Gold Exactly Where it Shouldn't Be (Part 1)

(Placer gold often ends up exactly where it shouldn't be!)

If you've been reading "Bedrock Dreams" for a while now, you've probably heard me say more than once that Mother Nature can sometimes play tricks on us when it comes to where placer gold should be and where it actually is. This holds true even after all the knowledge we've gained about gold geology, stream hydrology, and deposition physics...go figure!

Gold Concentrators

I myself have witnessed or been the recipient of Ma Nature's quirks in this regard, so I thought I'd pass along a few personal instances where gold was found where it shouldn't be:

My first nugget: No, I didn't find my first placer nugget by digging down to bedrock and scraping out a likely looking crevice. Nor did I find that nugget by running bench gravels through my dry washer or spotting it gleaming in the sluice box of my suction dredge after shutting down. I found my first nugget sampling old tailings on my aunt's property near Nevada City, California!

Yep, you heard right! These weren't the coarse tailings composed of larger rock and discarded stream gravels that I always harp on you about either ...they were the very fine tailings that were washed out the far end of an old timer's "long tom" or sluice back in the day. These were tailings that shouldn't have held much gold at all, let alone a nugget.

Ignorance is Sometimes Bliss

OK, now you're asking why I was sampling those fine tailings to begin with, me being the gold mining "expert" and all (yes, I'm a legend in my own mind!). I'll tell you why...I was a complete novice, "newbie," and greenhorn at the time and simply didn't know any better. There it is. Ignorance is sometimes bliss.

That first placer nugget of mine wasn't a big clunker in case you're wondering. It was the size of an extra-large, wooden kitchen match head but that didn't stop me from whooping and hollering so loud my aunt and uncle and cousins came streaming out of the house to see what all the commotion was about.

Where to Find Placer Gold

Now if you've been around gold mining for a while and have pocketed your share of placer nuggets, I bet you can remember exactly when and where you found your first one. If you're a "newbie" and awaiting that first nugget just remember this: you won't ever forget the'll be etched into your heart and mind forever.

Here's the deal: gold (and even good gold) sometimes ends up exactly where it shouldn't be. So always keep your mind and eyes open to the possibilities, no matter how unlikely they may seem.

There's more to come on this topic so stay tuned.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "More on Gold Prospecting: Sulphides and Gold"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2011

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