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Thread: "Mysterious Metal" washing up on Gulf Coast Beaches???

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  1. #1
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    "WP"

    May 2005
    Saint Petersburg, FL
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    "Mysterious Metal" washing up on Gulf Coast Beaches???

    Alright, I know I've said it before... but I need to know what this "mysterious metal" (what I'm calling it) is that I keep finding on most of the beaches I've hunted here in Saint Petersburg, Florida!!
    The beaches I've found it on is Treasure Island Beach, Madeira Beach, North Beach at Fort DeSoto, and (primarily) St Pete Beach.

    No one seems to know what this stuff is, or where it might be coming from... so I need some help to identify it!
    To me, it appears to just be some iron or something... but I'm confident it's not iron. I've dug plenty of iron to know it's not that. On my detector (White's IDX Pro), it shows up as $1, 50 cents, or Silver (the very far right of my display)... no matter if the piece is as small as a dime, or the size of a dollar piece or larger. I'm pretty sure it's not silver, as I stuck some of my neo-magnets to a few pieces. They do seem to show a very small trace of rust color, though not all do. They also have an almost "ring" tone to them when hit together. Not quite the sound silver makes when hit together, but they still have a slight high tone when struck together rather than a dull one. If you can't tell already, I'm quite frustrated with this "mysterious" stuff. And yes, I have tried looking it up on the net, but have been unsuccessful in finding anything about this stuff washing ashore.

    Thanks for ANY help anyone can offer my curiosity!!!

    Bran <><
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  2. #2
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    Re: "Mysterious Metal" washing up on Gulf Coast Beaches???

    I've found the stuff too. It's all over the east coast of Florida too. I believe they are just pieces of rusted iron that have been in the salt water for a long time. I always had assumed that they came from steel ships that had gone under and fallen apart. My theory might be wrong. But there has to be a reason why there is so much iron on the beaches we detect.

    I have found some pieces thinking they were the famous Spanish cobs....but as my luck goes they were junk.

    Hopefully the experts will post something with a better explanation.

    HH
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  3. #3
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    "WP"

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    Re: "Mysterious Metal" washing up on Gulf Coast Beaches???

    Thanks, I appreciate it Cap... I've had a sneaking suspicion that it was from a shipwreck, but I didn't want to just assume. But thus far, I've had another person say the same thing. So it's possible that it's from an early 1900's wreck site out there. The most I've been able to find has come from the North end of St Pete Beach, compared to the other beaches I've detected. I still find it interesting metal, none-the-less.

    Bran <><
    Rom. 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

    Rom. 10:10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

  4. #4
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    us
    FlAuthor

    Aug 2004
    Minneola, FL
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    Re: "Mysterious Metal" washing up on Gulf Coast Beaches???

    It's World War 2 Shrapnel. The beaches were used for gunnery practice during the war. Plywood targets were set up on the beach representling Panzer tanks and truck. Fighter and fighter bombers would strafe and bomb these targets. Bomb fragments went every whichaway. Sometimes when you dig deep enough, you'll pull up .50 caliber cases and their bullets. You find a lot of them down around Lido Beach in Sarasota too. There weren't too many ships sunk in the Gulf as it really shallow. A lot of planes crashed during training, many went down in Tampa Bay. This might account for a lot of the old metal especially after a heavy storm.
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  5. #5
    JP
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    Re: "Mysterious Metal" washing up on Gulf Coast Beaches???

    I have found also along the Gulf coast beaches where you and I hunt bullets and bomb fragments from practice during the time of WWII. I have also found weird items like small bronze nails or spikes (at least I assume they are) about 2 inches long. I know there are several shipwrecks in our area that date from the time of the US Civil War up into modern times. Is the weird metal that we find on the beaches from these? Also, most of the pieces won't even pick up on metal detector. I pass over them in all metal sometimes and I don't get a signal. I assumed that I didn't get a signal because the steel had completely oxidized. Notice that the pieces are usually light weight.

