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Wednesday, March 29 2023

Did you know that “bad” weather can be really GOOD for gold prospectors? Of course no one ever hopes that Mother Nature causes catastrophic loss of life and property, but the ups and downs of weather events in any gold-bearing area are something to take advantage of. Nature can help all of us in our quest for the shiny stuff— especially in light of recent atmospheric rivers causing flooding and lots of snow in California, eastern Idaho, northeast Utah, northwest Colorado, the Cacade Ranges, portions of the northern and central Rockies, and portions of Arizona and Nevada.

atmospheric riverAtmospheric rivers are large, narrow sections of the earth's atmosphere that carry moisture from the earth's tropics near the equator to the poles. On average, the earth has four to five active atmospheric rivers at any time. A vast majority of atmospheric rivers happen in the fall and winter. The northern Pacific Coast receives the bulk of activity in the fall, and the California coast receives more in the winter. Since December 2022, the U.S. West has been slammed with back-to-back-to-back atmospheric rivers. These events provide as much as half of the region’s annual precipitation, bringing much-needed water to parched lands and adding to the snowpack in the high mountains. This year’s storms have done a lot to restore the landscape drought and is “greening up” the landscape and refilling many smaller reservoirs.

How does this help you get more gold? Primarily, multiple weather events cause large amounts of gold to move and replenish areas that already have been worked. And even when the atmospheric rivers die down, the higher than normal snowpack will cause water levels in rivers to flow well into the summer instead of drying up in late spring.  Higher water levels extend your mining season, and allow you to run high-production equipment such as highbankers and power sluices. Miners can also work stream bank deposits once the water recedes back to normal flows.

Typical winter storms that regularly occur in gold-bearing areas usually do not create enough havoc to force substantial amounts of "new" gold into movement. However, when Mother Nature really goes to work as we’ve seen lately, a great deal of gold can be set free, creating a bonanza for gold hunters. Gold veins that have been hidden for decades suddenly can be exposed. Floods can also sweep gold out of abandoned mines and wash it downriver. Known gold digs can be washed out, trees uprooted, and the landscape eroded— all pluses for prospectors! When tons of rock, cobble, and boulders are swept downstream along bedrock during a huge storm, quite a bit of destruction occurs. Plants, weeds, and trees that normally grow along the river and gravel bars are washed away. And when a major storm or flood tears up large portions of a streambed, a fair amount of this newly-released gold, because of its weight, will be deposited along the riverbed and settle into cracks and crevices (hand dredges are an ideal tool in this situation).   

Stream bed layers caused by several floods over time are referred to as “flood layers.” Flood layers are usually a different color, consistency and hardness from the other layers of material within the streambed, making them easy to recognize. Larger, heavier pieces of gold will work their way down toward the bottom of a flood layer as they are washed downstream. The smallest and lightest flakes of gold might not work their way down through a flooding layer at all, but might remain dispersed within the material. Of course not all flood layers contain gold in large quantities, but it’s a good place to start. Some of the best areas to look for flood gold are where the stream or river widens out, or levels out, or changes direction. These areas can allow concentrations of gold to collect either on bedrock or in the contact zones between layers. Another place that tends to collect gold are gravel bars, especially the ones located towards the inside of bends in a waterway.

Even if you’re waiting for the weather to settle down and warm up and are not quite ready to start prospecting just yet, get out and keep an eye on the water flow so you can try to figure out where the gold actually drops out. Watch the flow lines around boulders and trees. Watch where the flows slow down. The rule of thumb — gold is in the inside bend where water is slowest — is a rule of thumb, but not always 100% accurate. Look for prospecting opportunities in the flow such as eddies, slack water drop zones and abrupt changes in direction caused by floodwaters. Look above current flows at the high-water mark because debris and bank outcroppings can create diversions in stream flows.  Also notice flattened brush or grass and new boulder or cobble deposits. Especially if you’ve had minor gold recovery success in these areas in the past, you could really make out this year and beyond as gold is redistributed.

The 2023 gold mining season promises to be one of the best for small scale miners in many areas— especially California. Don’t miss your chance to experience a banner mining year in the Golden State and other western states. Get out there and get your share of the gold!

