I am tired of arguing with the "experts" about the presence of placer diamonds in the sands and gravels in the Northwest Territories. I have long "discussed" (argued) with many geologists searching for indicator minerals to locate kimberlite pipes in the North.
First, their story:
Due to recent extensive glacial movement, there won't be any diamonds in the waterways of the Northwest Territories.
“It's been scoured clean.”
Then, my story:
I've found, and am currently mining diamonds in an unnamed river in the Northwest Territories. It's funny that after 'the geologist' more or less laughed at me for looking for placer diamonds anywhere in the N.W.T., his first question after I said I WAS mining them was 'where?' I am wrapped up in my hobby of diamond mining, but he is supposed to be the expert. Highly paid. Happy to criticize anyone.
So I've spent a number of summers checking out a lot of rivers in the North. Way too many, for way too long.
I went up there looking for gold. My work had taught me a lot about geology and gemology, so I was able to quickly recognize the deep purple color of pyrope garnets when they started to appear in my portable sluice box. At first there were only small red garnets with the black sand near the end of the sluice. But, as I moved further along the river, the garnets gradually got larger until there were some nice gemstone sized ones stopping further up in my sluice. Then, there was a greasy looking small stone that didn't recognize trapped in the black sand. My uncle always told me that "there are no diamonds in Canada, so I'd better get diamond mining out of my head, unless I wanted to move to Africa". Then he would laugh and tell me to go pan some of his gold concentrates from his outings.
This small stone was gray in color and had a round shape. It looked ordinary, but kind of different; greasy. I threw it in the "keep" bucket with the garnets and interesting quartz stones that didn't quite make the trip out of the sluice.
I made a large jump upriver, about 1.5 miles and put in on a gravel/sand bar.
The flake gold was getting more plentiful as I pulled material from behind large rocks along the shoreline. I once more set up my sluice box and started shoveling gravel. There was some serious color (gold) up higher in the box (2nd and 3rd riffle) followed by black sand in the lower riffles. There was also a large amount of deep red garnets trailing the black sand. These stones were the size of very large coarse sand/small pebbles.
In all my time spent gold panning/sluicing, I've never come across such a large volume of garnets. They were rough, irregular shapes, with some parts looking like they had been sandblasted (accumulated glacial till?). Sure, they were pretty to look at, but why such a quantity in this area of the river? I've been well acquainted with how gold reaches the surface of the earth, through intrusive rock formations, usually in quartz. I didn't see any connection as to why garnets would accumulate in such a large number right here.
Then I found another, larger gray stone near the end of the sluice, amongst the black sand. What is so unique about these stones is that the water seems to bead up or be repelled off their surface. I picked it up out of the water flow and held it in my hand. It felt extremely cold, like ice. It went into the keep bucket. Since I was getting good quantities of flake gold, I just kept slowly moving up and down the gravel/sand bar. More garnets and a couple more grayish stones soon followed. The gold was settling out in the top of the box, nearest to where the water entered.
I only found out what the strange stones were after I returned from my trip. Diamonds? WOW!
I had been led to believe that the only diamonds to be found in the Northwest Territories were in kimberlite pipes. I was told by "experts" that the glaciers had scrubbed the Northern continent clean of most surface minerals, hence the largely barren rock in the very far North.
I did find these diamonds and garnets in a river valley loaded with gravel/sand bars. Where did that material come from? Erosion? You may remember that I don't like "geological experts" much, from the beginning of this article. It's nothing personal, but I've been steered off the mineral path by their 'knowledge' in the past.
All I do is follow good signs. If this means I'm following an oxide trace from a seasonal small stream, I'll follow it. I don't care if the parent rock is right (or not) for an ore vein to occur. The formation of ore bodies or gemstones happens with heat and pressure and a lot of time. Mineral or gemstone molecular composition naturally attracts more of the same parent material to itself through attraction. This is how crystals grow deep underground and are then brought to the surface by intrusive rock formations (upheavals of the earth). Being turned off the mineral path, just to later find out that there was a vein in that area made me pretty upset.
Diamonds and gold, or other valuable gemstones, are "where you find them".
Don't be afraid to explore unlikely areas
Never listen to experts
Always have fun exploring
Be on the watch for diamonds in your concentrates. They appear when you least expect them too.
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