We are locating what is known as placer gold!

We have talked about where to find a place to look for gold, and decided it should logically be a claim where gold has been proven to exist. We’ve identified that the gold will be buried somewhere on the claim, so now the question is how do we find those places.

Placer gold (pronounced plasser) was formed in a vein of quartz that was located in a crevice, probably in some rock mass such as granite. It has been removed by erosion over millions of years at surface exposures. After it was loose it was mixed in with the sands and gravel in the area. Then it was washed away by the rains or melting snow locating it in various areas of the stream, or dry wash, or what ever is on the terrain of the claim.

Locating the exact spots where the gold settled and stopped is the act of prospecting. You will be reading the claim to find those spots. Nearly always you will be dealing with brown sand, black sand and gravel mixed in with the gold. All of these were moved onto the claim by moving water at some time in history. Many areas that are desert now were rivers, and even oceans, many millions of years ago. I have dug in the desert area of Last Chance Canyon in the El Paso Mountains of the Rand mining district in California and found huge deposits of sea shells. To understand how the gold is deposited on a claim, you must first understand that gravity is the controlling factor. To understand how, and why that works we must look at the specific gravity, or just the weight of the materials involved and compare them to the water that carried them. The brown sand and gravel is several times heavier than the water. The black sand is about six times heavier than the water, and the gold is about nineteen times heavier than the water. As the flowing water slows down near obstructions, or turns etc. the gold will be deposited first with black sand on top of it, and brown sand with gravel at the vary top, which might be several or more feet deep. You will nearly always find black sand where you find gold. Black sand is a good indication of where gold might be, but unfortunately you do not always find gold where black sand is. On occasion you might find a larger gold nugget without black sand around it. That is because it fell out of suspension in the water first because it weighed more. Usually that kind of find is made with a metal detector.

The best way to learn how to read a claim for the best places to dig, is to join a club and learn from those who have experienced success. There are publications that will teach you enough of the basics that you can be successful. One of those publications is “FINDING THE GOLD ”, Volume II – How to Read the Stream or Dry wash and Find the Gold – in “The GREAT AMERICAN SERIES” of e-books on gold.

Take a look at “FINDING THE GOLD” volume II.