The Ups and Downs of Nugget Hunting
April 2017 by Fred MasonI returned to the WSPA claim. Still smug from my previous success, I was thinking I could not fail. However, the gold gods had other plans.
We are both very experienced working this type of ground, and we quickly found the pay layer where we would focus our efforts. The bedrock has good gold, but so does the red hard pan.
It’s not easy to figure out what is best without testing, and so a certain level of confusion has developed about how small the ore ought to be crushed.
The next morning, I retrieved the compressor and again attacked the sticky head bolt. As if by magic (and some applied physics) the head bolt sighed and finally broke loose.
We dug and extracted for two more hours. This time, as I dumped the concentrates, I saw a piece of gold three-fourths of an inch long and as big around as a pencil.
I would first like to mention that I am not a geologist. I have, however, spent the last 8 years intently searching for gold nuggets with a metal detector. I have found gold in numerous locations, and in several different types of gold deposits.
Because of multiple take-out points along a ditch line, the ditches themselves become a wealth of knowledge to us present-day miners.
Not too far from the pine-filled mountains, a young boy was exploring along Meadow Creek in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, one fine day in 1799. He discovered a beautiful rock that he took home and put to good use as a doorstop. Shortly thereafter, a jeweler stopped by to visit his folks, and as it turned out, the new doorstop was actually a 17-pound gold nugget. That nugget truly did open a door as it marked the beginning of the first gold rush in America.
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