Ophir—Possibly the Best Kept Secret in Alaska—Part II
December 2013 by Chuck MerrittI knew the nuggets got into the nugget patch somehow, I just had to figure out how and from what direction they came.
There is a surprising amount of detectable gold under the water’s surface. The right tools make it much easier to find, and with a little patience and practice you can take advantage of this underappreciated bonanza.
This is just the type of specimen that could have been easily ignored by the old-time miners. It felt a little heavier in my hand than a chunk of quartz of that size ought to have been.
My metal detecting hobby began about ten years ago when I bought a used metal detector for about $300. I got it specifically to look for meteorites. It was pretty much worthless, not user friendly, and I did not find anything with it.
Kimberlite is very difficult for geologists to find, let alone prospectors and rock hounds. This is because kimberlite is rarely exposed on the surface and few people know how to identify the rock.
So why would a modern-day prospector want to learn about a method of mining that was banned by the courts more than a century ago?
I worked my way to a flat area along a ridge where I could see a quartz blowout. As I got within 100 feet of it, I started seeing rock that I knew to be associated with gold.
This year was a test. We had never done anything like this before, yet we grossed $30,000 in the short time we had to mine.
The Bawl Mill • Ask the Experts • Ask the Experts • Ask the Experts • Sierra County Gold—Part I • ICMJ's Annual Index • Hunting for Hardrock: The Basics • Gold in the San Francisco District Oatman, Mohave County, Arizona • Heavy Glacial Rocks and Gold in the Midwest • Strategic Metals—Part II • The Amazing Mineral Tourmaline • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices