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And So it Goes

Speaker 1

Speaker 1
Hello, aloha and mahalo. It is Monday, September 11, day of remembrance for all of us.

Speaker 1
My name is Thomas Farley, F-A-R-L-E-Y-I have a friend who is is dying and he has been dying for many years, but it is certainly the end of the line.

Speaker 1
It will be the end of the line very soon for him, it seems, unless there’s some miraculous intervention from beyond science.

Speaker 1
I and he’s a good man. He doesn’t deserve to die, die poorly like this. I would not trade places with him. I envy him, though, in a way, with the enormous amount of resources that he’s been able to get to apply to his condition. He has a physical disease.

Speaker 1
He has a number of things wrong with them, but they are in the end, all physical.

Speaker 1
He’s had good insurance with Kaiser and I’m sure some of his own money. Similarly, I’ve had good insurance plans and money and I’m actually paid out of pocket for nearly all of my mental health treatment because compared with physical diseases, you cannot get seen by a doctor routinely enough to do any good in mental health. For a psychiatrist. Well, he has Kaiser. I think under Kaiser, probably you wouldn’t be able to see a doctor psychiatrist more than once every couple of months.

Speaker 1
Instead, you’re kicked down to therapists and technicians. So I’ve always paid out of pocket for regular psychiatric treatment.

Speaker 1
So that’s one big difference between mental health and physical health. Another is that routinely, for years now, most of the major insurance companies have provided a 24 hours nurse talk line so that you can talk to a nurse at any time of day except that. And I’ve talked to these nurses on these health lines before. They say they’ve never, ever had a psych nurse assigned to one of these 24 hours help lines. They could have a psych nurse, a telephone line in addition to the physical, the regular RNS.

Speaker 1
They could have that. These groups, Intermountain, Southwest, Kaiser, multibillion dollar corporations, they could pay for a 24 hours psych nurse telephone line so he wouldn’t wind up at the emergency room or some other place victim of suicide. But they don’t because mental health does not exist for these people. They talk about these institutions, talk about the rising rate of suicide, and isn’t that awful? But they won’t fund for it.

Speaker 1
They will not fund for it. They will instead give out some pity, some false pity and give some money to other groups, other agencies that are working on the problem, but they themselves don’t participate. And in the last few years, we’ve all seen how they want to really focus. They really want to throw everybody into two categories that of depression or anxiety. And if you’re not in that category, then good luck to you.

Speaker 1
I don’t want to dwell on my particular problem, although I’ll just say that it’s severe insomnia and nightmares and yeah, you hear about research, say, into PTSD and related, but it’s not really in my opinion. And I’ve been almost become a professional consultant on this subject since I so much want to get better. And I’ve tried everything. So I’ve become sort of an expert on what’s current, and I’ve done everything, including electroshock, or ECT as it’s politely called. Electroconvulsive therapy didn’t work for me, paid for all that out of pocket.

Speaker 1
Physical diseases, especially the physical diseases that happen to a lot of people, that Big Pharma has a market for. Those seem hopeful. As far as research getting spent, I know there’s some incurable, seemingly incurable problems like autism, and so there’s just major diseases, although autism goes to great deal of mental health fields, so it’s inherently not going to see the amount of research or funding to begin with. My friend has got all of these resources now available to him as far as end of life treatments and hospice, just like my parents had hospice and people willing to help stepping in. And there’s nothing for end of life, for mental health problems.

Speaker 1
My condition is not livable, and all I get in a response as far as end of life is that it can’t be that bad.

Speaker 1
And I sometimes say, yeah, you’re right, it’s not that bad. It’s a hell of a lot worse. You live with this, you live with this. But it’s a mental health problem that they can’t capture with a microscope or a thermometer going up or down, or blood pressure they can measure or blood they can sample. They just have to take the word of the patient, and our word doesn’t mean a damn thing.

