Residual Placers: An Often Overlooked Gold Source
December 2021 by Chris Ralph
Because the forces of erosion and gravity tend to carry lighter materials like quartz away more easily, the heavy minerals like gold or silver will tend to be concentrated in the general area around the vein outcrop. These concentrations are what make residual placers so attractive.
Once indicators start showing up along or below a contact I start to get excited. When I have shale, and outcroppings of diorite with iron-red, gritty soil and some clay thrown in, I really get lightheaded. I may be a mile away from the nearest diggings but that’s okay. I just found a spot that could provide some nice nugget hunting.
In the “toolbox” of most every prospector there are certain tools that we tend to use consistently for a variety of reasons. Have you ever noticed that tools and equipment tend to wear out, rust and fall apart whether we use them or not?
There are many other locations in the area where gold has been found, but Woods Creek is the most famous of the creeks and gulches in the area where the 49ers searched for that elusive yellow metal.
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.
This rock had been with a family for many years and they were cleaning up an old workshop that had lots of minerals and miscellaneous “ore” samples.
The old report I read indicated all they ever did was dig some trenches and take samples. It sounded to me like a good place to take my metal detector...
Lots of prospectors are trying out nugget detecting for the first time and finding out that it isn’t all that easy. In fact, in my opinion, metal detecting for nuggets is perhaps the most difficult form of prospecting that one can take on.
The Bawl Mill • Ask The Experts - Will a rare earth magnet work for finding gold deposits? • Ask The Experts - Any at home tests for platinum/palladium? • Ask The Experts - Should I use headphones or go without? • USFS OKs Exploratory Drilling in Eastern Idaho • A Short History of Hydraulic Mining in California • Gold Basin & Mass Wasting • How Far To The Gold? • Gold Prospecting for Better or Worse: Warm Buttocks and Frozen Assets • The Joys of Desert Prospecting • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices