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Howdy,Folks !!!

My name is Kevin and i am new to all this,never looked for gold or anything like that but then i started watching the Gold Shows on Discovery Channel,before you knew it,i bought a beginners Metaldetector and a gold pan .

Now,i don"t know where to look for anything of that kind around where i live(went on the weekend to a local river and started panning with no success).

I was wondering,if someone could help show me the ropes of location research and give me helpful tips ???

By the way,i live in Farmington,New Mexico

any reply will be greatlt appreciated !!!!!

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google earth is your friend


you'll need to find national parks/forests (public land). get a claim map of your area. and check the laws. if you know someone with land ask them for permission to prospect.

stay off private property, you might get shot.

open desert, far from any people. what kind of detector did you get. a beginer one probly wont realy work like you need.

best MD for gold nuggets: http://www.amazon.co...32812691&sr=8-2 this thing can pick out dust.

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Howdy Kev and a hearty welcome to Nugget Shooter. Here is some NM info for you...

Placer Gold in New Mexico

by Edgar B. Heylmun, PhD


New Mexico is not especially known for placer gold, although significant quantities have been recovered from certain districts. There are good opportunities for finding additional gold in favorable areas in the state.

The state is larger than Colorado in area, and is nearly half the size of Texas. Elevations range from less than 3,000 feet to over 13,000 feet in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Taos. Annual precipitation ranges from less than 8 inches in the deserts to over 30 inches at higher elevations. There are a number of ski resorts in the mountains, including Ski Valley and Angel Fire near Taos.

History and Production

The region that is now New Mexico was inhabited by numerous indian tribes when Franciscan friars established their first mission in 1598. Santa Fe and Taos were settled by Spaniards in 1609 and 1617, respectively. Placer gold was discovered along the Rio Grande, near Taos, shortly thereafter. The “Old Placers,” near Santa Fe, were discovered by Mexicans in 1828. Americans started to settle in the region in 1848, following the Mexican-American War, and most gold discoveries have been made since that date. Apache Indians made things tough prior to 1878. New Mexico is credited with a production of 662,000 ounces of placer gold since 1828, though actual production was greater since a lot of placer production was not recorded.

Placer Gold

Placer gold can often be found downstream from major mining districts, though this has not always been the case in New Mexico. The great porphyry copper deposits at Chino and Tyrone in southwestern New Mexico have yielded only small amounts of finely-divided placer gold, and little or no placer gold has been found in the Mogollon, Steeple Rock, and Lordsburg districts in the same general region.

The best-known placer gold localities in New Mexico are as follows, in descending order of production, and numbers correspond with those on the map:


1. Elizabethtown-Baldy. Placer gold was discovered in this district, northeast of Taos, in 1866, at elevations above 8,000 feet. Deposits near Elizabethtown were found on the western slope of Mount Baldy, between Anniseta and Mills Gulches, and along the Moreno River as far downstream as Eagles Nest. The most productive gravels were in or along Grouse and Humbug Creeks, and along the Moreno River. A 41 mile long ditch was built in 1869 to bring water to the district. The principal period of activity was between 1866 and 1905, with dredging having been done on the Moreno River between 1901 and 1905. Well over 150,000 ounces of gold were produced, including gold nuggets as large as 12 ounces. The gold has a fineness of 0.885.

The Baldy placers were found in or along Willow, Ute, and South Ponil Creeks, which drain the southern and eastern flanks of Mt. Baldy. Dredges were used on Willow and Ute Creeks. The deposits are in the huge Maxwell land grant, which was originally granted by the Mexican government. Over 52,000 ounces of gold were produced.

2. Hillsboro. This dry placer district was discovered in 1877 west of where Caballo Lake is now located. Over 150,000 ounces of gold were produced from cemented and uncemented alluvial fan and gulch gravels in a large area bounded by Dutch Gulch on the north and Rio Percha on the south. The most productive areas were the Dutch, Grayback, Hunkidori, Greenhorn, Gold Run, Little Gold Run, Snake, and Wicks Gulches, along with adjoining gravel benches. Cemented gravels averaged 0.10 ounce gold/cubic yard. Dry land dredges were used between 1934 and 1937.

