Detecting Old Pocket Diggings
February 2013 by Ray MillsLooking around, I could tell that this was an old hand-digging. As I walked around the perimeter of the digging I could see shovel and pick marks scratched on the clean, hard clay and bedrock.
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.
A week later, a small team of us hit it again, and this time the gold really showed up.
Our destination was some old hydraulic workings where the old miners had washed literally mountains of material away to expose gold in ancient river channels.
Without knowing or even thinking about it, I had put together a map that showed me a pattern of the ancient Sacramento River channel. I also had a distinct picture of where the ancient channels of several other creeks and rivers were running.
The fine art of panning heavy sands requires a measure of patience. If you enjoy panning gold, you ought to enjoy this too, once you get the hang of it.
I was amazed and surprised, and I took a moment to admire how beautiful this coarse chunk of gold was. It later weighed exactly one-half ounce.
Most of our gold recoveries have been in the cracks of the bedrock. Hot rocks in the form of dikes cross the creek at various locations, causing us to skip those areas.
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