No Prospecting – No Gold.
If you’re wondering where to find gold and how to find gold, you’re not alone. Legions of people hope to go out into the mountains to discover rivers of unclaimed gold deposits. While most of the land has been heavily prospected, there are still plenty of rivers like the Yuba and American in California as well as gold mines in Arizona like the Lost Dutchman that tempt thousands of people world wide. However, there is a science to successful gold prospecting. In fact, the most important aspect go gold mining is actual prospecting – followed by production.
Wondering How to Pan for Gold? Start Prepared!
If you’re preparing for a prospecting venture, make sure you know where prospecting is permitted. You’ll need permission on privately owned land or appropriate land records from the BLM. You’ll also need to prepare with the right kind of mining materials like gold pans or picks, shovels and other earth moving tools.
How to Find Gold: Lode or Placer
Prospecting depends on what one is looking for: lode or placer. With lode, one would work a vein off of a rock like quartz, the mother of gold. Rocks like granite, volcanic and sedimentary rocks as well as metamorphic rocks may also contain gold deposits. In lode, one would do as the Spanish did: read the land. Key steps include looking for mineralization like red means iron. Other metals will definitely be a good sign as well, but do not necessarily indicate that gold will be present.
More iron and other heavy elements are likely to be found along a gold path. There will actually be a visible increase in the amount of iron, lead and old rusty objects, so keep track of what you recover from test holes! The key focus to have is on quartz. But more importantly, is it the right type of quartz, one that is associated with gold.
Placer is in some ways similar in this regard. One also looks for the possible presence of gold. If there is a possibility, next step is to follow up a water course, such as a river. When gold is moved a long a river, it will follow a specific path. Typically, gold will run from inside to inside of a bend. This is a great starting point for prospecting, because you’ll be able to rule out approximately 90% of a river bend. Next, look for pay streaks, which form where the river flow slows down during a flood storm. Water will erode gold from veins and carry it down stream into deposits. Here one would use gold pans, sluices or dredges. One thing to be aware of, because gold is heavy (six times heavier than other metals like sand and silt) holes, barriers in the bedrock, cracks and crevices can trap gold outside of the actual flow of water.
Whether you’re looking for lode or placer, remember: the most important key takeaway: gold is where you find it!!!