Hausel, Gem Hunter, Gold Hunter, Geological Consultant

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I'm on the cover of ICMJ's 2005 Prospecting & Mining Journal after discovery of another deposit. This time, a World-Class colored gemstone deposit at Grizzly Creek in the Laramie Mountains, which followed field investigations of giant opals and agates at Cedar Rim in central Wyoming: two extraordinary deposits previously unknown to the world.

Over the years, these were just two of more than a hundred discoveries in Wyoming, Alaska, Arizona, Montana and California. Although the USGS described opal at Cedar Rim in the mid 20th century, they did not recognize the vast extent of this deposit, nor did they recognize the presence of fire opal, precious opal, common opals >70,000 carats, the source beds of the Sweetwater agate, and many varieties of agate at this site.

At Grizzly Creek, I had predicted iolite would likely be discovered based on its geological characteristics. Then my field investigations led to the largest iolite gems in the world including a few that potentially weigh > one hundred thousand carats.

During reconnaissance, I recovered a detrital 24,150-carat iolite (the size of a football) that was placed on exhibit at the WGS building in Laramie. The gem encloses $500,000 to $2.5 million in gemstones based on weight. And I left large massive iolites in outcrop along with millions of carats of gem-quality kyanite.

At Cedar Rim, opal was identified in parts of 40 km2 making this one of the largest fields in the world. I was led to the opal deposit following information from a local rock hound from Riverton. In this area, millions of carats of common opal, agate, and the first specimens of fire opal and black opal from Wyoming with minor precious opal were recovered.

Over 30 years, hundreds of discoveries were made including the Rattlesnake Hills gold district (WY), kimberlites, gem peridot, ruby and sapphire deposits, kyanite, iolite, cape ruby (pyrope garnet), cape emerald (chromian diopside) nickel, palladium-platinum, >100 gold deposits, and several minerals previously unknown in Wyoming. Along with 6 other geologists, I was also recognized for discovery of the Donlin Creek gold deposit in Alaska - a deposit that hosts 40 million ounces of gold and scheduled to be mined starting in 2012 (see NEWS).

My love of geological mapping resulted in mapping of >1000 km2 of some of the more complex geological terrain in North America including the South Pass, Seminoe Mountains & Rattlesnake Hills greenstone belts, the Copper Mountain supracrustal belt, the Donlin Creek-Snow Gulch epithermal gold deposit, the State Line, Iron Mountain & Middle Sybille Creek kimberlite-diamond districts & Leucite Hills lamproite field. I shared these rocks with rattlesnakes, coyotes, antelope and now with you. Visit my personal website - The GemHunter.

A chronology of discoveries

  • 1978-79 Mapped Wyoming portion of Colorado-Wyoming State Line district: discovered several diamondiferous kimberlites (Hausel and others, 1979, 1981).


  • 1980 - Completed geological map of Sheep Rock kimberlite district. Discovered Radichal kimberlite & numerous strong kimberitic heavy mineral anomalies indicating presence of hidden kimberlites (Hausel and others, 1981). Area remains unexplored.\


  • 1981- Discovered significant gold mineralization in Seminoe Mountains greenstone belt. This led to a major gold-rush. Visible gold was recovered in more than a dozen quartz samples. Several anomalies included gold in propylitically altered greenstones & banded iron formation. Assays ran from a trace to 2.87 opt Au (Hausel, 1993, 1994).


  • 1981-1982 - Discovered Rattlesnake Hills gold district. Identified significant gold in Archean pyritiferous veins, exhalites, stockworks, banded iron formation & Tertiary breccias associated with alkalic plugs (Hausel, 1994, 1995). This was a major discovery predicted by favorable geology (Hausel, 1980, 1989) & verified by follow-up reconnaissance (Hausel and Jones, 1982a,b) & geological mapping (Hausel, 1995, 1996). Company drilling verified presence of significant subsurface gold in district. This district remains partially explored. As of September 2009, several anomalies remain unexplored.


