Prospecting & Detecting
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.
…the “One More Time” has turned into three more trips and each of the three has yielded more gold each time down.
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.
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…
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...
When doing your initial armchair research and selecting potential areas to explore, consider all the indicators, both natural and man-made.
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 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.
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.
• Can I get advice on a hard rock property in Calaveras County, California?
I love to dry wash old nugget patches found by detector operators, and I have found my fair share of gold dry washing those areas. I have also found a few nuggets using a detector on the bedrock exposed by dry washing the patches.
I’d like to offer some practical comments about staking and maintaining mining claims. Owning your own claim is the dream of many prospectors. I’ve made good money off my mining claims, both from the minerals I have found on them as well as from leasing out some of my claims to larger mining and exploration companies.