(With hammer and chisel...)
Well I'm finally back in the gold saddle here after the hiatus of the long 4th of July weekend. Even though Nero continues fiddling away while Rome burns to ash around him, you and I are still kicking so let's move on to more about small crevice placer gold.
Another Piece of the Gold Puzzle
If you take nothing else away from this series of posts the one thing I do want you to remember is that small, even tiny, bedrock crevices can hold large amounts of gold. So the next time you're out in the field sizing up some decent bedrock, don't focus your attention solely on those larger, juicier-looking cracks and crevices, but take the time and effort to carefully examine those smaller, less noticeable cracks. Your patience and effort may be substantially rewarded.
(Another piece of the gold puzzle.)
OK, none of what I'm writing about in this series has any relevance at all if you can't access gold-bearing bedrock in one way, shape, or form. Again, it doesn't matter if the bedrock you're about to prospect or work is in the driest desert or in the wettest mountain stream environment. Bedrock is the fundamental piece of this gold puzzle and without it, you're pretty much going to be S.O.L. Nothing hard about that to grasp, is there?
No Two the Same
To point out the obvious (something I'm very good at, by the way!) let me tell you that working small or very narrow cracks and crevices will be much more difficult than working those larger ones you're used to. You'll need to practice more patience and care working smaller crevices and will eventually learn that approaching your small crevice work in stages is the optimum approach. Remember, I'm speaking in general terms here.
Gold Prospecting Books
However, generalities don't always apply to Ma Nature and how she divvies up the goods, what sort of gold environments she creates, and the configuration of those tiny bedrock cracks and crevices she's made available under the Good Lord's supervision. To put this simply, no two bedrock gold environments are exactly the same. Some are wet, some are dry. Some have little or no overburden while overburden is problematic in other instances. Some bedrocks are riddled and crisscrossed with cracks and crevices of all lengths and sizes, while others contain few fissures worth considering. Most of you have been out and about long enough to understand this.
OK, that said what did I mean by working in stages in the preceding paragraph? Let me explain, assuming you're already found a likely looking small crevice or two:
Stage 1. Visual Inspection: Whether it's in a wet or dry placer environment you need to get your face down close to that small crack and crevice and eyeball things. In shallow water this means using a snipe tube or better yet, mask and snorkel. With very small or narrow fissures this is sometimes a futile endeavor since you won't be able to see much, if anything inside. On the other hand you may catch the mellow glmmer of gold in that crack or at the very least, get a decent idea of how it's configured and what sort of material it contains.
(Using your eyeball is a good start.)
Be sure to clear away any larger rock or gravel covering that small crack crevice before inspecting it. In dry conditions you may have to blow soft puffs of air along its length using your own lung power or a bulb snifter. In shallow water you can use your hand or a paddle board to sweep the lighter material away with a gentle fanning motion.
There's more to come, so stay tuned.
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2014
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org