Following the Clues
May 2019 by Ray Mills
It took me awhile before I finally got a nice mellow signal. My nugget turned out to weigh in about two dwt (pennyweight). Over the next few hours, we all picked up a few more nuggets apiece.
Potholes in bedrock can trap placer minerals and even be glory holes. They are, at least, interesting geologic phenomena, and at best, a treasure trove of gold nuggets.
I picked up a noticeably heavy, fist-sized chunk of what I thought was a heavy piece of iron. After wiping some of the dirt and clay off, I still didn't know what on earth this object was.
That is the course and intention for this article—to wander through some of the lessons I have learned in my thirty-two years of metal detecting and prospecting.
The first experience involved an overgrown gold mine operated during the 1880s. A razed mill adjoined the mine and could be glimpsed from the isolated public dirt road I was traveling.
The old timers typically washed these areas down to bedrock, and some areas appear terraced. I would imagine this is because these hydraulic mines were generally where the miners found old Tertiary river channels on the sides of mountains that were gold-bearing.
I probably swung over a few targets without noticing them. My first target came about ten minutes later as I went over a part of the high bench in this wide section of the dry wash.
There are currently three controlling agencies or entities over suction dredging in California—and you can make that four if the state legislature decides to further muddy the waters with additional legislation to block suction gold dredging in the state.
The Bawl Mill • Legislative and Regulatory Update • Ask The Experts - Who owns this historic mill and how do I handle possible mercury contamination? • Ask The Experts - Sampling and assays • The Geology of Diamond Deposits • Keep Watch for The Unexpected • Resurrecting An Old Hard Rock Mine—Gold At Last! • Imagining the Ultimate Prospecting Adventure • Gold Prospecting for Better or Worse: Cold Gold • Gary It's There • A Generous Lesson on Detecting Bedrock • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices