ALASKA NUGGET


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post-138-1256324173_thumb.jpgpost-138-1256324187_thumb.jpgHere is the story behind the nugget as it was told to me.

A guy was mining up north of Fairbanks AK and was feeding his wash plant with a excavator

when he heard something heavy hit the floor in his wash plant and he stopped.

He thought he lost a tooth off the bucket.

So he climbed into the wash plant and found this nugget. The plant has a

one inch plate so everything over one inch goes to the tailings pile. Just so happens he

heard this one or he would have been out a lot of gold. He had a larger punch plate

so he replaced it and reran his tailings and came up with a lot more of this kind of gold.

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post-138-1256324173_thumb.jpgpost-138-1256324187_thumb.jpgHere is the story behind the nugget as it was told to me.

A guy was mining up north of Fairbanks AK and was feeding his wash plant with a excavator

when he heard something heavy hit the floor in his wash plant and he stopped.

He thought he lost a tooth off the bucket.

So he climbed into the wash plant and found this nugget. The plant has a

one inch plate so everything over one inch goes to the tailings pile. Just so happens he

heard this one or he would have been out a lot of gold. He had a larger punch plate

so he replaced it and reran his tailings and came up with a lot more of this kind of gold.

That is one nice chunk of gold. Any idea how much it weights? Doug

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post-138-1256324173_thumb.jpgpost-138-1256324187_thumb.jpgHere is the story behind the nugget as it was told to me.

A guy was mining up north of Fairbanks AK and was feeding his wash plant with a excavator

when he heard something heavy hit the floor in his wash plant and he stopped.

He thought he lost a tooth off the bucket.

So he climbed into the wash plant and found this nugget. The plant has a

one inch plate so everything over one inch goes to the tailings pile. Just so happens he

heard this one or he would have been out a lot of gold. He had a larger punch plate

so he replaced it and reran his tailings and came up with a lot more of this kind of gold.

Hey, where can I get a snuff can lid like that? :lol:

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ll you have to do is ask about Moore Creek....... a friend popped a 32 ozer this summer!

Didn't Steve Herschbach sell the property?

I believe he mentioned in a past post, that the new owners weren't going to be doing the same operation as he did all these past years.

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Hi Guys,

First off, that is one real nice nugget! And yes, there are lots of them left out there - Alaska has barely been scratched yet.

I did sell Moore Creek. There has been talk by the new owners of possibly catering more to highbanker types at a lower cost so as to not have to use the bulldozers to help the detector folks. But the first two weeks of 2010 will have daily dozer support for the detector crowd for sure. Week one is sold out but there are still a few openings in the second week. Google "Moore Creek".

I was not really looking to sell the place but we were made a good offer. And I have claims elsewhere so it in not like I have nowhere else to go. I'm really more a prospector than a miner and so now I'm free to start looking at new places again. Might even get a chance to come down and do some desert hunting finally. I drool all over myself where I see all the open country you guys have. Everything here is covered with tundra and muskeg unless it has been mined in the past.

Steve Herschbach

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Steve. As you know , almost all large scale placer operations depended on volume on a day to day basis. If tests showed that 98% of the gold was 1 inch minus , they figured that they could take a chance on losing the occasional larger nugget. What they didn't count on was running into a glory hole where some whoppers might be lurking. Random testing would most likely not turn up any signs of this. Moore creek and Gaines creek are perfect examples of what happened to the delight of detectorists. Large cobbles hinder recovery rates of the small gold and slow the recovery process. Removing the cobbles speeds recovery and processing time just as it does with dry washers, highbankers in small scale operations hence the use of classifier screens. I have seen metal detectors installed on modern placer operations on the oversize belts to prevent loss of the rare big nugget.

As you also know the miners were very careless with their metal trash. Welding rod, nuts and bolts, pieces of cable all found their way into the tailings in incredible amounts. If you want to find a really big nugget and are willing to dig endless amounts of trash or use a discriminating VLF, the tailing piles can eventually yield a big surprise. There are miles of dredge tailings in Montana near Helena and Virginia City, The motherlode of California, Parts of Idaho and various other places in the western U.S. that have barely been touched , all of which may contain the nugget of a lifetime. ---Bob

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Yikes Steve!! maybe there will be time to go for some of that PT...................Geo

Yeah, George, that's been on my mind also. I should put out some feelers. But my attention has been more towards the Brooks Range. I've already got us two invites and several more contacts. Looking very good.

montana, the vast majority of the gold I have detected has come from tailing piles. But lest anyone think it is easy the fact is many locations only had smaller gold so you can hunt the tailings in those places forever with little chance of success. A little research sorts out places like Ganes Creek or Moore Creek, where larger nuggets were known to exist. And in places like that, detecting will find a nugget now and then. As you have noted, at places like Ganes Creek man-made junk can be so prevalent to actually work against Minelab SD/GP detectors. A good discriminating VLF is actually more effective. At Moore Creek, the hot rocks are worse and the junk not as bad, so the Minelabs do better.

People sometimes wonder why somebody does not remine places like that to get the gold. It has been tried. Although nuggets were lost, they represented a tiny fraction of the gold the old timers got. There might only be one 2 ounce nugget in a 1000 foot by 1000 foot area. To scoop up and and reprocess all that material for a single 2 ounce nugget is a money losing proposition. But we can go scan that area with our detector and find that lone nugget.

The biggest problem facing people hunting tailingpiles is the finds are rare, and so going days without a find is not unusual. I don't think in terms of a day when hunting tailing piles. I figure that to have a shot at a single decent nugget I might have to hunt a week. The hope is when I find that nugget, it makes the weeks hunting worthwhile. I've done better than that as of late, as Moore Creek generally gives me nuggets daily, but that is not the norm. I may hit Ganes again next summer, and there I'll just be hoping for a nugget over an ounce by the end of the week.

Steve Herschbach

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