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HOW TO PAN FOR GOLD
You will need a Gold Pan – preferably with some “Riffles” built into the side. These Riffles help keep Gold in your Pan
and not let it wash out! A dark green or dark colored Pan makes the Flakes of Gold more noticeable and easier to see.
Find some sand or soil from an area known for Gold. Fill the pan half full. Hold the Pan level and place your pan under water.
Keep the pan under water at all times. Run your hand through the dirt and sand in the pan. Take out larger rocks and stones
and break up lumps of dirt, mud and clay. Hold the pan level with both hands and rotate the pan with swirling motions. As you
swirl the sand and gravel around the heavier gold loosens from the sand, gravel and settles to the bottom Tilt the pan slightly,
Riffle Side down, to let the water wash the sand over the edge of the pan. Raise the edge back up and shake and swirl a few times
before tipping again. Continue to raise and lower the lip of the pan so the water will flow out and remove more of the sand
and lighter material. As sand and gravel wash out, Black Sand will normally appear. You will usually find Gold in Black Sand.
(But not always.) Continue this process until nothing but gold and heavier minerals are left in the pan. Then carefully inspect
the Black Sand for Nuggets, Pickers, Flakes or Fine Gold (Gold Dust). This is called Finding “Color” or Gold in your Pan.
Most Important - Practice and be Patient. Good Luck! You can practice Gold Panning Techniques at home using a Gold pan and a
Tub of water or wading pool in the back yard. Place a certain number of Steel BB’s or lead shot or small lead fishing weights
in the pan. These are heavy and will act like gold nuggets in the bottom of your pan for your practice panning.
Add a couple handfuls of sand – then practice the techniques described above. When you end up with all the
BB’s or lead you started with in the bottom – you Win!
WHERE TO FIND GOLD
· Look for Gravel Bars, Quartz Outcroppings & Bed Rock in Rivers, Streams, Creeks, Washes or Ravines.
· Look for Gravel Bars and Black Sand settled in Seasonal Water Runoff Areas, Washes and Creeks.
· Look on the Downstream Side of Large Boulders or Tree Roots in streams. Be Safe! Do not dig Under boulders!
· Look in Cracks of Rocks, Quartz Rock Outcroppings, Bedrock and Roots along areas where water runs.
· Look in Streaks of Gravel or Black Sand that settle Above Stream Beds and Follow the Stream or Wash Channels.
. Gold is usually (but not always) found in Black Sand.
. Sample various areas until you find some Color (Gold).
GOLD PROSPECTING AND MINING DEFINITIONS
Adit – mine entrance.
Alluvial Fan – the eroded hillside below a mountain made up of rock, gravel, soil and gold or mineral deposits
Alluvial Gold – is Gold that has been deposited by running water. This is usually associated with sand, gravel,
silt or any material that has eroded and been washed away from one place and deposited in another.
Ball Mill – steel balls are used to tumble inside a rotating container to grind ore so the gold can be recovered
Bench Deposits - ancient river-washed Tertiary Deposits of rock and gravel that may be far from the nearest modern stream,
creek, river or wash. The deposits contain great potential for finding gold and other minerals.
Bedrock - The underlying rock on a mountain or in a riverbed – found underneath the other rocks, gravel, sand and soil.
Gold lies on top of the bedrock. Clean bedrock with vacuum or brushes to get all the fine gold!
Black Sand - made of different dark minerals like Hematite and Magnetite that will stick to a magnet. It’s heavier than white sand
so it stays in the pan while the lighter sand grains wash out. See Magnetite
Bucket Line Dredge - 1890s -1900s. Unlike modern, small dredges, it was very Large. And instead of a water vacuum, a chain line
of metal buckets scooped up river gravel and dumped it in a long sluice recovery system.
Carpet – indoor/outdoor carpet or grassy turf carpet that’s put in sluices etc to trap fine gold.
“Chispa” – a piece of host rock (granite, schist, other) broken off a gold vein -contains gold often with quartz
Claim - a tract of land that has been legally filed on and set aside for purposes of mining and prospecting.