  • 1982 - Mapped hydrothermally altered (propylitic & potassic) zones at Copper King Mine in Silver Crown district. Proposed property to represent large-tonnage, low-grade Au-Cu porphyry. Years later, company drilling identified a Au-Cu resource equivalent to >1 million ounces of Au (Hausel & Jones, 1982b; Hausel, 1997).
  • 1983-87 Projects led to >300 kimberlitic indicator mineral anomalies in southeastern Wyoming & discovery of Grant Creek kimberlite. Some anomalies were later tested - the majority of selected sites yielded diamond-stability kimberlitic indicator minerals (Hausel and others, 1988; Hausel and others, 2003).
  • 1985-89 Mapped eight 7.5-minute quadrangles in South Pass greenstone belt & identified >100 Au anomalies. Also recognized importance of saddle-reef Au deposits in extensive shear zone complex (Hausel, 1991).
  • 1988 Discovered significant gold at Purgatory Gulch, Sierra Madre. Several samples contained visible Au. Area remains unexplored (Hausel, 1997).
  • 1988 Identified major gold deposit at Carissa gold mine. An ore shoot, 1000 by 980 ft on the surface, continues to a minimum depth of 930 ft based on company drilling. Target is open at depth (Hausel, 1999, 2009). This likely hosts several million ounces, but was nationalized by the Wyoming Legislature.
  • 1988-89 Mapped significant alteration & mineralization associated with Donlin Creek (Snow Gulch-Ruby Gulch-Lewis Gulch-Queen Creek) disseminated Au deposit, Alaska - a deposit with nearly a 10 mile strike length. In 2003, this was described by Northern Miner as the largest undeveloped Au deposit in North America. More recently Northern Miner reported this as one of the largest untapped gold deposits in the world based on drilled resources of >29.3 million ounces & inferred resources at 10 million ounces. The size of the deposit (39.5 million ounces rivals the Homestake (produced 41 million ounces over 100 years) and is essentially equivalent to all gold produced in Alaska in the 19th and 20th centuries including 2000 to 2007! Seven geologists (including Hausel) were presented the Thayer Lindsley Award for significant International Mineral Discovery at PDAC (2009) in Canada for this discovery. 
  • 1989 - Discovered gold at Garrett, Wyoming and first specimens of berthierite in Wyoming. The gold occurred as a contact deposit of arsenopyrite-berthierite mica quartzite at the contact with amphibolite in a greenstone belt fragment. This stratiform gold deposit was traced on the surface for more than 1 mile and remains essentially unexplored. Part of the mineralized structure continues under the adjacent river thus there is likely significant placer gold downstream.
  •  1990- Found zone of high grade Au and Ag mineralization (>1 opt) at Mineral Hill. One channel sample yielded >4 opt Au and >10.5 opt Ag (Hausel, 1997).
  • 1990- Found the first verified amethyst in Wyoming at the Artic Mine, at Mineral Hill.
  • 1990-91 Mapped Seminoe Mountains greenstone belt: discovered gold, zinc, lead & 'kimberlitic' diamond-stability indicator mineral anomalies (Hausel, 1993, 1994).
  • 1991 - Investigated large gold paleoplacer & discovered diamond indicator minerals on north flank of the Seminoe Mountains (all garnets tested have been diamond-stability (G10) pyropes!).
  • 1991 - Discovered first specimens of ilsemannite in Wyoming at Sheep Mountain (Hausel, 1991).
  • 1991-93 Discovered large, significant zone of gold and silver mineralization at Copper Creek, Sierra Madre. This deposit remains unexplored! (Hausel, 1997).
  • 1992-93 Mapped Rattlesnake Hills greenstone belt & associated epithermal & exhalitive gold mineralization (Hausel, 1995, 1996).
  • 1993-94 Mapped Cooper Hill mining district, Wyoming (1:12,000 scale).
  • 1995 Discovered significant nickel and palladium anomaly associated with copper-cobalt-gold-platinum mineralization at Puzzler Hill pyroxenite massif (Hausel, 1995, 1997).
  • 1996 Discovered gem-quality sapphire, ruby, kyanite & iolite at Palmer Canyon, Wyoming. Recovered largest iolite gem in world (1,750 carats) at that time(Hausel, 1998).
  • 1996- Recovered large rubies in Tin Cup district - deposit was later called the Red Dwarf ruby deposit (Hausel, 1997). Developed exploration model for rubies & sapphires that led to discovery of nearly a dozen ruby-sapphire deposits (Hausel, 2003; Hausel and Sutherland, 2000, 2006).
  • 1997 - Discovered gem-quality peridot in Leucite Hills. Recovered >13,000 carats from two anthills & gems 0.5 inch across in outcrop & soil (Hausel, 1998, 2004).
  • 1997-99 Discovered several kimberlites in Iron Mountain district, Wyoming. Completed 1:24,000 scale map of district & identified cryptovolcanic structures to the west at Indian Guide (Hausel and others 2003).   
  • 2003 - Recognized one of the largest opal deposits in North America - the Cedar Rim field with giant common opals, some weighing >77,000 carats. Discovered first verified precious opal in Wyoming, first verified 'fire' opal in Wyoming & source beds of Sweetwater agate (Hausel, 2005, 2008).
  • 2004 - Identified one of the largest colored gemstone deposits in world at Grizzly Creek with the largest iolite gemstones on earth along with significant resource of gem kyanite. Recovered largest iolite gem in the world (24,150 carats). Some in outcrop estimated to weigh >1 million carats  (Hausel, 2004). Predicted exhistance of this deposit based on geology (Hausel and Sutherland, 2000).
  • 2005 - Discovered potentially the largest colored gemstone deposit on earth in Sherman Mountains. This world-class iolite deposit may have as much as >2.7 trillion carats of gemstone based on past mapping & sampling (Hausel, 2005). In recognition of discovery, WGS director confiscated field vehicle to stop research.
  • 2005 - Discovered several crytovolcanic structures (kimberlite-like anomalies) in Wyoming Craton (Happy Jack, Horse Creek, Eagle Rock clusters).
  • 2005 Mapped Leucite Hills lamproite field & identified diamond-stability indicator minerals in NE portion of the field - recommended exploration for hidden olivine lamproites - remains unexplored (Hausel, 2006).
  • 2006-2008 Discovered cryptovolcanic structures with characteristics consistant of kimberlite (i.e., structurally-controlled depressions with vegetation anomalies, montmorillonite-carbonate blue ground). These include Harrison, Lost Mountain, Twin Mountain, Lost Lake, Lone Pine Lake, Molly, CML, BG, BA, WPA, Gold Lake, Prairie Divide, Lady Moon Lake, Red Feather Lakes & Douglas Creek clusters.
  • 2007 Recommended & successfully acquired Sloan Ranch kimberlites for DiamonEx Ltd.
  • 2009 - Began searching for that Mountain of Gold!

The Leucite Hills (2006). Behind my wife Sharon and me is rubble breccia at base of lamproite flow at Zirkel mesa. The underlying shale is baked (reddish) from heat by the lava during eruption. This lamproite is about 0.9 million years old and similar to lamproites in the Noonkabab and Ellendale fields, Western Australia.