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DOC

Gold is NOT where you find it!

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I am always dismayed when I read of fellow detectorists who say that they have yet to find a piece of gold after one year, two years, etc.

I am to the point now where I find gold almost every time I go detecting.  I may get skunked 1 out of 20 times.  That 1 time is usually when I am prospecting totally new ground, and just have not hit a new area yet.

We all know the saying, "Gold is where you find it."  I think that statement is wrong and very misleading and harmful.

In fact I think it may give newbies the wrong impression about prospecting for gold.  It implies that gold is randomly dispersed, and if you do happen to find it, it is only by some coincidence or luck.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Finding gold is a science and an art executed by people with the skill and experience that know what they are doing.

All we are doing with a metal detector is processing dirt.  Now the more dirt we process the better chance we have of finding gold.  But think of what a small amount of dirt we are processing.  A column of dirt under the coil to an indeterminate depth and we sweep that coil back and forth.  We do that for 6 to 8 hours a day?  

Now compare that to the tons and tons of dirt you see the boys on Gold Rush process.  Yards and yards and tons and tons of dirt processed to collect their gold.  It's amazing that we find anything when you compare the small amount of dirt we "process" with a metal detector.

So, think about what a bizarre feat it is for a person with a metal detector to process such a small amount of dirt, and yet be able to find gold.  It is the old adage "needle in a haystack" so to speak. 

Yet, some prospectors. Bill, Fred, Tom, Kevin Hoagland, Mike, us guys that have been around a while, how come we are more successful at finding gold than other people?  Do we process more dirt?  NOPE!  We spend our time processing dirt that is more likely to have gold, than other dirt.

We have all heard go low and go slow.  Well, I agree with that "go low" admonishment.  You need to keep that coil on the ground.  But SLOW?  If you watch experienced detectorists, you will see that they vary their speed when they are "looking for gold."  They speed up in areas that their knowledge and experience tell them they are less likely to find gold.  They slow down in areas where that experience tells them there may be a greater chance for there to be gold.  So they spend their time more productively by processing only dirt that has a higher probability of having gold.  Now when they find a nugget, they may turn around and go back over the area they went through quickly.  This time they will go more slowly.  They do this because they now know this area may be more likely to have gold too.  So they invest their time wisely.

As an outlandish example.  You are standing in a paved parking lot of a Walmart.  Next to the Walmart are acres and acres of quartz strewn red dirt with all kinds of gullies where water has ran during the wet season.  Where are you most likely to find gold?  Are you going to spend your day in the Walmart parking lot swinging over asphalt?  Well experienced detectorists are constantly looking at their surroundings.  They look at where they are going and where they have been.  They are calculating the odds.  Is this a Walmart parking lot, or a gold vault?

"Gold is NOT where you find it." 

"Gold is found in places it is most likely to be." 

Seasoned prospectors have spent their careers learning what those places look like.  Now are we ever surprised to find a nugget in a place where we would never intentionally look.  Certainly, but those are few and far between.

Most times when we find a nugget we have a pretty good idea of why it is where it is.  Deteriorated quartz is everywhere, we detect on a bench, in a tailings pile, in the bend of a gully, under a waterfall of boulders, behind a bush lining a gully, near an old mine or there are indications the old timers were there.  I once was way off the beaten path on my ATV.  I found a canteen that said BEAR BRAND, Patent 1918.  Lid still on it, canvas completely gone.  I stopped right there and detected the gully I found it in.  I pulled out three nuggets. 

Let's say after a year you finally find your first nugget, under a boulder up on the side of a gully.  From that day forward, you will check every boulder on the side of gullies.  Why?  Because you learned where to look.  It's no coincidence that after taking so long to find their first nugget, newbies generally find their second nugget soon there after.  WHY?  Knowledge.  I have often said, if you don't take at least 20 minutes with every nugget you find, letting it tell you it's story, you are missing a valuable education.  "How did you get here little buddy?  Why did you stop here?  Where did you come from?  What's different about this gully than other gullies I have checked?  Is there a concentration of deteriorated quartz around here?  A contact zone?  You're sort of rough, you didn't travel far did you?"