Posted by: Denise AT 11:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, February 24 2023

Whether it’s mining for gold, silver, lead, zinc or other precious metals, it’s always fun to follow in the historic footsteps of the old timeQueen Mine Bisbee Arizona miners. To do exactly that and learn how copper and other ore was first mined in Bisbee, Arizona, take the underground Queen Mine tour. Outfitted with hard hat, miner’s headlamp and a neon vest, visitors ride 1,500 feet into the mine and learn about equipment, techniques, dangers and a century worth of history. Tour guides are actual retired miners, so you know you’ll get the real highlights of working underground.  You’ll learn about blasting with dynamite, the role of mules, and even how miners went to the bathroom while working in the mines!

Electricity changed the world from a predominantly rural society to the industrial age, and copper wire was needed to carry that electricity— and lots of it. Thanks to the insatiable demand for electricity, Bisbee was one of the greatest copper camps in the world. In nearly 100 years of continuous production (late 1880s until the mine closed in 1975), the local mines produced metals valued at $6.1 billion (at 1975 prices). This staggering amount of wealth came from the estimated production of 8,032,352,000 pounds of copper, 2,871,786 ounces of gold, 77,162,986 ounces of silver, 304,627,600 pounds of lead and 371,945,900  pounds of zinc.

The story of Bisbee mining began in the late 1870s when Lt. Dunn, in charge of a cavalry detail from the frontier Army post of Fort Queen Mine Bisbee ArizonaHuachuca, was on a scouting mission against the Apache Indians. Lt. Dunn and his men camped on a spot that is now occupied by Old Bisbee, only several hundred yards from the beginning of today’s mine tour. On a walk after dinner, Lt. Dunn picked up an interesting rock. He found a few more pieces along the slope of the south wall of the canyon. Unable to do anything about it because of military duties, Dunn took a prospector by the name of George Warren into his confidence and struck up a deal by which Warren would locate claims and work the property with Dunn as a partner. But on his way to the site, prospector Warren stopped to  enjoy his favorite pastime—drinking whiskey with friends. Warren soon had new partners and staked a group of claims with them, leaving Dunn completely out of the deal.

Copper production began on a limited basis around 1880. At the time, those who toiled in subterranean tunnels beneath the Mule Mountains were mostly immigrant miners from Europe.  Individuals and then companies with capital gradually became involved and took over individual claims and brought them into production. Phelps Dodge Corporation, through a subsidiary the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company, became the dominant force and eventually the sole operator of the mining district. Building on its base in Bisbee, Phelps Dodge had long been one of the largest copper producers in the United States. Although mining was closed in 1975, the Queen Mine Tour was officially opened in 1976 to keep the story of mining alive in Bisbee. Since then, millions of visitors from around the world have enjoyed the trip into the mountain on the underground mine tour train.

Hour long tours depart each day, seven days a week, from the Queen Mine Tour Building, located immediately south of Old Bisbee’s business district, off the U.S. 80 interchange. Reservations are required for underground tours. Closed toed and low heel shoes are mandatory.  For information, reservations, and group rates call 866-432-2071 or visit Be sure to arrive 30 minutes before tour time. Interesting mineral displays, gift shop, and Bisbee Visitor Center are also found in the tour building.

Posted by: Denise AT 07:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, February 14 2023

There are a variety of searchcoil sizes and shapes and configurations. The correct one to use depends on the environment it will besearch coil configurations used in as well as the targets being sought. A change in any one of these variables may require a different searchcoil. Sometimes changing the search coil on your metal detector is the next best thing to buying a whole new machine! It is possible that merely changing the coil on your detector will lead you to a host of new targets.

In  addition  to  searchcoil  sizes  and  shapes,  there  are also a variety of searchcoil configurations available, with each proving to be  the best choice depending on hunting applications and ground conditions. The configuration of a searchcoil refers to the arrangement of the Transmit Coil (TX) and Receive Coil (RX) within the searchcoil shell. The most common configurations are: Concentric, Mono, Imaging, and Double-D.

