jpg&res=landing

    scaled.php?server=513&filename=imag0377p.jpg&res=landing

    scaled.php?server=99&filename=imag0372y.jpg&res=landing


    So panning for ages until i noticed a lot of rocks had gold speckled metal all over. I decided to break them open and found lots of speckles. My feelings are that this is not gold by pyrite or maybe jusy copper with a gold shine?

    Sure maybe small bits might be gold??:D

    No Idea what metal this is. Very silvery blueish and metallic
    scaled.php?server=687&filename=imag0368ir.jpg&res=landing

    Speckles of a gold colored metal all over this one
    scaled.php?server=641&filename=imag0361s.jpg&res=landing




  • So a few more larger pics.

    I ground up a few rocks. As you can see that gold looking metal is floating away on top of water. None of the rocks reacted to My magnet either.

    imag0367x.jpg

    These are the kinds of rocks i was cracking open to find Quartz, copper and gold specs

    scaled.php?server=140&filename=imag0359a.jpg&res=landing


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  • See here re. fool's gold.
    The last rock in your pictures looks as if it contains copper (malachite staining).
    What's the old copper mine, it's not Mount Gabriel is it?




  • It's not mt Gabriel.

    I'm still trying to figure out the shiny gold metal. Its not magnetic so its not Pyrite. When i burn it stays yellowish. I have a feeling it is some copper alloy that just isn't magnetic.




  • Pyrite only becomes magnetic after heating.
    Then it becomes Pyrrhotite




  • Looks like you had an interesting trip, despite not striking gold you still found some interesting minerals.
    My feelings are that this is not gold by pyrite or maybe jusy copper with a gold shine?

    Indeed you are correct the gold coloured mineral is not gold, and actually nor is it pyrite, but chalcopyrite (Copper Iron Sulphide, CuFeS2). Due to this minerals copper content it is one of the world main sources of copper. So that is what they were probably mining at the old workings you visited.

    Sometimes if the material is fresh you can distinguish between pyrite and chalcopyrite by there colour, pyrite is generally more brassy in colour while chalcopyrite is more golden in colour. Also chalcopyrite is much softer than pyrite. A piece of pyrite should be able to scratch steel which chalcopyrite cannot.
    No Idea what metal this is. Very silvery blueish and metallic

    You probably noticed that this mineral is quite heavy for its size? The mineral you found is Galena (Lead sulphide, PbS). You can probably guess the reason for the weight now! That is one of the main characteristics of this mineral. Galena is one of the main ores mined for lead. Interestingly enough a bi-product of processing galena is you will often get a few ounces of silver per tonne of ore. And one other interesting fact, Ireland has the most lead and zinc per square kilometre than any other country in the world.
    Sure maybe small bits might be gold??

    Perhaps there is small amounts of gold in the ore, would need to be analysed, in Curraghinalt mine in Tyrone the gold occurs along with chalcopyrite, pyrite and arsenopyrite, which makes any gold extremely hard to see with the naked eye.

    Hope this helps!




  • Step23 wrote: »

    You probably noticed that this mineral is quite heavy for its size? The mineral you found is Galena (Lead sulphide, PbS). You can probably guess the reason for the weight now! That is one of the main characteristics of this mineral. Galena is one of the main ores mined for lead. Interestingly enough a bi-product of processing galena is you will often get a few ounces of silver per tonne of ore. And one other interesting fact, Ireland has the most lead and zinc per square kilometre than any other country in the world.

    Yeah I had a feeling there was lead in it. There was a good few of these rocks about that just look like normal rocks until you pick one up and it weighs ten times more than an average rock its size. That's an amazing fact also about having the most lead/zinc per square kilometre than any other country in the world. Amazing!
    Step23 wrote: »
    Perhaps there is small amounts of gold in the ore, would need to be analysed, in Curraghinalt mine in Tyrone the gold occurs along with chalcopyrite, pyrite and arsenopyrite, which makes any gold extremely hard to see with the naked eye.

    Hope this helps!


    yay!!!! Even if i find a spec then at least I have found gold. lol.

    Thanks for all that info step23. I'll hopefully be off on another adventure in a different spot next weekend. maybe i'll find some other interesting ores.


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  • While we're on the subject of Chalcopyrite :D I was hoping that someone could tell me if the green stuff in this awful picture is Malachite staining - or is it just lichen?
    If a better quality pic helps, I'll post one up.

    211574.JPG




  • Hi Slowburner,

    A couple of questions should help me be able to tell you if your rock has malachite staining or not.

    1) Does the "green" react with acid? (vinegar should work)

    2) Is there any sulphide mineralisation in the rock?

    3) Where is it from?




  • 1) I slopped some dilute hydrochloric acid (brick cleaner) onto it, and nothing happened.

    2) I'm not sure - is the rusty colour sulphide mineralisation?

    3) It's from the Avoca mines (ish)




  • Malachite will react to acid, so I am thinking the green staining is more than likely lichen.

