|Boars Tusk lamproite (wyomingite) forms a distinct and prominent volcanic neck with Table Mountain in background|
The Leucite Hills were one of my favorite places to visit while I worked at the Wyoming Geological Survey. After the discovery of diamonds in lamproites in Australia in the 1980s, I was able to wrangle some money out of the legislature to visit the diamond deposits in Australia. It should have sparked much greater diamond interest in Wyoming - particularly since the Aussies opened diamond mines at the Argyle and the Ellendale lamproite fields and produced some of the most valuable diamonds in the world - pink diamonds - some which have sold for as much as $1 million a carat, or 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|
If anyone compared personality traits of mass murderers, politicians and used car salesmen, there likely are distinct similarities. So, we found this to be a problem. If you can convince the state geologist there is something of value in a project for him or her, you next have to find a subtle way to show a legislator, governor and congressman he or she might be able to turn a project into a way to collect money under the table. So the project died with no funding.
|Boars Tusk at sunset|
|Mt Gytha, Noonkabob lamproite field, Western Australia. Note the large layered sandstone xenolith in the side of this lamproite volcano.|
|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.|
|Diamond Hunter, Gem Hunter, Gold Prospector and Geologist - Hey, that good-looking guy was me mapping in the Leucite Hills.|