Historical information

This particular specimen was recovered from two hundred feet down in the Golden Mile in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. The Golden Mile, named after the estimated sixty million ounces of gold worth around one hundred billion dollars, was the birthplace of the largest gold rush in Australia almost one hundred and thirty years ago when William Brookman and Samuel Pearce leased the Great Boulder mine. The Golden Mile is also the home of the Super Pit, Australia's most well-known mine.

Significance

This specimen is part of a larger collection of significant geological specimens in the Burke Museum that was collected from around the world between 1868-1880. While there is very little documentation regarding the gold-sulphide ore sample, it is likely that it was collected as a part of the Geological Survey of Victoria 1852-1974, as a large percentage of the specimens in this collection were. The Geological Survey of Victoria was an organisation founded in response to the Victorian gold rush to explore the geological and mineral resources and to record a detailed map of the state. It was headed by British geologist, Alfred Richard Cecil Selwyn (1824-1902), who was responsible for issuing over 60 geological maps during his 17 years as director. These maps were all hand-drawn and coloured and became the benchmark for accuracy for geological mapping. Collecting geological specimens was an important part of mapping and understanding the scientific makeup of the earth. Many of these specimens were sent to research and collecting organisations across Australia, including the Burke Museum, to educate and encourage further study.

The majority of gold deposits will form as a native metal, however, on occasion, it can form a compound with another element, in this case, sulphur. Therefore, this specimen is a rare example of gold naturally forming into a compound mineral with sulphur.

Physical description

A small gold-sulphide ore mineral specimen in shades of silver and grey with flecks of gold. Precious metals are often found in Sulphide Ores, as sulphides usually bind to these metals. They are also extremely symmetrical in crystaline form. Gold-Sulphide Ore occurs when gold forms a natural compound with other elements. In this form, gold can be present in one of two ways. It can be fully immersed in the sulphide, or a portion may be partially free. This specimen has minimal gold visible, with only a few flecks being partially visible.

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