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Finding Gold in Utah

Gold in Utah is mainly found in the mountains surrounding Salt Lake City. Utah is also the home of a rare variety of beryl that is red costing more then a diamond.

Finding Gold in Utah is limited to the mountainous area surrounding Salt Lake City. Most of the gold is found the Brigand district as placer gold in the streams draining this district. Gold has also been produced from the copper deposits on the Brigham Canyon as a byproduct. Placer gold is found in deposits of sand and gravel in rivers and dry washes coming down down from the mountains. Most of the gold that was mined Utah was found during the 1930s in the Great Depression.

Utah also produces a great deal of copper mainly out of Bingham Canyon one of largest man-made excavations in the world. Quite often thereare copper bearing gemstones like turquoise, azurite and malachite are found near copper deposits especially in arid climates.

Utah also contains the usual quartz family gemstones agate and jasper along with quartz crystals. Lode gold is also found in quartz veins in volcanic rocks. A particularly good place to look for quartz gemstones is in a place where there are sand and gravel.

The state gemstone of Utah is the topaz that is found in the Thomas range of Juab county. This Gemstone is found in topaz rich rhyolite lava. That is not all that is found in this lava flow it also contains a mineral that is 1000 times more valuable than gold. This mineral is a red variety of beryl that was originally named bixbite after its finder, but through the years that have passed its name is now red beryl or red emerald.

According to the Utah Geological Survey this gemstone is far rarer than diamonds. They go on to say that for every 150,000 diamonds that are found there is only one red beryl. If the stone was cut and polished a finished stone is worth more than $2,000 per carat.

The beryllium and any other trace elements like iron, manganese, and chromium were carried in the rhyolite so that when it cooled tension cracks were formed that allowed the gases to rise up through the rhyolite. The hot gases included all the elements that were required to form the red crystals of beryl. No doubt the gases contained water vapor that might have been in the strange form of superheated liquid.

Most of the red beryl is mined from hard rock rather than being found in an alluvial deposit. It would be difficult to recover this mineral from alluvial deposit because its density that is about the same as the other minerals and rocks that would be found in an alluvial deposit.

For more information about gold mining go here!

If you like to read about gems go here

References:

Utah's Gold Placers, http://geology.utah.gov/online/PI-50/pi50plac.htm

Utah areas with Gold, http://www.e-goldprospecting.com/html/utah_areas_with_gold_.html

Ege, Carl, What gemstone is found in Utah that is rarer then diamond and more valuable then gold, Utah Geological Survey, http://geology.utah.gov/surveynotes/gladasked/gladberyl.htm

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