Placer Channel Sampling
July 2013 by Jim HalloranSampling gold placers can be rewarding, but remember to treat the samples so you are not high grading or low grading your results. Learn the rules and apply them so your samples are accurate.
There is a unique anticipation that comes with waking in gold country. The long early morning rays bring warmth after a cold night. Restless nights allow thoughts of gold hidden in the ground for too long.
If the material drops down out of the hopper too fast, it can overwhelm the riffles and you can blow the gold right out. If it runs too slowly, the riffles can clog up and the process is too slow.
I have seen many samples taken originally with an eye toward getting the highest grades possible, but later someone claims that those results represent an average grade of the whole gravel deposit.
There are currently about 170 commercial-scale placer operations in Alaska. Most of these are small operations with just a few people working; they are often family affairs that operate seasonally only during favorable weather.
I have always enjoyed finding things. As a kid and up through college I searched for arrowheads, rocks and fossils. One day I saw an ad for a metal detector in a magazine, and a week later I was digging up everyone’s yard...
This wash was not far from where I once dug a half-ounce nugget, so I knew there was gold in the area.
This time we took the detectors. Roger had worked that spot very well and wanted to see if my new detector would uncover any gold he might have missed.
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