Lode Gold Areas Have Been Thoroughly Prospected
Prospecting for lode deposits of gold is not the relatively simple task it once was because most outcrops or exposures of mineralized rock have been examined and sampled. Today’s prospector must examine not only these exposures, but also broken rock on mine dumps and exposures of mineralized rock in accessible mine workings.
Where Has Gold Been Found In The Past
The United States has been more heavily prospected for gold than most other nations on this planet. Millions of people have been mustered to the search for gold during several gold rushes in various parts of the country.
The term “gold rush” makes most people think of locations such as California, Alaska, and Colorado.However, gold rushes have also occurred in states such as North Carolina and Georgia. It is a pretty safe bet that almost any stream in the United States has been panned for gold at least once. In the most famous gold locations much of the sediment has been through gold pans, sluices or dredges multiple times.
States that have reported commercial gold production recently or in the past include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.
The state geological survey in most states with commercialgold production has prepared introductory and technical information about the gold deposits and mining history. The United States Geological Survey has prepareddetailed maps and reports for most of the major gold mining areas and has prepared many generalinterest publications about gold. There are also lots of prospecting guides and maps written for amateur prospectors.
Search Above The Present Water Line
Always remember that gold generally only moves significant distances in a creek or river during extremely violent high water events, generally during spring runoff when water flows are at their highest. Gold can move great distances during this time, and almost not at all during other times of the year.
Most people pan for gold during the summer. The river that you are panning probably looks very different than it did just a few months earlier when water was flowing at its peak.
At that time, gold could easily have been well above the current water line. Perhaps a nice gold nugget settled behind a boulder that is now 20 feet above the current level of the river? Think of what the river looked like during these high water events, not just what it looks like right now. It might help you stop some rich areas that have been overlooked by others.
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The American Gold Rush
The Gold Rush took place from 1803 to 1861, between the Louisiana Purchase and theAmerican Civil War. At the time, the Californian territory was in-between ownership by Mexico and the United States. The Gold Rush began when James W. Marshall discovered gold flakes in the American River as he was building a sawmill for Captain John Sutter the founder of Californias capital city, Sacramento. Word spread, and over 300,000 people from across the globe arrived at and around Sutters Fort to try their hand at gold prospecting. Gold mining towns, mines and gold-related conflicts ensued. By 1852, much of the fervor had passed. Mining companies took ownership of the land where gold could be found, pushing out the individuals who rushed there to make a name for themselves.
What About Interest Rates
Traditionally, market watchers see interest rate hikes as bad for gold because, in theory, investors would want to unload their gold and pour their money into bonds, which benefit from higher interest rates, versus the unyielding nature of gold. However, things aren’t so simple.
The consensus has been for the first Fed rate hike to come in March, but OANDA’s Moya believes the growing tension between Ukraine and Russia could remove the risk of a Fed rate hike in March. If that occurs, investors’ appetite for risk could increase on the back of a less aggressive Fed while geopolitical tensions have already been largely priced in. However, even in that situation, it doesn’t mean clear skies for stocks.
“Geopolitical tensions will continue to undermine economic growth, and that should keep equities very choppy until the Russia-Ukraine crisis has a clear conclusion and after the financial markets have a firmer handle on how aggressive Fed tightening will be,” Moya added.
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Feed It Slow Dont Add To Much Material Too Quickly
When feeding material into a sluice box, you dont want to add it too fast. For a sluice to operate at its peak performance, you should add gravel at a moderate pace. This allows the for the functionality of the sluice to do what it is supposed to do, by allowing lighter material to be discharged out the back while heavier materials are retained in the riffles of the sluice box.
Getting the proper water flow through your sluice box will ensure that you capture the as much gold as possible.
Rather than digging and shoveling directly into the head of the sluice, try classifying your material into a 5-gallon bucket, and then slowly adding material with a small scoop.
Watch how the sand and gravel works its way through the sluice box and out the other end. It should evenly flow through the box and over the riffles evenly. With some trial and error, you should get a feel for how fast you should be adding material.
You can add more material at once if you have already classified your gravels. So you will actually be able to sluice faster once everything is classified down.
Columbia State Historic Park
In search of gold? Head to Columbia State Historic Park, located east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Youll discover large remnant Gold Rush-era structures at the once known Gem of the Southern Mines.
The park is your go-to California gold panning destination. Brush up on Gold Rush history as you stroll the scenic pathways once home to 19th-century miners. Take it even a step further and enjoy an immersive park tour led by park descents dressed in period clothing . If youre interested in touring a mine, several mines are open for visitors, and are accompanied by lessons on panning techniques.
