10 Tips for Smart Miners: Learn to Use Your X-Ray Vision

Tip Number 9. Learn to Use Your X-Ray Vision.

I know, I know. You're sitting there scratching your head wondering just what in the hell I'm talking about here. Use your X-ray vision? Huh?

Do I believe we are all related to Superman or some other superhero and can actually see through walls or solid rock? Or am I still trapped in my long-ago childhood where I actually sent away for a pair of X-ray specs (very similar to the pair pictured above) thinking I would be able see through solid matter?

A Skill Based on Knowledge and Experience

Actually, neither of the above. That cheap pair of cardboard "X-ray specs" I purchased as a kid turned out to be a bitter disappointment and at some point later in life I also finally realized I was NOT superhero material. Thus, no shortcuts to X-ray vision.

Yet, as small-scale gold miners I do believe we have the capacity to train ourselves to use a form of visualization or "mental X-rays" to not only "see" where the gold may be in a given locale, but also gain a clearer vision of the processes that deposited that gold. This ability is not an instantaneous given, but a usable skill based on knowledge and experience.

Images That "Tell" You What's Taking Place

For example, if you've got a decent handle on the physics of placer gold deposition and stream hydrology (wet or dry) and have also spent a reasonable amount of time doing your thing out in the field, then you are a likely candidate for using your own form of X-ray vision (minus the bogus specs, of course!). In a sense you'll actually be able to "see" through water, rock, and clay and pull up a mental image or series of images that "tell" you what's taking place around you from a mining standpoint.

(Note: And NO, I'm not some "New Age" crazy or whack job. You all should now that about me by now! J.R.)

You've probably heard (or read) many times that one of the main ways to "read a stream" is by visualizing that stream or wash in full flood stage and getting a mental image of just how that large volume of water is tearing its way downstream and moving rocks, dirt, boulders, and gold like there's no tomorrow. Then you are asked to "see" that same wash or stream as it slows or stops altogether and visualize where you think the gold is dropping out of that reduced flow. Right?

Well golly-gee-gosh friends and neighbors! That's one common way of using your X-ray vision. That very same sort of X-ray vision can be used in many smaller ways if you stop and think about it for a moment.

Getting a Line on "What's What"

Let me give you an example. When I arrive at any given mining location (even those I know well or have worked in the past) one of the first things I will do is plop my aging rear end down and look at my surroundings. Once I've done a basic visual survey I'll narrow my focus down and start using my X-ray vision to "see" what's going on behind that large obstruction over there, or how deep the overburden is on that hard-packed gravel bar, or whether that exposed stretch of bedrock "looks" good enough to trap gold.

Maybe you think all this sounds silly, may be you don't. Either way, this idea of incorporating your mining knowledge and experience with your ability to visualize can be more helpful than you think in getting a line on "what's what" in just about any mining location.

Trust me, it works.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Gold Mining Questions and Answers: Part 18"


(c) J.R. 2010

Questions? E-mail me at jr872vt90@yahoo.com