|Boars Tusk lamproite (wyomingite) forms a distinct and prominent volcanic neck with Table Mountain in background|
|Ellendale diamond-bearing olivine lamproite exposed in|
|Regional map of diamond and lamproite fields in Australia|
In 1985, I collected a group of hand samples from one lamproite in the Leucite Hills of Wyoming, and these were processed and examined for diamonds using a binocular microscope. The chances of finding diamonds in such a small sample was very unfavorable (even it they actually occurred in the rock) as large bulk samples measured in tonnes are necessary for diamond testing. I was surprised when we recovered an exceptional, transparent, micro-octahedron with triangular growth platelets on the octahedral surfaces. Wow! Did we have a diamond? Unfortunately, the crystal was so tiny, that I could not measure its hardness with our primitive tools and I could not measure any surface conductivity. So, we had a problem trying to figure out if we actually had recovered a diamond from this lamproite breccia.
|Dan Hausel (left) and Karl Albert (right) in the outback of Australia (1986)|
The Leucite Hills were one of my favorite places to visit when I worked at the Wyoming Geological Survey. After the discovery of diamonds in lamproites in Australia in the 1980s, the State Geologist -Gary Glass, was able to wrangle some money out of the legislature to visit the diamond deposits in Australia. The Aussie discovery should have sparked much greater diamond interest in Wyoming - particularly since the Aussies opened diamond mines at the Argyle and Ellendale and produced some of the most valuable diamonds (and gemstones) in the world - pink diamonds - some which have sold for many tens of thousands of times more valuable than an equivalent weight in gold!
|Black Butte lamproite peaks over horizon as if to say, sample|
me, sample me!
|Anthill with a couple of gem-quality pyrope garnets from|
|Boars Tusk at sunset|
|Boars Tusk volcanic neck lamproite breccia|
If you would like to read more about the gemstones in this region, have a look at my
- GemHunter's website,
- Gem-quality garnet bloodspot,
- Prospecting for Garnet blogspot,
- Peridot blogspot,
- Wyoming Gemstones blogspot,
- Wyoming diamonds and gemstones blogspot,
- Diamond mineralogy blogspot,
- Sloan Ranch Diamondiferous kimberlites blogspot (which by the way there is a very large diamond resource confirmed by drilling and recently, a prospector from North Carolina panned out several diamonds including one very nice gem-diamond that weighed approximately 5 carats from the adjacent Rabbit Creek)
- Chromian Diopside blogspot
- Mountain of gold http://goldmtn.blogspot.com/
- Prospecting for gold,
- South Pass gold,
- Seminoe Mountains Gold,
- Rattlesnake Hills gold discovery - a commercial gold deposit
- World Class Gemstone discovery,
- Donlin Creek Gold discovery
Anyway, I enjoyed my work at the Wyoming Geological Survey and loved to go to work every morning. I had dozens of leads and many more ideas on where to find more gemstones in Wyoming and the western US and I believe I would have found many more diamond, ruby and sapphire, iolite, and gold deposits in Wyoming by now, as I had many areas (based on favorable geology and geochemistry) where some more deposits should be found.
And did I know what I was doing? Well, heck yah (at least that's what I'm going to tell you). Actually, there were times I didn't know what I was doing, but I persevered, drank some beer with some prospectors, went out by myself with my tent and 44 magnum and continued to look until I made a discovery and then told everyone I knew exactly what I was doing. Now that's exploration!
|Mt Gytha, Noonkabob lamproite field, Western Australia. Note the large layered sandstone xenolith in the side of this lamproite volcano.|
|Some gemstones I found including light green peridot from the Leucite Hills, red|
to purple red pyrope garnet from Butcherknife Draw, and emerald green chromian
diopside from Butcherknife Draw.
|Mining small diamonds with small equipment in Australia|
|And if you can dig the olivine out of the lamproite, or take them|
from an anthill covered with fierce ants, this is what one can do - produce a nice,
faceted, peridot gemstone. Can you imagine, these were examined
by geologists for more than 100 years, even described in professional papers
and books, yet nobody ever noticed they were mostly gemstones.
|A few things I immediately noticed when I visited Australia is their rabbits hop higher and are much larger than Wyoming's - they also spoke a strange dialect of English - but after a few Aussie beers, it didn't matter. Here is the Argyle diamond mine as it appeared in 1986. It is much deeper now.|
|Olivine lamproite from Black Butte, Wyoming. Note the large olivine crystal in the sample - about 0.4 inch across.|
|Lamproite breccia, Wortmans dike, Leucite Hills|
|Lamproite scoria from Zirkel Mesa in the Leucite Hills.|
|A diamond in the rough - wild horses in the Leucite Hills. It is tragic, but the BLM has done its best to eradicate these horses. Even still, a few of them survive.|
|Leucite Hills from the south. One can never have enough volcanoes|
|Emmons Mesa, Leucite Hills|
|Badger's teeth lamproite breccia, Leucite Hills.|
|Pegmatitic lamproite from Walgidee Hills, Australia.|
|Diamond-bearing olivine lamproite from the Ellendale field, Australia|
|Chocolate diamonds from the Argyle lamproite, Australia. Are there similar |
diamonds in a hidden lamproite pipe(s) in the Leucite Hills? We may never know.
|Ellendale 9 diamondiferous olivine lamproite, Australia|
|Typical leucite lamproite with considerable mica, Leucite Hills.|
Gem peridots from the Leucite Hills, Wyoming
pyrope garnet faceted from gem material from Butcherknife Draw, Wyoming
Yes, this is me back in Wyoming searching for gold at the Copper
King mine in the Silver Crown district - a 2 million gold-copper
equivalent deposit. And I believe I found an extension of the deposit
that, if drilled, will likely increase the know gold resource.
Below - I'm (standing) at South Pass last year looking for more gold.
And further below I'm standing outside the DiamonEx Ltd office
in Laramie where I searched for diamonds in the 1970s, 1980s and then
again in 2007-2008
|Diamond Hunter, Gem Hunter, Gold Prospector and Geologist - Hey, that good-looking guy was me mapping in the Leucite Hills by in 1997. And I do get back to Wyoming periodically to consult on various diamond, gold and gemstone projects as well as to visit my beautiful daughter.|