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Your only chance to get access to these places is to talk with the existing claim owner and see if you can work out a deal…. I also know some prospectors who make agreements with claim holders where they agree to split what they find. Hiking and getting away from the crowds might be the best way to find new and undiscovered gold deposits.
The better known goldfields have been hit pretty hard over the years, and some of the well-known mining areas have been picked over. Hiking into remote locations might be the best way to find rich, undiscovered gold deposits. The same can be said for reworking old hydraulic pits , historic placer diggings, and various other areas that were mined historically. These areas may have already been mined, but the ones that are further from the roads have not been reworked by modern day gold prospectors nearly as much as the places that are close to the road.
Strapping on a good pair of hiking boots could make a big impact on the amount of gold that you find! This one might seems silly, but it can actually be a great indicator to help you find new places to explore and search for gold. Look at a map for names that might indicate that gold has been found there. These were usually places where mining took place. Seek them out and do a bit of prospecting to see if there is actually gold there. Much like contacting claim holders, contacting private landowners is another good to get access to mining areas.
Some of the richest spots are on private lands, so it may be well worth your time to try and identify who the landowners are and talk to them to see if they will let you do some prospecting. There are some amazingly rich gold prospecting locations on private land. It might be worth asking the landowner for access. Much like when dealing with claim holders, making an agreement on a split of the gold finds might help you to gain access.
Sometimes landowners are interested in the history of their property, so if you are metal detecting for nuggets you might offer to give them any relics that you happen to find also. It never hurts to ask, and it might give you access to some good ground that most others pass over.
One mistake that many prospectors is the idea that it is always the far-away places that are the most productive. Especially if you are fortunate to live in an area that has gold nearby, spend your time to actually learn the geology and history of the area that you are in. I have no doubt that there is good gold nearby, but you need to spend the time to learn your area. Sure, half the fun of gold prospecting is to explore new areas and I would encourage anyone to do that too. But the most successful prospectors I have ever met have an intimate knowledge of the history and geology of their own mining areas.
Prospecting with a partner can be a lot of fun, but it can also help you find more gold. Simply put, more people digging will help you sample more ground in a short amount of time. One a rich paystreak is located you can both focus you efforts on the richest areas. This can speed up the process of finding gold. Of course, the other benefit of prospecting with a partner is safety.
Gold is often located in places that are far off of the beaten path. It is smart to be with someone in case something bad happens. Some of the richest gold mining areas are very remote, located many miles from the nearest town. This is one of the things that makes gold prospecting such an enjoyable outdoor activities, but it also means that you need to go prepared so that you stay safe out in the backcountry. If you spend enough time in the backcountry, you are likely to encounter a tricky situation.
Whether that is getting lost, a flat tire, breaking down, or just losing your direction for a little while, having the proper preparation in place will keep you safe. Your gold prospecting adventures can take you to some remote places. Make sure that your vehicle is properly equipped for those trips into the backcountry. Before leaving town, make sure you tell someone exactly where you are going.
Remember that, and never depend on your cell phone to keep you out of trouble! You definitely need to bring along the proper survival gear with you, but you also want to bring along the extras that you need to be comfortable while gold prospecting in remote areas. The simple gold pan is the most important tool in any prospectors arsenal. Even if you have a sluice box or metal detector, you still need a gold pan for sampling.
It is the quickest and easiest way to find concentrations of gold. The trick is to get down to the bedrock and sample the gravels that are likely to have the richest gold. Overloading your gold pan is a mistake. It will make your panning method sloppy and you will lose gold. You are better off carefully panning a smaller amount of higher quality paydirt that you collect right off the bedrock. Use a gold pan that is a good size for you. I think the newer plastic pans are superior to the old metal pans.
They also come in various colors which helps you spot the gold in the bottom of your pan. You can also get a good quality gold panning kit that also include classifiers, snuffer bottle, and other handy tools for gold recovery. You will probably find lots of black sands when you are panning and sluicing for gold.
Some of these black sands are magnetic, and you can remove them with a strong magnet. These are a handy tool for removing black sands from your gold pan. Every prospector should have a snuffer bottle. They only cost a couple bucks and they work great. Be aware that sometimes collecting black sands with a magnet will also pick up a bit of gold. Not all black sands are magnetic through, and you will have some fine black sands, garnets, and other material mixed in with your fine gold.
