Digging It Dry
October 2016 by Chris RalphI believe dry washing is an underappreciated prospecting method. There are plenty of places where there is some pretty decent gold to be had, but the spot is a long way from any water and dry processing may well be the best way to go.
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.
I will make the assumption that when any of you take a detector in your hand and head out prospecting for gold you are probably anticipating finding some gold. That’s the general idea, right?
When I was recently in West Africa, I got to see and play with my first, phony, Chinese knock-off metal detector.
Walking around the gulch and exploring the upper drainage, picking up different rocks and inspecting them with a good loop, and looking them up in a field guide of rocks and minerals of your region will help you understand how the gold got there.
Some of the items that I’m going to go over are outcroppings, ditches, exploratory trenches and contacts/surface materials. I am going to speak about each of the above items in as much detail as I can, and then towards the end of this article I will tie them together.
And we eventually reached gold. It was a winding crevice of beautiful white quartz lined with small nuggets and loaded with fine gold. There were flakes and small granular pieces—there had to be a hundred or more.
This type of thinking will get you discouraged pretty fast, and soon all of your mining equipment will be found gathering dust in your garage.
The Bawl Mill • Ask The Experts: Should I remove someone else’s claim post from my claim? • Ask The Experts: Question about resolving a quitclaim error • A New Prospecting Spot • Underground Mining: Stoping Methods • MMAC & PLP Update • Alternative Financing Alternatives • Dredging Therapy • Moving The Big Rocks • Modesto, California Man Finds 18-Ounce Nugget • New ICMJ Website Almost Here • California State & National Gold Panning Championships • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices