Prospecting Underground: Use Caution
April 2011 by Don RobinsonIn 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.
My largest nugget from this area is almost one-half ounce. I’ve found several smaller chunks and many pickers in addition to the fines and flakes that I put in my poke.
This was no ordinary nugget. It had not traveled very far from its nearby source, and that did mean a lot, as we were searching for the source of several such nuggets found during a gold rush that occurred in 1859.
It is this ability to hear and respond to the faintest of audio signals that I believe separates the best nugget hunters from everyone else.
Sniping for gold… what does it mean to you? To me, sniping is taking a mask and snorkel along with a screwdriver and squeeze bottle to search for gold lying on or in bedrock.
I started with, "Hey, Rusty, tell me about the time..." and that was all it took.
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.
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