“Gold is where you find it.” – A stranger
Well … that may be true, but that does little to give us clues as to where the gold is really hiding. In Part 1 we talked about water and how water can concentrate gold in “pockets” and how we can identify the likely location of some of those pockets by imagining where the water in the flood stage would be fast and where it would slow down. However, these are not the only places where gold can be hidden. Here are some other tidbits from the gold tradition. Once again, I am going to focus on the gold found in waterways and river beds.
First, (and this seems obvious to me) look for gold where gold has been found before. There is no point in searching for gold in a river or stream if gold has never been found there. The veterans were thorough in their search, and I doubt that there is a place within the northern hemisphere that has gold where the veterans at least found no color. There are many, many books that cover (in detail) where to find gold in your state, or perhaps a state near you.
Second, gold is heavy. Will be BELOW everything else (overload). Don’t pan for gold on top of the overhead. The action of the water would ensure that the gold is driven into a layer that cannot penetrate … bedrock. Now, it is possible that the riverbed has several layers of clay. This clay can sometimes act as bedrock, and gold can settle on this layer of clay until sufficient flooding and rapid water breaks it down. But, if you are not dealing with layers of clay, look for the gold IN BEDROCK … not at the top … not in the middle. IN BED!
Third, the gold will “fall” into the cracks and crevices of the bedrock, even in areas where the water pressure would be rapid. If you have an exposed section of riverbed that is “rugged”, open it up and clean up the contents … ALL the contents. If there is gold in that crack, it will be at the bottom of that crack.
Fourth, check under the rocks. Do this especially on the “boulder line” between inside curves. But, any rock in the river could be hiding a nugget or two. When it comes to rocks, make sure you do it smart. Always inspect the rock, the rocks it rests on, the direction (slope) it will slide into, and gravity. DO NOT commit to sticking your arm under a rock to get some of the “good stuff.” Don’t compromise by working on the “downhill side.” If possible, use a “rock net” and winch or “come on.” -un-long ‘to move it. Whatever you do … BE SMART and BE SAFE!
Do you have a metal detector? If so, you can do a much faster search of your area using it. This is not a job for a children’s toy detector. If possible, use a detector made specifically for gold. They are very sensitive, have a good ground balance, and very little discrimination, so be prepared for a lot of “junk” to go along with the gold. Using a detector on a river bed that has many cracks and crevices can show whether or not it is worth working. It is also much safer to use a detector and remove some areas in and around large rocks rather than trying to move those rocks only to find that there is nothing there.
Make sure you have a couple of pans of gold with you. When cleaning crevices or shovels under a rock, you want to preserve and test what you’ve been gathering over time. We’ll talk about buckling in future articles, but here’s a tip: always bread in a container (or something that will keep small gold from accidentally leaking out of the container). Never move directly to the river.
Just remember … gold is good for hiding. But, if you understand how gold moves and where it can hide, you will almost guarantee some “color” (almost), and maybe even a small nugget or two. Be persistent. Prospecting for gold is not for the easily discouraged. Increase your knowledge. Hone your skills. You will get gold!