Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wyoming Gems, Rocks & Minerals

Need a book - its available on Amazon.
As my son Eric and I finished our book - Gold: Field Guide for Prospectors and Geologists focusing on gold deposits and mines in Wyoming, I am reminded that there are many, many gold deposits out there and all one needs is some luck, less government, and use sof cientific principals to find these.

This book, and a following book (Gold in Arizona) will work well with my 2009 book on Gems, Minerals and Rocks of Wyoming which is designed to help the reader find minerals and identify them.  The books are designed to help you find a gold deposit.

I found a few hundred gold anomalies over the years, now I'm telling you where all of these are located.

Prior to 1975, only jade and a few agates were known in Wyoming. Central Wyoming was scoured by rockhounds searching for jade in the vicinity of Crooks Gap where impressive cobbles and boulders of very high-quality nephrite jade were found. But why were there no other gemstones in this state? The answer was simple: few rock hounds searched for other gems other than jade and agate, and geologists simply could not conceive of the idea that other gems were present. Even so, Dr. J.D. Love identified a few low quality corundum deposits that hinted at the possibility for ruby and sapphire in the state, and a specimen of high-quality precious opal from the Yellowstone region provided evidence for gemstones in that volcanic terrain. The nearby Absaroka volcanic mountains also provided geological evidence that both Yellowstone and the Absarokas likely contained significant gold, silver and copper deposits.

Within a few decades, Wyoming became known as the gem capital of North America. Many new rocks, gems and minerals were discovered by several rock hounds, prospectors and myself. Wyoming has an impressive list of gemstones and has the most diverse collection of documented gems of any state in the US or of any province in Canada.

Some of the gems that have been identified since 1977 are considered world-class deposits and have yielded some of the largest gemstones in the world. The collection of gems in Wyoming now include agate, jasper, common opal, fire opal, precious opal, onyx, gold nuggets, platinum and palladium nuggets, Cape Ruby (pyrope garnet), chrysocolla, malachite, azurite, covellite, enargite, cuprite, spessartine garnet, Cape Emerald (chrome diopside), chrome enstatite, kyanite, iolite, ruby, sapphire, peridot, diamond, specularite, apatite, minyulite, amethyst, aquamarine, jade, almandine garnet, chalcedony, silicified banded iron formation, jasperoid, labradorite, grunerite, amber, heliodor, varisite, jade pseudomorphs after quartz, quartz and others (Hausel, 2008c; Hausel and Sutherland, 2000, 2006). And based on geology, it is likely other gems will be found, such as emerald, sillimanite, andalusite, a variety of feldspars and spodumene.

For over 30 years, while working as a research geologist and geological consultant I hunted Wyoming in search of mineral deposits and became the most successful geologist in the history of the Wyoming Geological Survey following hundreds of discoveries. I documented essentially all of the discoveries in hundreds of articles. Many of the discoveries were made while mapping most of the State's historic mining districts. I felt blessed that no one else had the ambition or apparent interest to search and map the old districts in the state. For this, I was presented the Wyoming Geological Association's highest honor in 2004 - the Distinguished Service Award. In 2001, I was inducted into the National Rock Hound & Lapidary Hall of Fame thanks to the efforts of Norma Beers and many other rock hounds and collectors in Wyoming. In 2009, 5 other geologists, Paul Graff from Casper and myself were awarded the Thayer Lindsley Award of Economic Geology for discovery of a major international mineral discovery - the Donlin Creek, Alaska gold deposit containing more than $45 billion in gold! The deposit was described as the largest undeveloped gold deposit in North America by the Northern Miner. I was inducted into several Who's Who compendiums & received many more national & international honors for my work. Overall, I was presented >100 regional, national, and international awards for my work, but my supervisor at the Wyoming Geological Survey told me that I could be terminated if I was not careful: I was making the rest of the staff look bad.  So, below is a sketch of one of the many staff meetings I missed. I'm sure you can pick out the Director, Division Heads and even the visiting Governor. 
Staff meeting - sketch by 
W. Dan Hausel

To decipher Wyoming's complex geology, >1,000 km2 of complex geological terrain had to be mapped. Most geologists avoided these areas because of complexity. However, during the mapping of many of the old Proterozoic and Archean crystalline terrains, many gold deposits were identified, an entirely new gold district was found that may rival Cripple Creek, Colorado, and geological and geochemical clues providing trails to several gemstone deposits overlooked by most everyone else who had worked in the state. It was stated by a couple of researchers at the University of Wyoming that much of what is known of the Precambrian geology in Wyoming was due to my work (Art Snoke and Carol Frost, personal communication, 2006). It was a honor to be recognized as so.

