0 Where can I find gold?

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  • 21-10-2020
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Gold river? Where and How search for gold.

Gold panning has been practiced in USA since the dawn of time. Our many mountainous regions are home to a quantity of precious metal, which then diffuses over a large part of the territory thanks to the various rivers. To help you spot the best places and start looking for glitter and nuggets, here are some essential tips and information.

From the depths of our soils to the beds of our rivers, the gold flakes sought by prospectors practicing gold mining are the result of a long journey and of many developments. Let's start by understanding where this precious metal comes from and then try to discern the best places to find it.

If you are wondering by what phenomenon we can find gold in our rivers today, we invite you to go back more than 4 billion years ago.

During the formation of our planet, gold was trapped more than 30km below the surface of the earth. The colliding tectonic plates created the mountains, creating huge cracks in the earth's crust. Fluids and gases then escaped through these cracks, taking with them various materials, such as gold. On cooling, these gases notably transformed into quartz and set the gold in the rock. This is the reason why the history of gold has been linked since the dawn of time to that of quartz.

Trapped in stone and in our mountains, part of the gold present on Earth is gradually detaching from the rock under the phenomenon of erosion. And this is how small particles of gold from rock are found in some of our rivers every day. These are called glitter, or even nuggets depending on their sizes.

A good gold miner is above all a good strategist. Before finding "a good spot", he must understand the movement of fluids and the path that the gold particles may have taken: he must then draw what is called the "Goldline".

This imaginary line represents the path taken by different materials (gold, but also magnetite and ferrite to name only the main ones). Very often this line is the shortest route from point A to point B across the river.

The Goldine of the same stretch of river can change over time depending on the flood level. A large flow will inevitably have an impact on the current and on the path that the heavy particles will take. A recession will have the effect of trapping these gold particles more easily within zones of lulls of the current, sometimes forming walls and hollows. They will then settle in areas less battered by the current, gradually forming deposits. It’s these natural obstacles, called "placers", that you should spot for a chance to update your first gold flakes.

At this point, it is important to understand that it is the effect of the current on the surface obstacles and the relief of the river bed (also called Bedrock in gold miner jargon) that determines where the potential lies. heavy metal deposits like gold. It is in particular the acceleration or slowing down of this current in the face of natural obstacles that will form these deposits over time.

It's up to you to observe the current on the Goldline and spot these different changes in rhythm and relief! Here are some cases that you can observe:

The meanders

The different curves that the river forms to make its way create so many slowdowns and obstacles for the evolution of the gold particles. Thanks to a whirlpool phenomenon, one can expect to find deposits of pebbles and gold just after a bend, on the inner bank. It is often upstream of these deposits that the gold stagnates, the rest of this pile being mainly made up of sand and gravel.

The rock in the middle of the river

The most obvious obstacle is of course the rock in the middle of the river. While some of the heavy metal particles will be retained upstream of the stone, it is also and above all behind it that the most significant deposit will be observed.
If this rock is submerged at the bottom of the stream, its impact on the current is no less: it will then have an identical effect creating behind it a vortex and a drop in pressure, letting the heaviest materials fall. We are talking about rock here, but a simple pebble can also retain gold flakes brought in by the current. Therefore, this is a pervasive case.

The rock or the tree on the banks
From the classic tree trunk to the rocks littering the edge of the river, various obstacles create slows in the current. Like the rock lost in the middle of the river, it is above all behind these natural obstacles that deposits are observed, following a drop in pressure.

Variations in river sizes
When the river thins in front of you, it creates an acceleration of the current which is immediately followed by a sudden slowing down after the narrowest passage. There is therefore a consequent drop in pressure during which the gold falls to the bottom of the stream more easily.

The confluences

When two streams meet, there is usually one that takes over and determines the continuation of the Goldline. There are therefore deposits of precious metal on the bank opposite the weaker stream, since it is brutally disturbed by the most powerful. A very interesting spot!
The most common phenomena of river bed irregularities are:

The pot
The most interesting of the irregularities of the bed is the pot, name given to evoke its shape of hole. It is therefore a hollow, which over time aggregates all the heavy particles that have passed through it. The heavy particles of gold and other materials literally drop inside as they pass overhead.