I can almost bet that any experienced prospector will tell you that they can be riding on their ATV and all of a sudden they come upon ground and their heart starts beating a little harder.  They may even say to themselves out loud, "Oh man this area looks good."  After years and years of experience, we sometimes just "get a feeling."  It's not voodoo, it's just our subconscious telling us that at sometime in our past, we came across a place that exhibited similar conditions, and we found gold there.  We may not even remember the specific area in our distant past on a conscious level, but our sub-conscious knows.

So what is the moral of this story?  Buying a detector and expecting to learn how to become a successful prospector without training is like buying a 747 and trying to get it airborne when you have had no training.

I hear it time and time again.  I've been detecting 2 years and never found a piece of gold.  Who trained you?  TRAINED ME? "Well I've done a lot of research and I have read a lot on detecting and prospecting and I belong to the GPAA ...." 

That's akin to someone saying, "I have had the worst luck with airplanes.  I have owned five different planes and can't get the darn things in the air; I have crashed every one of them."  Where did you get your flight lessons?  "ME? LESSONS?  YOU MEAN FLYING LESSONS?"

So boys and girls, my lesson for today is:

"Gold is NOT where you find it."

"Gold is found in places it is most likely to be."    So  have someone teach you WHERE to look!

Doc
© 2017 G.M. "Doc" Lousignont, Ph.D.

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Very good article Doc, Thanks.

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Good read Doc, can I add this to the articles section at my site so it doesn't fade away into the depths of our forum?

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5 hours ago, azdigger said:

Very good article Doc, Thanks.

Rick,

Get a lesson or two with Doc!

Mitchel

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Not shooting much any more . Going to work on coin hunting.

will drywash and other methods. Keeping the monster for that....sold the GPX , bought a Whites VX3.

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4 hours ago, Bill Southern said:

Good read Doc, can I add this to the articles section at my site so it doesn't fade away into the depths of our forum?

You bet.  I have been wanting to write this for some time.  I cringe every time I hear someone say gold is where you find it.  We all know there is so much more to this.

Merry Christmas!

Doc

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2 hours ago, jjbond said:

.... great article..... and then there are days where you get out of the truck and say as Doc mentioned, this looks great (like this ground in the pics I thought was great last weekend)... and you spend 2 solid days pulling nothing but modern spent ammo and are skunked... you just have to get back on the horse the next weekend.

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You are so right.  But then again, you don't know if someone else years ago hit that ground and cleaned her out.  Because I, like you, would consider that pretty sweet looking ground.

Although my experience has been the smaller the quartz, maybe the size of rock salt, the better I like it.  When I was in Sudan, the gold fields at first seemed confusing.  I was looking for quartz and not readily seeing any.  Then I looked closer.  You would see small humps in the desert floor.  When you would walk to them you would see that they were once quartz reefs that had been completely pulverized by the blowing sand.  You looked at the "sand" and it was completely pulverized quartz.  It was so cool.

There are some "scientific facts" that experienced detectorists know.  1.  If you find a nugget within the first 10 minutes of arriving at the gold fields.  Go ahead and go back home and catch up on your sleep, because that is it for the day.  2.  The farther you walk away from your truck and the longer you detect, the closer the only nugget you will find will be to your truck as you head back to head home.  You know, 20 feet from your truck after 10 hours of detecting, and you get a target and it's a nugget.  3.  The bigger the nugget, the longer the dry spell before you find another piece of gold.  Finding a 1/2 ouncer is like a jinx.  4.  That really great looking area that you and everyone goes by on the way to the gold fields, that you assume everyone has checked out already.  Well, you know what they say about when you assume something.  Five years I passed by this area I am thinking about.  One day I said, "Oh what the hell."  10 feet into the first gully, a target.  1.2 grams.  Hour and a half later I had 17 nuggets.

I remember another area that I detected for years and years.  Always parked in the same place.  As I am coming back to the truck one day after a hard long hot day of detecting, with only one nugget, I get a target about  25 feet from my truck.  I figure it has to be a piece of trash, but I dig it anyway.  It's a nugget.  I move my truck and find 12 more nuggets.  I had been parking on a patch for 2 years.

Doc

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Ok I  have a question the areas I hunt look pretty much like the photos jjbond has posted up except there is a lot of reddish looking quarts in the areas I hunt also which from my understanding the reddish has a lot to do with iron but there is tons upon tons of both reddish and white so what else as far as geological is one supposed to look for not trying to be a smart you know what just trying to learn

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50 minutes ago, DSMITH said:

Ok I  have a question the areas I hunt look pretty much like the photos jjbond has posted up except there is a lot of reddish looking quarts in the areas I hunt also which from my understanding the reddish has a lot to do with iron but there is tons upon tons of both reddish and white so what else as far as geological is one supposed to look for not trying to be a smart you know what just trying to learn

I would say, in my limited knowledge, to do some sampling down in the gullies.  If you find gold there, then it's at least possible there might be gold large enough to be detected at that location.

If the quartz is in schist or slate, that can be good.  If there is granite nearby and it touches schist or slate and the quartz cuts through the contact zone, even better.  There are lots of possibilities.  Sampling is the best way to know if you're in the right neighborhood.  ....in my limited knowledge   :arrowheadsmiley:

Good Luck  :D

Luke

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I would also like to mention that my personal favorite spots are those that are supposedly 'cleaned out'.

First off, there was (still is) gold there and it was of a detectable size.

Secondly, no one gets it all.

Third, if it's really been 'cleaned out', there's very little trash.  So then, you're just hunting for a signal.  It's also easier to listen for the 'faint stuff' which is usually gold.

Turning over rocks ( don't kill yourself ) and getting into areas with dead brush are great ways to get on some 'virgin ground'.

I can almost always squeak out a skunk buster in these locations.  Because I know there is gold there to be found.  Am I finding any whoppers?  Not usually.  But I am coming home with something and that's a piece of gold and more knowledge for next time around.

Confidence is the biggest thing of all.  When you know you can do it, the gold will start happening more often.

Luke

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Doc said it.  Many of the clues have been removed.  We don't know how much gold had been on a patch and in fact if it was even a patch in some cases.  We can try with our newest detector and get a missed piece or two but what we don't know is that 100 nuggets had already been found there over the last 20 years.

Do you think Doc leaves gold behind on purpose?  I might find a piece or two that he has missed but as he said above ... he already took 17 nuggets out of that gully and 12 where he parked the truck!  Clues gone forever.

Good lessons again Doc.  I've found a couple of missed patches.  I've told people about them and they find even more so that when I go back ... it is all gone.  Shared nugget patches don't keep nuggets for very long.  This happens with many club claims.

Mitchel

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31 minutes ago, jjbond said:

Just as a heads up to anyone wanting to check that area out.... (I'm not greedy)... get off I-17 at exit 248, drive through Bumble Bee and take the left hand road within a block of the end of town, follow it up all the way till some big clearings.

Green arrow is pointing to the little town of Bumble Bee, the red arrows is pointing to the road I turned up, the red square is where I detected.

There's a huge Roadrunner claim there but lots of land off their claim and LOTS of nice dirt.... and trust me, there's no trash left.... it's all in the back of my truck. :grr01:

bb gold.jpg

Ummm ... Jennifer I think you need to learn how to do your land status research. There are 2- 20 acre Roadrunner claims there totaling 40 acres. There are an additional 100 acres of current active mining claims around the Roadrunner claims.

This resource might help you avoid higrading in the future. There are current active claims on that map as well as links to the County Recorder to so you can download the claim location documents.

I wish we had a resource for mining claims like B.C. but for now that's the most up to date claims mapping available in the United States. With the resources there you should be able to accomplish your legal obligation to perform due diligence before entering the public lands to prospect.

I know American and Mexican washes up there have good gold. They have been producing for many years. The area the Roadrunner claims encompass are well situated to take advantage of that deposit. If you follow those workings up the west side of the ridge I think you will find they didn't get it all.

Barry

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23 minutes ago, jjbond said:

Yea Barry? ...and I think you need to learn how to not jump to conclusions and how to ask me if I was a Roadrunner member before accusing me on a public forum of being a claim jumper!!!!!!!

