Advantages of Modern Prospectors
May 2013 by Jim HalloranModern-day placer miners have many advantages over the prospectors of the gold rush days. Our prospectors can reap many benefits from accumulated knowledge of the last 100 to 150 years, which is a long and impressive list.
The type of mine dump that is best for metal detecting are the ones that consist of mixed sizes of rock and are located near some sort of excavation, commonly a shaft or adit. Sometimes the piles located along a trench dug by the miners can be productive as well.
These are entry-level machines designed with gold prospecting in mind and with the ability to handle mineralized ground and see nuggets of a grain or so in size, perhaps smaller.
It’s accepted knowledge that wet methods will recover more fine gold than dry methods and processing the gravel as a whole will get more gold than only using a metal detector. The question is how much more?
I had my heart set on finding a large nugget on this trip, and it seemed to me that pounding known patches was not likely to turn up a monster. Inevitably I would spend at least half my day wandering off...
...it’s been a little known secret that one man was involved in designing many of the most respected very low frequency (VLF) nugget detectors on the market. Dave Johnson has designed gold-oriented detectors for Tesoro, Whites, Fisher and others for more than 25 years.
With the high price of gold, there are many new prospectors out in the hills all over the United States, and while we would all prefer to be finding those larger nuggets, it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes all that is available is nothing more than a few small flakes. The truth is, new prospectors are sprouting up all across the planet—especially in the developing nations.
Even with my favorite top-of-the-line gold detector there were several false digs. Many of the hot rocks gave a solid signal that was too much like a nugget to ignore. After trying several tests I just dug everything because it is better to be safe than leave a big, deep nugget for a more diligent gold hunter.
The Bawl Mill • Gold Rush in the Congo • Find of a Lifetime • All About Quartz—Part I • Over the Divide • Your Guide to Prospecting in Alaska • Shallow Water Crevicing Can Bring Big Rewards • A Father and Son Prospecting Adventure • Home Office Deductions • Searchers' Dreams • Gold in Unlikely Places • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices