What do you call the course that comes before Geology 101? 100, of course. I am a minus expert in Geology but I’m finding it increasingly necessary to become acquainted with the science in my search for gold
Luckily, our property is a microcosm of the geology often associated with gold. We have a fault line, maybe geothermal activity, quartz intrusions, LOADS of iron, magnetite, garnet and other “heavies” associated with gold, bedrock for easy access, evidence of contact zones with geological maps verifying zones nearby, and the remnants of volcanic activity. We got it all. Every type of rock you can think of. Igneous, quartz, quartzite, gneiss, shale?, metamorphic rock, sedimentary and on and on. It’s all there, but is the gold?
Since I don’t currently have a good metal detector for gold, I’ve been dowsing with rods. I’m not totally convinced of the art’s validity but once I read about the earth’s magnetic fields and the fact that magnetite, which has magnetic properties and is heavily associated with gold, could possibly be influencing the metal rods, I’m half convinced. Besides, it’s fun to wander seemingly aimlessly around the property carrying two metal rods out in front of me. The neighbors love it.
Once I find a promising looking rock, I crush it with a very crude setup and pan it out. I haven’t yet found anything I could say is gold but I’ve been told it exists. 🙂
Digging for gold.
Example of rock face worn perfectly flat by contact with other rocks.
I can’t figure out how to use my expensive metal detector. Steel signals the same as gold, iron signals the same as gold, bottle caps signal the same as gold, nails signal the same as gold. I’m exaggerating of course but not by much.
From what I’ve read, metal detecting unto itself, is almost an art form. So is prospecting for gold. So far, gold has totally eluded my husband and I. You could point us to a gold rich river and we would come up with only pyrite no matter where we dig, how deep we dig, how much we dig, how far we dig, how big we dig…you get the idea.
All I ask is for a few little grains or flakes of that bright yellow stuff in the bottom of my pan. Just a few. I could die happy then.
I downloaded some maps from Gold Maps Online for Google Earth. I was satisfied with their product. It’s on overlay of gold claims and mines along with data from the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). You can plan ahead to find closed and open claims, check to see if they’re on private or public land (although that’s not always easy to ascertain). You can check terrain and roads beforehand. Like their website says, you really can do a lot of the footwork ahead of time virtually and save yourself a lot of gas and disappointment.
Our property even has what might be a perfect environment for discovering gold. Iron rich soil, quartz; white and greyish. Springs; I read that springs and faults and sometimes gold go together. Nothing so far though. I even tried divining. Nothing.
I’ve gotten decent at panning though. My husband bought me a sluice which I’m pretty sure I’m using properly but alas, we both concede we need to learn from a pro.
I’ve gotten some ideas for improving the sluice as has everyone else and their uncle Charlie. I just don’t have the means to make prototypes nor a way to test them without help. If anyone out there would like to join me in testing my ideas, I’m game. I think they’re sound and are based on my limited experience in the field and just some thinking about the matter of “how could this work better”.
We panned all summer near Snoqualmie Pass and around North Bend, WA. to no avail. Denny Creek near the pass is supposed to bear gold but we came home empty handed.
One thing we did find recently is garnets. I was panning and found a bunch of reddish looking sand with small reddish/brownish rocks. They were heavy as they were the only thing left with “the heavies” as prospectors say. We took them into a local jeweler and they confirmed they were garnets. They said most creeks and rivers around these parts contain garnets.
I’d give up but I’ve been bitten by the gold bug as they say. I’ve heard even seasoned prospectors sometimes go long periods without finding anything so I figure my day will come. The husband isn’t so interested as myself. He contents himself with exploring the area while I prospect. He found a wolf skull just last week while exploring.
If anyone knows of a really solid place in Stevens County to pan, let me know. We need a guide, also.