Use a snuffer bottle to expose the fine gold underneath these other materials. It is a simple, inexpensive tool that every prospector should keep in their clean-up kit. Not all areas are created equal; to the contrary, even in rich gold-bearing areas the gold is found in rich concentrations in certain areas. If you take the time to sample many areas and identify where the best gold can be found BEFORE you spend time setting up your equipment and digging a lot of gravel, you will find more gold as an end result.
Classifying is simply the process of removing larger material such as rocks and debris from the richer concentrates. Simple gold classifiers that work well with a gold pan can be purchased for very reasonable cost. They will remove the rocks without missing any gold, since gold is almost always small enough to fall through the classifier.
Classifying takes some extra time, but it is worthwhile because it increases the efficiency and gold recovery. You should classify when you are panning and sluicing for maximum gold recovery. Drywashers and highbankers are usually designed with a grizzly that classifies material as you shovel into the hopper.
For a sluice to operate at its peak performance, you should add gravel at a moderate pace. This allows the for the functionality of the sluice to do what it is supposed to do, by allowing lighter material to be discharged out the back while heavier materials are retained in the riffles of the sluice box. Getting the proper water flow through your sluice box will ensure that you capture the as much gold as possible. Rather than digging and shoveling directly into the head of the sluice, try classifying your material into a 5-gallon bucket , and then slowly adding material with a small scoop.
Watch how the sand and gravel works its way through the sluice box and out the other end. It should evenly flow through the box and over the riffles evenly. With some trial and error, you should get a feel for how fast you should be adding material. You can add more material at once if you have already classified your gravels. So you will actually be able to sluice faster once everything is classified down. The perfect setup will depend on the specific model and style of sluice box that you are using, but in general the requirements are similar.
You need to have a decent flow of water that will move material over the riffles; enough flow that lighter materials will move out of the sluice and be discharged out he back. Remember that you want to do some sampling with a gold pan before you bother to set up your sluice.
Proper sampling will ensure that you are working in a productive area with enough go to justify using a sluice box. Set the sluice up so that water flows through the box. If the stream has limited water flow then you might need to move around a bit to find a good spot.
Ideally, the spot you chose will be relatively shallow so that you will only have an inch or so of water running over the riffles. In streams with limited flow, this will probably require that you arrange rocks in a V-shape at the head of the box to channel more water into the head of the sluice.
You want the sluice to be relatively flat, with just a slight downward angle. Just an inch or two higher on the head than at the back of the box will work just fine in most instances. Again, the proper adjustments will depend on the water flows. You want the speed of water running through the sluice to be just enough, but not too fast.
If the flow is too fast, you will definitely lose fine gold. This can definitely take some testing and experience to figure out. Take a look at this video below. He really does a good job showing explaining the process:. It will definitely help you capture more fine gold. Sluice boxes are really handy tools for gold prospecting.
If you already have a gold pan, but you want to step-up to something that you can move a little more material then a sluice box is the way to go. They are still inexpensive, but they will increase your gold recovery. There are specially designed sluice boxes that are used specifically for capturing fine gold in creeks that have low flow rates.
These are ideal for some areas. Most gold bearing creeks and rivers have a fairly fast flow, and therefore a normal sluice box is ideal. However, many creeks in the Midwest and Eastern U. Late summer will often result in stream flows that are too slow also. An average sluice box will perform poorly in these creeks, because the flow of the water is not sufficient to separate the lighter sands from the heavies. The riffles will quickly become clogged with sand and gravels.
Using one of these specially designed sluice boxes , combined with carefully classifying your material, will aid in the optimal recovery of the fine gold. Tip: Talk to local prospectors in your area. They have probably tried many different types of equipment and determined what works best for your area. The mining equipment used today is actually very similar to what the old timers used during the early gold rush. The general concept of gravity separation of gold has not changed, but there have definitely been some advancements over the years that help us modern prospectors recover a lot more gold.