Speaker 1
And I feel for people with mental health problems that are not as articulate or verbal as I am, that can’t express themselves or they express the hell they’re going through. They really have. That just I can’t imagine the misery funding needs to be addressed for my friend. There’s all sorts of patient advocates available for him. He’s actually had genetic engineering things done for him at Stanford Hospital.

Speaker 1
There’s been housing available for family and relatives nearby, just on and on and on. And I am glad that he’s had that care. It’s extended his life for many, many years. It’s just there is no equivalent in mental health for this. And it just devalue you.

Speaker 1
It devalues a person over and over and over again. You’re not worth it. And if you want something done, you got to pay for it yourself, because we can’t see it, so we don’t think it’s a problem. I’ll give you a simple example of how much I often have needed a patient advocate to deal with people just on the phone, for example. One of the things that really induces my nightmares is being a mean person and having to argue endlessly.

Speaker 1
And if anybody’s dealt with any customer support, any healthcare organization over the last many years, you’ll know that it is impossible sometimes to get across what you’re trying to say to a person that keeps falling back on a script will not transfer you to a supervisor about the websites and email addresses that they hand out that don’t work, telephone numbers they never call to make sure that they actually work. It just goes on and on. Well, that all forces me to get service, forces me to be a mean person with these people. And I don’t want to be a mean person. It’s toxic.

Speaker 1
It’s toxic to everybody, but especially in my condition. And I can’t tell them that that just engendering more and more nightmares. And it would be great if I had a patient advocate that would be able to speak for me and would be able to sit for hours and hours on a phone trying to get something arranged and it’s just not possible, not even with paying for it out of pocket. These people don’t exist. And it is very frustrating every step of the way you’re told that your condition doesn’t mean anything and it is indescribable as I try to make myself, as I try to make other people comfortable with me.

Speaker 1
You can’t mention, for example, that you have violent nightmares anymore. They’ll call the cops on you.

Speaker 1
People today are so scared by corporate media that they associate mental health with violence when in fact the mental health are far more likely to be victims of crimes than actually committing the crime. But corporate media doesn’t want to hear that. And it is the more and more I try to make other people comfortable around me, the less credibility I have, the more well spoken I am, the less people think there’s anything wrong. If I keep up appearances, then just what’s the problem? And I’ll try to say, well, how many times do you have to watch your mother or your best friend get chainsawed to death?

Speaker 1
Well, it’s not real. No, it actually feels real. And shock after shock and this has been going on since 1988 with me and it just breaks you down. I probably have less than 4 hours of sleep every night and tell you this is how these professionals, they just want a measurement. How many hours of sleep are you getting?

Speaker 1
And their limited thinking is insane. Well, four or 5 hours, it doesn’t matter. It’s the quality of sleep. It’s all broken up. I’m pacing around at 233 30 in the morning, waking up every other half hour.

Speaker 1
It’s the quality of sleep. But they can’t measure that. They have to rely on your word. And your word doesn’t count. Your word doesn’t mean a damn thing.

Speaker 1
Well, we’re sorry for you, but there’s no at this point I’ve tried literally everything, including, like I said, ECT. And that program when it first came out, using the Apple Watch, which is a dedicated Apple Watch and a dedicated iPhone that goes with it called nightwear. I’ve written a multi part review on YouTube about it that also failed.

Speaker 1
But in the end in the end, my friend has a ton of services he’s going to have measured, respectful, end of life experience, I guess you would call it. But no, I’m going to have to take care of things myself. And it’s tragic, but it’s consistent with the disregard that mental health gets in this country. I’m not sure it’s that much better anywhere else, and I don’t have any suggestions other than fund, but it’s all about money, and so I just don’t especially Intermountain. They’re an incredibly toxic group, incredibly damaging to mental health people.

Speaker 1
And you can read on my website,, what they did to me, how they treated me. I think a real fundamental problem in healthcare is how the line personnel, or the people responding to their Twitter and social accounts have no idea what duty of care means. We are patients first and then customers. This is not a typical industry where you have a customer. No, we’re patients first.

Speaker 1
When you extend the duty of care, if you have to explain what duty of care means to somebody picking up the phone, they need some real training or they need some days in the hospital tending to patients. Once you accept the duty of care, again, it’s just not my dad was a brilliant physician, brilliant doctor, and his colleagues were all well mannered, neat, professional, all of them caring. And they accepted the responsibility for a patient once they took them on. And once a system takes them on, like Inner Mountain or Kaiser or what have you, that duty of care is extended. That umbrella applies to everybody under their name.

Speaker 1
Well, that’s enough for now. I wish I could give you some hope, but there really isn’t any. Not at least for people with my condition. And I think that they would actually prefer a lot of us just to die off so they don’t have to deal with them. I think that’s what’s going on with a lot of the homeless, with mental health problems.

Speaker 1
It’s just get these people off the books and we can go back to treating people for just anxiety and depression and everybody else is on their own.

Speaker 1
But if you know more about the subject, let me know. But there’s no dignity in this, not for people with mental health.

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Goldfield Lays Town Father Bryan Smalley to Rest

August 31, 2022 UPDATE

A ten minute video about Bryan can be viewed here. It’s a short film the family asked me to do.

Original Article Follows:

Bryan Smalley died in Goldfield on October 30, 2021. He was 61 years old. The family does not wish to disclose the cause of death. His Pahrump Valley Times written obituary is here: –> Obituary of Bryan Smalley (external link)

Goldfield Lays a Town Father to Rest

By: Thomas Farley /

More than a hundred people attended Bryan Smalley’s funeral on Saturday (11/06/2021) in Goldfield’s historic cemetery. Those included town folk, family, close friends, and members of Bryan’s church.

Notable was law enforcement from Esmeralda and Nye County as well as fire and ambulance services. They all remembered and honored Bryan’s twenty years as a deputy sheriff of Esmeralda County. Deputies helped lower the casket into his grave while a strong wind whipped the cemetery and the sage covered hills. An officer designated as an honor guard made sure a carefully folded United States flag was placed on Bryan’s coffin with quiet ceremony and solemnity.

Family friend Randy Wilson conducted the service, observing that Bryan had carved many of the cemeteries’ crosses and headstones surrounding the mourners. A close friend of Bryan’s, Sharon Artlip, later said that he never charged for that work and that, “Bryan would have preferred to build his own coffin and to carve his own headstone.”

Folding the flag before presenting. / Click image to enlarge

Artlip owns Goldfield Art and Business in Goldfield at the center of town and collaborated with Bryan on many projects. She said, “Bryan was my friend. He owned Hidden Treasure in town which is a rock shop. He was a partner with my sister Nadia and I with the Gemfield Gem claims that we own outside of town. He helped me do my porch on my building. He helped people with their businesses. And he always promoted Goldfield and had the best in mind for everybody in Goldfield. But most importantly, he was my friend.”

Lowering Bryan’s coffin into the grave. / Click image to enlarge.

Stacey Smalley is a younger brother. He talked about how Bryan got Hidden Treasure going even before he retired from the sheriff’s department. It was a love of rocks and the land. “He was always, always into rocks and minerals. And he just loved this area. He loved Nevada and he loved Goldfield.”

Some of the mourners. / Click image to enlarge.

After the funeral, the day’s event moved to the high school auditorium in downtown Goldfield for a community get-together and a pot-luck lunch. An appropriate venue since Bryan did a great deal for the local school district. Stores were shuttered throughout town with perhaps half of Goldfield’s residents in attendance. Everyone was exchanging their favorite stories about Bryan. Erma Greegh said she met Bryan in 1993 and that he didn’t like wearing shoes in restaurants. “Always had to kick them off.” And if you needed a sign made for any cause, Bryan would carve or paint one for you.

The grave awaiting a headstone. / Click image to enlarge.

Some people traveled hours to get to the funeral since Bryan’s help extended far beyond Goldfield. Many rocks in the Mineral County Museum, for example, were donated by Bryan years ago. Further north of Hawthorne by Walker lake is Schruz, Nevada, home to the RockChuck Gem and Mineral Gallery, owned by Chelsea and John Keady. Bryan affectionately referred to the couple as the “kids.” I talked to John Keady who was there with his wife and young son after a two and a half hour trip.

Overall picture of the Goldfield Cemetery. / Click image to enlarge.

”Bryan was really helpful to Chelsea and I. When I was learning to flint knap, Bryan would stop in every time he passed by to show me a few new tricks. He taught me how to complete the edge of my knives so that the blade would be centered. He would just grab the obsidian from me that I was working on and start chipping. And pretty soon his hand would be bleeding all over the place, and he would just keep on going, never skipping a beat. He told his customers to check out our store on their way to Reno. Just a great guy. When my wife was pregnant, he brought us a dozen donuts on every visit. When he heard I needed help with my saw blade, he gave me new blades. We’ll never forget him.”

Bryan in 2019 at the counter of one of three shop buildings he built himself.. These formed the  best rock shop in Nevada. / Click on image to enlarge.

Bryan’s love of people, place, and helping shone through most vividly with what twenty-three year Esmeralda County Sheriff Kenneth Elgan told me at the cemetery. He said, “To be successful you have to have good people behind you. Bryan would do anything at any time to help. He was with every search and rescue operation we conducted and he knew every road in the county. With the large area that we serve, everyone in my department especially relies on each other. Bryan typified that. Bryan was also a pillar of the community and he will be missed.”

While Goldfield may now be missing some gold in human form, Bryan Smalley certainly left golden memories for friends, family, law enforcement, and town folk to cherish forever.

–end of article–

Bryan shown here in June, 2020 cutting some of this writer’s copper in quartzite from the Striped Hills of Nye County near Lathrop Wells, Nevada.

The jewelry room with Bryan at the end of the video along with a guest appearance by Fred the Dog.  Bryan told me that  a few customers once saw Fred on my Instagram post and knew him by name when they visited.


More Bryan Smalley links here

Extra 1 (internal link)

Extra 2 (internal link)

Extra 3 (internal link)

Extra 4 (internal link)

Extra 5 (internal link)


Poetry Thoughts on writing

More Kipling

“Tommy” by Rudyard Kipling (read by Tom O’Bedlam)

My rockhounding site: (external link)
My writing website: (external link)

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Dah Rock Shop in Tucson, Arizona

Dah Rock Shop

I missed these people on my Travel List, apologies. (external link) It’s easy to get distracted when you are in Tucson for the Big Show.

I have heard of this shop but I think I got it scrambled with Dials Rock shop, which I’ve covered, and a man named Dahl, who came up with the Pet Rock. In any case, I am looking forward to visiting this rock shop which also sells crystals and beads.

Dah Rock Shop
3401 N Dodge Blvd
Tucson, Arizona 85716
520 323-0781

N 32°16.16333′ -110°54.87833′ W

No website but a Facebook page:

I normally take my own photos but I can’t do that now. I have taken two off the net, one from Gordon G and another from Steve S.
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The Desert Dwarfs Man and Machine

A look at the vastness of just one part of the Mojave Desert, here in Clark County, Nevada.

Driving_North_on_Southern_Nevada_Liteweight_Road from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.
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More Examples of Wikipedia Entries


I’ve now decided to continue to post pictures to Wikimedia Commons but I will not be adding them to any relevant page on Wikipedia as a rule. Wikipedia does not want to be a photo gallery and I understand that. My work of posting these images to Wikipedia Commons remains solid and useful.

Original article:

Since I finished what I could of my travel book series, I am now turning to other things. My back has to heal up better and I probably should spend more time indoors to help that along.

I’m now spending quite a bit of time contributing by better photos to Wikimedia, the photo repository for Wikimedia (internal link).

