Bob, Joe, and myself went out to Franklin County to pan for
This was in the vicinity of the old Portis Gold mine.
gold ore was discovered at the farm of Isaac Portis in 1835 which
produced $3 million before the Civil War. It was last worked
1936. We made it over to one of Bob's favorite spots along a
creek. We started off by digging in an old tailings pile that
possibly over 100 years old.
Here Bob is describing
how the gold follows
the shortest path of the creek. In other words the gold
hug the inside edge of the creek banks. The blue arrows show
direction the water is moving in the creek. The red line
the path that the gold will take. It is along this red line
most of the panning should be done.
Bob's panning technique
has been refined through decades of practice and I marvel at how fast
he can pull gold from the creek. The water was absolutely frigid this
day and without gloves panning would have been very difficult.
The old miners used
mercury to pull gold
out of the sediment when this mine was still working. And so
find mercury laiden gold as shown below. Although it looks
pure mercury, it's actually gold that is coated with mercury.
suck up all the mercury we find with the snuffer bottle as the gold can
be extracted later with chemicals.
Below is just one of
the very many
tailings piles near the creek. There are hundreds of piles
this all throughout the area.
Well after a couple
hours of gold panning
we headed off to an area nearby that was suppose to have a lepidolite outcrop
(purple mica). We talked to the owner of the land next to
try and get a bearing on where to look. He gave us a general
direction told us to stay off his property and we were on our
way. Unfortunately, all we found was quartz rocks laying all
the place but no lepidolite.
The worst part was the
scary ones that can maim. It can be hard work to be a rock
but if we didn't do this kind of exploration we wouldn't be making much
progress on our rock collection.
2009 Today I
decided I would go check out an amethyst spot Bob showed me a couple
weeks ago in Franklin County just inside the city of Louisburg. It's a
quick 20 minutes drive from my house so I figured why not.
There is a lot of farm land out
Rolesville batholith seems to outcrop a lot in this area. I believe the
batholithe is associated with the formation of amethyst both here in
Franklin and Wake county. Below is a picture of an outcrop of the
Rolesville batholith. A giant floor of granite.
was a wonderful day. The air was crisp and cool but the sun was out in
full shine. It was that perfect balance between warm sunshine and cool
air and I was just happy to be outside. The area has had rain and
everything was washed off nicely. So I began the hunt, head low and
eyes scanning. After of few minutes of hunting all I could think was
thank you Bob.
Not the best looking purple crystals
but crystals nonetheless.
You can see how the piece below was healed from an
I really love how the smokey bands run through the