    The red coloured stuff is iron straining. Sulphide mineralisation would be if there is any sulphide minerals present (such as pyrite or chalcopyrite or possibly any other copper sulphide minerals etc).

    If youre ever in Glendasan/Glendalough you might come across malachite stained rocks in the old spoil heaps, it is fairly common.




  • Step23 wrote: »
    Malachite will react to acid, so I am thinking the green staining is more than likely lichen.

    The red coloured stuff is iron straining. Sulphide mineralisation would be if there is any sulphide minerals present (such as pyrite or chalcopyrite or possibly any other copper sulphide minerals etc).

    If youre ever in Glendasan/Glendalough you might come across malachite stained rocks in the old spoil heaps, it is fairly common.
    I'm due to have a wander up there soon.

    This is what perplexes me; I know there were significant deposits of copper around here in Avoca (200 + years of intensive mining), but I just don't see any signs of malachite staining on the bedrock.
    I once thought that I had found an ancient adit when I saw what I thought was staining from smoke, and abundant fire reddened spoil. Early miners used fire setting to shatter the rock face.
    An authority on the subject, assured me that it was manganese staining - as black as the ace of spades.
    I suppose my interest in the matter, comes from wondering how early miners recognised the presence of copper - especially if it was not obvious on exposed bedrock.




  • Here's an interesting (diddly iddly) film clip from 1959.
    http://www.britishpathe.com/video/gold-find-in-wicklow-mountain-ireland




  • slowburner wrote: »
    Here's an interesting (diddly iddly) film clip from 1959.
    http://www.britishpathe.com/video/gold-find-in-wicklow-mountain-ireland

    That's a great little clip. While the two lads were walking to the river i was like, " they are two huge hats", Then they started panning with them.lol




  • I love how they are out there in their Sunday best.
    Probably a bit like yourself up the mountains.




  • slowburner wrote: »
    I love how they are out there in their Sunday best.
    Probably a bit like yourself up the mountains.


    That's not a bad idea. When i was up the Coolea mountains i got a fair few looks from the locals driving passed me by the small road I was near.

    They must have thought I was a either a scientist testing the area, a murderer burying a body or just some wacky hippy. If i'm in my Sunday best then they might just think I'm a scientist looking for the higg's boson.




  • You'll need a magnifying glass then.


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  • I suppose my interest in the matter, comes from wondering how early miners recognised the presence of copper - especially if it was not obvious on exposed bedrock.

    As far as I am aware, you are correct with the malachite staining. Thats what people looked for to mine. However I am no expert in archaeology etc so I can't give you a better answer. However feel free to ask more mineralogical related questions :D




  • Where then would be the best area to pan streams for gold in Ireland?
    After watching the Alaska series my GF thinks that it would be a good excuse for a weekend. Being mad I agree.




  • Where then would be the best area to pan streams for gold in Ireland?
    After watching the Alaska series my GF thinks that it would be a good excuse for a weekend. Being mad I agree.

    It's another me:D

    I'm just having fun spending some Sundays going on walks with the dog to different spots with interesting geography. Tried a good few streams/rivers that run off from high hills and mountains. Absolutely nothing yet but i'm optimistic.

    It can be a waste of time but for me it's good exercise for Mylo and I and its outdoorsy!

    I think stream/rivers near copper mines might be a good idea. But I learned on here that you cant damage or dig or anything like that in these areas so best off just panning and taking notes of types of rocks you find.




  • Step23 wrote: »
    As far as I am aware, you are correct with the malachite staining. Thats what people looked for to mine. However I am no expert in archaeology etc so I can't give you a better answer. However feel free to ask more mineralogical related questions :D
    Completely unconnected and just for interest, here's a picture inside an C18th adit which had been forgotten about for 150 years.
    It was a trial as far as I know, I just thought you might like to see what these miners faced every day.
    Any staging has either rotted away or been used for firewood, consequently the raise to the right has collapsed.

    211900.jpg


    And this picture below, is of the rock face which I was assured was Manganese staining.
    I'm still convinced that it is residue from smoke. There is clear evidence of fire reddened stone above the aperture.

    211901.jpg




  • So..... did gold come from space?




  • Oh and by the way, despite the colour it's not gold in that adit.
    Perhaps Step23 could give an opinion on the likely minerals - sulphur cannot be ruled out :p




  • So..... did gold come from space?

    Here yah go!
    http://www.mineralsireland.ie/Gold+In+Ireland.htm




  • So..... did Gold come from space?

    Taken from Wiki:

    Gold is thought to have been formed from a supernova nucleosynthesis process. Their explosions scattered metal-containing dusts (including heavy elements like gold) into the region of space in which they later condensed into our solar system and the Earth.[56] Because the Earth was molten when it was just formed, almost all of the gold present on Earth sank into the core. Most of the gold that is present today in the Earth's crust and mantle was delivered to Earth by asteroid impacts during the late heavy bombardment.[57]




  • ...and some bed time reading.


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  • Love you all, what a resource boards.ie is.


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