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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gold Occurrences in Alberta

Gold country in Alberta

Although there are over 200 reported instances of lode gold occurring in Alberta there are several places where it might be found.  In the very northeast corner of Alberta is a small fragment of the Canadian Shield that might contain the right geology for the occurrence of gold.  North of the 55 degree line is a mass of Paleozoic and Mesozoic sediments that have been intruded with volcanics, and are highly faulted and sheared from earth movements.  These sediments are quite apt to contain gold.  Another place where gold is apt to be found is in the tailings of the Athabasca Oil Sands.

The area underlain by the Precambrian rocks in northeastern Alberta has more then 200 known occurrences of gold.  Some of these deposits produce the potential into being developed into significant mines.  These deposits are mainly in sulfide hosted deposits with the gold being associated with other metals.  Many of these deposits are found in hydrothermal veins associated with iron mineralization.  Many of these deposits especially those found in the Athbasca basin were emplaced within the past 1.5 billion years.  Many of these deposits are in Phanarozoic deposits especially those whose host rock is in black organic rich shale.  Many of these deposits are to be found in the Alberta portion of the Rocky Mountains.  There are many places where by sampling the soil it is possible to find anomalously high concentrations of gold.  These anomalies indicate the possible presence of viable gold deposits lurking underground.

The Athabasca Tar Sands a possible source of placer gold.

Placer deposits in the province are found in rocks ranging from the Cretaceous to modern.  A good place to look is in conglomerate, or in stream gravel.  Deposits of fine placer gold are found along the Saskatchewan River as it flows through Edmonton.  On warm lunch hours one can see executives with their pants rolled up panning for gold.

This kind of gold is usually found in fine particles that are known as flour gold.  The color of this gold ranging from the pale yellow to a coppery red depending upon what other metals are alloyed with the gold.  The yellowish specks of gold are alloyed with silver forming a compound called electrum. The reddish colored gold is alloyed with copper. Sometimes the gold that is discovered and placer deposits is coated with iron or manganese oxides that have to be removed with acid. Gold itself is not affected by any acid except act the region a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids. Fools gold differs from real gold because it is brittle and crushes easily.

There are several different river systems in the province that do contain placer gold among them are the North Saskatchewan, Red Deer, McLeod, Athabasca, and the peace River systems.


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