How To Prospect For Gold

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By Casey Carlton

To prospect for gold, you need to know a little about it. There are two kinds of gold prospecting. Difficult to find is hard rock gold. The flakes are so small they have to be crushed and leached out of the hard rock. The big companies do this kind of mining.

The kind of gold most small propectors search for is called placer gold.

There are four ways the gold is distributed in nature.

  • The first is called residual. That is where the vein of gold has weathered out of a cropping and remains “in place” hence the name “placer gold”.
  • The second is eluvial. The gold has traveled a short distance from weathering out of the matrix but is not yet in the streams or other water sources.
  • The third distribution is alluvial. The gold has traveled and come to rest in streams and rivers. Usually, being a heavy metal, the gold lies on or near the bedrock.
  • The fourth kind of placer gold is beach placers. Small gold particles from the river make it all the way to the ocean. Wave action produces black sand layers containing fine gold.

Because it’s easier most individual prospectors start out looking for flakes and nuggets of free placer gold. It’s exciting to find gold and the term “gold fever” is quite accurate once you find your own gold. Some health benefits are getting out in the outdoors, getting some good exercise, plus the value of whatever you might find, gold or not. Here are some of the techniques used to find gold:


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