The concentric configuration consists of a TX coil and RX coil which are usually circular. The advantage of this configuration is that both the TX and RX coils are wound as large as possible within a given searchcoil diameter. This provides the largest possible detection fi eld and greatest detection depth, making the concentric coil potentially the most sensitive confi guration available. In addition, concentric coils also provide the most symmetrical detection field, allowing ease in pinpointing and consistency in target identification. For these reasons, they are the most commonly used searchcoil and will provide the best overall performance in most environments. Unfortunately, this configuration is the most susceptible to interference from ground minerals, which results in substantial loss of performance when used over heavily mineralized ground.

A mono-coil is available only on Pulse Induction detectors, such as Garrett's new Axiom Metal Detector, and is a variation of the concentric configuration. The mono-coil can be manufactured with the TX and RX coils located together or as a single coil acting as both TX and RX. The detection and performance characteristics of the mono are essentially the same as the concentric in that it provides the maximum possible sensitivity, but suffers some performance in mineralized ground.

An Imaging searchcoil is an enhanced version of the concentric configuration that features an additional RX coil. This extra coil provides the detector with additional target information necessary for true target-depth perception and true target-sizing capabilities. With this additional sizing information, the detector can more fully characterize a target and for the first time distinguish between trash and good targets of the same conductivity (e.g. a quarter vs. a soda can). Only the Garrett GTI metal detector offers this technology.

DD Search coils have two smaller “D” shaped coils housed inside to penetrate heavily mineralized ground that is commonly encountered while gold prospecting and relic hunting. The  Double-D  configuration  is  designed  to DD search coilssignificantly  reduce  ground  interference  and, thereby,  recover  the  performance  lost  by  a concentric  coil  over  mineralized  soil.  With  the Double-D, it is the arrangement of the TX and RX coils that produce a canceling effect of ground signals. This  configuration  is called  DD  because  both TX and RX coils are in the shape of a “D”. The positive detection fi eld of the DD runs beneath the overlapping center section from front-to-back. The remaining portion of the coil actually produces negative (i.e. canceling) detection fields. It is this canceling field that allows the DD coil to maintain performance over mineralized ground. Because of its small positive detection field, the DD is inherently less sensitive than a concentric searchcoil of the same size, over non-mineralized ground. The Double-D will, however, significantly outperform  the  concentric  coil  over  mineralized ground. For this reason, it is highly recommended when hunting over mineralized ground commonly found when prospecting and relic hunting.

It’s important to know the benefits of using various size, shape and configurations of coils because simply changing the search coil on your metal detector is the next best thing to buying a whole new machine! Garrett is the global leader of ground search metal detectors, pinpoints, coils, and other accessories. Browse Garrett detectors and more.

Part 1 covered search coil size, shape and depth.

Posted by: Denise AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, February 13 2023

The searchcoil is a vital part of your metal detector.  It generates a magnetic field and senses metallic targets in the surrounding environment. The size and depth of the magnetic field is determined by the shape and size of the searchcoil. Understanding the  purposes  behind  the  various  sizes and shapes of searchcoils will empower you  with  the  ability  to  choose  the  best coil for each application.garrett searchcoils

Searchcoils generally consist of two internal sets of coiled wires, a Transmit Coil (TX) and a Receive Coil (RX). Mono coils can be different in that one coil acts as both the TX and the RX. When the detector is turned on, the TX coil generates a magnetic field in the surrounding space. When a metallic object is within this generated magnetic field, it will create a distortion in the magnetic field. The RX coil will sense this distortion and send a signal to the control housing. A searchcoil’s detection pattern is determined by the combination of the TX’s generated field pattern and the RX’s sensing field pattern.

The detection depth of a searchcoil, as a rule-of-thumb, will be approximately equal to its diameter, for a coin-sized object. However, as a searchcoil’s size increases and its field pattern becomes larger, the field pattern becomes less concentrated and begins to miss small objects. For a coin-sized object, this effect becomes noticeable when using searchcoils larger than about 15" in diameter. Since the field generated by a large searchcoil is larger, deeper and less concentrated than a small searchcoil, it is the best choice when hunting for targets that are usually large and deeply buried, such as caches or relics. there is a direct relationship between the size of a magnetic fi eld and the size of a coil. The bigger the coil, the larger the magnetic fi eld. Therefore, larger searchcoils generally detect deeper than smaller searchcoils.


