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Prospecting & Detecting

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Stories, tips & tricks

Prospector's Guide to Rock Breaking and Blasting


The holes were overloaded with explosives, but I didn’t know it. I was just a green mining engineer fresh out of school and told to watch as the experienced miners set the charge.

Pros and Cons of Big Detector Coils


Years later I returned with a new detector with a smaller coil and detector technology more sensitive to smaller nuggets. I found my first nugget within five minutes. I had a second five minutes after that.

Prospecting and Mining Old Mine Sites


In some places valuable ores can be found within the waste material of mine dumps, sorted ore piles, and detrital vein matter at the surface. Though many of these old mine sites can be an excellent source of gold, not all are created equal.
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Detecting Strategies for Heavily Forested Areas


Looking for nugget laden bedrock in forested mountain regions, you first need to explore the banks of the gold-bearing streams and look for the bedrock that is exposed as this is your starting point.

Alaskan Gold Adventure


In Chicken I had my first experience with the famous Alaska blue clay, sometimes called the blue layer. The blue layer is where the best fine gold was to be found.

Detecting: Small Creek Yields Good Gold


Most of our gold recoveries have been in the cracks of the bedrock. Hot rocks in the form of dikes cross the creek at various locations, causing us to skip those areas.
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The Challenge of Winter Dredging


Dredges actually do pretty well in freezing conditions. There are a few tips you should know, however.

What Have You Got to Lose?


It’s accepted knowledge that wet methods will recover more fine gold than dry methods and processing the gravel as a whole will get more gold than only using a metal detector. The question is how much more?

How to Upgrade Your Pocket Plunger


These three simple upgrades, when taken together, will considerably increase a pocket plunger’s magnetic pull and make it less susceptible to breakage.
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What's In A Name?


The names attached to these areas came about from many sources. Many are easy to see why the name was given while others had a more contrasting note to them.

Greenhorn Finds Gold in Colorado


Using a snuffer bottle to pick it out of the pan, he continued his panning efforts. He continued to find more yellowish stuff, but it wasn’t shiny like he thought gold should look.

A New Prospecting Spot


Once indicators start showing up along or below a contact I start to get excited. When I have shale, and outcroppings of diorite with iron-red, gritty soil and some clay thrown in, I really get lightheaded. I may be a mile away from the nearest diggings but that’s okay. I just found a spot that could provide some nice nugget hunting.
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Digging It Dry


I believe dry washing is an underappreciated prospecting method. There are plenty of places where there is some pretty decent gold to be had, but the spot is a long way from any water and dry processing may well be the best way to go.

Dredging Therapy


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.

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. 
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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.

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.
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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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