There are also faults that have the same effect as cooking pots but on a smaller scale. They are simply "cracks" in the ground forming traps of gold glitter.

The different levels of the bed

When the riverbed suddenly drops before rising again, the current slows down sharply over a tiny tiny area of the ground. Here are housed a quantity of the pebbles passed by: they in turn retain the gold particles.

Certain times of the year are indeed more conducive to the practice of gold panning. Summer remains the prime time for two reasons. The first is obviously the practical aspect: it is more convenient to prospect a river in summer than icy water in winter! Finally, while floods displace gold in winter, waterways generally recede in summer and this is when we are most likely to find deposits around natural obstacles.

Finally, a little Sioux tip: a good way to spot where unexploited deposits may be located is to imagine where and how gold particles move during flood conditions! Fewer gold miners turn to these deposits: you will have more chances of making great discoveries!

How to prospect and find gold in rivers?

Want to find some gold? That's right ? But you don't know where to start? In reality, looking for gold is not that difficult, because the deposit of gold is quite predictable. You still need to know a few rules. I must also warn you that finding gold flakes or nuggets will require a bit of diligence and research, because finding gold in USA is earned. The precious metal is still scarce, but the day you find it, you can boast that you understand how a gold digger can prospect.

The means used can be substantial with a non-negligible ecological cost. Fortunately, despite its rarity, the gold miner can extract it without too many administrative constraints in order to be in accordance with the law, (at least for now) in a leisure setting. For those who embark on the adventure of gold mining, the first question that comes to mind is "where does it come from? Where can I find it? How to look for it?" ". The goal is to provide you with the right gold panning techniques.

Here is the question we will try to answer in a very theoretical way. For this, we are going to rely on physical principles, on simplified images. Sometimes the theory doesn't apply as it should; Only field experience pays off.

The genesis of gold:
Through erosion, water tears various materials from the earth, including this precious metal, which inexorably ends up in the water course. Flood activity moves all materials, but before that, this gold is coming from somewhere? Originally, gold is formed when mountains are formed. The movements of the tectonic plates during the genesis of our planet, caused an immense amount of friction and pressure releasing enormous energy.

The gold rose in the form of vapors with the heavy minerals (carbon) and crystallized in the veins and fissures of the geological rock. Very often gold is found in association with another mineral, quartz, which acts as a substrate, filling cracks or faults in certain rock formations. This is why we often talk about gold-bearing quartz veins.

As mentioned above, erosion is exposing some deposits. The parent rock is then attacked by the mechanical action of the water in the rivers, which finishes the work of breaking up the rock, releasing the gold in the form of points, flakes, grains and nuggets of gold. As the floods rise, it and the other materials will move from the mountain to the lower streams.

Gold also moves in the form of dissolved ions in acidic waters that can precipitate on contact with basic rocks such as shale. The latter form has proven to be studied even today.

Now, where are you? Now what are you doing?
If you look at the beginning of the article on the chemical characteristics of gold, its density is highlighted. ~ 19.3 gcm3. Since we are only talking about a physical characteristic, we consider density = density. We will therefore focus on the characteristics of the weight of a particle evolving in a moving aquatic environment because that is the key to the problem.

First, let's start with a little reminder of a physical principle that will interest us. Archimedes' push.

It also applies in the event that moving water pulls an object with it. The movement of this object will depend on the initial speed of the thrust (here it will be the current), the volume of the object and its weight. Without obstacles, the object moves, more or less quickly, depending on its weight and volume.

Gold, a heavy metal:
In our rivers, gold is the heaviest metal. Also, both prospecting and mining itself, they are always based on the fact that gold is the heaviest material. Gold follows the current along a certain path called "the goldline" and will sometimes get trapped. This goldline has a certain peculiarity. It is made up of equally heavy materials (ferrites, magnetites, red blood cells, gold and all other ferrous debris). All these sets move very slowly according to certain configurations of the terrain. These materials are found trapped by the various natural obstacles.

