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Prospecting & Detecting

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Stories, tips & tricks

Winter Prospecting


Just because we have snow doesn’t mean we’re not going to prospect, we just have to change our direction and head more down towards the flat lands.

Are You Being Followed?


These “people”—and I use that term loosely—worked together with others. What was happening to me was like scenes out of the old James Bond movies.

Crisson Gold Mine Robbed At Gunpoint


The suspect brought a duffel bag with him that he filled with two employee cellphones, wallets, cash from the register, gold nuggets and several trays of jewelry.

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Overcoming Repeated Skunks


When hunting for nuggets does not yield any gold for a couple days, it can get pretty frustrating. But it turns into serious mental anguish when it stretches into weeks or months.

Butte County: Another Mother Lode Favorite


There are so many places in this region to discuss that one article won’t be enough to cover it all, so I’ll focus on a couple of places that we found interesting while searching for gold.

Small High-Grade Pocket Districts


…the excitement passed so quickly that little work was done, but they still have good potential, and I find they are not as well-known and not hit so hard by most prospectors.

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Underwater Reclamation


Working underwater certainly has its challenges, but since I wanted to learn how to blast underwater, I just  needed to dive in headfirst and take charge of the operation.

Gold Detecting—Are You Up For It?


“What does it take to get into gold detecting?” This may seem like a simple question, but the more I hear it, the more I realize it is a frequent question that needs to be answered.

Crystallized Gold Mines of California


Gold specimens that include visible crystal formations are among the rarest, most attractive and most valuable forms of gold to be found.

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Prepping Your Gold Detecting Spots


All bedrock cracks that appear to be wide and deep should be cleaned out completely, and if you cannot clean it out thoroughly then you should break the bedrock apart…

How Far Has That Gold Traveled?


Let’s examine why your placer gold looks the way it does and what you can tell about its journey based upon its appearance.

'Outer Space' Diamond Headed for Auction


Black diamonds, also known as carbonado, are extremely rare, and are found naturally only in Brazil and Central Africa. The cosmic origin theory is based on their carbon isotopes and high hydrogen content.

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Charles P. Watson, Chief Geologist

Why Is The Gold On Bedrock—Or Why Is It Not?


Gold on the bedrock is a good rule of thumb, but not one that is 100 percent effective. There are plenty of exceptions. So, how does a prospector recognize those exceptions?

Colorado to California for Gold


The total after a great day added with the previous days put them up to 9.07 pennyweight—just under a one-half ounce of beautiful California gold.

Historic Dredge Uncovered in North Carolina


The Robinson is a wooden bucket-line dredge that was built in the early 1900s in New York and shipped in pieces to Nash County in North Carolina by train for reassembly.

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Grizzly Flats, California—Another Mother Lode Gold Rush Town


We chatted for a bit and then we had to take off, but I kept what he said in the back of my mind as we rushed out to some other gold-bearing place in the Mother Lode to feed our gold fever.

Drywashing Without A Drywasher


After trading for a specialized gold detector, my gold finds went up in a hurry. Even though those older gold detectors were pretty good, things have changed a lot since then.

Late Fall Drywashing


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.

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Residual Placers: An Often Overlooked Gold Source


Because the forces of erosion and gravity tend to carry lighter materials like quartz away more easily, the heavy minerals like gold or silver will tend to be concentrated in the general area around the vein outcrop. These concentrations are what make residual placers so attractive.

A Short History of Hydraulic Mining in California


To add to the confusion, the dam wasn’t holding back a large amount of water. It was full of gravels and had a small creek running through it. I had to know more.

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