I have already been prospecting and mining for gold both as a hobby and as an occupation for nearly 30 years and i think it’s a blast! From the deep green forests to the rolling sagebrush hills, few people see the maximum amount of of America’s available spaces as I do. I kick around kooky little old towns in the center of nowhere. I visit historic sites where the pioneers of the west toiled for decades to extract precious metals from the ground. As fun as that is though, finding your own personal gold, either as a nugget or in solid hard rock is really a special experience that’s hard to equal.
School kids in California find out how James Marshall accidentally discovered gold nuggets while constructing a water powered sawmill in the Sierra foothills. The excitement resulting from Marshall’s discovery was a fire that ignited gold and silver rushes all over the western US. Well-known may be the story of O’Reiley and McLaughlin who accidentally discovered the Comstock Lode silver bonanza while working a tiny deposit of placer gold, tossing away a blue-black waste that later proved to be rich silver ore. A century ago, Jim Butler, while traveling from his ranch in central Nevada, noticed some quartz vein material. Being a good prospector, he collected a sample, but he thought so little of his find that it sat on his porch for months before it was tested. That sample became the initial of numerous rich discoveries at Tonopah. I really could write a complete book telling the stories of these individual prospectors who, whether intentionally or unintentionally, found rich deposits of gold and other valuable ores. These finds experienced no small effect on the development of our country – historically millions upon millions of ounces of gold have already been recovered from deposits found by individual prospectors.
The gold prospecting world is basically divided in to two halves. They are placer gold and hard rock gold. Hard rock is gold, which remains in the initial solid rock in which it formed. Northern Nevada is extremely full of gold, mostly as these primary hard rock type deposits. The hard rock, open pit mines of Nevada have produced nearly 100 million ounces since their discovery in 1960. Although a few small operations still exist, hard rock mining is normally done on a large scale. The key problem for individuals interested in hard rock gold deposits is high capital costs for the apparatus to crush and process hard rock ore in order to extract the gold from its solid rock enclosure. Due to this, many prospectors who search for hard rock gold seek to sell their finds to large firms that possess the resources to produce them.
Any gold that has weathered out of its original rock matrix, be it a quartz vein or another source is named placer gold. Once it’s freed from the vein, any accumulation of the gold is named a placer deposit. There are numerous different varieties of placers depending how far the gold traveled, its origin, etc. The four most typical types of placer deposits are: 1) Residual – where the initial vein has weathered, nevertheless the placer gold remains more or less “in position” and still in just a few feet of the initial source; 2) Eluvial – where the gold has traveled a quick distance down from the source, but hasn’t caused it to be into streams and other drainages – they are often called hillside placers; 3) Alluvial – Where in actuality the gold has caused it to be into area streams and rivers mts gold. These placers are sorted by running water and usually the gold lies mostly on or near the bedrock; 4) Beach placers occur where small gold particles ensure it is entirely down river to the ocean. Wave action can concentrate the heavier fraction of the sand, producing black sand layers containing fine gold.
Due to the comparative simple recovering gold from placer deposits, most individual prospectors start off seeking placer gold nuggets and flakes. Some later progress to a pastime in hard rock deposits, but most still start off searching for flakes and nuggets of free placer gold. Once you find your first gold, you won’t have much trouble seeing what kept the old pioneer prospectors going under such rugged conditions. It’s always great whenever you come up with your own personal gold, and the excitement is real. There is undoubtedly in my mind that gold fever is really a condition that really exists. In my own experience, staring too closely at gold nuggets or thinking an excessive amount of about the quest to find them often causes it. Luckily, it’s a pleasurable condition with few, if any, harmful side effects. Prospecting for gold is a hobby that’s simple to fall into.
It doesn’t necessarily cost a mint to find yourself in prospecting. It is as simple as buying a gold pan for $10 and grabbing a bucket and the garden spade from the garage. On the other hand, there are numerous great gold saving products available to the present day prospector. Some allow the present day prospector to accomplish things no old timer could ever dream of. From metal detectors, to portable suction dredges, to dry placer machines and other gold recovery devices of most types, many significant improvements have already been manufactured in small scale prospecting equipment. There certainly is no problem finding ways to pay the maximum amount of money on good equipment as you would like – plenty of great stuff is available. Most individuals start off small and purchase more advanced equipment because they get more active in the hobby.
So whether its trying to find the following million ounce ore deposit or perhaps finding a tiny gold nugget you are able to call your own personal, be confident, it’s still possible. For many who enjoy hunting, hiking, fishing, off road exploring or the other many outdoor hobbies so many folks participate in, prospecting may be something you would be interested in. For more or less any outdoor enthusiast, it’s worthwhile to understand only a little about gold deposits – because the following big find may be yours!