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Prospecting & Detecting

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Stories, tips & tricks

Moving The Big Rocks


The anticipation of finding out if the system of snatch blocks, shackles, chokers, anchor points, and the strap binding the massive slab of rock in the bottom of the river would even budge an inch was weighing on me. 

Modesto, California Man Finds 18-Ounce Nugget


Oscar Espinoza considers himself an amateur gold prospector, but the gold nugget he recently found puts many seasoned prospectors to shame.

Summertime Gold Panning


I have smaller pans for cleaning black sand concentrates, big pans for taking large samples, pans with corners for pouring out materials, and pans with lots of special riffles. This variation is why I have so many pans—they each have their specialty.
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Attention to Detail - Part II


Ditches almost always started in the high country and contoured the mountainsides, making a long drop, usually many miles away, to the goldfields. There are ditches in Trinity County that originate at seven and eight thousand feet in the Trinity Alps that carried water almost thirty miles.

Modern-Day Claim Jumping


We soon found that our discovery post and other claim markers were gone and replaced with new posts and a notice of location with an earlier date than had been on our notice of location.

Pickers and Nuggets


Mike and I each selected a side of the creek and started to work our way upstream. We both worked the water and sides of the creek, and better than half the gold found in this area is in the water.
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Revisiting the Rocker Box


The first location we worked was a small, dry ravine cutting through many mineralized zones in an area where some hard rock mining had taken place in the past.

Follow Up to "Just One More Time"


…the “One More Time” has turned into three more trips and each of the three has yielded more gold each time down.

The Highs and Lows of Drywashing


We were met with a plethora of mechanical problems with the dry washer and even a few with the excavator that were at times frustrating, but we were in this for the long haul, so we needed to solve these problems and move forward.
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Successful Detecting Requires Attention to Detail—Part I


So much of gold detecting depends on attention to detail. Every gold area offers its own distinct geological markers and as prospectors we must pick up on those markers.

Panning for Gold on Canyon Creek


I was able to remove the gravels with the assistance of a crowbar and I scooped them up with a garden trowel. This gravel contained over a pennyweight of gold and there were several 2-grain and 3-grain pieces…

Habits, Procedure, and Where Is The Gold?


In my early days of nugget hunting things were fairly simple. Just headphones, a pack, a detector and a small pick were all I needed for my search for great wealth.
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Australian Gold Adventure


I had my heart set on finding a large nugget on this trip, and it seemed to me that pounding known patches was not likely to turn up a monster. Inevitably I would spend at least half my day wandering off...

The Essence of Gold Prospecting


When doing your initial armchair research and selecting potential areas to explore, consider all the indicators, both natural and man-made.

Jim Madden's Gold


Maybe we could find a few pieces of ore from that tunnel? It was worth a try. The old timers didn’t have that stamp mill for looks, so we set off to get some samples.
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Just One More Time


We chose this particular area because an old channel had run here at one point and had been heavily worked on top of a mountain hilltop. Erosion patterns cut deeply on each side, leaving the channel exposed. The erosion cut sharply, dropping into ravines far below.

Detectors: Past, Present and Future


Detectors were invented long before I was born, but it was in the 1960s when they started to become an item popular enough to power a fledgling industry. The key development was miniature transistor technology replacing the old fashioned tube technology of the 1950s, making lightweight, affordable detectors possible.

The Heavy Minerals in Your Concentrates


The fact that mineral deposits can contribute specific types of heavy minerals is why the analysis of the heavy mineral concentrates in the streams of an area can be an important prospecting technique for finding undiscovered mineral deposits.
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Pocket Gold


Once a seam is found it can be traced for miles in either direction. While you are tracing a clay line, you are looking for indicators. The indicators that I look for are ironstone, hematite, different color clays intermingled with the clay line, and a very iron-rich, brown gritty soil.

Ask The Experts


• Can I get advice on a hard rock property in Calaveras County, California?

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