I think I made a Newbie mistake


Recommended Posts

Hello all. This is my first post. I live in Tennessee and my prospecting experience seems to be quite different than most of what I have read here. I've only been trying to prospect for gold a few weeks and only in rivers and creeks in East Tennessee. The other day I found on the map a place called Gold creek. It is a trib of a river known to have gold in it. I got permission and was panning and found that there was not any black sand at the botom of my pan. I did keep seeing this flake that looked like gold but it didn't act like gold. It kept moving around my pan and didn't seem as heavy as the rest of the sand. I finally decided that it wasn't gold because I didn't find any black sand and the gold flake seemed too light to be gold.

I did a search on here and I now believe that finding black sand is not always an indication that gold is present. Is that correct? This is the 2nd creek I've been in that I felt like gold should have been in but there was no black sand and I gave up on the creek.

Is that a mistake?

TIA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Alton.

Welcome to the forum!

There is an old saying "if you think it's gold it's not, you'll know when it is ".

If your in a known gold area I'd keep looking.

Not all placer gold areas have black sands but the majority do. Try and find exposed bedrock in or adjacent to the stream and clean out the cracks and

crevices.

Good Luck!

nvchris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris is right! If you think it's gold, it isn't. More than likely you were looking at little pieces of pyrite or mica, that when it is held at a certain angle it flashes gold. Well here's the thing about gold, IT ACTS LIKE GOLD. It doesn't move with the other sand and dirt in the pan. It is ALWAYS GOLD in COLOR from every angle. It doesn't FLASH the color. If you have to hold the pan a certain way to make it look like gold, it isn't gold. GOLD IS ALWAYS gold in color, in never looks better from one angle than the other.

BCOT!

Doc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alton,

Where in Tennessee are you located?

Gold is not found in most of the state of Tennessee, but there is gold to be found in the southeast of Tennessee, if you would like I could give you some links that will help you hook-up with some gold prospectors in Tennessee, which is the best way to learn about gold prospecting.

Skip

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alton

It can happen both ways you can find lots of black sand are little are no black sand and find gold.If you have gold in your pan of any size you can pull the black sand away with the water and the gold will stay put.Now if you get to much surface tension you will see your gold floating in your pan.Finding a good book of the charcteristics of gold panning will help you loads.

We learn by our mistakes but it's best to learn by others mistakes.

Chuck Anders

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's really hard to tell what you had without seeing it. A lot of mica can look like gold too, swirling around in water or on the bottom of a pan. If your gold flake was about 1/8 of an inch in diameter, it wouldn't be floating. Small flower gold can float on water, but adding a drop of jet dry usually takes care of that.

and Black sand may look black, but it can consist of red, blue, silver, grey, and brown bits also, mostly corundum when examines under a microscope; all either gemstone bits, heavy metal and metal ores.

If panning for gold as a means of prospecting or short term mining in order to find a pocket is your gig, actually your better bet would be to purchase a desert fox spiral pan setup (about $300). Dig a series of holes perpendicular (across) a streambed, hopefully very close to bedrock or clay seams, and take the material and run it through the DF. You could also prepan the material to lessen clay and silt, which would help immensely. make notes, make a map, depth of holes, and recovery stats if any that reach the center cup.

Once you locate some paydirt, do another test up stream or downstream 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25 feet, using the same method. This way, after some basic development testing, all of your effort will be spent digging the part that will pay you the most. Locating a pocket will bring you better returns, and also open up the possibility of nuggets and detector work.

Secretive work- if you don't want someone to know where you were digging, use a GPS, spending at least 5 minutes at each test hole to get an accurate reading. Another method is to go to a surveyor's store and get some colored nylon strands that with the use of a 16d nail, could plant in the ground near your testing spot. be sure to fill in your holes, and map and set sight landmarks to get you back to the general area should things prove positive after testing.

A spiral pan works by ridges in a twirling, motor driven backwards spiral, that catches heavy particles, that move up towards the center inspite of a forced water spray that keeps the lighter material at the outer edge. The center of the pan has a hole in it, and the backside of that hole has a hook that holds a small plastic cup into which the heavy particles drop- hopefully gold, but also lead shot, bullets, gems, and black sands. The angle at which the spiral pan is set in very important. You can use this setup anywhere, but it does take the use of a car battery to operate the drive motor.

