The "Madonna Nugget"—A Weekend Hunt to Remember
July 2017 by Tom Reyes
I worked my way to a flat area along a ridge where I could see a quartz blowout. As I got within 100 feet of it, I started seeing rock that I knew to be associated with gold.
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.
This year was a test. We had never done anything like this before, yet we grossed $30,000 in the short time we had to mine.
Gold and jade are actually only minor mineral resources for the Northwestern Alaska region as a whole. Modern prospecting has focused more on base metal than precious metal resources.
Normally the detector he was using would sound off with a definitive high-to-low tone when passed over a piece of gold, which distinguished the gold from the many high iron content "hot rocks," but this one was different...
Every year there are large nuggets found by the diligent, and occasionally by the lucky newbie.
The first experience involved an overgrown gold mine operated during the 1880s. A razed mill adjoined the mine and could be glimpsed from the isolated public dirt road I was traveling.
Filing claims is actually quite easy, though there are a number of pitfalls that you should watch out for. Over the years, I have made just about every mistake you can with a mining claim, and have learned a few things to watch out for along the way.
The Bawl Mill • Ask The Experts: What is a Spanish needle? • Ask The Experts: Sulfides and fluxes • Legislative and Regulatory Update • Simple Rules of Gold Geology: Comparing Epithermal and Mesothermal Deposits • The Goldfield Mining District, Nevada—Part II • Sunset Sunbaker • A Prospecting Adventure in Mexico • Critical Minerals: Tungsten • Police Urge Author to End Treasure Hunt • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices