Thursday, April 17, 2008
The above major dirt road, which heads east from just north of Schurz, NV (Schurz is a tiny place on Highway 95 between Fallon and Hawthorne) will take you out to what may be an undiscovered gold deposit, that is, if you know the right side roads to take.
I "discovered" this place in the mid/late 1980's, an area of nicely altered Tertiary volcanic rocks, altered in a way that reminded me a lot of the major, high-sulfidation (back then called "quartz-alunite") gold mining camp of Goldfield, NV. There had been a few drill holes in part of the area, and some white claims posts were lying around here and there. The entire area, however, had not been drilled, including some hard to find quartz-alunite-altered rocks hidden at the bottom of some minor dry washes. I took a bunch of samples, made a sketch map of the area, and drove to Fallon - the county seat - and checked the claim records for the area.
There were no active claims, and despite the claim posts scattered here and there, it didn't look like any claims had been filed recently. Sometimes prospectors, geologists, and mining exploration companies will put up discovery posts, and then not file the claims if the assays don't look too good, because in Nevada, one has 90 days (I think, or at least 30) to put up all claim corner posts and file the claims with the county and BLM.
I called in to the office, and claim stakers were shortly on the way to the area, because whether or not any samples I took came back good or not, the area wasn't very far from the Paradise Peak and Rawhide, two major gold mines located nearby, and I thought the alteration itself looked good enough to warrant staking and then mapping and sampling at the very least. After acquiring the property by staking, the mapping and sampling we would do would determine whether or not we would want to drill the property, and if so, where.
Well, while the claim stakers were enroute, our landman determined, after a lot of digging around, that despite info from the county courthouse and state land map, the area had been recently "taken" by the Navy, without going through all appropriate channels - like legislation - which is why there were claim posts but no county filing of the claims. Someone else had found the area, staked it, and then found out the area was technically unavailable for mineral entry (claim staking). We called off our claim stakers (staking is often done by separate, surveying-type outfits), and I went back out to see what else I could find.
So there is a possible gold mine out there, between Schurz and Fallon, where the land has been withdrawn for Naval flying and exercises.