One advance is the great choices for matting that you can use to line your sluice boxes, whether in a normal sluice, highbanker, dredge, etc. This increase recovery rates of fine gold significantly. Now there are highly specialized mattings that do an exceptional job at increasing recovery rates, particularly with fine gold.
The added cost of this specialized matting material will pay itself back with increase gold production. Metal detectors work well in the desert for finding gold nuggets, but when gold is fine textured something else is needed to capture the gold.
This is when the drywasher is used. Drywashers look a lot like a highbanker with an elevated sluice box that you can shovel gravel directly into. However, unlike the highbanker, there is no water involved. Instead of water, the drywasher uses air pressure and vibration to separate gold and black sands from the lighter gravels.
Power can come from a generator or battery, or there are simple hand crank models just like the early prospectors used. Both will work just fine. Material that you put into a drywasher needs to be totally dry. If it is damp at all, then it will perform poorly. Soils will clump together looking up the fine gold. This is why drywashers are rarely used in wetter climates like Oregon , Idaho , or Montana. Even in the heat of summer soils are usually too wet to be processed with a drywasher, so you are better off using more traditional methods.
If the soil is at all damp, then it is best to dig out your material and spread it out in a thin layer exposed to the sun. Then come back in day or two when everything is dried out to process it through the drywasher. If you get a drywasher set up correctly you can recover some really nice gold. Check out this 5-ounce cleanup by a couple hardcore prospectors in Arizona:.
And another video that shows their drywasher in action with another an ounce of gold recovered:. Some people just shovel directly into the head of the drywasher. Others prefer to classify into buckets. Most commercial drywashers are set up with a grizzly that will remove large rocks as you shovel into it.
Always use a sensitive metal detector like the Gold Bug 2 to scan your drywashed tailing piles as you go. Even under the best circumstances, drywashers will lose some gold, and a quick scan with a metal detector will often produce a nugget or two. Once you have sampled an area and located a rich gold deposit, you should try to process as much material as possible.
Gold pans and sluice boxes are great for small-scale prospecting, but if you really want to start finding good quantities of gold, you should try to use larger mining equipment. This one is simple to understand… the more gold-bearing material you process, the more gold you are going to recover. Equipment that can process lots of gravel will result in more gold in your vial at the end of the day.
Gold prospecting is a lot more fun when you have good people around you. Next time you venture out into the hills, take a kid out with you! Gold panning is a fun activity for the whole family, and a great way to get the kids out of the house and interested in the outdoors! For serious placer mining operations, the suction dredge is the best tool to process large amounts of material from the riverbed as quickly as possible.
Dredges have a learning curve to operate efficiently, but one you figure out how to use them properly you will find that they are by far the best way to get the most gold in the least amount of time. A dredge basically vacuums up the gravel from the bottom of a creek or river. Divers use wetsuits and snorkels to go underwater and recover gold. In a small creek during the summer the prospector might just use a simple snorkel and wear shorts and a t-shirt.
On a large river, divers will use full scuba gear and wetsuits to go deep underwater for hours at a time. The operator uses a hose to suck up material directly off the bottom of the river, which is pulled up to a floating sluice box. There are various different styles of suction dredges. Much like a standard sluice, the operator can experiment with different setups to achieve optimal gold recovery. The material is pulled off the river bottom, up through the hose, over the sluice, and then out the back to fall back into the river.
This means that nothing is actually removed from the river except the gold that is captured in the box. Although suction dredges have minimal impact on the river system, misinformation is causing dredging to be severely restricted and even banned completely in many states.
This is unfortunate because the modern suction dredge has minimal effect on the river ecosystem, and is simply the best way to mine gravels from a riverbed. Highbankers are good tools for the small-scale placer miner. Although they require more physical labor to operate than a suction dredge, they can still process a good amount of material. Gravel is manually shoveled into it.
Highbankers are portable, but less-so than an average sluice box because they include a pump and other gear to make them operate. It is still possible to pack them in to remote locations, but they are heavier and it will take more work than just a sluice box. The operation of a highbanker is relatively simple. Basically it is a power sluice , which pumps water from the river to push water over the riffles. Getting proper flow takes some trial and error just like with a basic sluice box.
