How to Stake Your Own Claim—Researching Mining Claims
June 2017 by Chris Ralph
Once you have determined that the land is locatable, the next step in the claim research process is to determine if the land has already been claimed by a previous locator.
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.
Back at the entry point of the mine, we took turns slowly crawling down the slope leading into the mine portal with our metal detectors, hard hats and flashlights. The mine was hand dug and is about 75 yards long.
Even with my favorite top-of-the-line gold detector there were several false digs. Many of the hot rocks gave a solid signal that was too much like a nugget to ignore. After trying several tests I just dug everything because it is better to be safe than leave a big, deep nugget for a more diligent gold hunter.
My largest nugget from this area is almost one-half ounce. I’ve found several smaller chunks and many pickers in addition to the fines and flakes that I put in my poke.
When everything is still dry, one of my favorite methods of prospecting is using a straw to blow out small cracks and crevices that dot the exposed bedrock along a stream.
Four nuggets, ranging from one to four pennyweight, had been found originally. All four nuggets were found in a line about ten feet apart from each other.
I figured it would be quite conservative of me to shoot for about four ounces of gold instead of the twelve ounces I had found in 2013.
The Bawl Mill • Ask The Experts: What indicator rocks should I be looking for in northern Nevada? • Ask The Experts: What to do with scheelite • Ask The Experts: Small-scale drilling • Quartzsite Gives Up Some Big Gold • Prospecting After Winter Storms • The Birthday Nugget Patch • MMAC Update • The Goldfield Mining District, Nevada—Part I • Volume is the Key to Success • Getting Started • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices