Bedrock Gold Recovery Tips: Focus on Fractured Bedrock

(Highly fractured or "book-shelf" bedrock. Soda Creek claim photo courtesy of eurekamininginc, a highly reputable online claim vendor.)

Tip 2. Focus your sniping or mining efforts on working fractured bedrocks.

If you’ve been with me here at “Bedrock Dreams” for a while now, you’ve already read my other posts concerning bedrock, especially those dealing with the difference between true and “false” bedrocks. Again I want to stress that I what I am speaking about here is true bedrock, that is the underlying country or host rock in a given placer gold location.

Gold Prospecting Books

OK, let’s move on. True bedrocks come in many different forms and can be composed of many different types of rock, including granite, serpentine, and schist, to name but a few. Inevitably they form the underlying structure in any stream or drywash.

Avoid Smooth or Highly Water-Worn Bedrocks

Some of these bedrock types tend to fracture, split, slip, or “shelve” more than others (schist for example) while others tend to resist most fracturing (granite). In the latter cases you’ll notice that these sorts of bedrocks tend to have very smooth and highly water-worn contours with very little in the way of fracturing apparent.

As a placer gold miner, panner, or sniper you want to avoid these sorts of bedrocks for the most part. Why? Simply because their smooth contours and rounded “potholes” do not make good gold traps. Granted, there are always exceptions to this rule, but I am speaking here in general terms.

Fractured Bedrocks are Excellent Gold Traps

Fractured bedrocks, on the other hand, tend to be excellent gold traps (especially if they run perpendicular to stream flow). In fact, the more highly fractured the bedrock, the better it will trap placer gold of all sizes and shapes. So your primary focus should be on these sorts of bedrocks.

I like to refer to these highly fractured bedrocks as “book-shelf” bedrocks. I use this term because they remind me of a shelf with a series of upright (or nearly upright) books stacked end-to-end along their length and width.

Gold Gets Stopped, Blocked, Trapped, and Packed

The photo above is a pretty decent example of what I consider to be “book-shelf” bedrock. My mouth literally waters anytime I see bedrock like this and I know it underlies a creek, stream, or drywash.

It doesn't take a wild imagination to understand how effective highly fractured bedrock can be at stopping placer gold from moving farther downstream, especially when that bedrock is situated in low-pressure, high gold deposition points in a stream or wash. Gold of various sizes gets stopped, blocked, trapped, and packed into various cracks, fissures, and drops offs in that "book shelf."

So the next time you are out and about remain open to the possibilities and keep your eyes peeled for highly fractured bedrock. It's your best ally in getting the gold.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Good Spots for Gold in California's Motherlode: Calaveras County"

© J.R. 2010

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