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  1. #1
    us
    Mar 2011
    White's MXT/6X10 DD Coil/950 Coil
    246
    5 times

    how did the old miners know.....?

    how did the miners back in the 1800's know where exactly to dig in the side of a mountain to look for gold in a mine? This has always been a curiosity to me. We have a few old hardrock mines around here in Alabama. Thanks!

    www.southeasterngold.com
    http://goldprospectingtips.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    us
    Jun 2009
    Blue Ridge, South Carolina
    815
    280 times

    Re: how did the old miners know.....?

    There are several different things that could have led them to dig in a certain place. Fault lines, specific types of rocks (ie quartz vein), or following some type of exposed ore, also they could have seen a gossan and been chasing that, or some type of sulfide like pyrite (which can contain free milling gold or encapsulated gold as well). However, I think it is most likely they just followed the trail of gold back uphill to an outcrop from where the gold was coming from then dug into it there.

    Sample till you find the hot spot, then mine it till its gone! Then start over...

  3. #3
    us
    Mar 2011
    White's MXT/6X10 DD Coil/950 Coil
    246
    5 times

    Re: how did the old miners know.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by Astrobouncer
    There are several different things that could have led them to dig in a certain place. Fault lines, specific types of rocks (ie quartz vein), or following some type of exposed ore, also they could have seen a gossan and been chasing that, or some type of sulfide like pyrite (which can contain free milling gold or encapsulated gold as well). However, I think it is most likely they just followed the trail of gold back uphill to an outcrop from where the gold was coming from then dug into it there.

    makes since, thanks for the input! I need to do some more studying of rocks and such, i may be close to a former deposit and wouldn't even know it

    www.southeasterngold.com
    http://goldprospectingtips.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    us
    Jul 2004
    Angels Camp,Ca.
    419
    192 times

    Re: how did the old miners know.....?

    Do some sampling of the quartz veins.....

  5. #5
    us
    Jun 2009
    republic of trinity usa
    gpx4500,gmt
    237
    5 times

    Re: how did the old miners know.....?

    often the different areas/localities have their own unique indicators.contact zones,faulting,etc.my area it is often where a granite batholith upthrusting occurred,there will be a contact zone where granite is next to the older sedimentary/metamorphic rock(country rock)where bragsdon slate is accompanied by porphry,greenstone or diorite,and quartz stringers present,that would be optimal area to begin.there are also other deposits,called iron seam deposits,where quartz may be minimal,even non-existant.some of these produce the patches of large nuggets.iron is actually a better indicator of gold than quartz alone.the old timers said,iron is the mother of gold.researching a given area for its known gold indicators/unique geology would be the way to go.usgs has geologic maps,which apply to this type research.luck

  6. #6
    us
    Mar 2011
    White's MXT/6X10 DD Coil/950 Coil
    246
    5 times

    Re: how did the old miners know.....?

    Thanks for your valuable input patches! I have been studying the Alabama geological surveys of the land around where I prospect pretty heavily lately. Even considering going back to school when my son gets in kindergarten to be a mineralogist or sedimentologist. Thanks again!

    www.southeasterngold.com
    http://goldprospectingtips.blogspot.com

  7. #7
    us
    Tuberale

    May 2010
    Portland, Oregon
    White's Coinmaster Pro
    2,986
    20 times

    Re: how did the old miners know.....?

    A few years ago I took a class. Should have been called Prospecting for Dummies. Pretty basic stuff, and exactly what I was looking for.

    Instructor told us typical way to find a hardrock gold deposit was by panning upstream. Continue panning until you no longer find gold. The further upstream you go, the more coarse (larger) gold should get. When you start getting larger nuggets instead of flakes, and suddenly lose all trace of gold, you can be pretty sure that just downstream is where the gold is eroding into the stream.

    Interesting thing: makes no difference whether you are in a gold-bearing area or not. Gold source could be unconventional, such as the elevated old stream beds on ridge-tops in the Sierra Nevada Mountains where the main gold concentrations are from an old old riverbed.

    There is something to be said for knowing the basic of geology as well, at least how to recognize the 3 basic rock types. But the above method works because the best thing about gold is it is so heavy it is constantly in a state of "going downhill"
    via erosion. Erosion has been going on for billions of years. Let it guide you.

    Old Chinese Proverb: There is nothing more gentle or yielding than water. But to move large mountains, it has no equal.

  8. #8
    us
    Jul 2004
    Angels Camp,Ca.
    419
    192 times

    Re: how did the old miners know.....?

    ............and what if there are no creeks or rivers in the area?