At home or in the field, I'd suggest a comfortable work table and chair, extra water, some dishwashing detergent, flocculant, some really good tweezers, perhaps a galvanized tub to contain both the DF and 15 gallons of water that continually pumps through the pan. keep a couple of vials, maybe a really strong magnet or two to assist cleaning up the magnetics out of the concentrates, a large plastic spoon, some ankle women's hosiery or paint sprayer socks to assist the filtering of water pumped through the pump and into the spray line. Perhaps a nice cup holder for the cold bottle of beer, and depending on your tastes in music, a decent ghetto blaster. A few five gallon buckets are helpful along with a loupe or magnifying glass. And don't forget to bring 15 or so gallons of water.

It may seem like the spiral pan and testing is a lot of work, but it will give you the best result for any testing effort you make. If it's not what you desire, feel free to take a shovel and pick and dig all the holes you want; some which may or may not pay, and some where you may find parts of some corpse (been there baby!), and not much of any sort of paying gold strike.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the great replies. I only have streams available near me. From what I have been able to research, nuggets are few and far between and most of what is found near me is fine gold. When I get geared up, I plan to make trips to NC and GA. I understand gold is a little more plentiful there, but right now I just want to learn. I have joined the GPAA and watched a ton of videos on panning. I haven't read any books yet. I am sure open to suggestions about that!

What I have experienced so far is most of the websites, books, and videos are about gold hunting in the West. I can't find much information about my area or the Eastern US. I have found some, but it is mostly about Georgia. I am very experienced with a metal detector and would love to be able to find nuggets but that apparently don't happen here. I have found a ton of gold rings with an Excalibur, but that was at swimming areas.

I have looked into the Desert Fox and get conflicting opinions about them. Most say they will miss fine gold. However, I feel like I might benefit from one since I am still a newbie and probably make mistakes.

So far I have about 5 gold pans, a 4' Keene Sluice, a Gold-N-Sand hand dredge, and 3 classifiers. Once I get up to speed I would like to acquire a 4" Ultra Mini Dredge and the accessories. I feel like I'm in better shape to use that than using a shovel. :wacko:

The one other thing that I think I might benefit from while I am still inexperienced is a Blue Bowl for retrieving fine gold as I have trouble even seeing some of the gold that people find around here. Like the DF, I get mixed reviews about that. Most comment that you can do better with a regular gold pan.

Again, thanks for the replies. I'm glad to get the part about the black sand cleared up.

One last thing? Is there any real benefit when getting the Desert Fox in getting the variable speed version over the standard version? There is only a $20 difference but I don't understand the benefit of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure about the two speed function either. However, I have the old Desert Fox, and I know it would be nice when you are first setting it up, it would be nice for it to run a little slower to get the tilt of the wheel just right. You're supposed to get the black sand to climb almost to the middle but not quite. Maybe it's to help you with set up and then flip it into normal speed?

Not sure.

Doc

Thanks for all the great replies. I only have streams available near me. From what I have been able to research, nuggets are few and far between and most of what is found near me is fine gold. When I get geared up, I plan to make trips to NC and GA. I understand gold is a little more plentiful there, but right now I just want to learn. I have joined the GPAA and watched a ton of videos on panning. I haven't read any books yet. I am sure open to suggestions about that!

What I have experienced so far is most of the websites, books, and videos are about gold hunting in the West. I can't find much information about my area or the Eastern US. I have found some, but it is mostly about Georgia. I am very experienced with a metal detector and would love to be able to find nuggets but that apparently don't happen here. I have found a ton of gold rings with an Excalibur, but that was at swimming areas.

I have looked into the Desert Fox and get conflicting opinions about them. Most say they will miss fine gold. However, I feel like I might benefit from one since I am still a newbie and probably make mistakes.

So far I have about 5 gold pans, a 4' Keene Sluice, a Gold-N-Sand hand dredge, and 3 classifiers. Once I get up to speed I would like to acquire a 4" Ultra Mini Dredge and the accessories. I feel like I'm in better shape to use that than using a shovel. :wacko:

The one other thing that I think I might benefit from while I am still inexperienced is a Blue Bowl for retrieving fine gold as I have trouble even seeing some of the gold that people find around here. Like the DF, I get mixed reviews about that. Most comment that you can do better with a regular gold pan.

Again, thanks for the replies. I'm glad to get the part about the black sand cleared up.