  • Smaller Search Coils (less than 6" in diameter): Great for “trashy” areas, really allowing you to sift through metal debris. These coils are best for tighter places and the smallest, shallow targets. Because the magnetic field of a small search coil is concentrated within a small volume, it is the best choice for hunting in areas with a lot of metal debris. This allows you to maneuver through and around trash to locate good targets, especially when searching in tight places where large searchcoils cannot go. In addition, because of their concentrated detection field, small searchcoils are the best for detecting very small objects. However, a small searchcoil provides less coverage per sweep; more scans will be required to cover a search area.
  • Medium Search Coils (6-11" in diameter): Usually come standard with your metal detector, medium search coils are designed for general use in finding the broadest range of targets in the broadest range of environments. For general-purpose hunting, which typically includes coins and coin-sized targets, a medium sized searchcoil (8 - 9") is the best choice. Because a medium sized searchcoil provides the best combination of magnetic field concentration, detection depth and capability to detect the greatest range of target sizes within the detection area, it is standard with most detectors. In addition, it’s lightweight and easy to maneuver.
  • Large Search Coils (over 11" in diameter): The larger the search coil, the deeper it will penetrate the ground. Great for finding caches or relic hunting, finding deeply buried, large targets. Large  searchcoils  generate  wider  and  deeper  magnetic  fields  than small coils and consequently provide greater depth and coverage. This means that scanning a search area requires fewer sweeps with a large searchcoil than with a smaller coil. This larger scan area, however, can become a problem in trashy areas where the search coil is detecting several targets at once.

searchcoil shape
Generally, search coils are circular or elliptical in shape. An elliptical searchcoil  is  more  maneuverable  than  a  circular  searchcoil  and  its narrow width actually provides greater coverage than a circular coil due to its elongated length. However, a circular searchcoil has slightly more detection depth and sensitivity in non-mineralized soil, so it is still the most commonly used shape.

It’s important to understand the pros and cons of using various size, shape and configurations of coils because simply changing the search coil on your metal detector is the next best thing to buying a whole new machine! Most metal detectors come with a standard search coil that is good for general use – finding the broadest range of targets in the broadest range of environments. But search coils come in all shapes and sizes, and it's possible that merely changing the coil on your detector will lead you to a host of new targets in that “hunted out” area.

Garrett is the global leader of ground search metal detectors, pinpointers, coils, and other accessories. Browse Garrett detectors and more.

Part 2 — search coil configurations

Posted by: Denise AT 04:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, February 08 2023

Grab your Garrett metal detector and accessories and head to Canton, Texas, April 14-16 for their Memorial Hunt! TiGarrett Memorial Metal Detecting Hunt 2023cket registration for the Garrett Memorial Hunt closes in less than a month, and with over $100,000 worth of prizes, you don't want to miss out. The more hunters who sign up, the more this value will increase! Tickets are limited, so be sure to secure your spot before they sell out. Sign-ups end March 1, 2023! 


Friday, April 14, through Sunday, April 16 in conjunction with Texas Association of Metal Detecting Clubs (TAMDC). The event will be held at:

First Monday (flea market grounds)

800 First Monday Lane

Canton, TX 75103

Basic Hunt Package:

  • One hunt package fee covers all Garrett events!
  • Participation in several prize hunts
  • One Garrett Memorial Hunt T-shirt (if the hunt fee is paid before the deadline).
  • Free First Monday park admission and tent camping (RV camping requires an additional fee).
  • Hunters are free to search throughout the designated park grounds for native coins and relics.
  • Additional details, hotel information, etc. found here.

Plenty of Fun for All Ages!

  • Meet other treasure hunters and find some treasure! Or explore Canton's historic district and local museums.
  • Free Kids Hunt for ages 12 and under.
  • All prizes will be awarded! A random drawing will be conducted for unclaimed prizes.
  • Treasure talk on Saturday by Jase Robertson, star of Duck Family Treasure TV show!
  • Picnic and coolers allowed. Concessions available in Civic Center building on Saturday and Sunday.