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Clean Your Nuggets For The Best Price To Collectors
Sometimes gold nuggets come out of the ground dirty and grimy. They can have caliche and other material covering the outside of them which covers up the natural beauty of the gold.
They are going to be much nicer for display if you clean them up. Plus, you will need to clean them up if you want to sell them.
Gold that you pan out of a river is usually nice and polished. The natural erosion that occurs in the river cleans up the nuggets. They will be nice and shiny and probably wont require any additional cleaning.
The gold nuggets that you find with metal detectors and drywashers are a different story. The can come out of the ground very dirty and grimy. They usually need to be cleaned up.
Cleaning gold nuggets is actually pretty simple. I recommend that you do the minimum amount of cleaning needed to expose the gold and no more. Too much cleaning can actually detract from the nugget, making it too shiny.
Often, just a light soak in some dish soap and water and a scrub with an old toothbrush will do the trick.
Another tip is to soak the nuggets in a bottle of white vinegar and salt. Add enough salt so that it accumulates in the bottle. Soak the nuggets for a few days, occasionally shaking the bottle. The salt will act as an abrasive that will scrub the nuggets, and the vinegar help to break down any grime.
A simple ultrasonic cleaner used for cleaning jewelry can work really well also.
Make Jewelry With Your Gold Nuggets
Sometimes you find a nugget that just seems perfect to be made into a pendant or some other type of jewelry. In many cases, you can make a bit more money from your nuggets by using them in jewelry.
Some natural gold nuggets made into some lovely stud earrings.
This was especially true back when gold was only a few hundred dollars per ounce. Now that the price of gold is high, turning your nuggets into jewelry may not increase the value as much as it once did. Some nice pieces are better left as-is and sold to collectors rather than turning them to jewelry.
Still, if you do a good job and select the right pieces, turning your gold nuggets into jewelry can increase their value significantly.
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Similar Appearances To Nearby Gold Districts
One of the best ways to find new, undiscovered gold deposits is to study the geology of known gold districts and then explore the fringes of that known district. Identify areas that have a similar geological appearance.
We are not discussing any specific indicator here. This could be one or several natural indicators that are similar to a gold district with a known history of gold production. This is one of the best ways to find an area that nobody has ever prospected before, but it can take a lot of time and patience, and you will likely spend a lot of time searching before you stumble upon any gold.
How Did The Discovery Of Gold Shape California
On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold while overseeing the construction of a sawmill on the American River. Up until this time, experts assumed that gold was likely to be found, but there were many false claims. This discovery didnt make headlines until later that year when President James K. Polk confirmed Marshalls discovery. This announcement sparked what became known as the California Gold Rush.
The California Gold Rush quickly became one of the largest migrations of people across the United States. In 1849 alone, over 100,000 people began arriving in California from all over the world. By the end of the Gold Rush, that number had reached nearly 300,000 people to make the journey.
Finding gold was more difficult than many of the eager prospectors imagined. As a result, very few actually became rich. It is estimated that prospectors removed nearly 12 million ounces of gold from the ground during the first five years of the 1849 Gold Rush. This amount equates to about $16 billion today.
Instead, other services and ventures became very lucrative. The arriving gold miners needed supplies such as shovels, mining equipment, and work clothing. Towns began to pop up across the state as settlers built boarding houses, schools, general stores, and saloons.
According to the US Census, the population of California surged over 300 percent during the gold rush. Many of the towns and cities that were born out of the gold rush still exist today.
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How To Buy Gold
Gold can be an attractive investment for those who wish to protect themselves from the volatility paper currency and stocks experience. However, the process of acquiring gold is a bit more opaque than simply heading to an ATM. You need to decide what kind of gold you want to buy, find a reputable gold dealer and make sure youre storing your gold safely.
Read on to learn why you may want to invest in gold in the first place, how to purchase gold and what the different kinds of gold investments can look like.
Use Snuffer Bottle And Magnet
You will probably find lots of black sands when you are panning and sluicing for gold. Some of these black sands are magnetic, and you can remove them with a strong magnet.
There are specialized magnets for this task that work quite well and are reasonably priced.
These are a handy tool for removing black sands from your gold pan. They probably wont get it all, but they are still worth adding to your prospecting kit.
Every prospector should have a snuffer bottle. They only cost a couple bucks and they work great.
Be aware that sometimes collecting black sands with a magnet will also pick up a bit of gold. Make sure you arent losing valuable gold in the process.
