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Prospecting & Detecting

Prospector's Guide to Rock Breaking and Blasting

The holes were overloaded with explosives, but I didn’t know it. I was just a green mining engineer fresh out of school and told to watch as the experienced miners set the charge.

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How to Upgrade Your Pocket Plunger


These three simple upgrades, when taken together, will considerably increase a pocket plunger’s magnetic pull and make it less susceptible to breakage.

The Sunbaker


My hunch was that the gold is coming down the apron, falling off to both sides and into both gulches. I say that because the gold we found previously has the same characteristics and color across the entire area.

The Hill of Gold


I was amazed and surprised, and I took a moment to admire how beautiful this coarse chunk of gold was. It later weighed exactly one-half ounce.

Late Fall Drywashing


Part of the good thing about this spot is that it is not that far from my home in the famous Virginia City mining district. Not everyone knows this, but the first discoveries around that area were gold placers.

Potential Gold at Old Hydraulic Sites


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?

Prospecting After Winter Storms


So, how much rain does it take to cause a major movement of gravels in a stream and redistribute the gold? The technical answer is enough water to move the bed load of the river.

Take it to Bedrock


Picking the right spot to placer has to do with years of experience, and a little luck. The textbooks can tell you where it should be, but sometimes the rules just don’t seem to apply.

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