Whether it's time to buy your first Garrett metal detector, an upgraded model, or additional coils, headphones, carry bag or other accessories, check out the selection of Garrett treasure hunting items here.

Posted by: Denise AT 11:15 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, November 19 2022

If you’re used to water mining, having success in the desert might seem challenging— that is until you start thinking of desert ground as a massive sluice box. Many of the principles you’re used to when prospecting and mining in waterways, will translate into desert mining. The most important thing to remember is that water is crucial to gold movement. Unlike a running river or creek with highs and lows, desert placers are much different in that gold is moved quickly during a flash flood, leaving gold stranded as opposed to being moved further by continual water flow in a creek.

During a river high-water event in a non-arid area, gold is moved over a larger area by massive water flows that continue until the water slows as the source dissipates its energy. Spring snow runoff is a good example. Rivers rise and sometimes flood based on the upstream water source. When the snow has melted, the river will slowly get back to  normal. In the desert, gold is moved in the exact same way with the exception that water powerful enough to move gold does so and then just simply stops. In a flash flood, gold is moved very violently and often a very short distance, sometimes percolating into valuable pockets. Here’s where the difference between water and desert mining principles comes into play generally flood gold will concentrate in areas that do not meet the standard thought of inside bends and where the water flow becomes lower.

For the most part, desert mining experts recommend staying out of the washes, gulches and dry river beds— that is unless you clearly see exposed bedrock. Gold will settle fairly quickly when it is trapped behind jagged bedrock and small fault lifts that have not been worn down over time by constant water flow. It IS true you can find areas of concentrated gold-bearing material in the washes, however, the amount of time and energy to get through feet of overburden is usually just not worth it, especially when there are higher values to be found outside of the wash.

Follow the leads out of the wash to where the gold lives in higher concentration. Test and sample areas you see with a great deal of runoff from a tributary coming into the main wash. Here you are only digging through the current flood layer and testing for flood gold. Make your way out of the wash carefully looking at the bottom of the tributary and the areas where the water flowed into the tributary. Look closely for jagged bedrock and slight lifts in the ground and then prospect. Continue to test each of those spots. What started as a few specks of flood gold in the main wash can lead to larger and larger deposits on the flats or in slight inclines across the desert floor. Keep in mind that when a flash flood is dissipating, there is not enough energy to move a lot of rock, but the sand will continue to flow a bit, creating great clues.

In general, cool season precipitation (October through April) is the most extensive source of rain in the desert regions. Rainfall is more widespread and of relatively long duration during the cool season. On the other hand, warm season precipitation (May through September) results largely from short monsoon-type thunderstorms.

If you’re ready to head to a sunnier climate this winter, keep these tips in mind and you just might find enough similarities between water and desert mining to make you return every year.  Good luck!

Posted by: Denise AT 08:51 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, September 30 2022
In an area either rumored or known to hold gold, where should you look first? The creek, the surrounding hills, washouts, or just where? The characteristics of the gold in that area will help you to know where to start. If the gold is flat and pounded, that indicates it’s been in the water a long time. If the gold is coarse and chunky, you know you’re getting closer to the source. When gold is smoother, stop and go back to the coarsest gold and start working upwards until you find the source.

Keep in mind that gold is gold, so there isn’t necessarily a better type of gold. Some is just easier to recover. There are only two typesgold nugget of gold deposits. The first type is “lode” which is simply everything that is still in the matrix and in the ground, and the other is “placer” —or everything else.

Lode deposits refer to gold that is still locked within its original solid rock formation. This formation of gold generally starts as a vein in rock and is formed over millions of years. Since the gold is locked up in rock, and can be mixed with quartz, calcite, pyrite, and other minerals, lode gold  usually requires specialized mining techniques to extract. Lode mining takes a lot more equipment and generally a lot more expense and is usually undertaken by large commercial operations instead of the average prospector. Placer gold is the gold that most prospectors are more familiar with. Placer gold isn’t really any different than lode gold. It is simply a concentration of that same gold that has eroded and traveled away from the vein.

