How To Find Gold Even BEFORE Going Prospecting
There is an old saying amongst gold prospectors that “Gold is where you find it.” This was true even in the past when gold was sold at a fixed price of US$19.67 per ounce, with today’s historically high gold prices, you and any new gold rush prospector will truly take gold from any dirt, stream, or rock where you can find it! However, since gold is one of the heaviest materials in the world, it acts in very specific ways once it leaves its original lode location. Although these hard rock “mother lodes” are what all prospectors dream of finding, however, the odds definitely favor the alluvial, or placer, prospector. Did you know that most visible gold veins play out after only a short distance? So even if you do discover a lode, the likelihood of then developing it into an ongoing mining business are not very good. Ancient placers, like the Witwatersrand in South Africa, are where gold mining pays the largest dividends.
Since the days of ancient Egypt, gold placer mining has been the predominant supply source of global demand. As a small-scale gold miner or hobby prospector, these placer locations provide you the best opportunity for fun and profit. While many gold fields around the USA, Australia, and the world can and do provide gold nuggets found by detecting in those areas with metal detectors ,unless you are lucky enough to live within driving distance of these nugget fields you will be looking for the pickers, flakes, and dust gold found in placer deposits.
Where to find a gold placer?
The English word, placer, originated from an old Spanish word, placel, which means an open, sandy place. Because of water flow and erosion action, streams are continually moving and depositing materials of different weight and size in various places along their winding courses down to sea level. As the water flow slows around a bend or eddies behind an obstacle, like a boulder, materials drop to the stream bottom after moving along in suspension. These accumulation areas are where gold likes to drop out as well.
Given that gold is up to ten times as dense as the surrounding material, any gold particles will gradually work down to the lowest point, usually bedrock. Occasionally gold will collect on a “false bedrock” layer of clay or other firm material base depending upon the soil type prevalent in the area. This layer is what the old-timers called “pay-dirt”!
As you can see in this cross-section from an old book I stumbled across about the Klondike Gold Rush, the deeper the placer gold miners dug the richer the pay. While I’d take the gold quantities listed with a grain of salt, you can clearly see the increasing value as gold was processed from a given quantity of material.
The trade-off between quality (amount of gold per ton of material) and quantity (material tons to be processed) continues to this day in evaluating the productivity of any mineral find. In fact, there are many profitable gold mines today processing gold bearing, auriferous, material in the one to two grams per ton. They just have to process a million grams or so to net one gram of gold. This level of processing is a little outside the ability of the weekend prospector.
We have to do our own quality versus quantity calculations…and since most of us only have a few days a month to prospect, this is why we must know where to find gold before we even head into the field prospecting! Launch your gold prospecting today with the e Gold Prospecting LAUNCHPAD!!