I wasn’t impressed with Wikipedia when it first started. In the last five years it has become much, much better. You still can’t use it as a primary source, since an encyclopedia never can, but you can follow all of its links and references to primary materials. The photos are also great when needed, in that stock photography websites charge insane amounts of money for each image.

One must register with Wikimedia first, upload and describe a photo according to their requirements, and then place a link to it at an appropriate Wikipedia page. I thought the dashboards and the interface the two groups used were too intimidating but it’s not that difficult once you go through it. Just takes time.

I saw there were no photos at Wikipedia on the Nopah Range in Inyo County. At least, none taken while on the ground. Just two photos from the valley floor. I therefore added a photo gallery to this page. Two of these shots are among the best I have ever taken:

Update: I am informed by a polite editor that Wikipedia is not meant to be an image gallery, so pictures will often be removed from a Wikipedia entry. If, however, an article is very short, a large amount of photos will be tolerated. It all depends. I am learning.

Original article returns:

Seeing no photos of a wild Red Rock Canyon desert tortoise, I added my four tortoise photos to this page:

It took most of this morning to get my Nopah photos up but they are now up permanently posted where they await somebody 12 years from now to do a report. Many photos I am going to post have been seen here but not organized, not full sized, and not with a copyright release.

Here’s what I did for the Darwin, California entry. You might remember that a friend and I were recently there for a nighttime fluorescent mineral hunt:,_California

Update: My photo gallery has been largely removed by an editor, again, because Wikipedia does not desire to be a photo gallery. Understood. My images remain at Wikipedia Commons to be searched for and placed by others (or myself) into appropriate articles.

Original article returns:

If you are sitting on a hard drive of travel photos or something about your hobby, I’d encourage you to check out how photos can be added to these two resources. Document history with old photos you might have sitting in paper envelopes. The photo below shows Nevada’s Rye Patch Recreation Area signboard in 1995 when the reservoir was dry and before the area got popular for nugget shooting. I added that to the Rye Patch Wikipedia entry. Many of us have these little history gems just waiting to be posted.

In adding what we have, we build up what’s called the inverted pyramid of knowledge. With Wikipedia and Wikimedia, everyone can help.

I wish you good health until my next report.
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Onboard with Wikimedia Commons!

Yay! I’ve just published my first photograph to Wikimedia Commons, a source of many images on

I had considered making photo galleries for the better, unused photographs that were to appear in my original book, however, that would be a problem for anyone wanting to use them.

One of the greatest difficulties I faced as a magazine article writer was sourcing copyright permissions or releases for photos taken by others. I might have a great picture in hand but who owns the copyright? Even if I found the owner, permissions were always slow in coming, most never meeting my deadlines.

Any editor needs a copyright release for any picture submitted for publication. No exceptions. Similarly, no commercial website of any size will want to use a photograph without permission of the creator. There’s another problem as well.

With the internet, images get tossed around and resized so much that in most cases a photo is too low in resolution to print. A design team will always want the largest possible file size to work with. And they would like to work with RAW files or tiffs, preferably, but Wikimedia does not host RAW files and only to a limited extent tiffs.

So, I could establish galleries but then images would float away without any release attached to them. Now, a person can find an image fairly easy along with the release and all sorts of information about the photograph. Since I do not make a living from my photographs I am putting them under them under the most liberal release possible, giving them what is called a “Public Domain Mark.”

This is the language:

“The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of their rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law. You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.”

Most people, though, would probably be more comfortable with a license called “Attribution (CC BY).”  That means you have released your work for others to do as they will, but you have to be credited  as the one who took the photo.

Other licenses you can choose get more restrictive. Like not allowing commercial use.

You may have noticed that there are no ads at my site, not even logos on my Vimeo videos. I pay extra to make sure my sites are commercial and ad free. And no copyright notices. The only copyright notice I have ever used is now on my travel writing (external link) because there is a threat that the publisher I walked away from (internal link) will use my work. They have my completed MS in hand. And they have promised to bring out a book along similar lines and I can’t have that pack of rats thieving. Maybe another pack of rats but not them.

