Where to Start Searching for Gold Nuggets?

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Hi All, 

I posted on a thread over on DetectorProspectors forum when a person asked about where to look for gold nuggets?  You could write a book on it, but here are some quick basics I mentioned - 


Hello all,

    This is always one of the first questions asked for new prospectors/detectorist.  Where do I even start looking? 

I think you could write a book on this subject as it's very complex to be honest.   You have to first understand gold, the basics of how it's formed and the processes of erosion or weathering to get the gold to it's first location, to it's final location and anywhere in-between depending on it's timeline.  

Once you have a idea of the basics of gold, say placer gold for example you can understand that due to it's specific gravity it will likely make it to the lowest point in given time (this could be hundreds or thousands of years).

The lowest points in most areas is going to be wash bottoms (gullies, washes, rivers and any water water).  This is normally why you will see some past placer activity in rich gold bearing areas.  

Normally, for metal detectorists, this is the first place many will start.  Keep in mind, the old-timers did also by sampling and then trying to see if they could be lucky enough to track the traces of gold back to the original source that may/maybe be left.  Many of the major gold mines were found by locating the placer first, but this is not the case all the time, many visible quartz veins can attract someone to them to sample and find out if there are any values.  I'm sure many of the visible quartz vein in gold rich areas have been sampled from the beginning of mining history.  

Then the question comes to coarse gold, or nuggets.  Many placers throughout the World are not noted for larger, coarse gold, like nuggets.  You can do a lot of research and find extremely rich gold areas, but very little coarse gold was located due to the type of deposit.  These area might not be very beneficial to electronic prospectors.  

I have always stated to seek out "Pocket type" deposits if you can find any info on them.  These are the types of deposits that contribute to large, nugget gold.  For beginners, just try to research areas that historically have produced gold nuggets, even very large ones.  Worst case, if you can't find info on what the placers produced, just find the gold areas and work within and around them.  This will at least give you a chance of potentially locating something at some point.  

All that being said, the subject can be simple or very complexed, depending how much you really want to know.  

To keep it simple, I have always stated, invest in good equipment (right tool for the job), do whatever research you can (knowledge is very helpful) & develop a plan of attack.  This basically means finding a potential location, exploring and metal detecting likely locations.   It all comes down to a process of elimination, searching here and there the best you can, eliminating spots and exploring new.  At some point, you will be successful at finding a nugget or two.  

You can speed the process up by forming a small group of close friends, all being on the same page that allows you to have the comradery, safety and more ground be explored and sampled quicker. 

Final notes, don't allow Greed to get the best of you, Gold Fever as some will say.  Enjoy the good times, don't get discouraged, stay positive, appreciate the creation around you and give praise to when you find your first, gleaming gold nugget!

Wishing you all the best out there,


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