This is precisely what we will see later. Current plays a primary role in this equation. It is based on a physical principle that everyone knows: Archimedes' push. Not that gold floats. We will rather focus on the displacement of heavy sands relative to the rest of the alluvium.

The different configurations to find gold deposits:
The movement of gold:
Since gold does not float, what will interest us is above all the displacement of heavy sands in relation to the rest of the alluvium. Ultimately, gold panning is nothing more than a physical exercise that uses several well-known principles. The goal of the gold digger will therefore be to understand the behavior of the course of the river in order to determine the places where the gold could have been trapped and extracted. This is called "reading the soul of the river".

NB: All these explanations are only theoretical. Sometimes the reality on the ground is quite different. This is also the magic of gold mining. In fact, it’s not magic, it’s experience.

The goldline (the shortest route):

If you talk to a gold miner, you will hear the word "goldline" from his mouth. It is nothing more than the path that gold takes through the stream. Its high density (and therefore its weight) means that it will follow a very specific path. Generally speaking, gold will take the shortest route. A higher flow, as during a flood, can modify this path appreciably according to the configuration of the bedrock.

These floods carry gold as well as gravel and pebbles. When the flood subsides, all moving objects land in very specific areas. These areas are areas of low pressure, a sudden slowing down of the current. Gold, being heavier, it will tend to deposit first in these lull areas. It is precisely the study of these areas that will allow the prospector to find "The spot".

The different configurations favoring gold deposits:
The meanders :
The first zone generating a drop in current pressure is the meander, and more broadly a curve.

In a meander, there is a deposit of pebbles which forms on the interior part. In a gold-bearing river, gold deposits are made on these gravel banks. These ushermen, as they are called, are made up of pebbles, sediments, clays. Gold and pebbles being heavy, they seek to settle where the current is less rapid. This is especially true in times of high water. It is therefore on the bank of the interior side that the deposit will be made.

There is the current that we see, but there is also what is happening at the bottom of the water. If the goldline follows the inner part of the curve, it is also because of side current. This swirling current goes from the outer bank (erosion zone) to the interior (deposit zone).

Floods can be beneficial:
In times of flood, these currents are faster and more powerful. The goldline will therefore change course. With a faster current, the outer bank erodes, supplying the interior of the usher with rock or even gold. Usually, the largest concentration of gold and large pebbles will be found in the front of the usher. Conversely, the lighter sands will settle at the end, often sterile. It is a phenomenon of gravity settling.

The rocks are also very good gold traps, as long as they are in contact with the current. This obstacle will create turbulence in its wake. This turbulence will disturb the speed of the current causing an area of low pressure and the current will abruptly decrease. Turbulence plays a role in sorting, retaining the heaviest materials just behind the obstacle and releasing the lighter ones. As before, the variation in flow influences the strength of the currents, and therefore the ability of the obstacle to capture gold. Obstacles along the bank:

The banks with obstacle:

Another very common case, a rock, a torn tree trunk or any other obstacle located on the bank and overflowing into the water will have the same effect as before. Still on the same principle, the obstacle opposes the current. It alters part of the path of the initial current, causing a vortex behind it and slowing the speed of the water in that area.

The deposit capacity is even greater there because the bank amplifies the effect and therefore accentuates the accumulation of heavy materials. It is interesting to note that if the obstacle presents any irregularities on its surface, it will be even more traps for the gold to prospect.

Irregular banks:

It is rare to find perfectly parallel banks in a natural environment. In this case, we have a bank that shows a narrowing of the stream and then a widening. In fluid mechanics, this is called the "VENTURI effect". To put it simply, this narrowing accelerates the current and the widening which follows, creating a sudden slowing down and therefore a drop in pressure, and which says "pressure drop" says "heavy material deposition", therefore gold. In this type of configuration, it is necessary to work in an aquatic environment to recover the gravel, knowing that the prospecting and extraction area can be very large.

The confluence areas:

A confluence is where one river flows into another. Under conditions where the main stream keeps a straight course, the arrival of another stream across will impact the path of the goldline. At this crossing, the current of the adjacent arm comes into contact with the current of the main arm, much stronger. This will have the effect of deflecting all the materials carried towards the opposite bank as well as the goldline. The provenance of the gold origin (main and / or adjacent arm) will have no impact on the deposit.

We have just seen the main conditions for depositing gold, but it is also interesting to see what happens on the bedrock and underwater. The bed of the stream is far from smooth and perfectly flat. And it is on this irregular surface of the bed that the goldline circulates. It is therefore on the bedrock (source rock or bedrock) that the gold miner must work as a priority because it is a surface that remains stable despite the current, unlike gravel and pebbles. Fortunately, there are some special predispositions that allow gold to be trapped.

Seen in profile, what does it look like?
The submerged rock or pebble:

In water, the most common obstacles to explore are rocks or large pebbles. In fact, this is not what is missing ... The ideal, above all, is to ask yourself the question. In the event of a flood, will it be washed away or not? If he's likely to stay put, we'll have a good chance of finding gold. It should also be noted that irregular shapes of the bedrock having this configuration will unfortunately have the same effect. This kind of obstacle has a very special effect on the current.

In opposition, it deflects the current all around it and generates in its wake a vortex, more precisely a vortex. As seen previously, this vortex will capture the materials carried by the current and will proceed to sorting. Only the heaviest particles will remain in contact with the rock, safe from the tumults of the vortex, and the rest will be ejected.

Bed rock collapse:

In places, you will notice that the bedrock is gaining depth. The volume of water becomes larger and the speed of the current decreases. This slowing down is a factor favoring material deposits. The pebbles stabilize in this zone of depression and, in turn, act as obstacles. It will then be interesting to look for the gold-bearing gravels behind or under the largest pebbles. The objective for the gold miner will be to reach the bedrock under the cobbles. When the bedrock floor rises, there is an erosion phenomenon on this part which can also capture gold and heavy sands.

The pots:

The pot is the name given in the gold mining industry to describe a hole in a bedrock or in a submerged rock. This hole creates a vacuum which, with the speed of the current, will create a vortex. As always, this vortex will capture and sort the materials. These pots are highly sought after by artisanal miners because they know they will find gold and sometimes in large quantities. However, it can sometimes be difficult to locate because sometimes the pot is completely clogged and appears invisible. When operating a pot, the most interesting is at the bottom, as the concentration of gold and heavy sand is often higher than elsewhere.

Pots are natural holes in the bedrock. Ideal place to prospect if you don't have a gravel bank within reach of a shovel.
You just have to make sure that at some point in the year the hole is under the water so that it fills with gravel. When submerged and under the effect of the current, the interior of the hole remains sheltered from the tumult of the water. It is said to be an area of ​​low pressure or zone of calm that promotes deposits. This hole will still be swept by the current but with much less intensity. The deposits there are brewing. The materials are sorted. The heaviest remain at the bottom. The lighter ones come out of the hole and continue on their way.

While exploring, you may find some out of the water, but usually they are submerged. When you prospect for a pot, it is often full of water. First, start with your shovel and then if there is too much water, finish with the hand pump. The highest concentration of gold is found deep within, in contact with rock. When working a pot, it must be completely emptied.

Faults and cracks:

While bedrock generally feels smooth and slippery, its structure itself is not. The bedrock can be compared to slabs laid next to each other. It also happens that some bedrock "slabs" show even small cracks. All these spaces are called faults or cracks. Of varying depths and shapes, it is a very interesting terrain to scratch.

The faults have the same effect as a cooking pot but on a much smaller scale. Oddly enough, it is often in the faults that we find the biggest glitter (see nuggets). However, extraction is often difficult because the pebbles tend to get stuck in the faults; Specific material (hook) is then necessary. But as always, perseverance pays off!

You just have to keep in mind that current is the energy that allows any form of gold deposit. This deposition takes place either by creating a vortex due to an obstacle, or by slowing down the current itself, which creates a phenomenon of the material settling under the effect of gravity. What differentiates a good prospector from a bad one is their ability to decipher these phenomena in the natural environment. But nature has many surprises in store for us. Experience shows us that the theory can be undermined in some cases!

