California: The Land of Big Nuggets—Part I
December 2017 by Chris Ralph
The nugget sat there in plain sight, though it was covered in dirt, while hundreds of people had passed that way every day.
Don’t hunker down and just keep digging in one spot where there is very little or no gold—if you don’t find it, you’ve got to get up and move on!
While recovery rates are important, they must necessarily be secondary to the volume of material processed. Running more material at lower recovery rates is generally preferable to increasing the efficiency of the system.
Unfortunately, not all the gold that we prospectors find is pretty, or appealing to the eyes. They are not all nice, bright, shiny nuggets with lots of character that carry high collector value.
It is this ability to hear and respond to the faintest of audio signals that I believe separates the best nugget hunters from everyone else.
Chances are better that both types of gold did not come from the same source. Let's look at the probable conditions to cause two types of gold in a placer.
The amount of gold in the traces from the low-grade scattered veinlets may be much more than the traces from the small but rich pocket, at least until the pocket hunter closes in on the rich pocket. Further confusion arises if the prospector stumbles across a placer deposit on one of the higher peaks.
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...
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