Prospecting for Silver Deposits
August 2015 by Chris RalphIn some ways, silver is the forgotten precious metal because it straddles both the world of precious metals and jewelry, while having many important industrial applications like a base metal. The price of silver reflects both the precious metal investment demand as well as the industrial demand.
My intention was to end this discussion with waypoints and routes, then I found USGS maps of the Plainfield Quadrangle.
We’ve had two trips to the deserts of Nevada and explored mines and mill sites, hiked miles of ravines in California, and swung our detector coils over thousands of square yards of bedrock.
As I write this, I am still on a rush from taking my 9-year-old son, Jeffrey, prospecting for the first time this past weekend. It’s not that he hasn’t been along on numerous outings before: this is the first time that just the two of us went out for a day of drywashing and detecting under the desert sun.
It’s worthwhile for the prospector using a metal detector to know a little bit more about the association of iron and gold as well as how iron minerals affect your metal detector.
Walking around the gulch and exploring the upper drainage, picking up different rocks and inspecting them with a good loop, and looking them up in a field guide of rocks and minerals of your region will help you understand how the gold got there.
I have figured out over the years that the winning combination is hard work, persistence, knowledge, and a little luck. This leads me to describe one of my best finds ever, a “honey hole” of placer gold, if you will.
I believe dry washing is an underappreciated prospecting method. There are plenty of places where there is some pretty decent gold to be had, but the spot is a long way from any water and dry processing may well be the best way to go.
The Bawl Mill • Ask The Experts • Ask The Experts • Detecting During Summer Heat • Surviving The Boom and Bust Cycle • A Great Day On The Feather River • Give That Club Claim A Chance • From Curiosity to Mine Owner • Gold and Rare Earth Elements in New Mexico • Will El Nino Move Gold for Miners and End California Drought? • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices