Crevicing Still Remains One of Your Best Gold Recovery Methods (Part 1)
(Creviced placer gold from a dry wash. Image courtesy Australia's Alluvial Gold Prospectors.)
I've written about both surface and underwater crevicing and gold sniping a number of times in the past for good reason. It's cheap, it's efficient, it doesn't require a large outlay in terms of money or gear, and guess what? It works.
Granted, to make it work you need two things: available (shallow or exposed) bedrock and just a little bit of knowledge and experience. Once those two items are in place, you're pretty much off and running.
Now I don't want to make this post a rehash of previous posts on this topic so I'll take a different tack in getting my message across to you. I'll do that by breaking this down into important points that I feel you need to know or at least consider:
1) Concentration Factor
This is one attractive aspect of crevicing or gold sniping that many newbies fail to recognize. Bedrock gold traps (whether in dry or wet placers) are also very good gold "concentrators." Placer gold fines, flakes, and even those elusive nuggets can be captured and held in a good crevice in quantity, whereas their distribution elsewhere in a stream or wash can be spotty at times.
In other parts of a stream or dry wash the mining game ultimately gets down to cubic yards. Here's the gold recovery equation in this context: the more gold-bearing material you move the more gold you're gonna get. That's why you see those boneheads from the Hoffman Crew (Discovery Channel's "Gold Rush") using all those huge excavators, loaders, and wash plants. Ditto for Cactus Jack (ooops...I mean Fred Hurt) and his son, as well as young Parker Schnabel (is it just me or is the kid getting more arrogant and mouthy as each week goes by??).
Anyhoo, moving dirt is the name of the game in these larger mining enterprises. Always has been...always will be. One thing to remember though is that in the "move as much dirt as possible" type scenario, the gold is rarely concentrated. It's typically widely disseminated throughout the gold-bearing gravels in greater or lesser quantities or in uneven or inconsistent paystreaks.
Not so when it comes to a good gold crevice. Size-for-size and relatively speaking, that little crack or crevice can pack more gold and even bigger gold than most extended stretches of regular stream or wash gravels.
Try This Experiment
Don't believe me? Try this experiment (providing the bedrock and experience factors I mentioned are already in place):
1) Set up your dry washer, your dredge, or your highbanker and start running regular stream or wash gravels (including bench gravels). Run this material...hmmmm....for about three hours. Clean up, pan your concentrates, and tuck away however much gold you recovered in your vial.
(This creek shows good possibilities for crevicing. Image courtesy the New 49ers.)
2) Next, find a good gold-grabbing crack or crevice that's not easily accessed by every other Tom, Dick, and Harriet or that hasn't been cleaned out in recent years. Spend maybe half an hour cleaning that puppy out as slick as a whistle and plucking out any coarse flakes, chunkers, or nuggets you find along the way. Then pan the rest of the material.
3) Finally, compare the weight of the gold you recovered in three hours of hard labor with gas-guzzling machinery to that recovered with hand tools in thirty minutes or less. Unless I miss my bet, that's gonna be a done deal...the crevice and your hand tools will win the majority of the time. Why? Once again, it's the concentration factor.
There's more to come on this topic, so stay tuned.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Underwater Gold Sniping: a Low-Cost Alternative to Getting the Gold (Part 5)"
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2012
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org