Let us help you recover valuable metals. 888-437-1187

Magazine

Prospecting & Detecting

Backwards Find

You couldn’t ask more from a late winter’s day in February in the Mojave Desert: clear sky, 70-degree temperatures, the gentlest of breezes and...GOLD!

I like to hunt club claims, and I find that by maneuvering my coil between rocks and bushes I can sometimes pick out a nugget—or five or six—that others have missed. On this particular day, I was doing my usual thing, picking off nuggets up to 1/2-gram in size. However, my prospecting partner, instead of skimming along the surface, seemed to be lingering extra long in just one place. In fact, he was practically camped on this single spot, digging, detecting, recovering, and repeating the process.

It occurred to me that he might have found a cluster of extra tiny nuggets, the type that only his VLF (very low frequency) detector can pick up. Or maybe he was having trouble pinpointing the responses his detector was giving him. Whatever it was, I knew I had better stay busy if I were to keep up.

Of course I became so engrossed in what I was doing that I failed to notice that for a full two hours my partner had been trying to get my attention to come join him, and he was in a bit of a dilemma about this. On the one hand, he could leave his spot and come get me (running the risk of other nearby nuggetshooters jumping his hole) or he could yell to me to come over (thereby signalling to everyone around that there was something worthwhile to be had). Well, he did neither—he chose to wait until I finally noticed his subtle gesturing and walked over to see what was up.

I was surprised to see that he had a two-foot deep hole going and had already collected about 15 grams worth of nuggets. As for me, I was barely over one gram for my day’s efforts.

Seeing as I was swinging a different VLF detector that wouldn’t interfere with his, he suggested that I dig a hole about 10 feet away from him to see if I might find a similar pocket. It was late in the day and I was already a bit worn out, so I was not looking forward to digging in the blind hope of hitting a pay streak.
Author's find.
But dig I did—and without the benefit of a detector signal, mind you. Picking my way through the bedrock, my hope of hitting a gold-bearing pocket was fading with the late afternoon sun. As soon as I got under the bedrock and into a soft layer I stuck the coil of my detector into the hole. Wham! A solid “zeet-zeet” from the side of the hole greeted my ears, and turning the discriminator function on yielded a solid indication for gold on the detector’s readout.

I furiously started pulling material out of the side wall and putting it in my scoop. It didn’t take long to discover that the source of the scream was from a one-ounce chunk of rock. Almost no gold was immediately visible due the rock being encased in a hardened caliche crust, but one corner gave away its secret. An exposed area of yellow metal indicated that this was indeed a temporary treatment for my gold fever!

I wanted to jump up and down, but because of the other detectorists in the area, I had to play it cool. The prize was slipped quietly into my pouch with no celebration. It was only upon later inspection that I could see this rock was ribboned with gold!

The total weight was just over an ounce, and with some cleaning it will end up under an ounce. But still, finding a specimen piece of this size was a real treat. Oh yeah—the hole held a couple more tiny nuggets and nothing else.

So I guess this was sort of a backwards find. Instead of beeping a target and digging a hole, I dug a hole and then beeped the target. Gold is indeed where you find it!
© ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal, CMJ Inc.
Next Article »« Previous Article

Add a Comment

Additional articles that might interest you...

Modesto, California Man Finds 18-Ounce Nugget


Oscar Espinoza considers himself an amateur gold prospector, but the gold nugget he recently found puts many seasoned prospectors to shame.

Sold: 87-Ounce Nugget


A gold prospector in central Victoria, Australia stumbled across an 87-ounce gold nugget in early February 2015, after his wife told him to head outside to get some air. He had given up smoking a few weeks prior and was getting a bit “grumpy,” she told him.

The Smell of Gold—Part I


Some claim they can smell gold. This may be, but when I take a whiff of gold, I smell dirt, rotten eggs, garlic or just nothing: my nose is everything but sensitive.

Maitland Bar Nugget to Go On Display


The box sat in a hallway and employees began using it for impromptu cricket games, no knowing what it contained.

Persistence Leads to Over a Pound of Gold


I have figured out over the years that the winning combination is hard work, persistence, knowledge, and a little luck. This leads me to describe one of my best finds ever, a “honey hole” of placer gold, if you will.

Nome Offshore Dredging Creates Challenges


The Alaska state government has been trying to keep up with and maybe even stay on top of the situation by studying the problems associated with rapid growth and how to solve them.

Prospecting Tales: Forest Service, Fires and Bears—Oh My!


I woke up on Sunday morning, August 10, to heavy smoke. I saw where it was coming from, but it seemed like it was a long way off so I thought I was okay for the time being.

Subscription Required:
The Bawl Mill   • Ask the Experts   • Ask the Experts   • The Birimian Greenstone Belts of West Africa   • Study Confirms Mercury Levels Safe in California's Gold Country   • All About Quartz—Part II   • The Pearce Mineralized Area, Dragoon Mountains, Arizona   • An Alaskan in the Lower 48   • Romancing the Rock   • Placer Channel Sampling   • The Oquirrh Mountains, Utah   • Melman on Gold & Silver   • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices   • Record $11 Million Fine for California Mine

Free:
Legislative and Regulatory Update   • Balmoral Resources

Advertisements

Garrett Electronics - trusted by real miners & prospectors!
Precious Metals Recovery plants and equipment
Fighting to keep public lands open to the public
Specializing in the processing of precious metal ores!
Watch prospecting shows on your computer right now
Free Online Sample Issue