GOLD LOCATIONS, Gold Panning and Prospecting in Michigan
Gold was first discovered in the upper peninsula in 1845, but placer gold has been found in numerous creeks and rivers in both the upper and lower peninsulas since.
Gold primarily occurs in three different geologic settings in Michigan:
1.) bedrock, 2.) sediments erroded from bedrock by glaciation, and 3.) in stream gravels. The most significant commercially viable claims have been made north of Ishpeming.
A placer deposit is a concentration of a natural material that has accumulated in unconsolidated sediments of a stream bed, beach, or residual deposit. Gold derived by weathering or other process from lode deposits is likely to accumulate in placer deposits because of its weight and resistance to corrosion. In addition, its characteristically sun-yellow color makes it easily and quickly recognizable even in very small quantities.
The gold pan or miner's pan is a shallow sheet-iron vessel with sloping sides and flat bottom used to wash gold-bearing gravel or other material containing heavy minerals. The process of washing material in a pan, referred to as "panning," is the simplest, most commonly used, and least expensive method for a prospector to separate gold from the silt, sand, and gravel of the stream deposits. It is a tedious, back-breaking job and only with practice does one become proficient in the operation. Thankfully, technology finally caught up with our gold fever and brought us metal detectors!
Placer gold has been found in the following counties: Marquette, Allegan, Antrim, Baldwin, Cadillac, Cass, Charlevoix, Emmet, Montcalm, Manistee, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Okland, Ontonagon, Wexford, and White Cloud. However, it is very likely that more gold will be discovered in others with a renewed interest in prospecting and better technologies. Well-known locations will continue to provide vast amounts of recoverable gold in streams with considerable water flow and / or exposed bedorck.
As always, ask for permission before detecting / panning on private property. However, the Manistee National Forest may allow recreational gold prospecting along many streams which show good potential. Contact district rangers for more info.
RELICS, COINS, & JEWELRY
Michigan offers a rich history from its early fur trapping days to present. Whether you're interested in military relics or silver coins, you're living in the best place for it all.
Here's a few more ideas to get you started:
Schools and College Campuses
Parks / Playgrounds / Picnic Areas
Foundations, Wells, and Cellar Holes of Old Churches or Houses
Downtown Construction Sites
Swimming Holes and Beaches
Camp Grounds, Boy Scout Camps, and WPA / CCC Camps
Riding Stables and Race Tracks
Old Fair and Carnival Locations
Old Town Dumpsites
As in other areas of the US, there are several tales of lost treasure in Michigan concerning caches buried for safety. In many of these stories, people either died or forgot where they buried the stash. Contributing factors include:
1. Federal laws making possession of gold illegal in the early 1900s
2. Distrust of banks during the Great Depression.
A fortune belonging to François Fontenay is said to be buried on Presque Isle near Detroit.
Thousands of ships sank in Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes throughout the years. Many stories of sunken treasures and other lost cargos (especially off the shores of Michigan) have surfaced in recent years as a result.
These excerpts are a sampling from American Coin Treasures and Hoards
Info courtesy of www.treasurefish.com