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A Guide to Finding Gemstones, Gold, Minerals & Rocks Paperback – September 25, 2014
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About the Author
W. Dan Hausel graduated from the University of Utah with geology degrees in 1972 and 1974. He worked as the Senior Economic Geologist for the Wyoming Geological Survey at the University of Wyoming, geological consultant for several mining companies, and VP of US Exploration for an international diamond company. He is the author of more than a thousand professional and general interest publications and contributed to more than 90 books. He is a popular speaker on prospecting and former Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Wyoming Department of Geology and Geophysics. He has been employed as a geologist, astronomer, public speaker and is also a Hall of Fame martial artist and grandmaster of martial arts. His work resulted in discovery of many previously unknown gemstone deposits, a previously unknown gold district, and one of the largest gold deposits discovered in the 20th century as a member of a 7-man exploration group. He attracted the attention of several regional, national and international organizations and is the recipient of the National Rock Hound and Lapidary Hall of Fame’s Education Award, the Wyoming Geological Association’s Distinguished Service Award, and the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s Thayer Lindsley Award.
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On the good side, the inclusion of GPS coordinates for locations should make my next expedition out to Wyoming (at 1200 miles each way, I can only go there at best once a year so planning is important) make my next trip more successful. The new section on lapidary work is probably the best things I have seen in a book aimed at amateur prospectors/rockhounds or whatever because the value of the materiel is only there when it's usable - otherwise it's an expensive trip to gather driveway gravel. The book is well written with the target audience in mind, but the inclusion of those two pieces of information have made the difference between it being another rock-hounding book and a better piece of reference material for prospectors in general. In addition, the anecdotes and writing style prepare you for dealing with the people of Wyoming and other parts of flyover land in general - it can be enlightening to travel to what is essentially the definition of 40 miles north of nowhere and interact with folks of such limited perspective on the world that they think Cheyenne is a "city." No, I'm not knocking the incredibly friendly, nice and helpful folks there; everyone I have had the pleasure of interacting with is wonderful, and being able to go to an auto parts store and having the person behind the counter know what you are looking for to fix a problem is very refreshing. However, it's clear from the writing style that the author has the perspective of someone who has lived in those areas and it is very helpful for knowing how to deal with say, getting through locked gates placed across forest service roads. Keep his perspective in mind as you read it because knowing the etiquette of the rural areas becomes useful knowledge when you get out there.
Down sides of the book - it is repeated information on the geology, but again, it's relevant. I don't think there is a way to write this book properly without the information included but it probably upped the page count by quite a bit. It's a bit pricey for a "fun" book, but then, if you have ever had to buy college text books, the book is a bargain. The information is easily worth it. Compared to what it will save you if you decide to go out there and prospect, a wise investment to make if you want to actually find something. Some of the additional things added, such as the references to himself and his martial arts hobbies take you out of perspective of the relevant contents of the book - but that's forgivable as writing style. (I guess that if I was to put that in literary terms, the switch from first to third person perspectives - the objective geology is written in a very scientific format and the sudden jumps to his own perspective and experience in a narrative style - throws me as a reader, but?)
If I was to add anything to this book, it would be only about the experiences in the area and how to prepare for them. Getting your truck stuck in the mud (really, a description of the viscosity of the mud in parts of Wyoming is best described as warm grease) while getting to or from some of these locations can involve a 10+ mile "fun walk" to get help, if you can find it. (Of course, the locals laugh at you while bending over backwards to help you out because they all have been there and done that - still learning a good winch, 8 foot boards, and a high lift jack absolutely don't cut it in Wyoming is useful information for those of us who are not used to such things.)
In addition, if you email Dr. Hausel with questions, he has always responded to mine - but if you ask stupid questions already answered in his books expect to get a curt reply. That said, he will answer even the dumb ones (having done that to him myself.) Not many other authors would take the time to do this.