Since gold is very dense, it will move downhill much slower than the surrounding sediment. It tends to become concentrated on or near the surface of the lode, forming a “residual placer” close to the original bedrock exposure. Gold found downhill from the immediate outcrop above the nearest watercourse is called an “eluvial placer.” Once it reaches the nearest waterway and is transported by flowing water, the gold now is known as “alluvial placer.”  The origin of the dust, flakes and nuggets found by panning and sluicing is usually from a vein up on a nearby mountain.

Bench placers were originally stream placers. Benches are simply where the water used to be, maybe even millions of years ago. They are formed by erosion or geological events such as uplifts, earthquakes or plate drops that changed the stream flow. Some of the most profitable mining is performed on benches. Many benches are highly concentrated by the alluvial deposits that still feed them.

Stream deposits are the last resting place for gold. Once the gold has been released from the lode, gravity and nature does the rest. And unless gold gets stranded on a bench, it will find its way to the water someday. It may take a million years, but it will get there.

When deciding where to begin prospecting, most of the time you’ll want to start panning in a water way, or a wash in the desert where water once flowed. Then let the gold tell you where to go from there. When the gold gets coarse and ragged, start to move up, looking in reverse of how it got to the spot where you found it. In addition to panning and sluicing you may wish to upgrade your mining efforts with a highbanker or power sluice, dredge or trommel. Moving soft soil or river gravel is obviously much easier than breaking rock, but for small scale miners, a rock crusher can pulverize 2 or 3 inch sized rocks into powder in no time. Move more material faster— get more gold! 
Posted by: Denise AT 01:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, September 22 2022

Gold can hide down in the deepest part of a crack or crevice or behind a boulder and often is best reached with a hand dredge, also called a "sucker gun" or "suction gun." This gold prospecting tool is ideal for working below the water line when a motorized dredge cannot be used. It helps you get the gold out of some really tight spaces, a hand dredge is well, handy, when you're prospecting along a river. If you've found a rich spot that is hard to access, these two hand dredges can produce some decent gold! Also check out the many accessories that make your hand dredge even better!

X-Stream Hybrid Pro
The pump uses two leather cups back-to-back, attached to the plunger handle, to move material into the pump and out through the hose. When wet, these cups will seat in the barrel of the pump. When first using your pump, placing the leather cups in water for a few minutes will allow them to conform to the diameter of the pump barrel and work more effectively.

The check valves have white marks on the “top” side. For the system to work most effectively, these marks should be pointed upwards. The flappers in the pumps hang on hinges which work best when the hinges are at the apex of the flow.

Clamps are not necessary unless you plan to use the system in strong current and want to be extra cautious. For users in deeper water or stronger current, consider wrapping a leash around the lid and tie it off at your waist to prevent the bucket from breaking away.

Avoid moving overburden with the hand dredge. Cut into the heavy sand with a shovel, then use the X-Stream hand pump to remove the target material from the bottom of the area. Don’t press down into heavy sand, but rather just hover the nozzle at the top layer so it can get sand and water, and the experience will be smoother. Keep the bucket as low as possible so you’re not pushing material uphill to get to the bucket.

The plastic valves can freeze and break if freezing occurs while they are still filled with water. Keep the pump inside warm and dry areas while not using. More about the X-Stream Hand Dredge here.


The Quick Sniper is a tool that uses some new ideas to help you collect the hard-to-get gold from heavy sands under boulders, in crevices, and behind obstructions. The “NOZZLE” of the Quick-Sniper is where the magic happens. Inside the nozzle is a short white plastic pipe that extends into the tube. This allows you to pump the handle four or five times before you need to take steps to collect sand and gravel. Instead of pulling the handle and then ejecting the material into a pan or bucket after each pull, the cavity created inside the tube will hold your heavies, allowing water and the lightest material to swirl out and go back into the water before you pull again. Shaking the pump gently will transfer the heaviest of sands and gravel deeper into the cavity. Then, after you have repeated this action a few times, pull off the cap and dump the contents of the pump into your pan or bucket. The flexible tube extending from the end of the nozzle is designed to pull out, allowing you to extend the reach of the tube about 4-5 inches. If this tube is sliding too easily, wrap some electrical tape around the inner end, and it will be more secure within the Quick-Sniper.

