Following old Mining Camps in the Goldfields?

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Hello All,

A few weeks ago I was out exploring and filmed 3 short videos on mining camps (potentially placer and lode). I will post them later tonight.

That being said, just curious if anyone else has used old Mining camps to find small placers, mines or prospects?

In most gold bearing areas, if anyone stuck around and sampled long enough there will be some signs (big or small) of camps. Sometimes these camps can be found in the middle of nowhere and can be worth searching around them to see what the old-timers might have been looking for.

Over the years I have used these camps to locate small, overlooked placers, prospects and small mines. Some have been rewarding, others crap-shoots! :mellow:

Most camps will have tin cans, broken bottles and other rubbish.

Interesting to hear from others about this subject.

Rob Allison

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Hi all, looking beyond some of the known smaller placer areas can pay off. Venturing out around these areas has payed off for me.

The old timers usually relied on the old testing methods to try to track down sources. panning, drywashing,

they didn't have metal detectors.

They often sampled washes to do this. I found several "young" outcrops they missed just because the outcrop had not eroded very far so they they abandoned them because their testing just did not result in enough gold to pursue.

Some decided it took to much hillside digging to make it worthwhile. Sometimes you need to get out of the mind set of the old timers, think outside of the box.

Detecting can make the difference in an area that isnt listed as producing much gold..

Take care out there, AzNuggetBob

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Gday Guys

One of my old tricks is to scout out old broken bottle dumps out in the bush that are near diggings, then what i do is walk to the nearest

diggings from the old shanty pub and start there, i often do very well doin that as my reasoning is that the blokes nearest the old shanty

where some of the drunkest on the field (missed gold) and the old sly grog sellers always started their sellin on the richest part of the digs.

Pete B)

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I know that Dad and I found a nice 3oz. nugget and a couple of 5-8 grammers about a mile down in a creek from a mine in the bradshaws back in the 80s.

We were dredging then.

Tried detecting the creek last year with the 5G.....waaaaaay too much trash.

Its still up there, but its gonna take some work. :)

Tom H.

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most gold camps I find old(which I dont find) and new or recent have more and more crap laying around

there is aa guy on the side of rich hill red pick up canopy up drove up there one day it looked like a dump

people( not most) dont respect the beauty of the desert or just dont give a crap

pack it in pack more out

I believe the people on the forums do just that

and can be proud of it

hats off to all you people


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I also look for old mining camps, and trash while out. I put together a cheat sheet in word, which shows the dating on a lot of stuff found in the desert. I came across this mining camp out in the middle of nowhere , miles from a road, and found a few nuggets also around this camp. The other pictures kind of show you the dating process for nails, and bottles. A lot of bottles I find are from the depression era, and have the federal law forbids sale or reuse of this bottle, and they are typically made from 1932-1964.





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Seek out old areas that are associated with the late jurrasic and cenezoic (miocene and pliocene) volcanics such as rhyolite and andesite. They are associated with shallow, low temperature & pressure, epithermal gold-silver epithermal ore deposits. Their ore deposits are often surfacial and high-grade. The Great Basin Provence has litterally hundreds of small "hit and miss" epithermal deposits that are associated with mountain building fissures. The prospects of the future will be in detecting the abandoned epithermal ore deposits for surfacial gold nuggets that can weigh many ounces.... Note: epithermal gold is what some of earlier posts on this forum have been called "'Butt Ugly' Gold" This is somwhat due to lack of "mineralizers" to add colors... Epithermal placers assocated with jurassic volcanics can be found in localized areas in British Columbia, Nevada and Arizona...

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Hey Jim,

Hows it going. Nice informative post.

I agree with you about these types of deposits being "The prospects of the future" and could very well account for many of the short lived camps.

I think in many cases these deposits are so localized or small they can be difficult to spot from a distance, even if the early prospectors knew what to look for. Many where "Nubee's"

It may be easier for modern nugget hunters to look for the dumps to get you in an area if your not familiar with what to look for in terms of the geology.

but once you catch on to the geology, you can always use it to help find a source of a small outcrop the old timers never found.

