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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
Monday, February 21 2022

Depending on where you live and where you like to treasure hunt, you might still be buried under feet of snow. Or maybe spring has sprung and temperatures are on the rise there. No matter the weather, you probably have extra time on your hands this time of year, so put that time to good use. Even though you might not have been out in the field for the last few months, you can still be prospecting and getting prepared for a new season of gold hunting! In other words, use your downtime wisely, so you can hit the ground running as soon as Mother Nature allows.

Inspect equipment. Did you properly clean and store your sluice and/or highbanker at the end of last season? In advance of heading out into the field this year, make sure the pump still works and the matting is in good shape. Run water through all hoses to check for cracks or leaks. Are the riffles bent? What about the header box or hopper? Check bucket handles to see if they’re still sturdy. Do you have adequate sizes of classifiers and gold pans? Inspecting all the parts now and taking inventory will save time in the field later. Ongoing supply chain issues can cause delays, so order early if buying replacement parts or new equipment online.

Prepare your tools. Sharpen digging tools, picks, shovels, chisels and other specialty tools that require sharp edges. Now is also a good time to mark screwdrivers, magnets, crevice tools and other small implements with some bright colored paint. It’s amazing how easily tools can get “lost” in the dirt. A strip of bright yellow or red can help you more easily spot them. Double check the seals on snuffer bottles, hand dredges, and vials to make sure they’re tight. Pack your backpack or tool kit with everything necessary for a full day’s work.

Maintain your metal detector. If your metal detector is still under warranty or giving hints of potential issues, the off-season is ideal for sending it to the manufacturer or taking it to an authorized repair shop to be fixed or tuned up. Check your rechargeable battery and make sure it is fully charged. Better yet, purchase a new battery as a back up. It’s also time to dust off the operator manual or search YouTube for “how to” videos pertaining to your brand and model. You’ll likely uncover some helpful tips and tricks, or learn a new recovery method.  Is this the year to add a new coil or pinpointer? Now is a good time to consider upgrades and make those purchases earlier than you expect to use them.  

Do your research. The best kind of research brings together different forms of info from a multitude of sources. It is the info gleaned from combined sources that can help you to determine the best possible place to locate precious metal or gems— old mining district reports, mining history books, topo maps, aerial photos. Consult the Bureau of Land Management's LR2000 searchable database. The legacy system is undergoing upgrades; as the new systems is implemented, information will be easier to find. It can take a lot of time to research new areas, but when you find a new spot with good gold, it will be well worth your time and effort!  It’s also a good idea to have alternate sites in mind just in case you cannot access your primary sites due to unforeseen closures.

Whether you detect for nuggets, dredge, sluice, or pan for gold, advance preparedness during the winter and early spring will produce better rewards when the 2022 gold hunting season starts. Hit the ground running and avoid equipment malfunctions later by putting your spare time to good use now.

Posted by: Denise AT 04:17 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, November 27 2021

If you’re ready to head to a sunnier climate this winter to do some desert prospecting, understanding the weather and topography can add to your success. Before loading up and heading to the Southwest, only to be disappointed by bad weather, first check out the weather patterns for the last 60 days and the predicted weather for the next 30-60 days. Why is that important?  Well, it mostly comes down to rainfall— how much and how fast. For example, if there will be a lot of rainfall over an extended time, soils will be loosened and gravity will do its job and cause deeper, and sometimes more concentrated, pay streaks. 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 convective precipitation in the form of short monsoon-type thunderstorms. 

There are three major desert areas that make up the American Southwest:

The roughly 200,000-square-mile Chihuahuan Desert stretches from the southeastern corner of Arizona across southern New Mexico and west Texas to the Edwards Plateau. It runs deep into central Mexico,The Chihuahuan Desert is the most moderate of the three deserts, made up of low and high desert regions and grasslands. It sees the most rain on a regular basis throughout the year with anywhere between 8-12 inches, and areas in New Mexico receive up to 17 inches per year. Unfortunately, because of the Chihuahuan Desert’s higher altitude in southern New Mexico, and the rain patterns there, winter prospecting is a real challenge, especially dry washing. October - March averages 2 inches of rainfall per month, with an average daytime temperature of 55 degrees, making it hard for the ground to dry throughout the season. The pay layer in the Chihuahuan Desert is most likely going to be deeper and more evenly distributed and more highly concentrated than in the Sonoran Desert, but there will be a lot of effort needed to stay on track sampling to find the richest pay layer.