3. Old Placers. These dry placers, discovered in 1828, were found in cemented and uncemented alluvial fan and gulch gravels 30 miles southwest of Santa Fe. The most productive areas were Dolores and Cunningham Gulches, as well as Arroyo Viejo. The average grade of the gravels was 0.06 oz. gold/cubic yard. Large scale placer mining efforts were not as successful as individual efforts, using pans, bateas, and drywashers. Over 100,000 ounces of gold were recovered. The open-pit bulk gold mine at Ortiz operated between 1978 and 1987, and some 300,000 ounces of gold were recovered. The mining operation consumed some of the old placer grounds.

4. New Placers. Dry placers were discovered by Mexicans in 1839, in gulches on the south flank of the San Pedro Mountains. Gold is concentrated in cemented and uncemented gravels near the old mining camp of Golden, 35 miles northeast of Albuquerque, as well as in or near Arroyo Tuerto, Old Timer and Lucas Gulches, and San Lazarus Creek. The average grade of the gravels was 0.08 oz. gold/cubic yard. Total placer gold production was about 100,000 ounces, with an average fineness of 0.920.

5. Pinos Altos. This is a dry placer district 7 miles north of Silver City. The deposits were discovered in 1860 and created a good deal of excitement at the time, despite the Indians. Gold was found in or near Bear Creek, as well as in Rich Gulch below the Mountain Key Mine. Whiskey and Santo Domingo Gulches were also productive, but there is uncertainty as to which gulch is which. Many smaller gulches were also productive. Dredges were used in the 1930s on Bear Creek as well as in Santo Domingo Gulch. Well over 50,000 ounces of placer gold were produced from the district.

6. Hopewell. This rather isolated district was discovered in 1880 in mountainous terrain 15 miles west of Tres Piedras, in northern New Mexico. Placer gravels are found in and along Placer (Eureka) Creek, south of Hopewell Lake, and the Fairview placer was worked on a flat below the lake. Nuggets up to 4 ounces have been found in the district. Part of the area is now a Forest Service campground. Some 16,000 ounces of gold have been recovered.

7. Pittsburg. Dry placers were discovered in 1901, along the west flank of the Caballo Mountains, east of Caballo Lake. Gold has been found in or near Trujillo (Caballo), Apache, and Union Gulches, as well as at Palomas Gap. Some streaks ran as high as 3 oz. gold/cubic yard. Over 8,000 ounces of gold have been recovered in the district.

8. Jicarilla. Mexicans worked this dry placer district with bateas before 1850, and obtained an unknown amount of gold. The placers are located in the northern part of the Jicarilla Mountains, 24 miles northeast of Carrizozo. Placer gravels are found in or near Ancho, Warner, Spring, and Rico Gulches. Over 8,000 ounces of gold have been recovered, and a lot of gold remains to be found, though overburden is deep. Glowing estimates of gold reserves given in U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1308 cannot be confirmed.

Other placer districts. There are over 28 other placer gold districts in New Mexico, including the White Signal, Malone, and Bayard areas near Silver City, the Orogrande district south of Alamogordo, the Red River district northeast of Taos, and bars in the Rio Grande southwest of Taos. The districts named each produced over 1,000 ounces of gold. Lesser amounts of gold can be found elsewhere and there could be undiscovered deposits in the state, especially downstream from areas that are known to be mineralized. Iron-stained sandstone beds in various parts of the state may contain finely-divided gold, but such deposits are rarely of commercial interest.


It could be that the placer gold potential of New Mexico has barely been scratched, because of a lack of water. Most of the gravels contain too much clay and moisture for successful dry recovery methods. Some of the gravels are cemented and there is a lot of caliche.

The prospector must be careful in regard to land ownership. There are a lot of private and Indian lands, and some privately-owned Spanish and Mexican land grants are enormous. There are valid mining claims in many districts. All signs and gates must be respected. A visit to Bureau of Land Management offices in Santa Fe is a must for anybody who hopes to work in New Mexico.

Further information on placer gold is available in U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1348, and in the May, 1994, issue of New Mexico Geology, published by the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources in Socorro.

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Hey Kevin, youve came to the right place! Your detector will work, but will not penetrate to the depths most "gold" specific detector will do. That being said, put the odds in your favor. Target shallow areas, exposed bedrock is a good start. Go where gold has been found. Take a rake and locate drywash piles also. These are piles left behind by people using drywashers. You can youtube to see what to look for. If you find piles that are intact theres a good chance they havent been thoroughly detected. If there is gold left, once it is raked youll have only inches to detect and you could get a solid signal. Make sure to practice with a test nugget or splitshot fishing weights. I went out over 20 times before detecting gold. some people score nuggets the first time. Eitherway, be patient and enjoy the ride! Good luck


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