Getting Started With Gold Prospecting
Gold is everywhere! There is probably even gold in your very own back yard! Can you imagine? The kind of money you could potentially be sitting on right now? And even if you don’t think there could possibly be gold in your own back yard, then I promise, you don’t have to travel very far to find it. Travel to the river or creek near your house, and gold can be found there. It can be found in the ocean, in the rock under your feet, nearby creeks and in the hills outside your city.
Since the beginning of time, humans have been fascinated with gold. The possession of gold signified wealth and prosperity. Civilizations have risen and fallen in pursuit of the precious metal. And just like those civilizations, gold prices also rise and fall. And now, at today’s gold prices, it’s no wonder that many people are taking up the hobby of amateur gold prospecting.
What Is Gold
Gold is a mineral that’s found in veins and placer deposits. A vein (or gold vein) is created when lava makes its way to the surface. As the lava cools, large amounts of gases and liquids are given off. Most of these liquids and gases follow cracks in the lava and deposit mineral matter along their way, forming a vein. Some of these veins can run for miles!When these veins reach the surface, they get broken down by wind, weather and water which carries off the gold.
Why Prospect For Gold
The best part about prospecting for gold…it won’t cost you the bank to get started! Sure, there’s a lot of fancy and expensive equipment out there you could buy. But in no way do beginner gold prospectors need to buy all that stuff just to get started and find a little gold.
Like I mentioned earlier, gold prices have soared to over record breaking prices in the last number of years. Fortunes have been made because of this. And due to the potential of making so much money, the popularity of gold prospecting has increased like crazy.
In addition to possibly striking it rich, other great reasons for getting into gold prospecting are simply getting out doors. It’s a lot like hunting for arrowheads, sure, the hunt and the find are exhilarating, but just getting outdoors and into nature is often time reason enough.
Where To Prospect For Gold
Even though gold could technically be found in your own back yard, it’s probably not the best place to start looking for the shiny stuff. The best thing to do, if you’re a beginner gold prospector, is to become as familiar as you can with where and how gold is formed.
The most common and likely place to find gold is in with quartz crystal formations. The problem is, these deposits of gold are simply too expensive and difficult to extract for the beginner gold prospector.
When it comes to gold prospecting for beginners, the next best option is to become familiar with and locate alluvial deposits. These “placers” are deposits that mother nature, in all her wondrous marvels, has left behnind for you and I to find. With these kinds of deposits, we might find gold in surface holes or pockets where the surrounding rock and soil has been washed away, leaving the heavier gold to accumulate in the pockets, or natural “traps”.
1. Ancient River Beds
One thing to really consider when planning your gold prospecting adventure, is that the natural landscape is always changing. Don’t forget that the river bank you’re standing on might not be very old. Chances are, the ancient river bed, where all the deposits of ancient gold are, could be a ways away, where the brush and trees are growing.
In addition to looking for gold in the present day river or stream, try taking a gravel sample from the other area and look for evidence of gold. Many times, gold prospectors have been literally camped right on top of the gold, and never knew it.
So stay aware of your surroundings. Always keep in mind that the landscape today, is not what the landscape looked like eons ago.
2. Where Gold Has Been Found Before
It’s highly recommended that as beginner gold prospectors, you plan your first prospecting adventure in an area that has been proven to yield gold in the past. The area may be known to have existing “placers” or maybe even a mine has been established nearby. A quick search online should be able to help you find some of these gold mining areas near you.
While you’re doing research on local areas that have produced gold in the past, another good thing to consider is visiting your state’s school of mines, and the natural history or historical society to take a look at their collection of precious metals and minerals. By doing this, you will educate yourself with the different types of precious metals and minerals you may find while prospecting for gold. Wouldn’t it be cool to uncover a diamond in your gold pan?
Gold Prospecting Tools
Good news. The cost of getting started and obtaining your own set of necessary gold prospecting tools is not going to break the bank. Technically, you could use an old frying pan to pan for gold. Is this the best idea? No…probably not. But for not a whole lot of money, you can by the right equipment and get started right away.
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The gold pan is probably one of the first things people think of when it comes to gold prospecting for beginners. Modern day gold pans are made out of lightweight plastic and are really inexpensive. The deep riffles or gravity traps help keep the gold in the pan. Keep in mind that steel gold pans are much heavier, more difficult to use and can easily rust out. Gold pans are a very portable gold prospectors tool.
If you’re looking at purchasing your first or 18th gold pan, you might want to read my post, The Best Gold Pan.
Nothing will be easier for you to move gravel, rocks and dirt around easier than one of these shovel/pick combo tools. They’re lightweight, durable and easy to carry and store. A must have for beginner gold prospectors.
A 5-Gallon bucket is very convenient for carrying and organizing all of your gold prospecting tools. It also can be used to carry the material you intend to pan.
These buckets are very inexpensive or even free at some stores. You can also concetrate your material down to just the heavy black sand and take it home with you. By doing this, you can use your time on the river to gold pan and use your time at home to actually get all the fine gold out of your black sand concentrate!
A magnet can be used to remove the magnetic black sand you accumulate in your plastic gold pan. Using a magnet makes cleaning up significantly easier.
Gold Cleanup Kit/ Sniffer Bottle and Vial
Sniffer bottles, snuffer bottles or sucker bottles are very handy to have with you for removing really fine gold flakes from your gold pan.
How To Pan For Gold
In my next post, I will walk you through how to actually pan for gold. Until then, take a look at this excellent video for great tutorial on how to use your gold pan and really pan for gold. You can check out that post here, How To Pan For Gold: A Guide For Beginner Gold Prospectors.