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 Nuggets of News Blog 

Monday, November 04 2019

gold miningOne of the most frequently asked questions has got to be “What signs should I look for when out prospecting that will indicate good gold in the ground?”  Unfortunately, there is no simple “one-size-fits-all” answer. Gold occurs in so many different types of deposits, therefore, indicators in one place for one type of deposit don’t always work very well for another. But in general, one of the very best places to look for gold today are in places where old-time miners successfully found it in the past. Sometimes there are very obvious signs of their digging and mining. Old-timers never got all of the gold, and they for sure didn’t have the arsenal of tools and equipment like we have today! The following man-made indicators of previous prospecting might help in your modern-day quest for gold:

Ground cuts are basically the trenches in the ground from which ground sluicing gets its name. These narrow trenches carried the water and gravels to the sluice box, and sometimes they were the sluice boxes themselves. Sometimes gold that escaped the sluice box is left within these cuts.

Stacked rocks. In narrow and steep locations there was little room for the miners to move the rocks away. Instead, miners of yesteryear were forced to stack the rocks into walls alongside the stream where they were working. Sometimes unworked gravels lie underneath these stacked rock walls. Keep an eye out for situations where these walls sit on gravel and not on the bedrock itself.

Piles of rocks. In many locations the gravels contain rocks that are too large to pass through the sluice. These big rocks and large cobbles are tossed into piles. The bedrock between them can be very productive, and if they are not too large and deep, you will find that the bedrock underneath them is often productive. It is worthwhile to roll the rocks aside and check out what is underneath.

Areas stripped of ground cover and top soils were often left behind as the mining operations processed these materials for their gold content. Sometimes tiny nuggets will get caught in the rough surface of the bedrock and this can be prime territory for metal detectors designed for nugget hunting.

Ponds and dams. Small-scale ground sluice operations and even larger hydraulic mining operations simply could not afford to bring water from long distances, so they built ponds close by to hold their water above the workings. When you find them, check out the nearby placer workings.

Drywasher piles. In the desert where sluicing was not possible, dry washers were used to process the gravels. These leave distinctive piles of coarse and fine screened materials that are right next to each other. Dry washers are not as efficient as wet sluice operations, so check these piles for nuggets that might have been missed.

Hydraulic Mine Workings. When the old miners found large deposits of gravel caused by erosion, they would dig trenches to bring nearby water to the gravel and use the water pressure to wash away the gravels. Check any exposed bedrock very thoroughly because they frequently missed narrow fissures and cracks that can hold nuggets. Exposed bedrock in and around old workings is always worth checking out.

Although this is not a complete list, it may provide clues about where to look for gold that you may not have considered. To avoid disappointment, remember that an indicator in one location may not hold true in another location. For example, visible vein quartz on the ground is a valuable indicator in some districts, yet you might find a spot where there is so much vein quartz scattered everywhere that it becomes worthless when trying to pinpoint gold. Other places that have good gold might be completely devoid of any visible vein quartz.

One of the great secrets of successful prospectors is that they get out into the field often and work hard at searching. Your mining equipment will not find any gold while stored in your house or garage.  Get yourself out in the field as often as possible and enjoy it to the fullest!

Posted by: Denise AT 05:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, August 13 2019

The type of stones you use for rock tumbling is largely personal preference. But whether you collectrock tumbler them on your own or buy rough stones, for best results stick to stones of similar hardness but of various sizes when tumbling together. This will ensure they all take approximately the same amount of time to reach the proper smoothness, and that harder stones don't damage softer stones during the tumbling process. 

Many types of rock can be successfully polished into stunning gems, especially agates, quartz, and jasper. Agate is the most popular tumbling rough. It is generally inexpensive and can be tumbled with good results by beginners. Agate occurs in a wide range of colors which include: brown, white, red, gray, pink, black and yellow. The colors are caused by impurities and occur as alternating bands within the agate, providing interesting and pretty patterns.

Any rock with a hardness of 5-7 on the Mohs hardness scale will generally take a nice polish in a rock tumbler. Agates have a hardness of 7. Harder rocks usually result in a high-gloss finish. Softer rocks will get smooth and rounded, but they won't take a polish. If the rock looks earthy, it will generally still look earthy when you take it out of the tumbler. Mohs Hardness Scale is named after its inventor, Friedrich Mohs, a German mineralogist. The scale was developed in 1812. He selected 10 mineralMohs Hardness Scales of distinctly different hardness (hardness is the resistance of a material to being scratched) that ranged from a very soft mineral (talc) to a very hard mineral (diamond). Since you always want to tumble together stones of similar hardness for best results, it's important to understand this principle.

The key point to remember in collecting or purchasing rough material for your tumbler is: "quality in means quality out!" Don't waste time and money on grits trying to smooth out crevices and holes in a poor rock. Start out right by only using the type of rocks that are known to provide the best results when polished.

To start, fill the rock tumbler barrel between 2/3 and 3/4 full. Choose rocks of varying sizes, as this will promote thorough tumbling action. A batch of rocks that are all about the same size will often not tumble properly or grind very slowly. For a 3 pound barrel, a good range of sizes is from .25 inch to 1.5 inches. Lortone Rock Tumblers found here.

If you don't happen to live where agates can be found in stream beds or where quartz pebbles can be found along beaches, that's OK.  You can still enjoy tumbling rocks by purchasing the rough materials online. Although it's fun to collect your own rocks, it is often much more economical to purchase them. And remember that collecting on private property without permission is unlawful and that removing rocks from parks and most other types of public land is also illegal.

Rocks NOT to Tumble

It's just as important to know what type of rocks you should NOT tumble, as it is to know which ones with produce nice round and shiny gemstones. Sedimentary rocks such as sandstone, coal, limestone and shale are too soft or poorly cemented to polish into shiny gems. Metamorphic rocks that contain micas or have a "grainy" texture are also unsuitable - they will break up instead of becoming smooth. And, most igneous rocks do not tumble well because they contain several different minerals that wear down at very different rates.

Nugget of News Blog

Posted by: Denise AT 02:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
 

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