  9. #9
    us
    Mar 2011
    White's MXT/6X10 DD Coil/950 Coil
    246
    5 times

    Re: how did the old miners know.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by dave wiseman
    ............and what if there are no creeks or rivers in the area?
    drywash...

    www.southeasterngold.com
    http://goldprospectingtips.blogspot.com

  10. #10
    jog
    jog is offline
    us
    jog

    Nov 2008
    Tillamook Oregon
    Whites MXT / GMT
    1,144
    276 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: how did the old miners know.....?

    This is an old mine that is on one of my claims. The material that is sitting on the bedrock is ancient river sediment. The old timers tunneled along the bedrock and picked up the gold as they went. There are several spots like this in the same area.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Those Who Say It Can't Be Done Shouldn't Interupt Those That Are Doing It.

  11. #11
    us
    Mar 2011
    White's MXT/6X10 DD Coil/950 Coil
    246
    5 times

    Re: how did the old miners know.....?

    ^^^ very interesting! thanks for that post!

    www.southeasterngold.com
    http://goldprospectingtips.blogspot.com

  12. #12
    us
    Aug 2010
    Texas
    H3 element detector, JeoHunter Dual 3-D Imaging Detector
    248
    13 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: how did the old miners know.....?

    Klondike here.......

    You need to remember that American mining in the 1800's was several centuries later than when real mining was started in England..primarily in Welsh.......Many of the immigrants were from England during the 1700's and 1800's...and the Welsh..just one part of England, had been mining Tin both underground and open pit since the 1600's..and the Romans way before then.... The men who mined early in the 1800's in America were already experienced underground miners...The Welsh taught us how to mine...one could say...

    http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~lizcolin/w_gen.htm

    They learned a few centuries before coming to America, how to follow signs to lead them to a deposit.... in the case of a stream.. they followed what they found sampling the stream bed up stream until they found the had lost the "lead" they were following..back tracking and working both sides of the stream bed/canyon they would discover the source...

    On dry land it was the same ... following the "lead" until they lost it.. back track and search the hill sides until found...

    I know of a mid 1800 mine in Sierra County, CA.. it was called the City of Six.. 6 guys (6 Welshmen") located a piece of hanging channel way up on the cannon side above a major river...but couldn't reach it effectively with a direct assault...Using basic tools of surveying they laid out a plan to drive a tunnel from the lower lip of the "Razor Back"...1700 feet all the way into the channel... it took them 5 years to dig the tunnel through this solid dead rock before they saw a speck of gold....but from pan sampling and following the "lead" up the hill, they knew gold was available in good quantities in the hanging channel.. to warrant all this effort.... and they were prepared "mentally" to take on such a project...

    Al 6 men became millionaires for putting in the effort....

    Locating a valuable source is all about taking the full measure of methodically sampling and following the lead...and "knowing" what you are following....and reading the signs...

    Klondike...




  13. #13
    us
    Mar 2011
    White's MXT/6X10 DD Coil/950 Coil
    246
    5 times

    Re: how did the old miners know.....?

    ^^ EXCELLENT, just what im looking for! very well put! thanks for all the input guys!

    www.southeasterngold.com
    http://goldprospectingtips.blogspot.com

  14. #14
    mx
    Nov 2004
    Alamos,Sonora,Mexico
    10,838
    1669 times

    Re: how did the old miners know.....?

    HI, to help simplify it even more, get a geochemical kit. works with smaller amounts of metal, excellent for Ag which is almost always associated with Ag. Inexpensive.

    Don Jose de La Mancha
    "I exist to live, not live to exist"

  15. #15
    Charter Member
    us
    Come out from under your bed today...... DO SOMETHING!

    Jun 2008
    Yarnell,AZ and Titusville,FL
    Right now: Garrett GTA 500, ACE 250, Fisher Impulse 8, Gold Bug 2, Whites GMT, Vibraprobe 570, and Falcon MD20
    4,269
    1605 times
    Coinshooting, Gold prospecting, and Nuggetshooting
    Honorable Mentions (1)

    Re: how did the old miners know.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by Real de Tayopa Tropical Tramp
    HI, to help simplify it even more, get a geochemical kit. works with smaller amounts of metal, excellent for Ag which is almost always associated with Ag. Inexpensive.

    Don Jose de La Mancha
    To take Don Jose's post a little further.... De Lose Toole (RIP) did some books on where to find gold in CA, AZ, etc. He also did a book with chemical kit to test for byrillium and other rare metals. The only copies of that particular book out there, now, are almost worth their weight in gold! If you find one, or more than one, I will BUY one for a couple a/three hundred dollars Really! TTC
    Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle. Psalms 144:1

 

 

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