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Introduction to Gold Prospecting

How fascinating the pursuit of gold is! It can be found in most mountainous areas in our country. Finding gold can be an enjoyable experience, not so much for the monetary value of the metal itself, but more for the opportunity to stop and experience the beauty of Mother Nature's treasures. Many of us travel too fast in our lives. Panning for gold is an activity that can really pay dividends other than the procurement of the precious metal. But as anyone interested in the sport of fishing knows, the fisherman can never predict whether the next cast will bring him a trophy or no fish at all. So to the prospector does not know what his pan will yield with each successive panning. Perhaps nothing, perhaps a few lead sinkers from the fishermen who have also plied the stream for rewards, or just maybe a nice gold nugget. Good hunting! Interesting facts about gold: When it is found in nature it can be pure, 24 karat. Since gold does not oxidize, its color makes it easily identified. The high density of gold allows its deposition in unique places in a stream. A bar of pure gold measuring 2" X 3" X 10" would weigh approximately 43 pounds. Although it is rare, many areas of the United States contain enough gold to readily find it. Among metals it has the highest degree of malleability. Gold Leaf can be pounded out to a thickness of 15 atoms wide. 1000 sheets of gold leaf equal the thickness of a human hair.

Where is the Gold? Gold can be found in many areas. The techniques discussed in this course can be employed to find gold in many areas. Therefore, our discussion about gold prospecting will be approached from a general point of view. Streams are commonly associated with the finding of gold. This gold is known as placer gold. This means that the gold has been weathered away from its mother lode, literally the mother of the smaller fragments. It is the finding of placer gold that can create a trail to the mother lode source. The method most commonly employed is panning. The process of panning is when the prospector uses a specially designed gold pan to locate his treasure. Streams are an excellent place to look because of several factors:

1. A stream passes through many miles of possibly gold laden minerals.

2. The density of gold (10 times as much as common sand) allows it to be deposited in special places in or adjacent to the stream area. These places are commonly known as "pay streaks"

3. Spring floods will redeposit gold to provide a new supply annually.

4. It is a cool place to spend a summer afternoon.

5. The kids will love a frolic in the water while you can prospect for gold.

6. There are a variety of other natural things to enjoy while you relax (fishing)

7. Roads commonly pass along streams and river paths creating a great opportunity to prospect.

8. The placer gold that is located will sometimes lead you to the location of higher quantities of gold and its source, the mother lode.

excerpted from treasurefish.com

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