This goes back to the rise of the commercial internet. All os us were wrestling, and are still wrestling with the same old question, “Should information be free?” My answer has always been a conditional “Yes.”

“Yes, in some way, in some form, at some time.” No one publishing a current book should have the entire text exposed online for free but I do think a sample chapter or several good pages should be online for someone to read. If, after ten years or so and the book is out of print, never to see life again, the author should think about releasing the full text.

A writer gains nothing monetary from used book sales and the reader gains nothing if they can’t use what might be valuable information, simply because copyright extends decades after a writer is dead. If the writer is still concerned, they could supply the material in a locked down .pdf which can’t be copied or altered. Or perhaps one or two good chapters. Again, in some way, in some form, at some time.

I’ll have something on the mechanics of posting photos to Wikimedia and then how to insert them into Wikipedia in a future post. Also, musings on how we should all be building that inverted pyramid of knowledge. I bet you can’t wait.

My four recent wild desert tortoise photos should be showing up as a small gallery at this page:

And this is an example of a Wikimedia entry of mine:
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Places to Visit and Collect in The Southwest

When I accepted my now-failed rockhound book contract (internal link), a chapter was to be on places to visit and collect in the Southwest. Since the end of that contract, I have been working on enlarging that chapter. I thought of self-publishing the result but I have decided that that is too much work and hassle. I’ve put all of that writing online for free instead.

At (external link) I have put up each state file in .pdf as well as all of the state files together. The result is 310 pages in total, if one decides to download the entire book. Although nearly all of the places I mention are closed, much BLM and USFS land remains open. And the files are good to plan for the future, which we all hope will be brighter than today.

Quartzsite, Arizona. At the PowWow. Described in the Arizona chapter.
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Back To Railroad Pass, Clark County, Nevada

Railroad Pass, Clark County, Nevada (first RR Pass page here)

More info on RR Pass at my rockhounding site linked below:

March 31, 2020

Yesterday I returned to Railroad Pass (internal link) to further investigate the area. I went before to look for andesite and to simply look the ground over. I was very disappointed not to find any quartz and I wasn’t planning a quick return. It turns out, however, that there is a mad history of failed gold mining on that hill. As a Gold Guy first and foremost, I knew I was going back as soon as possible.

To get to the good stuff first, I did find one rock with quartz. The quartz has the slightest blue tinge which shows poorly here. Never-the-less, I have my quartz. Gold is hosted in dozens of kinds of rocks without quartz, still, it’s the mineral I look for first. Yet it wasn’t what the most prominent prospector and geologist was looking for.

A well respected geologist named Robert T. Hill (1858-1941) became obsessed with the association of a mineral called alunite and gold. This rock building mineral was present with gold at the big Goldfield strike around the turn of the century. Hill developed this idea that if he could find a geologically similar location to Goldfield that also contained alunite, well, he’d be rich. You see where this is going.

Gold fever infects the best of minds, leading common sense astray even in people who should know better. For years he researched the hills of Nevada until he found Railroad Pass. Which went under a variety of names originally, most especially Camp Alunite, or just Alunite. This potash mineral had value by itself and was eventually mined in the area for the mineral alone.

Hill maintained that he found gold here and some other prospectors said they did as well. Yet I can find no records of production. Ordinarily, this would be the stuff of a mining company selling shares on hope and chicanery, promoting the view of a well-known geologist stating that gold was present. Yet Hill did not sell shares. Instead, apparently, he lost most of his personal fortune in this endeavor, along with that of his family, something over $200,000 before he admitted failure. That is really bad gold fever.

His workers sunk at least five shafts into that insanely hard rock. These shafts have since been backfilled to keep equally crazy people from falling to their deaths.

