Here's How to Find Gold!
Spend as much time as possible scouting
the property. Noting such important features as topography, thickness
of alluvial cover (soil, sand & gravel cover), types of rock
found in washes and of course quartz, especially rusty, iron stained
quart or rusty, copper stained quartz float. Often you may find specks
of visible gold in these rusty quartz specimens, a very good clue
2. Look for
washes, not just any bedrock but rough, ragged bedrock with deep
crevices or fractures that will trap the gold as the heavy minerals are
washed downstream by heavy rain storms. Probably the ideal setting is
where the wash makes a sharp turn and widens, so that any gold
traveling downstream will slow at that point and drop out or be
deposited on the inside turn or curve.
locate several of
these areas before you begin testing. Some of you may ask why? Why not
test that first good looking spot that you find? Well my answer to that
is simple enough. Let us say that you test the first spot that you
locate and find some gold. You will probably hang in there and work the
area to death, right? You might be recovering pe
nnies, when with a
little extra testing you might be recovering dollars with the same
amount of effort, fifty feet away. Now let us say that you spend the
extra time and identify at least three promising areas. You test Area A
and find a lot of fine gold but no nuggets. You test Area B and find
nothing and finally Area C produces several small nuggets and some fine
gold. Which area would you spend some extra time? My guess is that you
would work Area C until you run out of gold, Right? Remember that one
small nugget might be equivalent to hundreds or even thousands of
specks of fine or flour gold.
4. Now I will
this revelation. The two largest nuggets that I've ever found were not
found on bedrock. In fact the largest was found at least ten feet above
bedrock with a metal detector. So I guess the old saying that "gold
is where you find it" still applies. But to increase
your odds, test bedrock first.
that there is false
bedrock. False bedrock might be cemented or compacted gravels, caliche
or even impervious layers of clay. Gold and other heavy minerals will
work their way down until they hit bedrock or false bedrock. At that
point gold accumulates (under ideal conditions) in what we call "pay
6. If all you
have is a
start with the bedrock theory and then work up stream, up slope and
even test the tops of hills or ridges if your in gold country.
and I mean always
check the heavy concentrates in your pan even if you see no gold. Carry
a good quality magnifying glass (hand lens) for this purpose. Check for
black sands and especially for iron pyrite cubes. Black sands and
pyrite cubes are an indicator that gold might be there. I often find
placer gold associated with pyrite cubes. Ideally both black sands and
pyrite cubes are a good clue, especially with a lot of rusty quartz
float in the area.
occasionally get a
lot of rain here in western
Arizona, which may be considered either good or bad. Heavy
rains have filled potholes in bedrock creating miniature reservoirs.
This is good. Great places to do your test panning without having to
lug water. But the bad side is that it will take days of warm, windy
weather to dry out the gravels for dry washer testing. The fast high
waters in the washes have undoubtedly uncovered areas never exposed
before, uncovering nuggets and pay streaks and relocating them.
I’m guessing that some fabulous discoveries will be made this
year, of course they may not all make the local newspapers as some
prospectors are very secretive.
I have spent as
many as six long back breaking days straight with pan, trowel, pick,
shovel and whisk broom cleaning out crevices and cracks with no luck.
I’ve also gotten lucky the very first hour and consequently
recovered over sixteen ounces before lunch. a nice mornings work.
Remember that you will not find gold
every where you dig, no matter how good the claim is. Placer gold
values are generally very erratic, forming or occurring in those much
sought after pay streaks. Play detective and seek out the clues that
mother nature has provided and you may be well rewarded for your