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Curious iron bits

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There's an old claim near here that we like to visit, on the outskirts of an 1880's gold-mining community. Lots of quartz outcrops and diggings, but we mostly find 100-year-old iron junk and cans. Some of it is worth keeping, like an old pick head or cast-iron stove door with an owl design.

But we've also found these curious bits over a period of several years. And we find them not only here, but over a several square mile area. And in places where there is no evidence of historical mining or other activity, other than occasional logging or forestry operations.

Usually Sandy and I can easily tell if a metal scrap is manmade, these examples we cannot. My meteorite geologist buddy thought they were worth a nickle test, but his testing solution dried out. We're finding them often enough I need to know if I should dig or ignore them.

They're clean, solid iron where I ground a face on a few. Some of them we cleaned the surface in the micro soda blaster. They could be a bit of weld or other metal chipped off some logging equipment, but their shapes are too varied and don't look like welding slag I make in my own shop.

I don't know if anyone on the forums can hazard a guess from the pics, but I'm dying to find out what these are. I'm willing to send a couple out for testing if anyone here thinks it's worthwhile. Thanks!





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Interesting finds. Assuming they came from the same source, I wouldn't expect to see the long, rough shards like those in the middle as meteoric. Probably terrestrial iron. Just my opinion. But given the circumstances of your find, I would still have them tested just to make sure.


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I have dug similar pieces of scrap iron. The early miners here did not have many tools and used their axes for sledge hammers and wedges. These appear similar to the ones I have found. If you beat on a piece of hardened steel long enough it will break. I was just giving a talk to our Mineral club today and when I went to find my scrap can I found a lot of these pieces also and parts of ax heads. Jerry

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When I was a kid many years ago we used to find similar pieces along the shore of Lake Erie. My Dad said they come out of the iron ore boats that used to cross the lake from Canada. Back when we had steel mills. Bob

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I agree with Bob.... being a relic hunter for so long i have always dug every signal and wish i had a nickel for every one of these ferrous iron bits. Last weekend i was up at Lynx creek and found a half bucket full before calling it a day. They sat quietly alongside the squarehead nails , barbed wire , and a 1941 silver washington quarter. Save them for nostalgia and you never know when you need them for reference.

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