Saturday, March 20, 2021

Wisdom, My Most Valuable Gem

"Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it."
Proverbs 8:10-11
Faceted ruby (12-carats) cut from corundum found in
vermiculite-schist at Palmer Canyon, Wyoming
The wisdom of Proverbs dwells deep into the human soul and such wisdom helps explain me to myself. All my life, I found value in good books, not in how much money someone made. Most people have a view that a person's value is based on wealth. But think about this! How much wisdom does it take to be born king or queen of England? 

You see, over the years working as a research geologist for the Wyoming Geological Survey at the University of Wyoming, as well as consultant for a variety of mining companies, one might think I became incredibly rich! I am, but not in materialism. I have no money to speak of, but I had great experiences. I discovered, or was part of a discovery team that found $billions in gold. Yes, this made people rich; but those who became rich, sat at the top of companies and didn't get out and get dirty. Personally, I'm just happy they chose me as a consultant on some great consulting projects - the experiences I had can not be bought.

Accepted for a team of geologists at the
PDAC in Toronto by Richard Garnett in 2009
for discovery of the Donlin Creek gold deposit
found in 1988-89 in the Kuskokwim Mountains
near Crooked Creek, Alaska. Richard went 
on and made another world-class discovery in 
I  was just one of a team of seven geologists who found this giant gold deposit in 1988! Then there are the other mineral discoveries over the years while camping in an old, $100 tent, in ghost towns, wilderness, and on the top of mountains. I walked hundreds of miles, breathed clean air, was bit by a tick, surrounded by rattlesnakes and coyotes, and met many entertaining cowboys, prospectors and geologists in local pubs. So, I am rich in memories.  

When I entered college a long time ago, my parents taught me to value what a person did with their life, rather than how much they could buy with inherited or stolen bank accounts. How sad is it to see so many billionaires and multi-millionaires who steal, build phony foundations, and give nothing back to the world, and then brag about their contributions. Good luck with the eye of the needle.

 Those who know me realize I'm not all that bright, but I'm driven to discover.  I search for mineral deposits based on science, and as soon as I find what I'm looking for, I will study the deposit only long enough to gain more insight into structure, setting, chemistry, etc, and then I move on to the next treasure hunt and leave the last one to others. 

Vermiculite schist from Palmer Canyon with blue kyanite and pink-red corundum.

In the 1990s, I went looking for rubies that were misidentified as garnets. After I found the deposit in Palmer Canyon in the Laramie Mountains west of Wheatland, Wyoming, I recognized other potential gemstones including sapphire, kyanite and possibly similar alumina-silicates. Looking, nearby; I discovered some incredibly, beautiful, iolite, another aluminum-rich gems. I don't think iolite and ruby are genetically linked, but they do have similarities in their geological (metamorphic) settings and rock chemistry. So, if I find another metamorphic ruby deposit, I don't believe I will always find another iolite deposit nearby, but because of these aluminum-rich rocks (meta-pelites) being formed under similar metamorphic grades (pressure and temperature), there is a chance of finding iolite and other alumina gems in the area. Some rubies and sapphires (i.e. corundum) appear to have a connection to a particular host rock known as vermiculite schist (the host for ruby, sapphire, and kyanite at Palmer Canyon), iolite does not. This association is important, and after I recognized this characteristic, I searched the literature for information on vermiculite deposits, visited them, and all of a sudden, I had another 6 discoveries. And I found some other iolite deposits based on the reported presences of a mineral geologists know as cordierite. So, yes, there is a link between geology, chemistry, setting, and even wisdom. 

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