While you can find small amounts of natural gold just about
everywhere, finding concentrated gold deposits takes a little
knowledge of just how gold gets around.
Gold is very heavy. Actually, gold is about 19 times as heavy as water
- about 3 times as heavy as iron. Knowing this
makes finding it much easier. Because of its weight, gold will always
sink to the lowest level as possible. As rain, wind,
freezing & thawing, and geologic disruptions move the earth around,
gold is freed up and relocates to the lowest point.
For example, take a rain storm on the side of a hill. As the rain
falls, little rivulets form, flowing down the hill forming larger
and larger streams. As the water moves, it erodes the earth and rock
beneath it freeing the trapped gold. The gold, caught
up in the fast moving water, will cascade down the hill looking for
the first crack, undercut, or obstruction along the way
to sink into. Over the years, more and more freed-up gold will collect
in these cracks, making for some fine pickings if you
are willing to look for them.
Same thing goes in a stream bed. Look for where the water slows during
a flood. If the gold has a chance, it will sink.
Sample or test where the stream bends or widens, or where there are
natural obstacles or falls. Even a rock or boulder in
a stream will disrupt the flow of water, causing the gold to fall to
the bottom and collect. Don't be afraid to 'turn over a few
Where to look for gold:
*Gravel bars usually found on the inside of the river bends. Although
the gold here is mostly small flakes to very fine,
there sometimes is a lot of it.
*Where the stream levels out after a steeper part such as downstream
of rapids or waterfalls.
*Newly formed gravel bars.
*Small streaks of gravel laying on the bed rock but you will need some
sort of sucker to retrieve it if it is underwater.
*Down stream sides of large boulders and other obstacles which because
of size or other factors appear to have been
there for a long time.
*Pot holes in the bed rock
*Cracks in the bed rock. In popular prospecting areas, the large,
obvious cracks have most likely been cleaned out
many times. Look for lines of moss running along the bed rock. There
is almost always a small crack under the moss
and these cracks can contain a surprising amount of gold.
*Moss and grass roots near the river.
*The high benches. As a stream cuts deeper into a canyon, it can leave
patches of gravel high on the canyon wall.
These are called benches. Look for round or rounded rocks well above
the present high water level. Round or
rounded rocks have lived in a river at some time in their lives.
Always keep in mind that these are the most likely places to find
gold. There is an old saying: "Gold is where you find it."
What this really means is, you may find a spot that looks perfect and
not find any gold at all or you may find a spot that
looks like it would be barren but you find a "bonanza." Just try to
keep your mind open to all possibilities.
Prospector's Tip: After thoroughly panning, use a magnet to remove the
black sands easily and quickly from your gold.
The heavy black sand is usually quite magnetic while the gold is not.
Enjoy your time in the outdoors and don't forget to
get the kids involved!
Test your panning with one of our gold concentrate bags. Loaded with
gold it will allow you to practice at home before
going out on the river. Great for hand panning practice too!