Faults can be found on the surface when the level is low. They are more numerous in the bed of the river.

Faults are large cracks in the rock. They work on the same principle as a cooking pot. They can be in the longitudinal direction or transverse to the current. The goal for you will be to completely extract everything you can find there. Even if it’s prospecting, you won’t have wasted your time. It is very likely that some pebbles are stuck and the sands compacted. Don't hesitate to use a blunt object to dislodge them. The harder it is to extract, the older and more compacted the area.

The cracks are faults but small in size (on the order of 1 cm maximum). They can be found on a rock or the bedrock. Just because it's smaller doesn't mean there's no gold. For the cracks, you will need 2 tools. If the rock is submerged, use a hand pump or squeeze bottle. If it is on the surface, use a hook or other blunt tool.

A rock with a lot of irregular shapes is ideal for scraping and prospecting. Some are avid snipers. It is a practice of using a squeeze bottle to suck up gold underwater. Diving mask to provide ...

How do you apply all this to find gold in the field?
The story of the stream:
There is no mystery. If the stream in question contains gold, chances are it has already been mined in the past. For that, Google is our friend, as well as some books which remain rare to find. However, it happens to find rivers that have escaped past exploitation and therefore not listed.

Water heights:

Check the average minimum and maximum height of the watercourse to prospect. Indeed, gold mining remains a seasonal activity, often practiced in summer, when the waterways are at their lowest. For a prospector, it will be interesting to know the maximum water depth (vigicrues).

There is a maximum height which is generally done during the melting of the ice, in spring, taking into account the cumulative precipitation. Your best bet is to follow the height of the water during a flood, especially if it occurs before the start of your gold panning session.

The two reasons which favor the research are as follows: The first is the height of the flood. It will allow you to prospect more areas in relation to the height of the banks. In times of flooding, even heavy materials are stirred on the surface, contrary to what some may believe and say here and there.

The second reason is that a current will not necessarily follow the same path (bed) as when the river is at a low level. The goldline can deviate from its usual path. Also, it is recommended to go and see the behavior of the river during these periods of flooding to visualize these phenomena. This will give you hints when prospecting when the levels are at their lowest.

What material to take to prospect for gold?
Technically, you don't need much, but the little you will take will be essential. The first essential thing to have is an American pan or pan, a shovel, even in a miniature version, a small fault hook, a suction bottle to recover the precious metal and a hand pump to suck up gravel. in water. That's all !!! Leave your ramp at home as this is the best way to waste time.

Why a hand pump? And why is the sieve not in this list? Two very relevant questions.

A hand pump should be the material for you that should occupy as important a place as a pack.

During some introductory courses, this tool is hardly ever used, yet it remains essential. Indeed, even if the gold settles on the banks and the gravel banks out of the water, their quantities and their qualities are much greater in the water on the bedrock. The hand pump remains a simple tool to make yourself at a very affordable price. You will have noticed that I am not talking about a sieve and the reason is very simple: In prospecting, the goal is to find out where the deposit is the most important.

To prospect correctly, you must test and collect:
When taking samples, it is preferable to test raw gravel with an identical volume of gravel to test in the pan. Thus, for an equivalent volume of gravel, you will have a perfect point of comparison on your different samples. In prospecting, you have to travel light because you will certainly have to go a long way. No need to overload. Also pack a pair of waders so you can walk in the water without worrying about getting wet.

What are the first things to look out for before starting prospecting?
That's it, you have found the ideal river, the right time to go, and a very specific area to spend your (1/2) day! Here you are there and in front of you, a whole play area. The big question then arises: "where to start?" "

Learn to read the river:
The first thing you'll have to feel is the soul of the river. How it behaves in front of your eyes, and imagining in parallel, how it behaves during a flood. By this point, you have already gathered quite a bit of information, even if it is the first time that you have come to this place. The first data you are going to look for will be on your phone (or your pc before leaving).

