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Prospecting & Detecting

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Stories, tips & tricks

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.

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.

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Small-scale and commercial suction gold dredges.

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.

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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Proven to catch the finest gold!

An Early Christmas Gift


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.

Gold Basin & Mass Wasting


Some of these events can cause half of an entire mountain to plummet down into a gorge or canyon, damming up a stream system and causing a flood when the earthen dam finally breaks from the water backing up behind it.

How Far To The Gold?


…in spite of the fact that the well-pounded spots probably don’t have much gold left, I see all too many prospectors hike down to a creek or other spot at the first place the road comes near it just because it’s the easiest access point.

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Serving Professional and Recreational Prospectors since 1979

Gold Prospecting for Better or Worse: Warm Buttocks and Frozen Assets


Luckily, at about that time, I buddied up with a somewhat cantankerous, but very helpful, guy named Rod. He had become a local legend for his ability to consistently find gold.

The Joys of Desert Prospecting


…since many miners have wandered these hills over the years, you have to sometimes be a little more creative and unconventional in your methods to hopefully find new deposits.

Cherry-Picking for Gold Nuggets


We have a location where nuggets over an ounce have been detected over the past twenty years. This location is a small hilltop on which an ancient river channel once flowed.

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Charles P. Watson, Chief Geologist

Using A Blasting Machine in Rock Breaking


Whatever system you plan to use will require a way to safely initiate the explosives from a distance. In this article, we’re going to learn the basics of electric blasting and get a hands-on example…

Gold Prospecting for Better or Worse: Tangling With A Desert Monster


It all occurred when Gus and I returned to a remote placer gold area where we had previously found really good gold. The problem was that it would take about an hour to walk through the desert to get to it.

Another Prospecting Adventure: Coulterville


What also helped keep Coulterville alive was the fact that the town itself happened to be sitting on top of one of the richest veins in the Mother Lode. The ledge itself was three hundred feet wide.

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Get the pitch correct on your sluice box!

Seven Important Attitudes for the Successful Prospector


What makes the difference between successful prospectors and those who struggle? It just seems like there are some guys who stumble on gold no matter what they do. Are they just lucky?

Secrets of Gold Research and Why You Need It


Prospecting may not be as much fun as it once was. If that sounds like you and you want to figure out what to do to get back on the gold and be successful, I’ve got the answer: Research.

Detecting 'New Again' Spots


Over the years I have a long list on my computer and in my head of places to detect. Combining newer detectors with old and proven sites has become a blessing for my friends and me.

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Downieville: Another Gold Rush Favorite


I didn’t know what to expect because the area we were working was not close to the water, but we were pleasantly surprised when we began to pan out some nice flakes and a few pickers.

Placer Sampling for the Small-Scale Miner


I have seen many samples taken originally with an eye toward getting the highest grades possible, but later someone claims that those results represent an average grade of the whole gravel deposit.

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