Other Types of Placer Gold Deposits That May Prove Productive (Part 1)

 (What it's all about...)

When Other Placers Fail

Unless you are a compete novice just starting out in small-scale gold mining, you're already familiar with the standard types of placer gold deposits. These sorts of deposits (alluvial, elluvial, beach, eolian, and so on) are typically the gold areas that are not only well known historically, but that have also been worked hard in the past.

In this series of posts I want to bring some different types of placer gold deposits to your attention. Why? Simply because they may prove productive when other types of placers fail.

Stepping Up to the Plate...

Some of these deposits I'll list and describe won't be easy nuts to crack, even for the most experienced of you out there. In fact, a few of these placer deposits may require more time, energy, and resources to exploit than most of us are willing or able to give.

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Then again, with current spot gold prices pushing $1,700.00 a troy ounce, stepping up to the plate and swinging away regardless might just put a wad of cash in your pocket. So let's take a look:

1) Deep deposits beneath existing streams and rivers. These exist throughout the world but here in the U.S. rivers like the Klamath and Yuba in Northern California are very good examples as is the upper Rio Grande here in Northern New Mexico where I live. What's deep? We're probably talking anywhere from 20-35 feet or more here.

(Samples taken from the early 1900s indicate the Rio Grande in N. New Mexico carries exceptional gold values deep under the existing stream course.)

Getting at these deep deposits is the kicker though. With suction dredging at a standstill in California and more stringent mining regulations in most Western states, recovering this placer gold is nigh on impossible. But don't think for a moment that these sorts of deep placers aren't carrying good gold and lots of it. They are.

2) Old river or wash gravels buried beneath various types of "false" bedrocks like clay layers or caliche. No, I'm not talking about "Ancient Rivers of Gold" like Tertiary Channels. The type of placer deposit I am speaking of can be wet or dry and in fairly small or localized areas. Here's the deal: just like the old timers, you and I tend to recover the placer gold mixed in with the gravels sitting atop false bedrock layers. That's a logical and reasonable course of action, by the way.

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What I'm talking about, however, are pay streaks and pockets that lay BELOW a layer (or concurrent layers) of clay or caliche. So don't always assume the gold you've recovered above or on a single layer of false bedrock is all she wrote. You may recover large amounts placer gold by digging deeper through subsequent layers of false bedrock into old river gravels that may be "untouched" by human hands. That's when the cash register goes "ka-ching!"

There's more to come, so stay tuned.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "More on Gold Deposition"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2011

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