Crevicing Still Remains One of Your Best Gold Recovery Methods (Part 4)

 (Nice little nugget taken from an underwater crevice.)

In each of the posts of this series I'm addressing a unique factor associated with crevicing and gold sniping. Unless I miss my bet here, by the time this series is complete you should have gained a much better understanding of the hows, wheres, and whats of this low-cost and effective approach to getting the gold, so let's continue.

4. The Approach Factor

Essentially there are two main approaches to crevicing or gold sniping: surface or underwater. Although similarities and overlaps can occur in both approaches, each has its own characteristics, requirements, and potentials.

Gold Concentrates
Gold Pans

Let me define these two approaches for you. Surface crevicing is typically accomplished in wet placer bedrock locations adjacent to or above the current stream flow, or in dry placer areas where shallow or exposed bedrock is available. Underwater crevicing or sniping usually involves, at the very least, a snipe tube and, at the extreme end, a full wet suit, mask and snorkel, and weight belt.

Easier Path to Follow

Obviously, surface crevicing is the easier path to follow but it also means others may have taken that path as well and by so doing have already worked those crevices you're eyeballing. This isn't true in every case but I think you get the idea's easier to work above water than below it.

As I've said before in "Bedrock Dreams," underwater crevicing or sniping can be done in very shallow water or at depth. For example, if you're using a snipe tube or suction tube you'll be working fairly shallow water where bedrock is at or just below the surface. If you're going full boat with the snorkel and wet suit routine you'll most likely be working both shallow and deeper water bedrock.

Getting at More Cracks and Crevices

Personally, if I had to pick which one of the two main crevicing approaches I'd consider the most "remunerative" overall in terms of gold recovered I'd have to say underwater sniping in all its forms. I can take this a step further by stating unequivocally that the deeper water approach to crevicing is superior to the shallow water general, that is.

 (You'll need to "suit up" to get the best gold.)

The really nice thing about "suiting up" and using a mask and snorkel is that it makes it very easy (relatively speaking, that is) to cover lots of ground in terms of submerged bedrock. You can get at more cracks and crevices this way and at the same time feel reasonably confident that others haven't to beaten you to the punch each and every time.

No Hype

I know miners who have employed this underwater approach for years and have done far better in gold recovery over time than their counterparts running highbankers and even suction dredges in the same streams and rivers. This isn't hype or me blowing smoke up your's a fact.

Some of these "snipers" will work their way along bedrock stretches for miles sometimes, using an experienced eye to find likely looking spots and then patiently recovering all the gold from cracks and crevices that haven't been worked or that "re-fill" to some extent each season.

If you've never seen placer gold underwater jammed into a crevice or resting in a bedrock depression you're in for a real treat. I can't describe to you how beautiful gold looks shimmering and glowing's a sight that'll make your heart race! Especially when you can reach down and pick it up with your fingers or a pair of tweezers.

Listen up: if you're not a good swimmer or are uncomfortable in the water for any reason, DO NOT attempt the underwater approach. Your family and loved ones need you. Please remember that.

Best of luck to you.

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

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2012

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. JR Thanks for another fine article. Surface crevicing can be very productive with a Vac-Pac, we were doing that at Happy Camp when all Dredging was shut down a few years ago due to 32 fires burning all around Happy Camp. We went crevicing for 3 hours and filled 2-5 gal buckets and by 11AM the temperature was 105 degrees, needless to say we packed up and went home well the cons sit there for a week before we decided to pan them out, would you believe there was 1/2 Oz gold in them 2-buckets. That made the temperature a whole lot cooler. LOL Ron

  2. Thanks for the comments Ron and for showing the readers what can be accomplished by crevicing and sniping. Have a great Christmas! J.R.


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