Glory Hole Gold


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Hi all.

I was talking with Rob the other day and the subject of glory holes came up. And is something I’ve never really talked about.

Everyone loves finding them. You know one of those spots in a creek or a dry wash or bench where you are finding a small piece of gold now and then, maybe every 10-20-50 feet apart and all of a sudden you hit a glory hole. A pocket of nuggets that somehow all collected together in one spot or crack! 

But why do they form and where do you look for these glory holes? Well let me give you a few tips that have worked for me in the past and what I always look for when out hunting.

This is the way I categorize them.

We will start with dikes. Both positive and negative.

A positive dike is a bedrock dike that is harder than the surrounding host rock,i.e quartz veins in granite for example and because it's harder it tends to protrude above the granite as it erodes over time and becomes a trap for gold.. In many cases you can spot them from a distance looking at the banks and ridges of a wash. They may be buried in the wash but just look at the sides and in many cases you can see where they cross the wash. You will also find small to large waterfalls under the positive dikes. Speaking of waterfalls, I've seen them trap gold and I’ve seen them blow it all out, seems to depend on the height and flooding in the area. So I consider them a crap shoot. but if the wash is small I'd dig em.

Ok let's talk about negative dikes.

Negative dikes are dikes that are softer rocks, like gneiss or schist etc. and where the host rock (bedrock) tends to shift, or move up or down creating a trap.

These dikes can create cracks or slots in the bedrock as they erode. Sometimes large, sometimes small but even a small crack can collect a lot of gold as it crosses the creek or wash.

 

BTW I personally witnessed a glory hole find that produced about 340 ozs. of pickers and nuggets.

And that doesn’t include the fine small gold we had gold wheel out of the black sand for days..

More on these and other types of glory holes as I get time.

Take care out there.

AzNuggetBob

Edited by AZNuggetBob
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  • AZNuggetBob changed the title to Glory Hole Gold

Thanks for the welcome back.

Not dead but I have dodged a bullet or two. 😄

I have more spare time right now so I can get back into posting more information

on finding gold.

I like sharing information on finding gold that Ive learned over the years I’ve been prospecting.

There is still a lot of it out there just waiting to be found.

Not only that I’m going to talk about how gold glory holes ‘replenish themselves’ over time.

They can be a catch-all in some washes and when you learn how to spot them from above they can be a glory hole you can clean out every few years after monsoon flooding.

 

"And always remember gold follows the path of least resistance."

AzNuggetBob

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Hey Bob,

   Great write up about Glory Holes and Dikes.  I have hit some good spots over the years, so I will call them Glory holes for me.  

I agree about the Dikes, I have found some pretty good gold in front of and in back of dikes.  In wash bottoms, any rock structure that is more resistant to weather vs. the surrounding rock can be a good trap.  I can remember years ago working a small gully in the Bradshaw Mountains where I found around 2 dozen small gold nuggets on the front side of a dike.  The dike was only sticking up about 1/4 inch higher than the surrounding Schist bedrock, but just enough to hold heavys on the front side.  The dike was running about a 30% angle across the wash.  

Hope to see some more articles and more about the Glory Holes.  

Rob

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I agree Rob. both in front and behind a dike. Great gold traps. I’ll tell you about another glory hole I found.

We were dredging down on Antelope creek N. of Stanton Az.

We were what I called pot holing. Dredging small holes to bedrock, Random dredging side to side trying to define a pay streak line in the creek based on the gold recovery.The bedrock in that creek like many others tilts left and right as it progresses downstream.

We are a little puzzled on this at the time trying to find the best line to concentrate on. I’ve hunted this creek before and it has produced many nuggets up on high bedrock protruding up from the gravel banks. So I knew that there was some descent sized nuggets in there.

More later.

AzNuggetBob

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Hey Bob,

   I had a claim at the junction of Indian Creek and Antelope, but we never got to dredge it.  We had it for about 2-3 years, but never enough to really dredge the bottom.  We ended up selling it and that same year we got a huge storm and the creek ran for about a month ..... Go figure!  

Rob

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That's the way that area is Rob. barely running creek to flooding with the monsoons. One time I was sitting up at Johnny's place down below yours. and I heard the flood coming. It started with thunder storms up the canyon and then it was pounding down the creek. the water raged down through there. wall of mud, trees. I walked down to the creek bank when I heard it. the bank there is about 25 feet above the creek. you could hear the rocks pounding and feel them through your shoes standing on the bank. I sat down on the bank and watched it go by. BTW our gold dredge was down there too. I'll get to that later. But one thing I noticed is that just behind one of the dikes crossing the creek on the far side there was this huge Whirlpool. I watched it spin and I thought that has got to be a gold concentration spot.

 I decided to add more to this post ,It sounded like rolling thunder that just kept getting louder. If you ever find yourself in this situation head to higher ground.

More later.

AzNuggetBob

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Hey Bob,

   Ya, it's amazing the power of water during flooding.  I was in a similar situation, but it was on Humbug Creek back in the early 90's.  It was actually during the Winter, so the creek was already running well, but there was a series of storms that rolled in for about a week straight and the Bradshaw's just got pounded.  I think just about every River, creek and side trib was running.  

We were staying at a old mining Camp on Humbug, Columbia area.  A good friend of mine, now passed, George Subers was the carekeeper of that property.  That evening we were outside after the rain stopped and we could hear the crashing boulders going done the creek and we were about 300-400 yards up hill in the house.  We went down to where the road crossed and headed up to Gold Hill and just watched in amazement as the water roared, ripping just about ever tree near the water line out and huge boulders crashing down creek. 

I agree, the best advice if you know there is a storm even nearby, get to higher ground if possible and don't park your vehicle (if possible) in the water course.  

Rob

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Remember the dredge we had in the creek during the flood.

Well the next day after the flood Johnny and I are talking about finding the dredge. I’m thinking its gone. Probably half way to Wickenburg (25 miles downstream)buried from the flood. He is more confident than me and talks me into a search down the creek. We go rock hopping down the creek looking at all the disaster this flood caused and about two miles downstream wrapped around this big tree we spot a glint of aluminum wrapped around a big tree. When we got up too it, I  said that's it. There it is. wrapped like a taco around this old tree and almost covered in limbs and weeds..We found it!

More later.

AzNuggetBob

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 We decided lets go back up the mine and get the truck. I got a truck, and a big pry bar. where we found it was closer than hauling it back up the creek. And we peeled the dredge off the tree. we get the dredge back up to the mine camp and I’m thinking Parts?

There was almost no paint left on it , I have never seen a dredge engine that looked like a rounded nugget. LOL wish I had photos but really didn't want to document us screwing up leaving the dredge down in the creek in the Monsoon season at that time. We were nubes, lesson learned.

More later

 

AzNuggetBob

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 I remember Johnny and I are standing there looking at the dredge assessing  the situation and we start thinking well, maybe? 

Hey we are gold miners, we don't give up!

Johnny pops the sluice box off of what's left of the twisted frame, I start working on the engine. I pry the pull starter side cover off, it's mangled. I popped the head off,it’s full of mud. I pull the side cover off of the crankcase and the whole engine is full of mud. But I don't see any holes or cracks in the crankcase?  Never underestimate mother nature. 

So while Johnny is busy adjusting and fine tuning the aluminum sluice box with a sledge hammer and straightening the sides with a big pipe wrench. I go to our favorite parts supply house. (The mine junk yard!) looking for engine parts. We make a new frame from old steel bed rails. I added a couple of truck inner tubes to the frame with bungee cords for flotation, the old poly floats were long gone. 

We finally get her running. She is belching smoke but she’s running. The dredge looked like something out of a Mad Max movie. 😂

But we are back in business.

Remember the Whirlpool I spotted during the flood.

More later.

AzNuggetBob

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way2cool

To me it’s like, where did gold come from, why is it there? And how can I find it. 

I just try to answer some of those questions based on past experiences.

AzNuggetBob

.

 

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Well we got the reborn dredge down to the creek.The water had slowed down a lot since the flood. so we are sucking out all the silt that has settled in from the creek flood. We were working it with a mask and snorkel tossing rocks.. The hole was starting to slim down into a Jacuzzi sized hole. It ended up only being about three feet deep. It appeared to me that the flooding had scoured out a round hole in the bedrock. After dredging and tossing rocks for about five hours

I remember I said Johnny you gotta see this. I was looking at an almost cone shaped pile of gold and lead on the bottom of the hole. bullets,shotgun shot and lead frags and gold. We dredged it two years later and got almost and oz. out of it, 

I haven't been back there for several years, I’m wondering how much gold is in there now.

More later

AznuggetBob

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Ok here is another story about that property. Johnny and I are looking for another glory hole. We are potholing dredging down the creek but not doing very well. Our daily take was only about a gram or two and even back then. A lot of work for a gram or two and the old Mad Max dredge was drinking oil and gas.

So Johnny spots this, I can't remember if it was either a schist or gneiss bedrock knob sticking up out of the creek a few inches and says lets dredge in front of that. And we did. We found almost nothing as far as gold. It looked by the shape of the bedrock once we got it cleaned out that everything channeled around it.So I said let's dredge behind it.

More later



 

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We dredged down only about two and a half feet and sure enough almost the same scenario as the first glory hole we found. Gold and lead piled up in a pile on the bottom of a scoured out and an almost round hole behind the dike about three feet in diameter...a nice score on that one.

Almost two oz. we were pumped up.

 

But its not over yet. 

We decided we were going to celebrate our finds. So we head up to a bar up in Yarnell , a couple miles up the hill from the mine. Showing off our bottle of gold. Buying drinks and just having a good time.

So we closed the bar, actually I think they closed it trying to get rid of us. We were the last two people in there.

It was all down hill back to the mine from there and so based on the condition of the truck there was a good chance we were going to make it there.

so we leave the bar and as we were walking down the sidewalk I ask Johnny, you did grab the bottle of gold off the bar right? And as I remember he says sure and reaches into his shirt pocket and flips it out saying I got it right here as I watched it fly and crash onto the sidewalk.

Johnny is down on his hands and knees trying to gather it up and I said Johnny leave it. We will come back tomorrow and get it. So we show up there the next day sweeping up (mining) the sidewalks in Yarnell but we got most of the gold back.

AzNuggetBob




 

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On the last small glory hole.

The bedrock knob was a portion of a dike crossing the creek. It had been rounded, likely from the ablation of the flood gravel on the upstream front side and still flat in the downstream back side. Only about two and a half feet wide and a foot thick.This had apparently created a vortex of sorts, almost a vacuum that allowed for a place that the gold could concentrate (hide) from the flooding. 

“The path of least resistance.”

AzNuggetBob

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