A short turn on vigicrue to raise the current water level. So you can imagine how far the water has risen to its highest point. This data is very important. It allows you to visualize areas that were underwater a few months ago and are now dry.

How to do ?
The very first thing to look at is obviously the current. It is the carrier of gold. We watch how it circulates: If there are areas of acceleration or deceleration, areas where there is a lot or little bottom, if the water circulates in a laminar way or with eddies, if the current winds or remains straight, if there are large rocks visible on the surface.

We must always keep in mind that the goldline, and therefore gold, will tend to be trapped when the water course slows down, or when meeting an obstacle, and imagine the behavior of the water when the level is much higher compared to all that.

Look at the pebbles:
The easiest way to start is to observe the gravel banks. Take a closer look at pebbles, sands and more generally minerals. If possible, prefer natural traps like faults, holes, large rocks and as a last resort large pebbles. It is interesting to look at the presence of certain minerals such as quartz, hematites or even small pieces of iron or fishing sinkers (probable indicator of gold deposit).

The presence of quartz will comfort you in the presence of gold because one does not go without the other. As a reminder, it is in quartz that native gold is found trapped in the rock before ending up in the river. Hematites and ferrites are constituents of black sand accompanying gold. Finally, the small pieces of iron and lead are very good indicators of a possible deposit of gold because of their weight, quite important, close to that of gold. In some rivers such as Ariège or Limousin, garnets (heavy) are much more present than hematites.

Visualize and imagine the deposits:
Also, we will have to adapt according to the prospecting area. It is interesting to visualize, on the bank or a gravel bank, the presence of vegetation (small grasses). This gives you the maximum limit of the water level. The same is true for tree trunks collected in the same area. A zone of vegetation initiates the creation of overburden.

The added benefit in this case is that you have the additional information, namely that there the current slows down. But when the current slows down, gold settles. Another point to look at is the size of the grains deposited. Since a pebble is heavier than a grain of sand, you will have a better chance of finding large sized gold. If in an area you find a deposit of sand, it will usually be sterile. Indeed, a gravel bank acts as a gravity settling tank.

Look at Vigicrue information over time:
With a higher water level, this bench will trap the heavier particles and let the lighter ones through. So the large, dense pebbles will overlap and feed the construction of the bench with the gold inside. The sands will instead continue their path and accumulate where the current is less strong at the end of the bank.

A river has a soul:
Once this observation phase is over, you should have some idea of ​​where to start your first pan tests. Now is the time to get down to business. In fact, there is no "better place" to find gold. Its filing can sometimes surprise you just like its absence. While the theory is simple enough, in practice there may be factors that are beyond our control.

The different areas in which you must prospect:
The gravel bank:
I have told you about the traps that I call "active" because they load up with materials and sort directly by the effect of the current. I'm going to tell you about the gravel bank, which has a more “passive” effect on the gold deposit. The presence in one part of the stream of a gravel bank reflects a slowing down of the current and therefore an accumulation of materials of all kinds. As the water rises and the flow increases, it will collect pebbles, sands, alluvium and gold. The pebbles initially present will play the role of gold traps.

As easy as the gold mining activity on a gravel bank, the gold concentration is uncertain. From a theoretical standpoint, gold will tend to be found above the bank. Due to the accumulation of materials with the seasons, there was no real sorting because it is just deposit. The gold will tend to seep over time through the depths of the bank until it reaches the bedrock (therefore inaccessible with the means used in recreational gold panning).

In addition, a gravel bank is mobile. If a flood is stronger than usual, it can completely destroy or even wash away an entire bank and displace it several hundred meters further downstream.

A gravel bank is not particularly easy to pave:
This is how deposits are renewed. To explore a bench, you have to look for an imposing rock (bulder) or a visible piece of bedrock and sort out the gravel that is just behind it, in order to maximize the chances of finding a deposit. Despite its lack of stability, it remains interesting to prospect a bench. Be aware that when you exploit it, you will have to treat a lot of volume to have a suitable harvest ...

