Tips for Detecting Nugget Patches
April 2015 by Fred Mason
In underground placer work, the contact point of the bedrock tunnel and the gravel is a very weak point and always has to be timbered. The bedrock here is thin, fractured, and the gravels loose from many years of oxidizing.
The big moment finally arrived. With Norm suited up, I pulled the motor to life and felt instantly better. There’s really something relaxing about the sound of a dredge running—they don’t sound like anything else.
Part of the good thing about this spot is that it is not that far from my home in the famous Virginia City mining district. Not everyone knows this, but the first discoveries around that area were gold placers.
These days they employ the use of metal detectors and carefully scan the shattered rocks, hoping to hear that sound we detectorists love to hear.
The larger nuggets were all old channel gold, smooth and water-worn. I guessed that a few of them would push a bit under one-half-ounce apiece.
Oscar Espinoza considers himself an amateur gold prospector, but the gold nugget he recently found puts many seasoned prospectors to shame.
Pumps can be set up quite a distance away horizontally from the sluice, even hundreds of feet. It will work so long as there is sufficient water at the source where the pump is located. Vertical distance is more of a problem than horizontal distance; 30 to 40 feet is the maximum vertical climb for most pumps.
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