Gold Panning and Prospecting in Washington State
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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!
Minor amounts of placer gold have been produced in Washington (on the Columbia and Snake Rivers and their tributaries).
Washington' s petrified woods are some of the finest in the nation. The woods not only represent a broad range of colors and patterns, but also represent a wide range of identifiable species. Species identified include redwood, oak (more than 10 varieties), cypress, elm, maple, willow, cedar, poplar, chestnut, alder, birch, persimmon, laurel, and ginkgo. The preserved woods have been used to make cabochons, table tops, pen bases, and other objects of art.
Deposits in the State also furnish a selection of agates that include moss, blue, and carnelian. The blue agate from Kittitas County, known as Ellensburg Blue, is highly prized by local lapidaries.
RELICS, COINS, & JEWELRY
Washington has a rich history of early settlements - the perfect spot for an energetic relic hunter! 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, Beaches, and Natural Springs Camp Grounds, Boy Scout Camps, WPA Camps, and Mining Camps Sports Facilities Ghost Towns Rodeo Arenas, Riding Stables, and Race Tracks Old Fair and Carnival Locations Old Town Dumpsites LOST TREASURE
As in other areas of the US, there are several tales of lost treasure in Washington 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.
Captain Johnson's cache of gold may still be at the old Johnson home site, Ilwaco, Pacific County. On Vashon Island in Puget Sound a logger buried gold in 1877, and it remains unlocated. Sarah Smith Collard of Seattle traveled widely and is said to have hidden money in out of the way places on her journeys, including $500,000 in an old clock and several $1,000 bills in another location. In the 1950s the administrator of her estate was seeking clues as to where some of the money was. These excerpts are a sampling from American Coin Treasures and Hoards
Info courtesy of www.treasurefish.com
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