Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Rocks in My Head:" a Prospector and Miner in the Making (Part 7)

 (Alan Brown "playing in the creek" near his home in Dahlonega.)

(Here's more of aspiring placer miner Alan Brown's saga. Alan lives in Dahlonega, Georgia, an area rich in U.S. gold history.)

"Volume, Flow, and Angle"

"These three aspects of running water through a sluice box have been the most challenging for me to learn. Too much of one and not enough of one or the other and the box just doesn't run right. The riffles will clog if there's too little flow or everything gets blasted out of the box if there's too much flow. It really is a delicate balancing act between the three, but when you've got it set just right you know it."

"On each of my days of 'playing in the creek' as my daughter Melinda jokingly puts it, I spent the first few hours learning different ways to set up my new sluice box using common top material. When finally satisfied with the way the box seemed to be working, I got down to the business of classifying material to process."

"The Better Part of a Year to Reach Bedrock"

"My goal was to clean out an area between the bedrock 'stairs' down to the stream bed. At times (depending on my off-time schedule during the month) I was able to get in 3 or 4 full days per month. All in all, it took me the better part of a year to finally get down to the bedrock."

Gold Panning Kits
Mining Equipment

"The area I was working was no more than 4 feet across and maybe 8 feet up to the next exposed bedrock drop off. This spot was loaded with sand, quartz, gravel, and larger water-tumbled pieces up to 60+ pound chunks of massive iron-stained quartz. With all my work, I managed to build quite an impressive tailings pile, most of which will probably wind up in the yard as landscaping material one of these days!"

"Large Black Sands and Flakes of Gold"

"At the time, I really considered myself fortunate because for each day's sluice box clean up while working this spot I always recovered at least a few small pieces of placer gold. As I worked down through the layers of sediment I began to notice more (and larger) black sand and black sand crystals in my clean ups. Some of these black sand pieces were as large as my finger tip."

 (Placer gold and heavy black sands after a clean up along the Klamath River in N. California. [Image courtesy of Dave McCracken and the New 49ers.])

"I also began recovering a few small flakes of gold and some lead shot in the mix. This is the point where curiosity got the better of me and I wrote a long winded e-mail to Jim Rocha (J.R.) to share what I was finding and ask a few questions. Jim was quick with a response and some much needed answers along with some well-placed words of encouragement to round things out...we had an easy, informative, and comfortable conversation, to say the least."

That's all from Alan this round. Stay tuned for upcoming posts.

Good luck to one and all...

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Coming Soon: the 'Bedrock Dreams' Rogue's Gallery"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2011

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


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