Pocket Gold

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I need help with this. I have a patch that has produced 60 plus nuggets varying from small to over 1 ozt, found at depths up to 24". The gold is very rough and not placer, some contain magnetite of hematite. The pattern of the patch is an inverted "V" with the apex being uphill, around 1/2 acre. From what I have read this site could be the results of a vertical vein that may contain "pocket gold". I have read about the process used by old miners to locate the vein or chimney, and the three pocket theory. Has anyone experienced the process of locating the vein and discovered pocket gold at the "pinch"? It's obviously uphill form the patch, but how far and is there a simple method to locate?

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Hey local digger, I have hunted for pockets and seams for years so maybe I can help a bit. I actually found many pockets in place on hillsides back in your neck of the woods,I was in Rutherford County, North Carolina. The geology is almost the same between NC and Virginia as far as the gold belts go.

I have seen all of your posts and pictures and you are getting pocket gold. Yours is no different than what I have found over the years in North Carolina, and here in Northern California. I have not seen any pictures of fine gold on your posts. Some pockets throw large coarse gold while others will throw fines only. You will also have some that throw a mix of both. You are going to have to go back to basics with a pan to determine what you have. I have had people argue with me that if a pocket,seam or vein throws large coarse gold that you have to have fines. I say with complete confidence, no you dont.

You need a small six or ten inch pan, a milk jug, some flags, a notebook and pencil along with a spoon. You will also need a glass to really see fine microscopic pieces that you may encounter while sampling. Locate yourself below what you think is the center of your line. Starting at the bottom or well below your spread and start sampling. Take your hand and brush away all vegetation to the soil. Take your spoon and scrape up a spoonfull. Throw this into the pan and add just enough water to break the soil down and be able to count colors. No matter how small, get a correct count. Note this in your notebook. Give this location some sort of marker to later identify if needed. Move up and across about six inches and do the same thing. Continue with this sampling until it appears that the gold has run out. Start another line and you should pick up on a pattern that will lead you to what you are looking for.

When you reach a point where you are about three feet wide with no gold showing on either side then you are pretty close. Look at the dirt, see if you can see any distingishing featues, color or texture. Dont always expect quartz as it may have long ago eroded away. Do look for clays, usually a yellow to white color. Watch the host rock for small outcroppings that appear different from the rest. You need to be one with the dirt and look at what you are looking at. Early on you may be able to see a feature that jumps out at you and this may be all you need.

I have reached this point many times to find out that the gold I got with the detector was it, done. I have also reached this point with no accumulation on site but having the knowledge that the hill I just sampled up to this point has a lot of fine gold. If this is the case then there may be and usually is enough fine gold to mine by some other means. I have done this and only got pennyweights and moved on to another site. I have done this and found many, many ounces of fines that people have been walking over for years. It is generally microscopic and you wont see it with the naked eye until you have some accumulation. I had a hill like this years ago that threw almost nine ounces of this type of gold.

I will tell you this. Pocket hunting is very time consuming, however, the self pleasure that you get once you learn to do this and have a few areas pay off is incredible. You found it all by your lonesome and there is no better feeling.

I will also leave you with this. On two occasions upon hitting what seemed to be the source and digging into the side of the hill a little more beyond detector ability I was shocked to see the free coarse gold that was in the soil as I raked it out. The first time was almost four ounces. I was able to scoop it up in my hands. You could see the discoloration in the soil the gold was in. Once that that color soil had been cleaned up that was it. I could not buy another piece of gold. The second time for me was the best, right at thirteen ounces with one piece going two and a half ounces.

Remember you are hunting float, meanderings of a surface pocket. The gold will not go deep. It will stay to the top as it travels down the slope. One color will lead to five, five will lead to twentyfive and so on. I hope this helps some, good luck. I think my friend Jim Straight will something to say here also. TRINITYAU/RAYMILLS

For many people there is a confusion between this type of actual pocket hunting and finding a pocket of placer. There is a big difference.

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Ray, thanks alot. I think I understand the process and it appears to require patience and a diligent approach. I added a rough sketch of the site, its not 100% accurate but close. I also added a pic of some of the ragged nuggets that were found there. My concern is there is no pocket, is it possible that all the nuggets were thrown from the pocket? Looking at the diagram where would you start the sampling process? Thanks again.


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Hello Local Digger,

Do exactly what Ray has mentioned! I have done this process many ... many years ago when I was staking out Lode claims and it works. Keep in mind the source might be long weathered away, but this process will place you right where it came from for the most part. You can pan on site like Ray mentioned, or take sample bags, mark each spot with flags and then work them at home. If you take your sample too far apart, you might have to come back several times to the apex at the top, which can be very narrow.

Also, you could have multiple pockets erroding depending on the angle of the source, where it's exposed and where the chuts might be.

Would be interested to hear what Jim Straight has to say about this.

Hope this helped a bit,

Rob Allison

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  • 8 years later...

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