Thanksgiving Day in the United States is a holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, and usually filled with feasting and family customs. According to the Plimouth Plantation website, the Thanksgiving holiday was created from a variety of traditions of the Native People of North America, the Pilgrims, and the Puritans as a way to give thanks and celebrate. Looking across the American landscape, we can tell Thanksgiving may have been on the minds of some explorers.The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports: “There are two streams in Alaska named Thanksgiving Creek. Their name origins are both tied to prospector discoveries. One U.S. lake has the name: Thanksgiving Pond in Piscataquis County, Maine. Thanksgiving Gorge is the name of a valley in Moffat County, Colorado.” There is also the now inactive Thanksgiving Mine in Nye, Nevada near the Artesia Lake. A United States Department of the Interior Geological Survey report of the Steeple Rock quadrangle, outlines a “yellowish-gray, light-greenish-gray, grayish-green, thin-bedded to laminated, medium coarse- to coarse-grained sandstone occurs near the base of the basaltic andesite in the vicinity of the Thanksgiving mine. Angular sand-size clasts of andesite and dacite are cemented by celandonite and iron oxides. Highly discontinuous faulted beds as much as 100 ft (30m thick).” The faculty of the University of Nevada History Department wrote: “In June 1907, a rich strike was made in the Turtle Dove Mine on Litigation Hill; a month later…, a rich gold-bearing rock, was found in the Thanksgiving Mine. The ore was sulphide, black in color, with variegated sprinkles of white quartz. If free gold could not be seen in the rock it would not pan. This rock did not always assay well, but sometimes an assay would yield $400. If there was much quartz crystal in the rock, much free gold would be found. This property, the Thanksgiving, worked almost continuously from its discovery until 1941, and lately as part of the Reliance property. In May 1907, assays of over $6,000 a ton and $1,855.54 were made, and the ledge of the Thanksgiving was thought to be the Mother Lode of Manhattan. One assay of 15 pounds, from a 4-foot ledge, ran $ 8,556.5 4—of which $8,484.20 was in gold, and $102.34 in silver. The Thanksgiving stock started up and was expected to reach $1.00 per share. The Thanksgiving was the first dividend payer in Manhattan.” The Manhattan claims boomed and then the area had setbacks, booms, and setbacks again. You can read more about the history of that area in the Nye County History records. For a real mining history lesson, read the Report on the Mining Claim of Wm. A. Smith near the Roadside Mine at Sharp, Nye County, Nevada by Jay Carpenter. In September 14, 1919, Carpenter reported about his examination of a number of claims, including the Thanksgiving Mine. He found “several cuts on the lime quarter contact showing oxidized material at the Thanksgiving claim, as well as galena, leached iron stained lime, and soft quartz.” He also reported that an assay had been done by the Tonopah Assay Office. “The sample from the Thanksgiving claim had a streak of galena in it that showed a rich ratio of ten ounces of silver to one per cent of the land and indicates that if ore bodies are found along the big quartz dike that the same favorable conditions for mining, concentrating, and marketing will apply to it….” The report was filed 2-3 days after the examination. These days mining companies would be losing time and money if they had to wait days for each sample. If Jay Carpenter had a handheld XRF analyzer, he could have mining exploration assay data within seconds, allowing for immediate ore flagging, avoidance of lab turnaround delays, and rapid delineation of ore boundaries. In most instances – such as mining, ore grade control, and exploration of rich zones – precious metals (including silver) can be detected directly. In other occurrences – where very low concentrations of these metals are under exploration – pathfinder elements, which can be enriched in zones with high precious metals, are used to locate potential zones. These pathfinder elements have a genetic relationship with the precious metals, and, therefore, can successfully be used as exploration tools. Unfortunately for Jay, and Mr. Wm. A. Smith, handheld xrf analyzers weren’t introduced until the late 1900s, almost a decade after his report.