Prospecting Australia—Part III Anatomy of a Nugget Patch in Western Australia
December 2011 by Chris RalphOne of the most memorable nuggets I found in Australia was detected on the very last day that I was out prospecting. I was going along swinging my coil and I came across a blaring loud signal that almost blew my ears off.
This fine gold that is so common is probably the most notorious for eluding our riffles and mattings.
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.
I have smaller pans for cleaning black sand concentrates, big pans for taking large samples, pans with corners for pouring out materials, and pans with lots of special riffles. This variation is why I have so many pans—they each have their specialty.
Once a seam is found it can be traced for miles in either direction. While you are tracing a clay line, you are looking for indicators. The indicators that I look for are ironstone, hematite, different color clays intermingled with the clay line, and a very iron-rich, brown gritty soil.
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?
Some claim they can smell gold. This may be, but when I take a whiff of gold, I smell dirt, rotten eggs, garlic or just nothing: my nose is everything but sensitive.
This is the story of a nugget patch I’ve been working on that is a bit unusual. I won’t be telling you where it is located, but I will tell you how I found it and how I’ve worked it.
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