Take care out there, AzNuggetBob

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AzNuggetbob... I fully agree with you. It is not widely known that within the North American Cordillera, especially within the Great Basin Provence, due to the Tertiary-time great-mountain building was also a time of volcanic activity related to plate tectonics (the so called "Ring of Fire.)" ....Thus the source of ubiqitious easily overlooked epithermal deposits. The more they are understood by a serious minded prospector the better his chances to find a mine...

Epithermal deposits are known to be associated with mountain bulding as they accur with the horst and graben faulting.which is accompanied by ascending hot (but low temperature) ore-bringer fluids that are freqently the source of shallow but rich ores that soon bottom out....

I have known of them since the 1950's as Lon McGurk, Arthur Baker III and Vic Kral were active and involved as instructors at the Mackay School of Mines while I was attending it.... This period was from 1948 through 1955. When they passed away, so went a lot of knowledge... However I was a "go-fer" for Mr. Baker III during the early 1980's and learned much from him about epithermal deposits and assocated placers...

Mr. Baker III was oe of the first to realize that many epithermal precious metal deposits were associated with the Carlib-trend "invisible gold deposits. Today several major mining companies are drilling the worked out and long abandoned epithermal deposits as they are known to be associated with Carlin Types. One example of this is the Randsburg CA "Yellow Aster" and the "Sringer" which were found to be associated with the Carlin-Type. ....

Today, their is much updated knowledge regarding epithermal precious metal deposits... As some of you may know I once wrote a few artices for the ICMJ.... I wrote one "Nuggetshooting Eluvial Placers in the Western States". ICMJ 2000. For any of you who are serious about epithermal deposits I recommend you contact the editor at ICMJ to see if you can get a copy..

Not to brag... but to be helpful... Gembooks is now stocking my book "ADVANCED..." and it selling pretty good.....the subtitle is "with emphasis on epithermal deposits forming eluvial placers and how to metal detect them." Best... jim staight

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I keep trying to tell people Its all about geology and reading the old timers diggings.

In many cases where the old timers quit is were I start, because that's were it works for me swinging a detector but not for them digging by hand. What I have learned from your books and writings

has made big difference in my success. your meteorite section is also a great addition in your

"Advanced Prospecting & Detecting for Hardrock Gold" book too.

BTW Glad you changed the bindings to ring bindings on your new books,

I was wearing the old bindings out. :) :)


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AzNuggetBob.... As you may know I have followed your footprints while you

were at Lunker Hill. Thus I know you have found gold that others missed.

It is not widely known that many diggings did not have much trash. Examples

are the epithermal workings where the muckers could highgrade from the

company... they brought their lunch in a lunchbox and used it as a container

to take "speci" home.... Their camp was usually a "tent city" on level ground

a short distance from the workings.

Bob...Thank you for the good words about "ADVANCED..." You are well known

as a successfull detectorist and I really appreciate it. Jim

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Jim I've learned a lot from your books and have used it to help develop what works for me.

I use your info for this type of deposit to maximize gold recovery and cherry pick the the old timers workings. I've learned to never start at the bottom of old dry wash workings.

Sure there is gold there the old timers left behind in the banks, dry-wash piles or in cracks in the wash but on some there is also a lot of CRAP. tin can bits are my least favorite. and the so called boot tacks that were used to tack their punch plate sheet tin (grizzly) onto their dry-washers. So when I find a new dry washed area I save this lower area of the workings for later.

I've been saying a lot here just thought I would share a diagram of my general hunting style that works for me.

Useing this style of hunting has allowed me to find a lot of gold that the old timers and other hunters missed, and also many trophy nuggets.

Take care out there, AzNuggetBob

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Jim now that you mention it,I've found a few of those old cans up in the workings.

They look like there made out of old coffee or lard cans with a lid and sometimes a wire handle.

these cans rusting away are probubly the source of the tin bits I'm finding on other types of deposits like

I mentioned above.

Never could figure out for sure why they were there. but being"lunch boxes"buckets would make sence.

I thought maybe they were just to haul all the nuggets or high grade back to camp. I keep hoping

I'll find one full. so far just empty ones. not even a sandwich.

Gotcha :) take care Jim, AzNuggetBob

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