The leather cup inside the tube is designed to provide years of effective service. When  you are preparing to use the Quick Sniper, just soak the leather cup for 10-15 minutes in cool water, then insert it back into the pump for ready use. The top rim of the pump is rounded out so you can remove and replace the leather cup without damaging it. The cap is designed to remove easily so you can dump your material into a pan or bucket. Some people prefer the cap to be tighter, and this can be achieved by wrapping black electrical tape around the top of the pump body two times. The friction will keep the cap in place and will easily release the cap with a gentle outward “pop” of the plunger.  More about Quick Sniper here.

Posted by: Denise AT 05:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, April 28 2022

Over the years, metal detecting has continued to become one of the most popular forms of gold prospecting, especially with folks new to prospecting. Panning, sluicing, and highbanking can be lucrative ways to recover the shiny stuff, but when you’re first bitten by the gold bug, you might opt for the simplest, quickest approach — swinging a detector. Not only is it physically easier than processing heavy dirt and rock, it offers the added bonus of finding more than just gold, such as coins, jewelry, relics, and other buried metallic treasures, too.  Aside from record gold prices, another reason that people are eager to try metal detecting iGarrett AT Gold Metal Detectors because it gets you out of the house and away from crowds. It’s a fun hobby you can do with your family surrounded by fresh air!

The basic premise of metal detecting is allowing the detector to introduce an energy field into the ground, and allowing that field the opportunity to return any target information that it finds via the detector’s control box. The two most common types of metal detectors to consider:

VLF (very low frequency) metal detectors are the most common type of detector. They work by sending out energy that is either reflected off or conducts through an object containing metal. The device then measures how long it takes for the signal to return. Frequency refers to how fast a metal detector sends signals into the ground.  As the name indicates, these detectors use very low frequency coils (generally below 30 kHz.) The outer coil serves as the transmitter and the inner coil serves as a receiver.

PI (pulse induction) metal detectors send energy into the ground and measure the decay of that signal. Anything that slows or speeds the decaying signal is a target. This technology sends powerful, short bursts (pulses) of current through a coil of wire. Each pulse generates a brief magnetic field. When the pulse ends, the magnetic field reverses polarity and collapses very suddenly, resulting in a sharp electrical spike. This spike lasts a few microseconds (millionths of a second) and causes another current to run through the coil. This current is called the reflected pulse and is extremely short, lasting only about 30 microseconds. Another pulse is then sent and the process repeats.

Generally speaking, the higher the price of a metal detector, the more features it will have. More features translate into more knobs. The more features and/or knobs that a detector has, the more you are able to tune the metal detector to the type of hunting conditions that you are likely to encounter. With that being said, the downside to a large number of features is that even though you are able to fine tune the detector to match the local conditions, there are also more ways of setting up the detector incorrectly. Setting up a machine "wrong" may result in a decrease in depth and sensitivity and your $900 metal detector may be outdone by a $200 model!  It is critical to read the owner’s manual that comes with your detector and learn to use it properly for maximum results. Keep in mind when shopping for a detector that gold detectors are not necessarily higher in cost, but they are built with a higher sensitivity to detecting gold nuggets, have better ground balancing and discrimination abilities, and could be the best option for you.

The #1 question that everyone asks is “What is the best metal detector?”  Unfortunately, there is no one single answer. Each metal detectorist  has specific needs that cannot be met by one single detector. The easiest way to find the "best" detector is to evaluate YOUR detecting style, your experience level, what items you hope to find, and the time that you will spend metal detecting. After taking all of these things into consideration, then you will be able to find a metal detector that fits your needs and your budget.

If you’re wondering how deep a detector can detect, realize that there are too many variables to be able to unequivocally quote a depth for any particular brand or model. The size of the target, how it is positioned, ground mineralization, ground moisture, and more are just some of the factors that affect the depth of a detector.

