20,000 Ounces Under The Beach
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  1. #1
    us
    Apr 2015
    Oshkosh, WI
    1,009
    1460 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    20,000 Ounces Under The Beach

    Headed up once more to hit the beach. Six hours later I arrived and began prospecting. The patch I had hit 2 weeks before was still there, but the waterline had moved another 50 feet out. Waves were at about a foot, and I debated about setting up and getting a few buckets through before dark. I decided to just prospect the beach instead. The 2" thick lens can wait till morning, as a wet and cold wetsuit sucks getting into in the morning.

    I spotted a dark area about a mile down the beach and took a pan along. On the way, there was a section where the water had eroded the grassline. Black sand was present on the surface and a nice band about 2 feet down.

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    The black sand patch was about 3/4" thick, and you could see patches of red/pink garnet on the top. The patch was about 200' long and 30' wide.

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    I then started back and found where the logging road came out not too far away from this patch. There's a campsite there with the North Country Trail going through it. The road in was scary looking for a 2WD vehicle. Lots of soft sand! I wouldn't go in there without at least 2 lengths of PSP on board. Saw some dark sand back there and dry panned it. 2 #80 specks...Nice, but too far to carry water!

  2. #2
    us
    Apr 2015
    Oshkosh, WI
    1,009
    1460 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Got up as it was getting light and had the Model 5 set up and ready to run by 5:30.

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    I had about 4 buckets run through when everything quit!!! Inspection found that one of the filter screens had torn loose and a bunch of grass roots had clogged the pumps.

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    Oh If you see Kay!!! Total disaster! Need to melt the screen back into the plastic with a soldering iron again. That ain't going to happen here!

    OK....I got a pan. Panned about 3 buckets to black sand and filled the 5 gal bucket with cons. Here's how much black sand you get from 2 scoops of the stuff I'm digging.

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    Then I decided to get out the Bucket Buddy and take those cons to supercons. About 1 liter of super cons made. The tailings built the castle of the evil black knight!

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    I then decided to start running the Bucket buddy as a production bed. Yeah you got to preclassify, but it works. Normally I feed with a spoon, but she ate scoops pretty good!

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    I ran 1 bucket per cleanout the rest of the day until I lost almost all my bucket handles due to the plastic breaking. 13 hour day in, time to call it quits. I can't run without those bucket handles, as that wire will break my hands with the weight of those 6 gal buckets. After packing up, I went down the beach looking for agates and other rocks. Ran into something I didn't want to see that wasn't there 24 hours earlier!

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    That track is 5" across!!! There were other dogs that day, but nothing that big! BFG will be with me from now on! From the rain marks, he must have come through about 11:30 AM.

    Stayed the night and drove home the next day.

  3. #3
    us
    Apr 2015
    Oshkosh, WI
    1,009
    1460 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    And today I got the results from the miller table.

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    Biggest piece is ~#20, and next to it is the smallest I've ever seen short of panning.

    Bucket Buddy's 5 1/2" deep bed seems to be catching everything!!! Maybe that's the secret to gold loss in fluid beds! Most seem to be 3" and shallower, and are loosing the finer pieces. They may need to be 5-6" deep instead.

  4. #4

    Feb 2017
    Juneau AK
    111
    124 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Cool set up Cap'n!

    How fast can you run a 5 gal bucket through #5?

    I've been thinking about making a big fluid bed for running crushed tailings from the old mines here. Most of the gold is -200 or finer, but there is quite a bit to be had
    Aufisher likes this.

  5. #5
    us
    Apr 2015
    Oshkosh, WI
    1,009
    1460 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    About as fast as you can shovel a bucket full. Recirculating does slow everything down as you have to keep changing buckets and adding fresh buckets of water. Every bucket of tailings requires adding a bucket of water. You just loose that much in the tailings. If I could run open circuit with pump in the lake, I could move probably 3-4 yards a day, cause all I'd have to do is shovel.

    The model 5 creates about 1 1/2 gallons of cons per run with a 3" deep bed. A 6" deep bed would double it. That's why I built the Bucket Buddy to superconcentrate everything.

    At #200 or finer, you might be hard pressed to keep that gold in the box. I'd try building a inexpensive test bed like the Bucket Buddy to see if it will catch before trying to go all out. The BB is a 4"x4"x5 1/2" bed, with supply tubes 1" off the bottom, and alternating jets angled 45 degrees apart pointing down. The spout is angled at 5 degrees down on mine, but 10-15 degrees would be better. She runs on a 500 GPH bilge pump at 1.5A. Box plumbing is all 1/2" CPVC with 3/4" input. I normally run about 1/3 closed on the valve. I would raise the sides another 1/2" and raise the back 1". For cleanout, keep the water running, lift the BB off the tailings bucket, and pour into another bucket from the back of the unit, then rinse the tubes and pour again, and you're done. There's more in the Bucket Buddy thread in the Sluicing section.
    Sockeye1730 likes this.

  6. #6

    Jan 2016
    888
    567 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Is this in Wisconsin?
    the first 5 days after the weekend are the toughest...

  7. #7
    us
    Apr 2015
    Oshkosh, WI
    1,009
    1460 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    This spot is in the U.P. on Lake Superior, but you can find black sands in WI as well.

  8. #8
    us
    Apr 2015
    Oshkosh, WI
    1,009
    1460 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Headed up again on Monday, and got chased out by weather today. Ran a total of 36 5 gal buckets. Was testing a new bed based on the model 4 only deeper at 6" deep instead of the 2 1/2" of the model 4. I'm going to call it the Model 4D. Still had to hand classify, but it might be able to run with a header where you could shovel into it. It is quite a bit higher and can blow tailings out of the catch bucket, so I tried my 1/4" classifier as a diffuser, and it worked quite well. Didn't find any gold in the tailings in test pans. I did have a lot of problems with the pump bucket filter clogging on fine organic matter. All of it passed through a window screen classifier, but would get caught on the #40 screen on the pump bucket. It limited me to running about 6 buckets before having to change the water. I guess it was just where I was digging, as I've never had that problem before. Going to a larger screen would allow the ever present beach grass roots through to the pumps and clog the impellers, and also clog the bed jets. Three cleanouts of the 4D are a 5 gal bucket. I also changed the plumbing a bit on this bed. The tubes are 1" off the bottom with alternating jets pointing down at 45 degrees, and the head tube has a full row of jets on the head side. This gives more action at the head than at the tail. The sides are 1/4" acrylic and the ends and bottom are 1/2" for better strength.

    The Model 4D
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    The big shocker came when I tried to superconcentrate with the Bucket Buddy. I was feeding it scoops like the last trip. I did a test pan of a scoop of the tailings. I was horrified to find 15 flakes in the pan!!! Glad I didn't dump the tailings like on the last trip!!! I think what's happening is due to displacement. As you add the non-fluidized material, it displaces everything else in the bed, and pushes out the gold. The scoop of material is almost half of the bed's volume, so before it fluidizes it's displaced half the beds volume leading to loss. When I tested it before, I was using a tablespoon to feed it, and a bucket spill while washing down the bucket was the only gold found in the tailings. Looks like I'm going to have to build a feed system for it so there's no chance of over feeding like with the scoop. I'll try feeding the supercons from this trip with the spoon and see if there's any more losses. Due to this occurring, I concentrated everything with the 4D, and brought home ~2 gal of cons.

    Bought new 5 gal buckets for this trip. The new Lowes blue buckets seem to be built heavier than the old ones were. Much easier than humping those 6 gal buckets, and can pack 7 instead of 4. Still don't trust the handles to handle the 140 lbs a bucket of black sand weighs, and lifted them by the ring when full.

    Here's what I was digging this trip.
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    I pretty much cleaned out everything up to the log and down to a cobble layer that was underneath in a yellowish sand. The banded area was about 6" thick and may be from the surface where I was digging to 2' down in the beach grass areas. Also noticed a thin line on the lower part of the beach, so digging anywhere could yield gold. I wonder how deep is the bedrock under this beach, cause with everything moving around on the surface, the bedrock has got to be a motherlode!

    Did get to show a family the panning process when test panning some cons. Another group had a NASA geologist, and the kids were on a mission to name the types of rocks that they found. The geologist was impressed at my solar powered fluid bed system. She didn't know that gold could be found on the beach.

    The flies were terrible! Pyrethrin fly spray for horses is the only thing that will stop them! The only problem was washing it off my hands allowing the flies to bite. But otherwise the fly spray worked. They were on everything! Every bucket had at least 50 to 200 flies on it. Want to get one of those Asalt weapons and have a blast killing those flies with blasts of table salt. They mobbed me while changing out of the wetsuit. The night shift changes over to mosquitos in insane numbers.

    I heard that Lake Superior agates will glow in blacklight. Tried a LED blacklight, but found it doesn't produce true UV. Will have to find a fluorescent tube one.

    Had the shotgun along, but didn't see any new tracks, so kept it in the car. Tuesday morning I woke up to deer licking the dust off the car, and road. Saw the same Monday night on the way up. Guess I'll bring a salt lick up next trip.

