by Lost Adams
Jigsaw Puzzles are how I am going to attempt to explain about the Gold Mining and Prospecting learning process. This may not be understood by some Newer Members to this Fraternity, but some of the Ol’ Timers will get it.
A friend of mine and I were discussing about Pocket Hunting the other day and he remarked that the method I had been describing was what he had been using since his early days, But just hadn’t heard it called by that name before.
The method I was describing was the Inverted V or Inverted Fan method. The Prospector Starts down in the Flat country on a river and Pans some fine gold specs from a gravel Bar. He knows that the Water is Flowing Down Hill (you all know the saying about Plumbers!), so any sand, gravel, ??? has to be coming from upriver. So The Prospector keeps moving up river till they come to a Fork in the River or Stream and then pan samples each fork to find where the Lead or Bleed is coming from. Now in Calif Most streams in the Mother-load country carry gold. You Say How does he determine the Right fork to find the Pocket/Lode in. Well he has to get out his 10x to 20x pocket magnifier and Look at the specs in his pan. He is looking for those small pieces that are still rough and hackley and Not pounded out Smooth.
When he decides which branch carry’s the Lead he proceeds to pan up the branch till he runs out of his small specs of gold. Then he knows that he has gone Too far up and goes back down to the last place he had found his Lead. Now he goes up the side of the hill 50-100 ft above the Creek Wash and Pan Samples a few holes down and up from a point perpendicular to the last good sample. He puts flags or stakes in the holes and then pans the samples VERY Carefully so as Not to Loose any gold, after counting the number of specs he marks on his map the Number and then proceeds to the next sample till all are done and Recorded on his map.
At this point he has determined on Which Side of the Canyon the Bleed is coming from and goes 50-100 ft up from the Highest Number Sample and starts a new row of holes. He goes 5 holes 50ft apart to the left and to the right and repeats the process. Then he does this again with 4 holes 50-100ft up and ad-nausiem. The 50 foot spacing between rows of holes is used on a Steep Slope and the 100ft spacing is on a Flatter slope. There is a slightly different method used in Australia on “flat land” called Fossicking or Loaming as explained in Loaming for gold by Sam J. Cash 3rd ed. Published. Carlisle, W.A. Hesperian Press, 2008.
You take a sample and pan it. Then you move 15’ at the four quadrants directions and pan those and whichever one gives the highest number of colors is the new center then take 3 samples at the N, E, S, if your highest sample is the West one. Then repeat till you have found the deposit. He explains that you should Not dig Deep but just take the Top ½ to 1” for your sample. One would think that this is Wrong as gold “Sinks so Down to Bedrock my Son”. But he is right because the wind Blows off All the light weight dirt and sand grains and leaves the gold concentrated on the surface in an Elluvial Enrichment.
At this point I would like to Help you All understand what a “Bench Placer” is. There seems to be a Bunch of well meaning Folks on the Internet that have Misinterpreted what an Elluvial Deposit is with a Bench Placer. A Bench placer is a High or Perched RIVER Placer and can be recognized by the rounded cobbles and sand and gravel. An Elluvial Deposit is the Portion of a Hardrock Vein that has Eroded away and Traveled Down Hill from its source AND hasn’t reached the Creek or River yet. It is recognized best by the Rough Hackley gold particles some of which still cling to the quartz matrix, and are called Specie aussy or Specimen usa. I haven’t figured out the Spanish or Latin term as yet, but maybe Stan will help us with that.
The methods except Cashes were All learned from 1000’s of years ago by the ancient civilizations and then Mostly updated by the Germans and the Spanish. We today use Geochemical and Geo-botanical prospecting, But Still use the Same way to follow our target to its source.
The Geochemical method use some sort of soluble dye such as Diathozone that has a color reaction with its pathfinder metal ions in water. The Geo-botanical method use some sort of Plant Part that accumulates Arsenic, Zinc, or Lead in its cells. It must be Ashed and then mixed with a buffer and accumulator then with its dye. It is an extremely Accurate and will detect to ppm more or less. These are Pathfinder Metals used in Geophysical Prospecting.
So back to the Jig Saw Puzzle analogy, you can see that in order to get the whole picture(jigsaw) we have to have All the parts and pieces to put together to See the Whole Picture.
So my friends and travelers I hope I have been able to Help you understand a little more.
I hope that you pick up some of the pieces I have given you and Study then so you can Fit them into this Puzzle and may your pan be TOO Heavy with Gold to Carry.