When treasure hunting with your detector for  coins, relics, or jewelry, use your imagination as  to where to hunt — anywhere people are likely to have lost something or left something behind is a likely place to dig up good finds—playgrounds at schools and parks, picnic areas, campgrounds, new construction sites, ghost towns, old homesteads, woodlands, plowed fields and pastures, sports fields, showgrounds, and racetracks, swimming holes, beaches, jetties, and piers. Right under your feet might be a good place to start; you never know what you'll find in your own backyard! Remember to always know local laws  before using your metal detector. Many state and national parks and historic sites do not permit detecting. Be sure to first ask permission to treasure hunt on private property.

If you want to get out there this year and get your share of the gold but the idea of panning, sluicing, highbanking, or using another piece of gold mining equipment just isn't your idea of fun, that's OK. Consider a metal detector instead. Since the lure of uncovering a gold nugget of any size is addictive, you'll see people in known gold bearing areas swinging a detector, listening intently through their headphones for that magic tone that says DIG. Go ahead and join the fun! Today it is easier and more productive than ever to go treasure hunting. The metal detecting hobby has gone to a whole new level using state of the art technology that makes metal detecting equipment more high tech than ever.

Posted by: Denise AT 03:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, March 26 2022

Gold is gold, so there isn’t necessarily a better type of gold, however, mining for lode gold has many more challenges than mining for  placer gold. The formation of gold generally starts as a vein in rock. This is referred to as “lode gold” and is formed when molten rock in the earth’s crust heats groundwater under great pressure. In fractured bedrock with appropriate rock chemistry, super-heated water (hydrothermal) at approximately 400-700 degrees Fahrenheit dissolves certain elements alode goldnd molecules from cubic miles of crust and transports them in a circulation loop. When this hydrothermal solution cools or chemically reacts with local rocks, the elements and molecules will come out of the solution and solidify (precipitate), forming ore deposits. The hydrothermal solution will begin precipitating on the sides of the opening and slowly fill the entire crack over time. This is how gold veins can form.  These geologic processes take place over millions of years, and can happen many times over many years in the same location.  Since the gold is locked up in rock, it is usually pretty hard to get to— usually requiring specialized mining techniques to mine and extract. Lode mining takes a lot more equipment and generally a lot more expense and is usually undertaken by large commercial operations instead of the average prospector.

Placer gold is the gold that most prospectors are more familiar with.  Placer gold isn’t really any different than lode gold. It is simply a concentration of gold that is created over time as it erodes from hard rock veins.  When exposed at the surface, a mineralized deposit will break down and erode due to reactions with oxygen, water and wind, coupled with temperature fluctuations. Since gold is very dense, it will move downhill much slower than the surrounding sediment. It tends to become concentrated on or near the surface of the lode, forming a “residual placer” close to the original bedrock exposure. Gold found downhill from the immediate outcrop above the nearest watercourse is called an “eluvial placer.” Once it reaches the nearest waterway and is transported by flowing water, the gold now forms an “alluvial placer.”  The origin of the dust, flakes and nuggets found by panning and sluicing is usually from a vein up on a nearby mountain.

An ore body is a mineral deposit that can be mined, processed and sold at a profit. All ore bodies are deposits. Few deposits are actual ore bodies. Valuable gold deposits in placers are referred to as “pay streaks” instead of ore bodies. Over time, eluvial and alluvial placers can become covered with sediment. When buried long enough and deep enough, these deposits will turn into “fossil placers.”  Sometimes the fossil placers are re-cemented into sandstone or conglomerate rock and then must be mined using hard rock techniques.

Hard rock ores have mostly fine to micro-fine gold in solid rock; placers contain fine to coarse gold particles in a softer bulk material or matrix. That makes placers much easier to mine and process. Moving soft soil or river gravel is obviously much easier than breaking rock. For small scale miners, though, a rock crusher can pulverize 2 or 3 inch sized rocks into powder in no time!  But for the average prospector, panning and sluicing will be more fun and more profitable, and as time goes on, you may wish to upgrade your mining efforts with a highbanker or power sluice, dredge or trommel. Good luck!

Posted by: Denise AT 08:13 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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