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  6. #6
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    Re: "Mysterious Metal" washing up on Gulf Coast Beaches???

    They look just like the pieces that used to drive me and my buddy nuts with our DFX's at a local old tavern place. We call em White's Silver Dollars and sold our DFX's. We just figured they were pieces of old roofing with some sort of galvanized or something that fools the machines. Triangular blades from old hay cutters do the same thing.
    If it ain't broke, fix it anyway!

  7. #7
    Charter Member

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    Re: "Mysterious Metal" washing up on Gulf Coast Beaches???

    Shrapnel....never thought about that but it certainly sounds reasonable. We found buckets of it over on the Treasure Coast. Everyone just called it "Cannon Rust".

    Deepsix
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  8. #8
    digum smacks

    Re: "Mysterious Metal" washing up on Gulf Coast Beaches???

    all the above is correct.anything made of iron is out there,barges ,pipes etc

  9. #9
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    Just another Guy In Back

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    Re: "Mysterious Metal" washing up on Gulf Coast Beaches???

    I've dove the wreck 'Regina' in Bradenton Beach several times. There is not much left of it above the sand, but it is loaded with your mysterious metal. The stuff just flakes off the remaining structure and the beach is full of it.

    There is lots of metallic junk out there, and it eventually makes it's way to the beach. The stuff is also pumped up onto the beach area when they do the beach re-nourishment projects.

    Sunken vessels, military ordinance, old metal dock pilings, junk, and garbage... we've certainly trashed up our world.

    It's enough to drive a PI machine nuts...

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    http://www.flheritage.com/archaeolog...s/uwregina.cfm
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  10. #10
    us
    Mar 2007
    121

    Re: "Mysterious Metal" washing up on Gulf Coast Beaches???

    Here in NC these are all over the place on the coastb ! My 1st thought (and only thought bout it) is due the area (grave yard of the atlantic) they came from ships ! Who knows / some of it is solid stuff !!!! diggstown

  11. #11

    Jan 2008
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    Re: "Mysterious Metal" washing up on Gulf Coast Beaches???

    Quote Originally Posted by godisnum1
    Alright, I know I've said it before... but I need to know what this "mysterious metal" (what I'm calling it) is that I keep finding on most of the beaches I've hunted here in Saint Petersburg, Florida!!
    The beaches I've found it on is Treasure Island Beach, Madeira Beach, North Beach at Fort DeSoto, and (primarily) St Pete Beach.

    No one seems to know what this stuff is, or where it might be coming from... so I need some help to identify it!
    To me, it appears to just be some iron or something... but I'm confident it's not iron. I've dug plenty of iron to know it's not that. On my detector (White's IDX Pro), it shows up as $1, 50 cents, or Silver (the very far right of my display)... no matter if the piece is as small as a dime, or the size of a dollar piece or larger. I'm pretty sure it's not silver, as I stuck some of my neo-magnets to a few pieces. They do seem to show a very small trace of rust color, though not all do. They also have an almost "ring" tone to them when hit together. Not quite the sound silver makes when hit together, but they still have a slight high tone when struck together rather than a dull one. If you can't tell already, I'm quite frustrated with this "mysterious" stuff. And yes, I have tried looking it up on the net, but have been unsuccessful in finding anything about this stuff washing ashore.

    Thanks for ANY help anyone can offer my curiosity!!!




    Bran <><
    I have definitely seen those before.....here at the Jersey shore we have alot of Storm drain outlet pipes along our beaches, and as these iron pipes rust over the years they tend to peel away not unlike an onion skin peels away from the onion in layers. when this happens these layers of what is basically rusted iron will break up into chips or what I call "potato chips"....I don't have a problem with them when using my Excal out there....but I did pick them up with the Whites Beachhunter ID when I was using one a few years ago.....I was eventually able to distinguish the signal as iron as I got to know the BHID and what it was saying to me.....but those thing definitely are a nuisance for some machines out there....do you have any of those outlet pipes in the area that you hunt??.......hope this helps....HH....Brian

  12. #12
    us
    Jun 2008
    Florida
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    Re: "Mysterious Metal" washing up on Gulf Coast Beaches???

    Those are flakes of rust that came off of the large pipes used to pump sand onto the beaches. The Minelab Excalibur and Sovereign will ignore them but some other detectors will produce a signal. I used to have problems with my Fisher CZ-6a sounding off every time it's coil passed over one of those but I was able to use the ground balance control to eliminate them.
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  13. #13
    us
    Jan 2018
    Florida
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    I found some of these on the beach in the same areas I was finding relics from the Spanish Wrecks on the east coast of Florida. I believe that they are from the inside of the sand dredge pumps used to replenish the eroded beaches. Most of the ones that I found if you looked at them from the side displayed a slight roundness that when i stuck them all in the sand edge to edge made a almost perfect 12"-16" circle, thus leading me to think that they came out of the inside of the dredge discharge or pump. They drove me nuts knowing that there was a wreck right there, had to dig them all! Finally took them down to another beach that was "claimed" by a local as "his beach"and threw them all over the place!

    suntannedgem

  14. #14

    Apr 2015
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    Yeah these things drove me INSANE when I first started detecting with an Ace 350, especially at night.

    I switched to an AT Pro and it was much better (in pro mode) but still enough to drive you crazy at certain gulf beaches. Basically if ID bounces from 0 to 100 and everything in between it's one of these rust chips. ID will change based on position.

    When I switched to a CZ I was finally able to ignore them. They still occasionally give me a broken bouncy hit but I know immediately what it is when I hear it.

    They are from sunken barges, and other steel, much left over from WWII military training.

    Once I found a big square piece of aluminum, 2'x2' very thick, covered with bullet holes... something bigger than 50 cal punched clean thru.

    I also found two old military buttons, all around those areas.

    Even worse than these rust chips are the bits of crab traps. Once you get suckered into digging a 2 1/2 ft deep hole in chest deep water you'll know what I mean.
    Minelab Equinox 800 + Fisher CZ-21

    ... waiting to see that elusive dowser on the beach with a bucket of gold rings ...

  15. #15
    us
    ARC

    Aug 2014
    De Tampe Bahia - La Florida
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLauthor View Post
    It's World War 2 Shrapnel. The beaches were used for gunnery practice during the war. Plywood targets were set up on the beach representling Panzer tanks and truck. Fighter and fighter bombers would strafe and bomb these targets. Bomb fragments went every whichaway. Sometimes when you dig deep enough, you'll pull up .50 caliber cases and their bullets. You find a lot of them down around Lido Beach in Sarasota too. There weren't too many ships sunk in the Gulf as it really shallow. A lot of planes crashed during training, many went down in Tampa Bay. This might account for a lot of the old metal especially after a heavy storm.
    Agreed... and um... disagreed.



    The OP stated that this is turning up on NORTH beach. (unless the OP's bearings are off)

    The ordinance debris... is in more or less... limited areas which are South of St. Pete beach.

    St. Pete beach itself only had southern tip as a target area for a short while.

    I know this... for I was part of recovery that located these areas / recovered debris / ordinance.

    Primarily...

    Ordinance testing target was... Mullet Key.

    AKA Fort Desoto Park.

    PS... This is why certain areas of the park are off limits to detectorists.

    PSS...

    Oh and the Gulf is littered with buried wrecks... up and down St. Pete beach.
    Also...
    Many years ago... it was common practice of dumping...
    Old tires... rims... junk ... metal scrap etc.

    This is why magnetometers and detectors used offshore for location of said items can be a futile task.

    This I also know for a fact.
    Last edited by AARC; Feb 01, 2018 at 05:40 AM.
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