An Insider's View on Missouri Glacial Gold

(Some of Chris Jolin's larger pieces of Missouri glacial gold.)

Chris Jolin is a multi-faceted and multi-talented artifact, treasure, and glacial gold hunter/miner from Missouri. If you're a small-scale gold miner from the "Show Me" state or a novice thinking of trying your hand at recovering some Missouri glacial gold, then what Chris has to say will definitely be of interest to you.

"Small, Sparse, Light, and 'Floaty'"

"I thought I'd offer an insider’s view of prospecting for glacial gold in my part of Missouri. I live in a small town about 30 miles north of Kansas City, which is about 6 miles north of where most maps say the glaciers stopped before receding."

Where to Find Placer Gold

"The material found around here is what is referred to as 'float' gold and my prospecting pard’ Michael Cloe and I learned very quickly how fast you can wash it right back to the creek. Missouri glacial gold is small, sparse, and is light and floaty. It doesn’t act like the gold you see mined on TV. It rarely concentrates or gathers in any particular spots we've found yet. On the other hand, it's very widespread over large areas."

(What Chris calls a "typical Missouri pan.")

(Note: Don't confuse Chris's descriptive term "float" gold with the old mining term "float," or pieces of gold ore eroded out from vein material. I think what Chris describes as float gold we'd call flour, flood, or "microdot" gold here in the West and Southwest. J.R.)

"The Gold Pan is Your Best Friend"

"Your best friend in this part of the country is the good old gold pan and shallow water. There are pieces of Missouri glacial gold big enough to stay put in a sluice box, but most is so small it typically washes right out of the box."

Wolverine Boots

"To recover some Missouri glacial gold, I recommend you find an area of widespread flat bedrock and crevice into the older packed material and then simply pan it out. Use a wire brush and a bucket of water to clean the bigger rocks because many micro-fine pieces adhere to these. Use your gold pan because you'll retain gold that would be lost in a sluice box."

"You'll Never Get Rich..."

"Next, dump your black sand into a concentrate bucket and take it home with you. If you feel more daring and are VERY careful, you can grind and tumble the black sand with mercury and recover the fines that can not be seen with the naked eye. However, remember that the mercury amalgamation process poses certain risks and should only be done with extreme care."

(Chris' vial of "Show Me" state glacial gold.)

"As I've said already, Missouri glacial gold is small and sparse and you'll never get rich on it! On the plus side, the exercise is fantastic, you are outdoors, and you'll find many old artifacts in Missouri riverbeds, including arrowheads and fossils. Also, if you can recover gold in Missouri and then you DO take a trip to good gold-bearing ground, your experience with the “look small, find small” approach will pay off many times over."

I'd like to thank Chris for sharing this info and allowing me to "spread the word" about Missouri glacial gold. If you'd like to learn more about Chris and his efforts in mining and treasure and artifact hunting, I recommend you visit his website: Chris Jolin's Treasure Hunt

Good luck to one and all.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "California Gold Location Tip for Beginners"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2011

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. We have the similar situation locally with most of the gold being fine - if you are just looking for big nuggets you are likely to go hungry for many a year. However, with the right vortex gold recovery system it is possible to get recovery rates nearing that of mercury without the associated health risks.

  2. Thanks for the comments and the info. Take care! Jim

  3. I thought I'd offer an insider's view of prospecting for glacial gold in my part of Missouri. I live in a small town about 30 miles north of Kansas .Missouri, a state near the geographical center of the United States, has three distinct physiographic divisions .This also corresponds to the southernmost extent of glaciation during the Pre-Illinoian Stage .
    Don Blankenship

  4. Don, thanks much for commenting and offering your inside view of Missouri glacial gold. This sort of info really helps those interested in glacial gold prospecting and recovery. Best to you. J.R.

  5. Id like to know of any public area's i could go. I live in Independence MO. Id hate to drive 2 hours to the Charriton and find no public access. With so little gold in MO idk if i can legally use a sluice box any where or would a gold rush nugget bucket work? Im new to prospecting only luck I've had so far is crushing quartz rocks and finding flour gold that I'm having a hard time getting completely separated from the quartz. Would love to find a club i could then tag along and learn how miller tables and sluice boxes work and where i can legally go.

  6. Here's your contact for prospecting in Missouri: Contact
    Contact Info
    NELSON, MO 65347


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