  9. #9
    us
    Author of a book about finding gold in Colorado

    Jan 2012
    Summit County, Colorado
    Grizzly Goldtrap Explorer & Motherlode, Gold Cube with Banker on top, Bazooka Goldtrap sluices, Angus Mackirk Expedition, Gold-n-Sand Xtream Hand pump
    6,781
    10610 times
    Prospecting
    Dem nasty Michigan bugs! You need to come dig in colorado where we got no bugs!!
    GoldpannerDave and Aufisher like this.

  10. #10

    Jul 2017
    3
    1 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Ya those black flies are nasty up there. We cut a trip up north short because of them. I need to get up there to do some beach mining myself soon.
    Aufisher likes this.

  11. #11
    us
    Apr 2015
    Oshkosh, WI
    1,009
    1460 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Rock Elm Disturbance: Nugget Lake, WI

    I had heard that there was gold there, so today I went and checked it out. Realized halfway into the trip (3:45 for me) that I forgot the camera, so no pics.

    There is a county park at the north end of Nugget Lake which costs $5 for a day pass. There is a campground at the park. Panning is allowed in the park, but no motorized equipment of any kind is allowed, and neither is digging up the banks. While panning is allowed, rock picking is not! There is a park ranger who may patrol, so follow the rules!

    I stopped at the first parking lot in from the ranger station, and found pretty easy access next to the bridge. From the bridge south, the stream deepens and flows into the lake. Going north the stream is no more than a foot deep, though I did see debris caught in tree branches about 2 1/2 feet above the waterline. I found an area where the water flattened out from the rapids and chose a rock with a good sand tail in the current to dig behind. Got creeped out when I dumped a 6" lamprey into the classifier. He classified at -1/2". Glad I had my wetsuit on!!! The pyrethrin slowed down the horseflies so you could smack the crap out of them! I could find quartz crystal shards, quartz, sandstone, jasper, and quite a few other rocks in the classifier. I went with 1/2" for filling the bucket, and 1/4" for panning. I have heard that very small pickers are present so I wouldn't want to go more than 1/8" at the smallest. I panned and fanned every pan to see what kind of gold was present. Out of 2 buckets, I only had 3 pans that didn't seem to have anything. First pan showed 10 colors, but averaged about 3-5 per pan. I didn't see anything like a picker out there. Just fines roughly #50 on down.

    I did find one rock in the classifier that I kept. The chunk seemed to be solid iron, and looked like pig iron! The Rock Elm Disturbance is supposedly a meteor impact, so this could be a fragment. Whatever it is, it was molten at some point in time.

    It took about an hour to finish the 1 oz of cons on the miller table. There is some tiny gold in that stuff! Had to do a lot of checking with a 30X magnifier to tell if it was gold or not. Quite a number of rolly polly pieces that wanted to move down the table. Also found a number of silvery pieces that look metallic and hold about half as well as gold to the table. I'm thinking these might be electrum. If platinum, they would hold like gold.

    There's a lot more pieces per bucket here than on Lake Superior, but the gold runs much smaller. I'd hit this spot again!
    Last edited by Capt Nemo; Jul 10, 2017 at 10:15 AM.

  12. #12
    us
    Apr 2015
    Oshkosh, WI
    1,009
    1460 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Here's the Rock Elm gold. I would have shot a pic of it piled on the table, but there's too many pieces that want to roll.

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    Here's the possible meteorite fragment. It molded itself around another rock while still molten.

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  13. #13
    us
    Apr 2015
    Oshkosh, WI
    1,009
    1460 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    (Marvin the Martian voice) Very interesting, very interesting indeed!

    Took a file to a small spot, and it went dull instantly. Didn't look like metal in the flattened spot. Grabbed a magnet...nothing! Grabbed the 30X loupe. The surface is fused sand grains and spots show complete melting.

    So it has to be one of these three.

    1. Meteorite
    2. Crater slag
    3. Fulgurite

    I'm now leaning toward #2.
    Aufisher likes this.

  14. #14
    us
    Apr 2015
    Oshkosh, WI
    1,009
    1460 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Headed back to Nugget Lake, and forgot the camera again!

    I started the day digging the gravel bar opposite of where I was digging. Ran that bucket and only found a flake per pan. Went back to the old spot and ran four 5 gal buckets. I went 5 colors per pan as a minimum for every pan, and 15 for the best pan. Again the gold ran tiny. Most is rounded, so it likes to roll on the table. Another thing is the super fine blond sand. It's almost impossible to pan it out of the black sand. The black sand is really chunky angular stuff. At 1/4" classification, there's a lot of fine heavy pea gravel that just makes it through. I'm thinking of setting up a 1/8" classifier and adding another classification before panning. The tiny fish loved the sample hole I dug in that gravel bar, and a couple dozen schooled up there. