Modesto, California Man Finds 18-Ounce Nugget
October 2016 by Scott HarnOscar Espinoza considers himself an amateur gold prospector, but the gold nugget he recently found puts many seasoned prospectors to shame.
Rick donned a pair of fiberglass shin guards that he normally wore dredging, just in case he uncovered the rattlesnake during his digging and rock moving. I wasn’t convinced they were going to provide enough protection.
In underground placer work, the contact point of the bedrock tunnel and the gravel is a very weak point and always has to be timbered. The bedrock here is thin, fractured, and the gravels loose from many years of oxidizing.
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.
There are both hard rock and beach sand types of titanium deposits, but the hard rock deposits need to be at least 10 percent titanium while the beach sands often are economic with only two or three percent titanium.
The technique I will describe is a much safer alternative and it works. It’s a fine-gold panning technique that eliminates the need for mercury amalgamation of most placer samples.
Crowds may be great for football games or the Fourth of July, but not for prospecting. So, this summer, while thousands of gold seekers were heading to the coast of Alaska, I headed to a remote part of the Interior.
Anyone who has found a patch knows the difficulties involved. Those who haven’t can guess, and with any effort will soon realize it.
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