The Sonoran Desert occurs primarily in Mexico. In the USA, most of it can be found in the southern third of Arizona, with small areas in southeastern California.The Sonoran Desert region of Arizona receives between 3-20 inches per year, but these numbers are skewed for the actual low desert gold-bearing region of the state. The Sonoran Desert encompasses a large section of high desert area, ending a few miles south of Prescott, Arizona, following a higher elevation line to the east and west. The normal rainfall in the lower elevation gold-bearing areas of Arizona averages 6 inches annually, all of which falls in about 30 days and includes the monsoons. Yuma is considered the driest area of the state with only 3 inches of rain on average.

The Mojave Desert is primarily in southeastern California and southwestern Nevada, with small portions extending into Arizona and Utah. It has a large amount of high desert elevations and has skewed numbers for the majority of the gold-bearing areas. Lowland areas at less than 1,000 feet elevation average 3.7 inches per year of rain, while Granite Mountain at 4,200 feet above sea level averages 8.5 inches annually. Rich pay layers have been found northwest of Barstow, California by testing and eliminating low to no pay overburden. This area is known for seismic activity with several earthquakes and aftershocks occurring west of the 117 degree meridian, which helps in concentrating gold.

When prospecting in the desert, it’s a good idea to test larger areas in compass headings— testing every few feet north to south to find highest values, then east to west of that spot. Doing so provides you with a line in the desert for further testing. Because of the extended days of rainfall in the Chihuahuan and most of the Mojave compared to the Sonoran Desert, you’ll likely discover a shallow and slightly more compacted layer of good material that is worth processing. However, this “pocket gold” layer can be directly above the really good pay layer you want. Finding gold and digging straight down without continued testing and sampling is not taking advantage of the forces of nature, especially that of water following the path of least resistance and taking the heavies along for the ride. In other words, don’t settle for just any pay layer— follow and use the over burden to get to the BEST pay layer!

If you are planning a desert prospecting trip far in advance, it’s a good idea to start checking weather patterns in April, which is when desert prospecting begins to wind down. That way you will be very prepared when the following fall and winter rolls around. That also gives you time to form a Plan B if the weather is not conducive to your Plan A. If you are a member of Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA), there are hundreds of opportunities across the Southwestern states to get on the gold at a GPAA claim. Knowing a little about desert geology is a great start to understanding more about the “why” and “how” gold deposits are formed. And weather is a key factor in knowing “where” gold settles after it breaks from the lode and residuals. Get out there and get your share! Good luck getting the GOLD!

Posted by: Denise AT 07:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, October 28 2021

Available through December 31, 2021 only... Garrett is offering two special packages for Fall 2021 featuring the AT Max metal detector. Either package you choose is $722.46 with FREE SHIPPING -- a savings of $181.85 if items purchased separately. 

Garrett AT Max metal detector

The ALL TERRAIN Garrett AT Max metal detector is designed for dusty, humid or wet environments. Fully waterproof to 10 feet. Enhanced electronics, a 13.6 kHz operating frequency, and eight Sensitivity/Depth adjustments allow you to detect targets deeper than other Garrett AT detectors. The Garrett exclusive Automated Ground Balance Window feature can simultaneously "spread" the ground balance setting to a range of values to reduce ground response in severely mineralized areas. Automatic and manually adjustable ground balance options also available. Superfast Z-Lynk wireless technology is 6 times faster than Bluetooth. Integrated circuitry transmits audio to your wireless headphones. Auto pairing. No cables, and no interference from other wireless devices. Hunt Day or Night with the backlit display feature that allows you to continue hunting in low light conditions. The Iron Audio feature allows you to hear iron trash before you dig it! Also includes True All Metal Mode, All Metal Iron Mode, Digital Target ID and Adjustable Threshold to better hear targets.

Posted by: Denise AT 09:42 am   |  Permalink   |  Email

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