When someone shares such detailed info on a great area and states in their description that there are Roadrunner claims there, don't you think the correct response would be to say thanks for the info and if you're a member of the claim, go work it or the areas around it unclaimed?

No, you accuse me of being a thief.

By the way..... I'm a Roadrunner member.... thanks for asking.

Jennifer

????

I never accused you of claim jumping. Reading is fundamental.

I did know you had joined Roadrunner club. You were the one that posted a map of "the red square is where I detected". Clearly a lot more area than the roadrunner claims encompass.

I shared a resource to help you in the future. You are welcome.

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:3ztzsjm:           :pop:  

 

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3 hours ago, jjbond said:

accusing me on a public forum of being a claim jumper!!!!!!!

Just as a heads up to anyone wanting to check that area out.... (I'm not greedy)

Actually its highgrading ,or mineral trespass ,  not " claim jumping "

I dont understand the greedy comment ....Greedy of not finding anything? and sharing a club claim?

Oh, and there is gold up there right where you were. Guess that GPZ couldnt hear it....:idunno:

Edited by adam
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Great write up Doc! Thanks for taking the time to post such information.

Yet another thread hijacked. Again!

Edited by matt

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7 hours ago, DSMITH said:

Ok I  have a question the areas I hunt look pretty much like the photos jjbond has posted up except there is a lot of reddish looking quarts in the areas I hunt also which from my understanding the reddish has a lot to do with iron but there is tons upon tons of both reddish and white so what else as far as geological is one supposed to look for not trying to be a smart you know what just trying to learn

You are on the right track!  That reddish quartz, as you said, is iron stained.  There is an old saying, Iron is the Mother of Gold.

So what else to look for.  Look for areas of pulverized quartz, right adjacent to areas of broken down granite.  Sometimes it is actually easier to spot these areas when you are on a high vantage point looking over distant areas.  There is this sea of read ground and then you see this area that is white (quartz) and right adjacent to it is an area that is a darker grey almost black (granite.)  These are decomposed or weathered ancient contact zones.  At one point in time a quartz reef sat adjacent to a granite reef.  Gold likes to form veins in the quartz in contact zones.  The molten granite comes to the surface under pressure and starts to cool, now comes molten quartz and bumps up against the granite.  Now you have two different materials cooling at different rates and the quartz gets fractures in it because of these different rates of cooling.  Now comes the molten metals, the iron, the gold, silver and under pressure it is forced into these fractures.  Weathering causes the iron to oxidize, the quartz reef breaks down and liberates the gold.

Now there are other theories about how some gold forms.  Like crystalline gold.  It is theorized that this gold is leached out of rock by acidic water and taken into solution.  Somewhere along the path this water hits an area of conditions that neutralizes the acid, or combines with the acid to make a small gold molecule come out of solution and form a small crystal.  Years and years and years, and this gorgeous crystalline forms into a beautiful matrix of a nugget. 

When you find these contact zones, look down hill from the contact zone where the liberated gold may have moved.

Hope that is of some help.

Doc

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Awesome write up on contact zones Doc!

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A lot of work goes into an area before I head there to detect or drywash. 

There's usually at least 40 hours of research before my boots hit the ground.  Took me 8 months to figure out how to stake a claim, or at least go to an area and it is not claimed, at least with as much certainty as you can.  You can check the BLM, check the county records, but if the claim was filed in the last two weeks, not much chance of running into the corner markers or monument.  Finding a pile of rocks as a monument is like finding a needle in a haystack.  The county recorder can take up to two weeks to post new claims.

The only time I went prospecting an unclaimed site on someone else's research, I found someone else there saying it was not open land.  Because I didn't do the research personally I took the stranger's word and I went home.  I later found out, the area was open.  I also later received a private message from a forum member saying they had been to the same 20 acres, and had met the same person using the same story.

Couple of points to my rambling.  The prospecting portion is a lot of work before even putting boots on ground.  Second, someone can claim the area days after you get there, so you have to constantly have to check to be sure its open.  Because it is a lot of work finding these areas, I'm very picky on who I share my research with. 

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20 hours ago, DOC said:

I am always dismayed when I read of fellow detectorists who say that they have yet to find a piece of gold after one year, two years, etc.