Claim Jumper – a person who illegally prospects on a private claim without claim owners consent or authority.
Classifier - a screen device usually made of metal or plastic that is used to fit on top of a gold pan through which the materials
that go into the pan are first passed through. Large Classifiers are also known as Grizzlies.
Concentrates - heavier materials such as gold and black sand that are left after having panned out rocks, gravel and sand.
Placer gold and gold-rich black sands remain at the end of any type of placer mining or gold panning.
Coyote Holes or Dug Outs - small tunnels and hole dug by Old Timers to test placer and ore deposits. Some miners lived in
the cave-like holes if they were solid enough. These Dug Outs were warm and dry in Winter and Cool in Summer.
Crevice Tools – various picks, pokers, trowels and brushes used to get all the dirt and gold from rock crevices.
Dredge or Suction Dredge – an underwater vacuum with a motor and sluice box that floats on the water. Its suction hose picks up
streambed material and runs it across the sluice box riffles on top to collect the gold.
Dry Panning - when water is not available you can carefully shake and swirl dry sand or soil in a gold pan allowing the heavier gold
to sink to the bottom and the dirt and lighter materials fall off over the edge.
Dry Washer - common desert mining tool where air is blown through dry dirt and gravel over a type of sluice box. Light materials
blow off and gold stays in the sluice riffles that face backward for better recovery.
Float - chunks of rock or ore that has been broken off from the mother lode and moved down hill with the help of gravity, the wind,
water, the movement of the earth or any other action caused by nature’s erosion.
“Fool's Gold” Iron Pyrite – flakey golden shiny rock mistaken for gold ore and found in gold-bearing regions
Free Gold - placer or alluvial gold that has already been eroded out and become Free of veins or host rock
Gems, Garnets, etc - often found in your gold pan with black sand and gold – diamonds have even been found!
GOLD - Fine Gold / Flour Gold / Gold Dust - Gold that is so fine that it looks and feels like flour or dust. "The bread and butter of
prospecting." Nuggets are just a bonus. Fine Gold is the most common type of gold. Speck - bigger than fine or flour gold, but still
too small to pick out of the pan. Fleck - like a Speck, but flatter. Flake - larger in size but too small to pick up with your fingers
- it can be picked up with a pair of tweezers. Picker - a small piece of gold (tiny nugget) big enough to pick out of your pan with your fingers.
Gold Nugget - large piece of gold. The big shiny chunk of gold we are all hoping for! Eureka!!(I have found it!!)
Gold Leaf – genuine 24 K gold hammered, rolled or processed into thin pieces or sheets for various uses
Gold Pan - a broad shallow dish made of plastic or metal used to Pan out sand and gravel and leave the gold. Riffles are often cast
in one side to act as a Sluice to catch the heavier gold and let the light material wash out.
Gold Panning Kit - a gold pan, a classifier and a suction or sniffer bottle to vacuum up microscopic gold
Grizzlies – Classifiers often attached to or connected with Dry Washers and High Bankers (Power Sluices) and other mining machines
used to separate rocks and gravels from the gold bearing sand, soil or dirt.
Hard Rock Mine - tunnel dug into solid rock to find valuable minerals or metals. Consisting of the following: Adit – mine entrance. Shaft
– a deep vertically excavated hole or passage. Drift - a horizontal passage excavated along a rich vein of ore. Stope - A step-like
excavation formed by the removal of ore from around a mine shaft. Tailing Pile - Gravel, dirt, and rocks left behind outside the mine.
High Banker - See Power Sluice
Hot Rocks - frustrating volcanic type rocks with high mineral concentrations that make your metal detector “sound off” like its found gold,
but does not actually contain Gold or other valuable or desired minerals
Hydraulic Mining- outlawed for many years, but in the 1800s and early 1900s used water diverted into ditches,. wooden flumes and pipe
at high elevations and gravity fed - then channeled through heavy iron pipes, the water became very high pressured and exploded from a
nozzle with a force of 5000 pounds. The focused stream of water blasted away mountains! The gold was recovered by the muddy debris
flowing through a long series of Long Tom Sluices.