Not all black sands are magnetic through, and you will have some fine black sands, garnets, and other material mixed in with your fine gold.
Use a snuffer bottle to expose the fine gold underneath these other materials. It is a simple, inexpensive tool that every prospector should keep in their clean-up kit.
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Learn And Understand Your Mining Rights
Our rights as small-scale miners are continuously under attack from environmental groups, who try and prevent our access to areas.
In the United States, our right to prospect and mine for precious metals is protected by the General Mining Act of 1872. Yet, environmental groups use a variety of tactics to prevent us from mining by limiting access to certain areas, preventing the use of certain types of equipment, and using unsound science to ultimately limit or prevent miners access to the resources of the land.
I would highly encourage any gold prospector to educate themselves on their rights, and join clubs and associations who fight to defend the rights of the small-scale miners!
The Many Rewards Of Finding Gold
Anyone who pans for gold hopes to be rewarded by the glitter of colors in the fine material collected in the bottom of the pan. Although the exercise and outdoor activity experienced in prospecting are rewarding, there are few thrills comparable to finding gold. Even an assay report showing an appreciable content of gold in a sample obtained from a lode deposit is exciting. The would-be prospector hoping for financial gain, however, should carefully consider all the pertinent facts before deciding on a prospecting venture.
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What To Look For When Panning For Gold
For the beginner gold prospector, looking for gold doesnt have to be very complicated. In fact, to get started all you really need are a shovel and a gold pan. All of the other equipment I mention is actually quite optional and will only make you a better gold prospector if you do have them!
With that said, learning how to pan for gold is not as hard as you might think it is. And thats exactly why I put this post together to give you a few tips on not only how to do it, but also what to look for when panning for gold.
Use A Drywasher To Work Isolated Gold Sources
If you prospect in the Southwest, then Im sure you realize that water is limited. There are some exceptionally rich mining areas in Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico that just dont have any water at all.
The gold is still there, but gold pans and sluice boxes are not going to cut it.
Metal detectors work well in the desert for finding gold nuggets, but when gold is fine textured something else is needed to capture the gold. This is when the drywasher is used.
Drywashers look a lot like a highbanker with an elevated sluice box that you can shovel gravel directly into. However, unlike the highbanker, there is no water involved.
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Shafter Historic Mining District
The home of a few ghost towns, the Shafter Historic Mining District still seems to produce some of the fine placer gold that Texas is known for. If youre in the area its not a bad place to stop, and theres more to do than just go panning here as well.
People still search in and around the old ghost towns for gold. The area around Shafter was mainly a silver mine, but gold was found in some quantity as well.
Make sure you know the rules when youre in and around Shafter, but the spot is promising if youre willing to take a look. And like most ghost towns, theres always a lot more than what you originally came for!
You may also want to look in the other ghost towns in the area. While efforts have been made to re-open some of the mines, specifically the Presidio Mine, the area remains pretty much abandoned.
That still doesnt stop a steady stream of prospectors hoping to find the big one the next time theyre out there. After all, the journey is most of the fun!
Look For Gold Sounding Names On The Map
This one might seems silly, but it can actually be a great indicator to help you find new places to explore and search for gold. Look at a map for names that might indicate that gold has been found there. The miners that named some of these areas werent always that creative it seems that every gold district has names like Eureka Gulch, Gold Creek, Quartz Gulch, Nugget Creek, etc. These were usually places where mining took place. Seek them out and do a bit of prospecting to see if there is actually gold there.
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Find Gold At The Beach
These are tiny, almost microscopic bits of gold that are found within fine textured sand. The gold may be small, but there are large quantities of it in some places and it has actually been mined profitably. The most famous locations are the beaches of Nome, Alaska.
Finding beach gold can be challenging. The best indicator to look for is black sands. The gold will be most highly concentrated within the streaks of black sand.
The tricky thing is that the streaks of black sand will move around with the tides, so a place that is very productive one day might be poor the next.
The gold found on beaches is always small, so specialized equipment will help you recover more gold. Even gold panning can be challenging and you will probably lose some gold unless you are an extremely skilled panner.
The Gold Cube has become one of the favorites to use by beach miners. Sand can be fed directly into the head of the cube and you will get good gold recovery if you set it up properly. You should also classify the sand to make sure there arent any rocks, seashells, wood, or other debris. Running larger material through the Gold Cube will increase losses of gold considerably.
Just remember, the gold is going to be tiny, so I highly recommend you use specialized equipment if you want to be successful.