Monday, July 25, 2011

How to Pan for Gold

Gold is at record high prices. If you have ever wanted to play around panning for gold it is an ideal time. Find a good gold stream and try your hand panning gold.

    • 1
      Gold is found naturally in loads or in veins in the rock and gold is often found in almost pure form. It is scattered in tiny flakes in igneous rock. It washes out through water erosion to settle in streams and rivers where prospectors pan for gold. A good pace to pan is near old gold mine tailings.
    • 2
      Find a stream or river in an area historically know for gold. Near old gold mines is a likely spot to find flakes. California, Nevada, Utah and other western states have a great history of gold finds. Many eastern United States mountains have good areas as well.
    • 3
      To pan for gold find an area of the stream or river with about 6 to 18 inches of water. You can pan sand and gravel from right there or take it from other areas to fill your pan. You can even haul dirt from near an old gold mine if it is permitted.
    • 4
      Gold in pan.
      Fill your pan half full or a bit more. Submerge the pan 2/3rds in the water Jiggle it vigorously as gravity is what settles the heavier gold lower than other material. With a free hand break up any clay or clods of dirt. Pick out any stones or large gravel by hand. Move the material around some to help separate lighter material from the heavy black iron sand and gold. The lighter material is called overburden. Examine the rocks some as often gold flakes can be embedded in rock.
    • 5
      Lift the gold pan partly out of the water. Tilt and swirl the gold pan. Wash the lighter overburden over the rim while taking care not wash over the heavy black sand that settles with the gold. Skin off lighter material until you are left with about 1/2 cup heavy iron bearing black sand. A magnet may be helpful here to remove magnetic particles. View the sand with the eye or a magnifying glass to spot any gold flakes. Any shinny metal flake can be removed with a pair of tweezers and placed in a gold glass vial. Often flakes lighter in color can be silver or platinum. If you are very lucky you may find a gold nugget. I have seen a few pea sized nuggets found in nearby mountains. The sand that is left can be saved to go through more thoroughly later at home or back in camp.

No comments:

Post a Comment