I am to the point now where I find gold almost every time I go detecting.  I may get skunked 1 out of 20 times.  That 1 time is usually when I am prospecting totally new ground, and just have not hit a new area yet.

We all know the saying, "Gold is where you find it."  I think that statement is wrong and very misleading and harmful.

In fact I think it may give newbies the wrong impression about prospecting for gold.  It implies that gold is randomly dispersed, and if you do happen to find it, it is only by some coincidence or luck.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Finding gold is a science and an art executed by people with the skill and experience that know what they are doing.

All we are doing with a metal detector is processing dirt.  Now the more dirt we process the better chance we have of finding gold.  But think of what a small amount of dirt we are processing.  A column of dirt under the coil to an indeterminate depth and we sweep that coil back and forth.  We do that for 6 to 8 hours a day?  

Now compare that to the tons and tons of dirt you see the boys on Gold Rush process.  Yards and yards and tons and tons of dirt processed to collect their gold.  It's amazing that we find anything when you compare the small amount of dirt we "process" with a metal detector.

So, think about what a bizarre feat it is for a person with a metal detector to process such a small amount of dirt, and yet be able to find gold.  It is the old adage "needle in a haystack" so to speak. 

Yet, some prospectors. Bill, Fred, Tom, Kevin Hoagland, Mike, us guys that have been around a while, how come we are more successful at finding gold than other people?  Do we process more dirt?  NOPE!  We spend our time processing dirt that is more likely to have gold, than other dirt.

We have all heard go low and go slow.  Well, I agree with that "go low" admonishment.  You need to keep that coil on the ground.  But SLOW?  If you watch experienced detectorists, you will see that they vary their speed when they are "looking for gold."  They speed up in areas that their knowledge and experience tell them they are less likely to find gold.  They slow down in areas where that experience tells them there may be a greater chance for there to be gold.  So they spend their time more productively by processing only dirt that has a higher probability of having gold.  Now when they find a nugget, they may turn around and go back over the area they went through quickly.  This time they will go more slowly.  They do this because they now know this area may be more likely to have gold too.  So they invest their time wisely.

As an outlandish example.  You are standing in a paved parking lot of a Walmart.  Next to the Walmart are acres and acres of quartz strewn red dirt with all kinds of gullies where water has ran during the wet season.  Where are you most likely to find gold?  Are you going to spend your day in the Walmart parking lot swinging over asphalt?  Well experienced detectorists are constantly looking at their surroundings.  They look at where they are going and where they have been.  They are calculating the odds.  Is this a Walmart parking lot, or a gold vault?

"Gold is NOT where you find it." 

"Gold is found in places it is most likely to be." 

Seasoned prospectors have spent their careers learning what those places look like.  Now are we ever surprised to find a nugget in a place where we would never intentionally look.  Certainly, but those are few and far between.

Most times when we find a nugget we have a pretty good idea of why it is where it is.  Deteriorated quartz is everywhere, we detect on a bench, in a tailings pile, in the bend of a gully, under a waterfall of boulders, behind a bush lining a gully, near an old mine or there are indications the old timers were there.  I once was way off the beaten path on my ATV.  I found a canteen that said BEAR BRAND, Patent 1918.  Lid still on it, canvas completely gone.  I stopped right there and detected the gully I found it in.  I pulled out three nuggets. 

Let's say after a year you finally find your first nugget, under a boulder up on the side of a gully.  From that day forward, you will check every boulder on the side of gullies.  Why?  Because you learned where to look.  It's no coincidence that after taking so long to find their first nugget, newbies generally find their second nugget soon there after.  WHY?  Knowledge.  I have often said, if you don't take at least 20 minutes with every nugget you find, letting it tell you it's story, you are missing a valuable education.  "How did you get here little buddy?  Why did you stop here?  Where did you come from?  What's different about this gully than other gullies I have checked?  Is there a concentration of deteriorated quartz around here?  A contact zone?  You're sort of rough, you didn't travel far did you?"

I can almost bet that any experienced prospector will tell you that they can be riding on their ATV and all of a sudden they come upon ground and their heart starts beating a little harder.  They may even say to themselves out loud, "Oh man this area looks good."  After years and years of experience, we sometimes just "get a feeling."  It's not voodoo, it's just our subconscious telling us that at sometime in our past, we came across a place that exhibited similar conditions, and we found gold there.  We may not even remember the specific area in our distant past on a conscious level, but our sub-conscious knows.

So what is the moral of this story?  Buying a detector and expecting to learn how to become a successful prospector without training is like buying a 747 and trying to get it airborne when you have had no training.

I hear it time and time again.  I've been detecting 2 years and never found a piece of gold.  Who trained you?  TRAINED ME? "Well I've done a lot of research and I have read a lot on detecting and prospecting and I belong to the GPAA ...." 

That's akin to someone saying, "I have had the worst luck with airplanes.  I have owned five different planes and can't get the darn things in the air; I have crashed every one of them."  Where did you get your flight lessons?  "ME? LESSONS?  YOU MEAN FLYING LESSONS?"

So boys and girls, my lesson for today is:

"Gold is NOT where you find it."

"Gold is found in places it is most likely to be."    So  have someone teach you WHERE to look!

Doc
© 2017 G.M. "Doc" Lousignont, Ph.D.

 

 

Doc every time I hear that statement " Gold is where you find it" it makes my skin crawl. I get so tired of people wandering around aimlessly and then complaining they cant find any gold. even with a good detector it's only half of it. Thanks for the great posts here Doc.

AzNuggetBob

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I like this one better. "If your in the wrong place your not going to find any gold" :D
AzNuggetBob

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1 hour ago, DOC said:

You are on the right track!  That reddish quartz, as you said, is iron stained.  There is an old saying, Iron is the Mother of Gold.

So what else to look for.  Look for areas of pulverized quartz, right adjacent to areas of broken down granite.  Sometimes it is actually easier to spot these areas when you are on a high vantage point looking over distant areas.  There is this sea of read ground and then you see this area that is white (quartz) and right adjacent to it is an area that is a darker grey almost black (granite.)  These are decomposed or weathered ancient contact zones.  At one point in time a quartz reef sat adjacent to a granite reef.  Gold likes to form veins in the quartz in contact zones.  The molten granite comes to the surface under pressure and starts to cool, now comes molten quartz and bumps up against the granite.  Now you have two different materials cooling at different rates and the quartz gets fractures in it because of these different rates of cooling.  Now comes the molten metals, the iron, the gold, silver and under pressure it is forced into these fractures.  Weathering causes the iron to oxidize, the quartz reef breaks down and liberates the gold.

Now there are other theories about how some gold forms.  Like crystalline gold.  It is theorized that this gold is leached out of rock by acidic water and taken into solution.  Somewhere along the path this water hits an area of conditions that neutralizes the acid, or combines with the acid to make a small gold molecule come out of solution and form a small crystal.  Years and years and years, and this gorgeous crystalline forms into a beautiful matrix of a nugget. 

When you find these contact zones, look down hill from the contact zone where the liberated gold may have moved.

Hope that is of some help.

Doc

it does help a lot its post like yours DOC why I am here reading and soaking up as much info as I can as a new to detecting for gold detectorist its greatly appreciated all of you that have been there and done that and post things like this Thank you all

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To me that statement "gold is where you find it" was just an explanation of the gold we find out of the norm. Gold not on bedrock, sunbakers, gold on top of the hills, not in the washes or gullies. That lone nugget with nothing else nearby. I have only been detecting for a few years, but i have found several nuggets in areas that i thought had no promising look to them. Maybe I just don't know enough about geology lol. 

But yes Doc, what you said was articulated perfectly. PERFECTLY! I have met many "prospectors" that just randomly go to the desert or a creek and mine without ever doing research on the area.

Chris

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2 hours ago, bsumbdy said:

To me that statement "gold is where you find it" was just an explanation of the gold we find out of the norm. Gold not on bedrock, sunbakers, gold on top of the hills, not in the washes or gullies. That lone nugget with nothing else nearby. I have only been detecting for a few years, but i have found several nuggets in areas that i thought had no promising look to them.  

 

Chris

EXACTLY!!! scratch your head and keep movin on :arrowheadsmiley: Mike C...:200:

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