Other Types of Placer Gold Deposits That May Prove Productive (Part 2)
(These remote bench gravels are miles away from existing gold-bearing dry washes.)
Here are more placer gold deposits that are a bit out of the "norm" and that I consider potentially productive:
3) Isolated or remote high bench gravels. Most of you have had experience with bench gravels that are fairly "close in" to existing washes or stream courses. Usually these sorts of benches lay within a few feet or at the greatest distance,100 yards or less. The bench gravels I am talking about, however, may be many hundreds of yards or even miles away from existing placer workings.
Gold Panning Kits
In wet placer areas these "high" benches often exist in steep, overgrown terrain that less experienced miners would not even think to prospect. In dry placer districts these sorts of benches may exist higher up desert mountainsides along drainage channels where they have been rendered nearly invisible by "desert varnish" or shallow layers of sterile overburden. In either case, however, isolated bench gravels like these can contain exceptional gold values for the prospector or placer miner willing to do the necessary research and go that extra mile.
4) Buried desert placers. Many desert placer gold areas or districts contain these sorts of deposits but few small-scale miners or nugget shooters realize it. These deposits were born of very ancient gold-bearing stream courses that were shifted or moved by large-scale geologic forces over time and then covered with mantles of lava or overburden of varying types.
There are times when these buried placers are extremely deep and beyond the grasp of individual miners but there are just as many that lay beneath very shallow (a few inches to a few feet) mantles. In the former case heavy equipment or machinery is needed to access pay-streak gravel layers, while in the latter case research, a sharp eye, and some elbow work with a shovel or a gold metal detector may produce the type of results most of us just dream of.
5) Eocene "shore" deposits. As an aside, I'm no geologist but over time I've learned the importance of studying geology and geologic periods to gain a greater understanding of how gold is formed and what sorts of deposits are (or may be) out there. My advice to you is to do the same. You never know when all that research and study will provide a "jackpot" for you.
(Quartzitic gravels in an Eocene "shoreline.")
OK, that's out of the way. The Eocene Period occurred at its most recent point some 38 million years ago. Many lakes and seas that existed deep under water in the previous period or epoch (the Cretaceous) were left high and dry, and then significantly altered during the Eocene. This is where we come in as gold prospectors and miners...some of these ancient shorelines were littered with gold much like the more modern beach placers found at Nome, Alaska and in southwestern Oregon. Do your homework and find one of these ancient shorelines and you just might hit the "big one."
What's the best piece of advice I can give you to help you find these other types of placer deposits? DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
Good luck out there.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Gold Mining Questions and Answers: Part 2"
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2011
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org