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Monday, November 28, 2011

Gold Occurrences in Guatemala

Coat of Arms

Guatemala is the northern most country in Central America adjoining Mexico on its southern border.  Gold mining has been practiced in Guatemala since before the days of the Spaniards by the Maya Indians, and is still being practiced today.. the country is mounted on the north by Mexico, on the northeast by Belize and on the South by Honduras. The Caribbean Sea lies to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the West.

Some of the core rocks of Guatemala were laid down around 370 million years ago that have since been overlaid by tertiary volcanism many of these mountains contain iron, copper, lead, zinc and traces pf gold and silver that are still being mined today.  The Tertiary period when dinosaurs roamed the Earth was when this massive layer of volcanic rocks were laid down with their accompanying mineral deposits.  The eruptions did not stop during the Tertiary there are volcanoes still erupting today in Guatemala

Volcan Flores one of the many volcanoes of Guatemala
Photo by Rick Wunderman (Smithsonian Museum)

As recently as 23,000 years a very large eruption occurred for me a call barrel that is now occupied by Lake Atitlan in the Guatemalan highlands.  One recent eruption of Mt. Santa Maria in 1902 was one of the most violent eruptions of the 20th Century.  As recently en eruption of the volcano Pacaya in September 2010 caused 1,800 people to flee their homes as the volcano spewed ash, lava and rocks over the surrounding countryside.  The eruption was also blamed for at least three deaths.

It is a well known fact that gold is often found in the vicinity of former volcanic eruption's in deposit great amounts of gold by the action of hot water. Even today there are many hot springs to be found in Guatemala in it which could still be bearing gold laden waters. An especially good place to look for gold is around ancient volcanoes especially those that have created calderas. Gold is not usually found in the center of a caldera but rather at its edges. Many times these gold deposit a company magnetic highs that are found at the outer edges of a caldera eruption.

A great deal of Guatemala is covered by tropical rain forest combined with the rugged terrain and it's prospecting in the country very difficult although not impossible. This condition prevails through all of Central America. In Guatemala there are both placer and lode deposits of gold.  Gold can be found in most of the rivers and streams flowing down from the highlands of the country. Because of ground cover finding lode gold is more difficult although not impossible if you use modern geophysical instruments.

Gold is often accompanied by deposit so magnetite that is sensitive to a flux gate magnetometer. There are other advanced methods of exploring for gold including one very accurate means that involves taking soil samples, and subjecting the samples to analysis by an atomic absorption spectrometer.

It is possible that the area encompassed by Central America could well prove to be one of the most mineral rich areas in the world. 


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