I found minerals fascinating & identified several mineral species in Wyoming that had previously been unknown in the State. 

I discovered hundreds of mineral deposits during mapping projects & reconnaissance that included hundreds of gold anomalies, a whole new gold district (Rattlesnake Hills), palladium, nickel, diamonds, iolite, cordierite, ruby, sapphire, kyanite gems, peridot, opal & more.

After mapping the two largest diamondiferous kimberlite districts in the US, the largest lamproite field in North America & investigating a group of diamondiferous lamprophyres, I identified a few hundred cryptovolca

nic structures that are likely un
discovered diamond deposits in Colorado, Kansas, Montana and Wyoming, as well as in Canada and Africa. I was elated when I found the largest iolite gemstones on earth including stones >24,000 carats while leaving others in the outcrop that could top a million carats.

This led to the discovery of two of the largest colored gemstone deposits on the planet -Grizzly Creek and Sherman Mountains. I found giant opals weighing more than 70,000 carats & mapped what could be the largest opal deposit in North America due to a lead from a Riverton rock hound that covers parts of >14 sections of land. I found other gemstones and previously unrecognized minerals and rocks in Wyoming. Basically, these deposits potentially contain several hundred $billion in gemstones. All I did is I kept an open mind, used geology and geochemistry to find more deposits.

I love to write, so I published >650 professional and general interest papers 

& geological maps & contributed to 30 books. I'm not even sure how many abstracts I submitted to professional and rock hound groups, but was a few hundred that were published in journals and newsletters - I just never kept track of these. Now, after 30 years of discovery, I decided to describe theses gems, minerals and rocks in Wyoming, where to find them, and provide insight on how to identify diamond deposits. Personally, I believe that one of the largest diamond fields on earth is found in the Colorado-Montana-Wyoming region and is awaiting prospectors & geologists to follow-up on these discoveries. I also found the largest iolite deposits on earth in Wyoming - and I found evidence for others. I found a half-dozen ruby deposits and evidence for many more, but could never get much support from the state. It was as if all of the rock hounds, prospectors and mineralogists were paying attention, but the State of Wyoming was hibernating and could not be bothered. But the heck with them - you can now stake your claim on my latest books - Gems, Minerals & Rocks of Wyoming - A Guide for Rock Hounds, Prospectors & Collectors and find out more about these gems, minerals and rocks at GEMHUNTER.

For more information, contact me at:
Some other books -


Major Gold Deposit Discovered In Alaska


  1. Dan, I have your earlier book and have used it so much in the field that the pages are starting to come out! I sure miss your field trips to Leucite Hills and the gold fields of Wyoming! I will be sure to get a copy of your latest and greatest!
    Helen Hoff, Casper WY

  2. Hi Helen,
    Sorry I missed your comment - I'm still not use to these blogs and just discovered that I can respond to posts. Thank you for your support and feel free to write to me anytime. I really miss leading field trips and exploring Wyoming and would still be there if it wasn't for some power-hungry politicians.

  3. A new blog on South Pass was created based on some past field trips.

  4. Dan,
    I am trying to get your map locations on the diamonds and gems that you recorded while with the WSGS. I sure dont want to pay them for the bulletins by all means. Any direction you could point me towards as an alternative ?

  5. My name is Nicolas Joye, and I have opened a new website called N-Joy Precious Stones. I have noticed that not only do you have a great blog but a list of rock sites. We are a new site would love to be advertised in that section and possibly a blog section which I could provide a very well constructed message to the bloggers about our site and mission statement. We strive to be a community based company that wants to have an open forum with communication and allow the public to learn and enjoy the mineral world. We also would like to have a link to the our blogspot. I could put a link to your blogspot on ours at We are glad to be in the same community and hope to be able to help the public and as well as us enthusiasts. Thank you so very much for the wonderful site you have and the time you have taken to read this letter! Blessings

  6. Thanks for the support Nicolas - I looked at your blogspot - you have a couple of very nice photos!

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  12. My grandmother was Norma Beers. Spent many of years rock hunting in Wyoming with her. Googled her name and came across your blog.