The Smell of Gold—Part I
June 2015 by W. Dan HauselSome claim they can smell gold. This may be, but when I take a whiff of gold, I smell dirt, rotten eggs, garlic or just nothing: my nose is everything but sensitive.
I remember in the couple of years after that 1997 flood, prospectors around California did very well, taking ounces of gold from places that had not yielded any gold for years before that.
Walking around the gulch and exploring the upper drainage, picking up different rocks and inspecting them with a good loop, and looking them up in a field guide of rocks and minerals of your region will help you understand how the gold got there.
I began detecting at the bottom of the gully and started making my way upstream. About mid-way there was a nice, flat stretch for about ten feet.
After your excitement peaks when you first receive the high gold assay from the vein you just exposed, you ponder how you will extract and sell your gold. You will need to develop a flow sheet for your process to optimize your recovery and minimize your costs and permit requirements.
There are not a lot of tools needed to get out and take advantage of the situation. Other than my wetsuit, I typically travel light with a gold pan, maybe a pry bar and a few crevice cleaning tools.
The first thing a person should do is seriously consider whether they want to go mining as a hobby or a business, and the tax implications of the choice.
This is just the type of specimen that could have been easily ignored by the old-time miners. It felt a little heavier in my hand than a chunk of quartz of that size ought to have been.
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