Ask the Experts
September 2014 by Chris Ralph• Using drywashers to work desert gravels
My metal detecting hobby began about ten years ago when I bought a used metal detector for about $300. I got it specifically to look for meteorites. It was pretty much worthless, not user friendly, and I did not find anything with it.
It all started with a phone call from my friend and prospecting partner Pat Keene. He told me that he knew of an investor who was just starting out in the gold industry and was looking for a gold consultant to go to Africa to prospect and analyze a 400 sq. mile concession in the middle of the Congo rainforest. I waited for the “just kidding” line...
As I started walking down to the river one chilly morning, the mist was hanging over the calm portions of the water like a white cotton blanket. This scene got me to thinking about why the river was like that—the deep pools, boulder fields, gravel bars, the effects of how much water was moving at any given time along the watercourse—and most of all the relationship all these things have on where I will be able to find gold.
There are both hard rock and beach sand types of titanium deposits, but the hard rock deposits need to be at least 10 percent titanium while the beach sands often are economic with only two or three percent titanium.
Within a very few minutes, I had my first nice sounding target. It turned out to be a nice earring-size gold piece that was about a half a gram.
“I heard him hollering down in the hole as soon as I got there,” he said. “I was just glad to see him alive.”
It’s been seven years since Forrest Fenn announced the existence of the buried treasure, said to be worth nearly $2 million. It has prompted thousands to comb areas of New Mexico, Yellowstone National Park and elsewhere.
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