Long Tom - Similar to a sluice box, but much longer and skinnier.
Lode Gold - gold trapped inside veins of quartz. Erosion causes the gold inside the veins to break away from this source rock and wash
downhill. Larger pieces of gold are found closer to the lode vein site.
Magnetic Black Sand or Magnetite - a magnetic oxide of iron and hematite and other minerals. They serve as an indicator of the likely
presence of placer gold and much can be removed from your pan with a magnet.
Matting – ribbed rubber matting used in a sluice box to help recover the fine gold.
Metal Detector – a battery powered electronic instrument that has the ability of sensing the presence of metal objects in the ground such
as coins and gold nuggets
Miner’s Moss – fibrous man made rubber carpet in sluices, dredges, rocker boxes etc that traps small gold.
Mother Lode - refers to the vast area in the Sierra Mountains of Central California where gold was found in the 1800s. Called The Mother
Lode, because the whole area was a rich source of Gold, not just a small target area.
Open Pit Mine - big wide open hole or pit in the ground where ore is excavated – like the Boron Borax Mine in Mojave Desert.
Ore – solid rock or loose gold bearing material that is mined in order to extract precious metals from it. Commonly a mixture of one or
more of the following: quartz, gold, copper, silver, iron, and nickel.
Pocket - In prospecting & mining, a Pocket is a cavity or confined area filled with Gold of Gold Ore, or a rich deposit of precious metal.
A Pocket may be an eroded out bedrock area where the Gold settles into the hollow.
Placer - gold, black magnetic sand, and other elements that have a specific gravity that is higher than that of sand and rock etc that is
located in the same area.
Placer Mines - most common form of mining, it involves finding gold that’s deposited in small cracks, holes, or sand bars in the mainstream
of a river. It almost always involves the use of water in some way or another. Placer mining tools generally include the rocker box, sluice,
dredge, high banker (power sluice), shaker table, dry washer, and always the gold pan. Placer Claims give you mineral rights to the land not
ownership unless the claim is patented or land purchased.
Power Sluice – or High Banker - uses a water pump to transport water through a hose or pipe into higher and sometimes richer placer
reserves above the stream bed. Runs more material in less time than a regular sluice.
Prospect - To search for gold. Or - a site or Claim where gold or other mineral deposit is found and mined.
Riffles – grooves, ridges or bars in a gold pan or sluice box., that force the gold to sink and become trapped and separated from the
other materials. Riffles allow the gold to be separated more quickly & more thoroughly.
Rocker Box or Cradle - a sluice box on rockers - has riffles and carpet in it to trap the gold but designed to be used in areas with less water
by pouring water out of a small cup over dirt and rocking it back & forth.
Shaker Table - An engine driven vibrating table used to separate gold from blacksand and other material
Shaft – a deep vertically excavated hole or passage.
Sluice Box - the most commonly used tool in mining aside from the shovel and pan. A long, narrow, wood or metal channel that water
passes through over riffles into which gravity and water can cause the gold to sink
Sniping - testing a possible prospect site for gold with a few tools like a gold pan or a metal detector
Snuffer (Sniffer) Bottle & “Tweezers” (Tube Bulb) – suction devices used to suck fine gold out of your pan.
Stope - A step-like excavation formed by the removal of ore from around a mine shaft.
Tailing Pile - Gravel, dirt, and rocks left behind outside the mine. Gold nuggets occasionally fell out into the tailing pile. Use a Metal
Detector to find these lost nuggets!
Tertiary Deposits – ancient river deposits of round smooth rocks in desert or mountains that contain rich gold
Trommel – a large turning cylinder with various sized holes used to classify large quantities of rock & gravel
Tweezers – used to pick up small pieces of gold, flakes and pickers out of the gold pan.
Vial – small plastic or glass bottle for holding gold. Glass is pretty for display, but plastic is better in the field.
Vein – long solid ribbons or pockets filled with gold, ore, and quartz that once flowed up through molten rock
Adit – mine entrance.
Designs by Shaman Grafix