River Dredging vs. Creek Dredging—Part I
December 2011 by Ron KliewerAs I started walking down to the river one chilly morning, the mist was hanging over the calm portions of the water like a white cotton blanket. This scene got me to thinking about why the river was like that—the deep pools, boulder fields, gravel bars, the effects of how much water was moving at any given time along the watercourse—and most of all the relationship all these things have on where I will be able to find gold.
The problem is that extracting gold from hard rock is often a lot more difficult than processing placer gravels. Still, there is some very high-grade ore out there in many old mining areas.
I love to dry wash old nugget patches found by detector operators, and I have found my fair share of gold dry washing those areas. I have also found a few nuggets using a detector on the bedrock exposed by dry washing the patches.
I got a signal but knew it was small. Still, I was very happy to find something. I continued and got another signal. Yes! A bigger nugget! Then I got another signal.
A retired gold prospector spent hours digging up his fortune in the northern goldfields near Kambalda, Western Australia, after finding the target with his metal detector.
I have found gold more than 200 feet above the river. It was not unusual for nuggets of an ounce or more to be found in these deposits, but fine gold and flakes are much more common.
All locations gave up some gold, but one particular section of exposed bedrock with steep, packed crevices kept giving us good, consistent results. We had found our spot.
The first and most important thing of the sampling process is to try to be as unbiased as possible. There is a natural tendency to select rock that looks the best—even unconsciously.
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