You want enough water running through the box that all of the fine material runs through and is discarded out the back, while retaining the heavier materials gold, garnets, black sands in the head of the sluice. Most of the gold that you recover from your operation should be caught in the first few riffles. If you are noticing that gold particles are accumulating far past midway in the sluice then you should experiment with slightly less water flow. Adjusting the pitch of the highbanker may also be needed to obtain optimal gold recovery.
Some maintenance is needed to keep a highbanker going. Gravel will pile up at the back end of the sluice, so you will constantly need to remove the tailings. Below is one of the best instructional video I have come across that teaches you how to properly set up your highbanker. Classifying the material that you put into the highbanker will increase fine gold recovery.
Most highbankers have a grizzly setup at the head which will remove the larger rocks as you shovel into it. The real benefit of a highbanker is that you can mine material that is some distance away from from the water. Sometimes there are ancient river channels a short distance above the current river channel that is actually richer with gold than the river itself.
You can set up a highbanker right next the this exposed river channel and feed it right where you are digging. Just keep in mind, the higher your equipment is set up above the water that you are pumping from, the more your pump will have to work, the more fuel you will burn, and your equipment will wear out sooner. Highbankers are a good option for working areas that are some distance away from the water, and they allow you to mine a decent amount of gravel in a long day of digging.
Did you know vacuums can be used to mine for gold in arid environments? They are basically just a shop vac that is set up to be carried on your back and portable so that you can pack them into gold country. The concept is the same as with a suction dredge, except gold vacuums work best when the ground is very dry. You simply walk up a dry wash and vacuum the bedrock, collecting gravel as you go.
To work efficiently, you need to use it directly on bedrock. You will need to remove the overburden, which generally contains very little or no gold. When you get down to bedrock then the vacuum can be put into action.
They do an awesome job of cleaning bedrock cracks, and work much more quickly and efficiently than standard crevicing. However, there will still be times when compacted dirt and caliche will lock up gold down in the cracks.
Most of the time it still works well to have a tool with you that you can open up the cracks as you are vacuuming to get the best recovery. One of the best ways to find a good place to use the gold vacuum is to first locate a gold nugget by using a metal detector. The metal detector will find bigger pieces of gold at the surface, but running the gold vac will likely pick up fine gold that you would miss if you only used a metal detector.
I would recommend a special gold vacuum to any desert gold prospector. You can buy them, but they are also pretty simple to build yourself using a standard 5-gallon bucket, a small generator, and a pack frame. Most gold-bearing creeks and rivers in gold country were placer mined for miles and miles.
Many prospectors think that the gold found in these waterways come from just a few lode sources. To the contrary, I believe that most placers are fed by numerous small lode gold deposits that feed into the waterway over a course of many miles. Will all the land out there, how do you begin searching for these gold deposits that are feeding the placers? Well there are a few indicators. One thing to look for area areas where it seems that the old-timers spent more time digging.
This is a good indicator that there is a source somewhere above the creek close to this location. Another tip is to try and notice if it looked like the old-timers pile rocks more on one side of the creek than the other. When they worked their way placer mining up the creek, they would notice that one side of the creek was richer than the other. This is an excellent indicator of which side of the creek was richer, and therefore gives you an idea of where the lode gold would be located that is feeding into the placers.
They will just dig anywhere along a gravel bar and expect to find gold. Gold concentrates in paystreaks on the inside bends of waterways. These are the areas that water speed slows down, and gold particles that are moving downstream will eventually drop down and settle in the gravel.
Experience helps. Gold will also accumulate behind large boulders and other structures. Anything in the water that creates some slack water will cause gold to slow and settle. The gold will then work its way down into the gravel and down to bedrock where it will usually stay until there is extreme high water event that moves it, or a prospector comes along and finds it.
Most prospectors are too lazy when they dig for gravel along a creek. They casually dig down and scoop some material into their gold pan. The results are usually not that good. What they really need to do is dig deeper. You need to get down on solid bedrock. The when you get to bedrock, you need to scrape out the cracks and grooves in the bedrock to get the best material.
This is where the good gold is! These deep bedrock cracks can hold a surprising amount of gold. Cleaning them out can be a slow process, but patience will often pay of in the end. Special tools will help with this task. Having a nice variety of things like chisels and screwdrivers can give you options when you need to get deep down in a narrow crack.
There are also handy crevice tools that work well. It is amazing how many times a prospector will find some gold, spend a little time digging in the area, and then move onward. This is also true if you find a gold nugget with a metal detector.
If there is one nugget, there is a very good chance that there are more. Yet prospector will often dig up a nugget and then keep on moving, looking for the next one. You are better off staying put… take some time and look around the immediate area. Work slowly. Maybe try removing some overburden and expose some fresh bedrock.
You might be surprise how much more gold you will find within just a few feet. During high water events, gold moves downstream until it reaches some type of obstacle that prevents it from moving on. When it reaches bedrock, it will continue moving until it finds a spot that can catch and hold the gold. If the bedrock is smooth, it will just keep on moving until it finds a nice crack that it can drop into.
Rough bedrock will capture and hold gold much better than if it is smooth. The best bedrock to look for gold is the rough, gnarly bedrock where gold nuggets can slip down and get wedged into the cracks. Gold will usually settle in areas of low pressure, on inside bends of creeks and rivers, behind large boulders, and similar areas that are close to fast flowing water but in small pockets of slower flows. These are the same types of places where fish like to hang out.
Always remember that gold generally only moves significant distances in a creek or river during extremely violent high water events , generally during spring runoff when water flows are at their highest. Gold can move great distances during this time, and almost not at all during other times of the year.
Most people pan for gold during the summer. The river that you are panning probably looks very different than it did just a few months earlier when water was flowing at its peak. At that time, gold could easily have been well above the current water line. Perhaps a nice gold nugget settled behind a boulder that is now 20 feet above the current level of the river? Think of what the river looked like during these high water events, not just what it looks like right now.
It might help you stop some rich areas that have been overlooked by others. This is a bad plan. Every successful gold detectorist I have ever met uses a gold-specific detector, one that was designed for the specific purpose of finding gold nuggets. The above links provide much more detail, but here is a short list of some of the most popular nugget detectors on the market today.
I will list these from least expensive to most expensive. They range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Tailings pile that were left behind from old bucket line dredges , dragline dredges, doodlebug dredge are some of the most obvious scars of historic mining. They are common in many rich placer mining areas throughout the West. They are usually large piles of smooth river rocks that can be seen for miles.
Dredges were usually used in the richest areas of the river. Prospectors today can use metal detectors to hunt for gold nuggets in these old tailing piles. These old dredges used a series of buckets each about the size of a bathtub to dig up river gravels. The amount of material that they moved was enormous. The dredges left behind miles and miles of tailing piles. They are evident by large, uniform river rocks in big piles.
Since most of the soil was washed away during the mining process, they will have very little vegetation growing on them. It really depended on the dredge, since they were all different. Some estimates state that these old bucket dredges lost nearly half of the gold that ran through them.
The crude mining equipment at the time was not capable of capturing gold the way that we can today. Another thing to note is that these dredges would classify out the larger material. This means that ALL of the big gold nugget and specimens were lost in these operations. There have been some exceptional gold nuggets found in old dredge tailing piles! Think about it. These dredges were used in some of the richest gold bearing areas in the world, yet they lost nearly all of the big nuggets and specimens that they churned up.
Metal detectors are the best tool to use for finding gold in tailing piles, but it is definitely challenging. Tailing piles are usually littered with all sorts of iron rubbish, making the trash to gold ratio exceptionally high. If you are hunting for gold in dredge tailings, then you should expect to dig a lot of trash. A good VLF detector is the preferred type of detector to use here, since they have discrimination that lets you be selective about the targets that you dig.
The Gold Bug Pro is a favorite of mine. Even when you are selective, you will still dig a lot if iron rubbish. Dredge tailings definitely have good potential for gold, but make sure that the area does in fact produce nuggets. Remember, there were some exceptionally rich gold districts that never produced any large gold.
These places are not going to be very good places to hunt with your detector. Hand stacked rock piles are another excellent indicator of historic mining activity. While mechanical mining methods could often be used in the major drainages, the smaller creeks and gulches that had limited water generally needed to be worked by hand.
A miner had to manually dig down to bedrock to get down to the gold. Any rocks that were encountered in their digging needed to be moved out of the way and set to the side. There are miles and miles of creeks and gulches that were worked by early-day placer miners. And the evidence of hand stacked rocks is one of the most notable indicators that they were there.
These rock piles are generally still undisturbed. Some prospectors have a hard time telling the difference between dredge tailing and hand placers diggings. The uniformity of the rock piles is the easiest way to tell. Hand stacking is less consistent and even.
Dredge tailings are usually more uniform. Dredge tailings are more common on rivers, while hand placering was usually done on smaller creeks and gulches where a dredge could not be used. Hydraulic mining was done all throughout the world. It was most famously used in California back during the height of the gold rush. The miners literally washed away mountains with high pressured water to release the gold within. On a smaller scale, hydraulic mining was used in pretty much all of the gold bearing states in the U.
The practice was eventually banned because of the massive environmental damage that it caused which included serious erosion problems. Huge steel cannons called monitors were used by miners to strip overburden and release gold. The slurry would then be run through a sluice box. Some of thee old hydraulic mines were run by companies who hired crews of men to work around the clock.
The amount of gold recovered was incredible, yet they still missed a lot of gold because of the crude mining methods during that time. The scars will remain on the landscape for thousands of years. You can still find gold at these old hydraulic pits. Sometimes the gold that they were finding was very find and would be difficult to mine profitably without doing it on a large scale.
Other operations did produce gold nuggets which can still be recovered today by metal detecting. Just like all other forms of historic mining, there were inefficiencies with this practice and plenty of gold was missed. Stamp mills were used by hard rock miners to extract gold that was lock up in ores.
They were a critical need at mines where the gold was only accessible after the rock was crushed. Most stamp mills are long gone. They would either be moved from the mine once they were done extracting ore and move to another mine. Stamp mills that were abandoned have mostly been salvaged for scrap metal. The stamps themselves may be gone, but you can usually identify the areas where they were located because there will sometimes be crushed ore piles in the vicinity. If you are lucky, you might find some ore that was abandoned and never crushed.
Searching the old tailings with a metal detector can sometimes produce nice gold in quartz specimens. I have heard more than a few stories about piles of gold ore being found along trails and roadsides, far from any existing gold mine. The theory is that miners were probably transporting their ore to the nearest stamp mill when their wagon broke down. Being loaded down with heavy ore, the miner unloaded their wagon and limped into the nearest town for repairs, never bothering to come back for the ore pile.
You never know what you might find! Sometimes the creeks and gulches below lode mines were not placer mined by the early miners and show little evidence that they were worked historically. There is a tendency for people to believe that just because the early miners did not work an area it did not have gold, but this is certainly not the case. There were good reasons that these places may have been overlooked.
Lots of places just were not rich enough for the old-timers to spend any time at. Some of these areas can be found around old lode mines. The miners found a rich vein of gold in the hillside that was much more valuable to mine than the drainage below. The other reason they may have overlooked the gulches was a lack of water. While the gulch may accumulate some gold, the lack of water made it uneconomical to mine. Today, a prospector using a metal detector or drywasher can find considerable gold in these dry areas that may have never been mined before.
You will notice that most of the mines in a given area are found in a certain rock type, and by exploring in nearby geology that is similar, you are more likely to find an area with gold. It can definitely take some time and patience to find a completely undiscovered gold deposit. Even when you do everything right, you are going to strike out more often than not. However, with some patience and careful study of the productive geology of a given area, you might just find an undiscovered gold deposit that pays handsomely.
Studying geological maps can be a great way to find potential prospecting areas. Research the geology of known gold mines in your area and you will likely notice some trends regarding general rock type. State and federal government agencies have these maps and you can find them with a bit of research. Some are more general like this one, while others are very detailed and cover specific areas that will be of interest to you as a gold miner.
Usually when they were digging, they were following a vein or something that indicated that there would be some gold there. During the early days, a miner needed to find quite a bit of gold to make it worth their time, so even if they were finding a decent amount of gold they might abandon a location. In the desert you will see old drywasher tailing piles scattered around in lots of places.
Some of these old piles are still visible and are spotted because of their lack of vegetation. Drywashers are notoriously poor at recovering gold sometimes. Even in the best of circumstances you will lose some gold with them. This is especially true with the old drywashers that were used by the depression era miners. If they were drywashing then they were likely finding some gold, so it might be worth setting up and reworking some of these old piles. You might be surprised how much gold that they lost.
You can also give them a quick scan with a metal detector and recover gold nuggets. Scan the top of the pile. Mining relics are another great indicator that miners were in an area. If they were there to mine for gold, then take time and explore the area yourself. Gold is deposited in a variety of different ways. Taking the time to learn about the different processes that result in concentrations of gold will help you understand where to find it!
Sometimes the richest concentrations of gold are found in bench deposits that are nowhere near the current river. One of the best things about bench deposits is that they are sometimes completely ignored by other prospectors. Everybody thinks that they will find the most gold at the edge of the water so they completely overlook the benches behind them. Those old channels might be way richer than the river itself. Ancient rivers are a lot like bench deposits. They are places where the river once was, but has since eroded and cut its way downward to its present location.
I generally think of bench deposits being in the nearby vicinity of an existing river channel, whereas an ancient river can be miles away from an existing river. The principle differences are the same; it is the timeline that is different. Bench deposits might be a few million years old, or they may be as recently exposed as last season after a large snow melt left an existing bench high-and-dry.
Ancient rivers that are gold bearing are often from the Tertiary time period, and could be several hundred million years old! Ancient river channels are sometimes found hundred or even thousands of feet above the closest existing river. See those round rocks? This is an old river channel. It is now about 80 feet above the current water line. The easiest way to spot an old river channel is to look for smooth, water-worn rocks. Study the old mining reports and you will often see that many profitable mines were actually working old channel.
Most of the hydraulic mines in the California Mother Lode were breaking apart old river channels to release gold. Many are actually surprised to learn that gold is found in the Midwest and Northeast. The source of the gold is different through. Instead, the source of the gold actually comes from Canada and is brought down by glaciers. Yes, glacial gold deposits are actually found in pretty much all the states in the northern half of the U.
As various ice ages occurred over the millennia, glaciers moved southward, pushing down rocks and ore from Canada. As the glaciers would recede these rocks would be deposited in random locations of glacial outwash. Glaciers brought gold-bearing ores south from Canada. As the glaciers receded, these ores were deposited.
This is the source of most of the gold found in the Midwest and Northeastern U. Glacial action usually pulverized the ores and left only fine gold dust. It is possible that large rocks and ore could have been brought down, but the violent action of ice pushing south actually pulverized the rocks. Any ore that did contain gold was obliterated into the tiniest of pieces.
The glaciers would recede and the pulverized bits of gold were left behind, being concentrated in waters by natural erosion. The result is small concentrations of tiny gold dust particles that can be found all over in parts of the U. These gold deposits are usually sporadic and limited. There are several locations where gold can be found in beach sands.
Is it Real Gold or Fool's Gold? Reader Submitted Prospecting Tips. Dry Land Dredging - Gold Vacuums. Dredge Clean Up Tips. Buying a Used Gold Dredge - Tips. Gold Detecting - Getting Started. Gold Detecting Mistakes and Pitfalls. Cleaning gold without acid? The Fire Within - Prospecting Story.
Introduction Gold Panning - Prospecting. Moss Mining - Finding Gold in Moss. Working River Bench Gravels for Gold. Metal Detecting Tips. Sluicing - How to set the correct angle on your sluice box. Reading a River for Gold. Gold Panning and Prospecting Mistakes. Finding Gold in a River. Dredging - How To Dredge link. Sluicing for Gold - How to Sluice link.
Drywashing - Desert Prospecting link. Where to Find Gold. Low Water Sniping for Gold. Gold Prospecting Streams. Introduction to Gold Prospecting. Finding Gold. Where to Dredge for Gold Part 1. Where to Dredge for Gold Part 2. Where to Dredge Part 3. Where to Drege For Gold Part 4. Where to Dredge Part 5.
Where to Dredge part 6 - final. Where to Dredge For Gold - 6 part series. Dredging for Gold Tips. Dredging for Gold - Introduction. Sluicing for Gold - Getting Started.
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