One last thing? Is there any real benefit when getting the Desert Fox in getting the variable speed version over the standard version? There is only a $20 difference but I don't understand the benefit of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to add an edit on my previous post.

Personally, I have used a lot of different gold pans, but the Trinity pan works really well for fine gold, in addition to other sizes. The gold pan is the premier sampling pan. Rather than using the desert fox in place of the gold pan, use the gold pan to work virgin dirt down to a concentrate of heavy particles. don't work it all the way down, just get rid of the lighter silts and larger rocks, and place the concentrate into a marked bucket. Home depot and the like sell 2 gallon plastic buckets with a lid. While digging out your test hole, take it as far down as you can- if not to bedrock, false bedrock, clay seam, then at least to a horizon with larger cobbles, for it is there that your better shot at getting gold (large cobbles = flood stages) big enough to pay. after working your hole, panning out of some the waste, run that through the DF.

The variable speed control option is to allow some latitude in recovery of smaller gold (flour size) that has a tendency to wash back. My rig has one speed only. Not only is tilt of the pan critical, but also intensity or force of the spray. I prefer a tub to cleanup with, because it allows me to catch the concentrates for [1] a possible 2nd run; [2] panning out the tails using the trinity pan to see missed gold (always seem to find gold in the tails), and last of all, [3] allows me to save up the tailings and send them off to a mill for black sand cleanup.

In the modern 'turn in your neighbor' world, the old ways of mining using acids, mercury, cyanide batching, and tailings disposal are out (that is if you want to keep your house or avoid some sort of environmental lawsuit). On the back of the ICMJ magazine, are listed some reputable outfits that will go through your tailings in a chemical way. sometimes you have to pay them (not enough values found in the tailings), while other times, they take their cut and send you a check for the difference. Of course, YOU pay the postage to send it to them. What also works out to both people's advantage, is to send batches of ore or highgrade found on one finger or another of some old mine. What didn't pay then may work out well now. The processor deals with that too. best to ask questions before mailing anything.

It's out there, you just have to find it. It's not like some snake that's going to jump up and bite you, but no matter where you are, something has your name on it.

To beat a dead horse again, I've posted a number of old articles on another site about old mining history, production, finds, discoveries, that may help you to revisit some probably forgotten areas: http://www.nuggethunting.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=6175.

I haven't posted everything there is- it's just a drop. Maybe I need another surgery. during recovery at home, I needed something to do with my time while waiting for things to heal. transcribing old text was a good use of that time. I have even used a few of those tips for my own finds. While a lot has been said about gold in The West, there are places in the south and east, and northeast too, along with places in canada. Gold can be found in a lot of places, but only a relatively few places have little clumps of paying quantities.

Which means it pays also to have a fallback niche, such as coins, relics, collectibles, caches, post hole banks. Some of that can mean vastly better pay than gold ore. Find some old authentic whisky still in some holler. Can you imagine what that would sell for in Ebay? Or some dahlgren cannon housed in the attic of some carolina house. silver and gold coins. The effort to find gold or collectibles is pretty much the same. One needs to research, figure out its place on a map, how to detect it properly for best results, and where to dig the hole. Treasure is treasure

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alton,

I've dredge for gold in the Carolina's hardly any blacksands there either! Your creek maybe the same. Out in the Western States we have tons of blacksands and I wish for less with and added 10 pounds in my backpack on a 1 mile hump out of the woods. Floating gold is not uncommon and a small flatten flake of gold may not act like gold if your not moving your water in the pan correctly. Practice with some BB's and shavens of small pieces of lead...practice and practice somemore. No-one pans the same, but the end result should be the same.

LuckyLundy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the added replies - all good stuff to me!

It is funny about the black sand here. Well known Coker Creed about 30 miles as the Crow flies from where I hunt is loaded with Black Sand. In Citico creek between where I hunt and Coker creek didn't yield any black sand when I hunted there either. It might be I just wasn't in the right place in the river or creek. After all, I've only been out 5 or 6 times in the few weeks I've been trying it so I doubt I've been on a very productive spot yet. I do have 3 or 4 flakes of gold that I have found. That was important for me, because I know if I can do it once, I can get better at it.

I'm now contemplating the Desert Fox or not. I have just enough money available to buy the dredge I think would be best for me, Keene 4" Ultra Mini. If I get the Desert Fox, I would have to wait on the dredge. On the other hand, I might be jumping in too fast to make that kind of an investment before knowing what my capacity will be. It sure seems like dredging up the sand and gravel is easier than digging it though.

Lucky my county borders NC. I'm sure what you were working is quite similar to where I'm working. I'm feeling better about the lack of black sand and plan to be very careful in the future. In fact, for awhile, I'm going to bring everything home to evaluate and keep until I'm absolutely sure I know what it is. Let me know if you are ever that close again, and I might try to meet up with you and see what I can learn

:lol:

This is really a great site for learning and everyone sure has helped me. Thanks again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you don't make any mistakes ,what would you learn from?..Been in the game well over 30 years and messed up many a good spot and lost more yellow than most have found.Read,do it,study the reports,ask lot's of ????,get dirty and worn out and be where it's at,most important be persistant...don't quit..........Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alton,

I've dredge for gold in the Carolina's hardly any blacksands there either! Your creek maybe the same. Out in the Western States we have tons of blacksands and I wish for less with and added 10 pounds in my backpack on a 1 mile hump out of the woods. Floating gold is not uncommon and a small flatten flake of gold may not act like gold if your not moving your water in the pan correctly. Practice with some BB's and shavens of small pieces of lead...practice and practice somemore. No-one pans the same, but the end result should be the same.

LuckyLundy

What are you talking about you make me pack the 10lbs of black sand out of the claim :P

Alton when ya got some color in your pan put it in the sun when ya see that shine put your hand so it throws a shadow over the color if it stays bright and yellar its gold. Good luck to ya

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No black sand does'nt mean no gold...

And gold will move alot easier with no black sand...

Here's a vid I made on a creek with "very little" black sand...

My biggest problem was all the ZINC!

Took me almost 45 minutes for the clean-up..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgcvLlEY4pU...re=channel_page

There seems to be "alot" of black sand....but that was after 10

1/2 gallon bucket's...

If I had done this video on Lynx Creek, there would have been a "full" pan of "BS" lol....Black sands.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

mining is like being a competent professional tradesman in construction- you have to dedicate a regular portion of the paycheck to buy another tool- and another - and another. problem is when you get all the stuff you need, you can never find it and end up having to buy another of the same thing.

Like caulking guns. I buy one, use it, put it away into the 'void'. Of course I put it away in a logical place, but in order to find one again, it takes another purchase, use, and putting it away in a logical place, and there they are, 8 guns.

I bought a cargo trailer for my prospecting junk. problem is, it's so full of stuff, and to have to wade through it to get to the exact part I need..... well you know. problem is, the one tool or part I need when out in the field isn't to be found. If that isn't it, it's a bent rim or a hitch problem.

Can anyone ever win? perhaps only in building up the working, barking vocabulary.

And never ever throw anything away

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whats4Supper,

Now that's a funny story and I had to laugh at you and then at myself!!! I'm sure we started off trying to keep it simple and neat and ended up with retail shop of hobbies in our garages. Mrs Lucky reminds me to clean my mess up and then I forget where stuff is at! I'm sure we aren't the only ones with the same problem?

NuggetSlayer, I left a 5 gallon bucket of blacksands when I stashed the 5" up in the woods. If you can hump that out in one day...I'll give you half of the gold. If you don't I get your new 1/2'er!

LuckyLundy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

UPDATE!

OK! This is what I ended up doing:

I bought the Keene 4" Ultra Mini Dredge with Air. I really lucked out on this because just about every where you shop there is a 2 to 4 week delay, but Gold Prospector supply had one on hand and gave me a great deal to boot. I drove to Florida to pick it up. I also got a spiral wheel, but not the Desert Fox.

I went to get the dredge Tuesday and drove back yesterday. Today I took it out to the same river where there was no black sand. Again, I didn't find black sand, but I did definitely find gold. The place I chose was based on my ability to cart in the dredge more than a likely place to find gold. I took a friend with me, but in the future I need to plan on a easier way to move the dredge. I'm thinking of ways I can put removable wheels under it.

I brought everything home that I took out of the spiral wheel so that I can go through it a 2nd time to see if I missed anything and to practice doing it again.

I guess the next time I post I will be asking questions about using the dredge, but right now I'm just tired and after I took my nap from my first day dragging the dredge around I've woke up at nearly 4:00 am.

By the way, the Spiral wheel found the gold, but it put a few other non gold rocks in the cup too. No problem though. I think I just need to work with it until I can perfect my part.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share