It will just be necessary to check that this rock is not likely to move during floods. Most of the time, these rocks are partially, if not almost completely, covered with gravel and pebbles, which will be a good thing because, with the gold lodged behind, they will have had time to concentrate. In general, because not all places are the same, a gravel bank is first and foremost an accumulation area. During floods, the current pushes all the alluvium down to this zone (lull zone).

Beware of fine particles:
These gravels allow the finest minerals including gold (of course) but also silts and clays to pass through to the bottom. If you dig deep in the bench, you will first have gravel and pebbles on the surface, then you will arrive in an area where there will be only clay and silt (orange in color and fairly compact sandy) . If you get to this layer, keep going because this clay bed is a sign that the bedrock is not far away.

And if you get to the bedrock, there's a good chance you'll find a lot of gold that's been leaking for tens or even hundreds of years. However, the choice to dig is yours, the layer depth is impossible to predict and the scale of the work can quickly become overwhelming.

The current slowing areas can sometimes be interesting but they can be really huge. This slowdown is often due to a rising bed floor or a widening of the banks. This will have the effect of reducing the pressure of the current and therefore a settling of the materials which will settle to the bottom by gravity and by a weaker current.

The big problem in these areas is that there can be a lot of bottom, a strong current and the bedrock is never visible (covered with so much pebbles and other alluvial deposits). Extracting gravel can quickly become difficult, but the gold is way below.

The banks:

The banks are the edges of the body of water. There are often banks of gravel collected on the inner side of a bend, but you can also test the banks outside or when the stream is in a straight line. The gravel deposits are proof of this. These gravel deposits can cover the entire plane of the bank. It is also interesting to test the first herbs (the ones closest to water). The roots act as a filter, much like a carpet, and trap gold particles. Consider replanting those plants that you have uprooted, because it is thanks to them that the bank is held in place.

NB: it must be kept in mind that any zone of deposit of gold-bearing gravels (and gravels in general) is never frozen. Any deposit brought by a flood can very well be washed out or replaced by a following one. Everything is in perpetual motion. With the exception of the bedrock and bulder, the configuration of a location can change and create new deposits where there were none. There are therefore phenomena of gold concentration, recharging, destruction and accumulation of alluvial deposits.

Beware of clay bedrock:
We know the hard and rocky bedrock well, but we talk less about the clay bedrock or false bedrock. This is formed by the accumulation of clay coupled with very rapid drying in its center. This mass thus formed becomes as hard as concrete but remains very friable. Subsequently, the erosion does its job and draws this false bedrock by pots and cracks. Of course, if the goldline goes this way, the gold will settle there.

Prospecting advice to better find gold:
Locating shallow gold deposits in stream gravels can seem like a daunting task. The following information will help you identify areas where gold is more likely to be found near the surface.

Look for the clues.
No two rocks or gravel are the same. There are different sizes, shapes, colors and above all densities. The water pressure will sort various rocks in different areas along a stream based on size, shape and weight, which is important. Rocks with a higher density or weight are often found with other heavy minerals such as gold and gemstones. Each time you pan wash, look at what stone is present in the pan near the end. Then, as you move around, look for the same stone on the gravel surface or behind larger obstacles.

Why would heavy materials be on the surface and not at depth?
The first answer is water pressure. Without going into too much detail, let's take a look at what you see when you first walk by a stream. There are always areas of deep and shallow water. Both are important and understanding is the key. You are more likely to find gold in the upper layers of gravel, just downstream of a deep water hole for a simple reason: Anything that passed through that water hole was pushed back to the top of the gravel. by high water pressure. When a tree is knocked over in a gravel flood, water will move around the obstacle digging into the surrounding gravel.

As the floodwaters recede, there will be an area of ​​deep water around the root ball and a shallow tail of gravels downstream of it. This is probably the best example, but certainly not the only one where gold is brought to the surface by deeper layers of gravel. This tree may have experienced a lot of flooding during its lifetime and you can be sure that many layers of gold bearing gravels have settled around and behind. Now, it must be said that this does not guarantee that the gold is there. The location of the tree in the stream bed has a lot to do with what was deposited downstream of the stream.

Where's the gold?
Prospect a river in a straight line.
Small practical case in a small river, during a survey.

[A] Go for the obvious first and go check on the inside of the turn. A small bar of gravel just to the right of the tree trunk is the first area to test, because it is the most obvious.

[B] A fairly interesting area to explore. Tree debris, larger rocks in the stream, and fine gravel in the water.

[C] Exposed bedrock plunging into the stream. Lots of fine gravel towards the center of the creek with rocks sitting on the gravel bar (notice the rapids) and calmer water towards the shore.

[D] Bedrock going from the bank to the middle of the stream. Lots of large submerged rocks surrounding the area and very little fine gravel below the waterline just past the sheer area.

Result of prospecting and conclusion.
The most interesting area of ​​the 4 points is area B. Why? Even if the photo is not great, point A is not the best because the water flows very fast, too fast even. The deposit exists but the gravel bank is relatively recent. In addition, the tree trunk in zone A is well anchored in the ground. It therefore modifies the exterior of the meander, which makes zone A of little interest.

Zone B is the first obstacle that marks the start of the slowdown. So it's the best place in the area for that simple fact. The change in direction of the main flow, due to the trunk of Zone A, changes the direction of the flow at the end of the turn, forcing the water through the areas of boulders and bedrock that you can see in the creek between A and B. This pushes the water towards B. Hitting the shore and trees in Zone B instantly slows down and deposits in vegetation, fine gravel and gold on the front of the trees and some on the side and back.

prospecting result on 4 zones
The test result clearly shows the phenomenon of water and its action on the deposit of gold.

A straight river always has pitfalls.
Even if a stream is in a straight line, the gold traps still exist, we still need to see and recognize them.

It is very interesting to check the terrace areas. These are areas of earth and gravel either erosive or deposits. These terraces appear like gravel on a slope. This peculiarity in the form of a downward slope reflects a strong accumulation that took place violently during floods.

If you have a waterfall, there are 3 places to check. First, the borders of the eluvial line of the fall, as in the photo above. This is the kind of interesting area because a waterfall is formed by bedrock so with possible faults, especially on the edges. When the level rises, the goldline moves around the edges and you can find a lot of gold in these waterfall edges. The funnel-shaped appearance lends itself very well to this type of deposit.

Some waterfalls can appear in 2 columns as in the photo above. After the first fall, there is a settling zone, before falling on the second column. This area is often deep and ideal for sorting minerals. This is the very example of a fluidized bed (fluid bed as on a bazooka sluice). We have the same phenomenon after the second column. A Henderson hand pump will be the perfect tool to check if a gold deposit exists, with a high probability of having fine grains or even gold nuggets.

To remember !
During this prospecting, you will have to compare the content of your sections in the different places tested. You have systematically sorted raw gravel without sieving, which allows you to have a real point of comparison between the volume of gravel and the amount of gold.

During your prospecting, it is essential to see as many different places as possible in all possible configurations to draw up a complete diagram of the place where you are. Now that this diagram is clear, the next job will be to find the perfect spot to put your wash ramp down and clear out all the gold rich areas. At that point, as I always say, the math is simple, the more gravel you put in your ramp, the more gold you will harvest. This is the "exploitation" part, the most lucrative in terms of finding but the least interesting in terms of leisure.

Be careful, however, not to pull out your gold panning ramp too quickly. You really have to take the time to fully understand how the deposit works in your area. Also be careful to think carefully if the use of a ramp is really necessary. A ramp is only useful for handling a large amount of gravel. For example, if your area is mostly the micro crack to be hooked, it will be faster to mine the side crack area. but you will decide which material is most suitable.

Make no mistake, gold also knows how to be stealthy and hide. It will be with your qualities, your perseverance, your eye and your intuition that you will manage to find it. Don't expect to harvest 1 gram of gold per day, either. It does happen, but the reality on the ground is not always so. Gold panning is learned day after day, ride after ride, and luck has a lot to do with it too. Theory is one thing, but it's only theory….


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