GMS     The Georgia Mineral Society, Inc.
4138 Steve Reynolds Boulevard
Norcross, GA 30093-3059

GMS Field Trip

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GMS Field Trip
Dahlonega, GA
Saturday, July 29, 2017

The third GMS field trip for July ended a month of great field trips. We started by learning about the Chestatee Diving Bell, an extraordinary artifact of mining history in Georgia. Next we visited the Dahlonega Gold Museum where we learned about the history of gold mining in Dahlonega. There were some incredible gold specimens on display and, in an area normally kept locked, we got to see some bricks that were made of clay from a local creek. Tiny flecks of gold are actually visible in the bricks. Then, we headed to the Crisson Mine to get some gold panning practice and do a little gem grubbing. Plus, we got to see a working stamp mill that is used to crush gold bearing rocks. After a brief break for lunch, we reconvened at an old gold mine where we put our panning skills to work in the wild. A few members hiked along the creek to see an old water wheel while Mike Pettis cranked up a mini-dredge and help other members get some gold. Further downstream, other members panned away. I saw a few small flakes and heard that some people found some “flour” or very fine gold.

Thanks to Chris Worick, a local historian who taught us about the diving bell last year, and the many people and donors who worked so hard to preserve the diving bell and its history, people will be able to see and learn about a unique artifact that would otherwise have been lost to time. Thank you to the staff at the gold museum for welcoming us so warmly and answering our questions. We cannot thank the property owners enough for allowing us to visit a real gold mine, preparing the location so it would be easier for us to navigate, and for giving us the opportunity to experience a taste of Georgia gold history first hand. And thank you to Charles Carter for once again setting up a trip full of moving parts that was both fun and educational.

Lori Carter
On behalf of Charles Carter, GMS Field Trip Chair
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Click here for a more detailed report and pictures from the 2016 field trip

Location 1 - Chestatee Diving Bell

Photo by Lori Carter

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Learning about the diving bell
Photo by Lori Carter

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The diving bell was only in use for a few months before it was abandoned
Photo by Lori Carter

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Barely visible stamp from the ironworks where the diving bell was made

Location 2 - Dahlonega Gold Museum

Photo by Lori Carter

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The gold museum is housed in the old court house
Photo by Lori Carter

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Scale model of a stamp mill
Photo by Lori Carter

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A gold specimen and staurolite on display at the museum

Location 3 - Crisson Mine

Photo by Lori Carter

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Members watch a panning demonstration
Photo by Lori Carter

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The upper area of the pan is where all the gold ended up!
Photo by Lori Carter

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Members having fun panning for gold
Photo by Lori Carter

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Note the gold in the center of the picture...
...the shadow below it shows how he gold was floating, probably because of oil from sunscreen
Photo by Lori Carter

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Beautiful "gems" from a little "grubbing"
Photo by Lori Carter

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Stamp mill building
Photos by Lori Carter

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This stamp mill was built in the 1800's and was used to process ore
by crushing it into sand sized particles so the gold could be extracted
Photo by Lori Carter

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A flywheel turns cams that raise the 450 pound rods, then gravity drops them onto the ore

Location 3 - Old Gold Mine

Photo by Lori Carter

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This water wheel may have been used to power a stamp mill or water pumps
Photo by Lori Carter

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Beautiful, peaceful creek
Photo by Lori Carter

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A gnome or a pixie or a fairy or maybe even a Lillie must have been here
Photo by Lori Carter

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Mini-dredge at work
Photo by Lori Carter

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David (top) and Daniel (bottom) doing traditional panning
Photo by Lori Carter

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David got some great garnet sand
Photo by Lori Carter

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Gold!
Photo by Cristina Clines

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Cristina Clines found some pretty fungus among us
Note the spores puffing out of the mushroom in the second picture
Photo by Lori Carter

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This last mushroom I saw helped cap off another fun trip!
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