To be fair, other prospectors were working Railroad Pass before Hill arrived but they were few and, again, no results of production. Just assay results thrown about. Gold in “small isolated veins.” And Hill did have the germ of an idea, as alunite is regarded as an indicator of hydrothermal gold deposits, gold which is precipitated from water heated by magma. But Hill went way overboard comparing this ground to that of Goldfield, thinking that if he just mined deep enough he would find his El Dorado.

In any case, this kind of doomed, gold based behavior is very attractive to me. As a prospector I am interested in finding out whether any gold actually exists on that hill. There are also other things going on there, the area is so complex geologically that I could use it as a teaching hill. Who knows what I will find? Yesterday, though, my left leg gave out after only two hours. With my wrenched back I can still hike but I can’t carry much weight. Photos below.

In my previous post (internal link), I showed photographs of this multi-colored hill with little vegetation. Yesterday I took some samples from two of the colors. Today, I got out my hand rock crusher, my mortar and pestle, and am preparing to grind down the material. Then the pan out. For these odd looking rocks and soil I think a chemical test would be best. But I don’t know how to do those and I don’t know what I would be looking for. As a Gold Guy, when in doubt, pan it out. That’s a finishing pan, by the way, about ten inches across.

Update: That tan material might be decomposed granite or what we in the landscape trade used to call d.g. It’s commonly used for footpaths and small outdoor seating areas. It compacts well and doesn’t get muddy if put down correctly. It feels just like the d.g. I used to use. Mining granite for aggregate goes on across the highway, this entire Railroad Pass area described as a “granite pluton.”

Clark County image from the:

Index of Granitic Rock Masses in the State of Nevada By FLORIAN MALDONADO, RICHARD W. SPENGLER, W.F. HANNA, and G.L. DIXON
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy
A compilation of data on 205 areas of exposed granitic rock masses in Nevada

All sorts of rocks here, including what I think is porphyritic rhyolite. Nothing lights up under my lamps and no “U”.

What appears to be a backfilled shaft. Frustratingly, I didn’t see what I would consider waste or tailings from the shaft. Unless that quartz I found came from down below. That lone hunk of quartz was immediately below this small pit.

Another look.

More craziness. Remember how I was trying to source some andesite for a friend? The railroad ballast at the bottom of the hill may be miles and miles of andesite! The two top rocks are railroad ballast. The two rocks below are reference andesite pieces I brought along. While color isn’t always diagnostic, these rocks share texture and hardness and they don’t fizz. Yes, I carry a field bottle with acid. I’m not gettin fooled by limestone, thank you very much. I’ll be mailing off these suspect rocks to my friend.

I found two thin sheets of mica as well, sometimes called muscovite or potash mica. The latter name makes sense here since alunite is a potassium related mineral, hence, one might expect to find related minerals in the same location. Some mica sheets are so large and semi-transparent they were once used as window panes. says, “The ability of muscovite to split into thin transparent sheets – sometimes up to several feet across – gave it an early use as window panes. In the 1700s it was mined for this use from pegmatites in the area around Moscow, Russia. These panes were called “muscovy glass” and that term is thought to have inspired the mineral name “muscovite.”

How would I proceed in looking for traces of gold? I stress traces, since this is only a curiosity hunt. Given the history of this hill and no production records, I can’t expect to find much if anything. I would, though, start at the bottom of the hill. See the railroad track? There are culverts to channel water underneath the tracks. If there are values on the hill I would expect to find some colors at these low points. Sample, sample, sample.

I’d also walk around quite a bit more looking for more quartz and simply looking. The more intensely you look at an area, the more you find. That sounds simple but it isn’t. People tend to walk away from ground way too quickly before really examining it.

Wendi at Minerals Unlimited (external link to my rockhounding site) says she has samples of alunite and that some weakly fluoresce. I’ve ordered a few and she’s putting a small box together for me which she will soon put into the mail. If alunite does fluoresce at all, that will greatly help with identifying it in the field. And I really have to have a reference sample in my hand to research any rock or mineral.
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Photography rocks and lapidary Uncategorized

Some Ultraviolet Entertainment

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