Blackberries and Gold
August 2018 by Ray Mills
There were iron stains all over and even a few places where I could see iron trash sticking out of the bedrock. These would be ideal spots to start with as the gold travels with the iron and lead.
A large, 8-pennyweight piece popped out of a very small crevice where the water had been extremely swift in the winter, leaving no visible gravel.
The sun was beginning to set, which put the light at just the right angle against the hillsides to where I believed that I spotted a very small dig and tailings pile up the hill near the top of the second wash.
Picking the right spot to placer has to do with years of experience, and a little luck. The textbooks can tell you where it should be, but sometimes the rules just don’t seem to apply.
Imagine for a minute the year is 1850. You’ve read and heard that gold was discovered in California and the creeks are so rich you can just scoop it up with your hands.
The whole purpose of sampling mineralized ground is to measure the values in a small volume of material that would be representative of a much larger volume of similar material. The key word is representative. Chemical and fire assaying will not accurately represent placer deposits by themselves.
Mike scored the best with a total of one-half ounce of gold nuggets. Tom, Brian and Greg each had pieces in the one and a half pennyweight range. The rest of us had small gold and nothing like these three.
Confluences of placer streams are well known as concentration sites for heavy minerals. The basic reason is that...
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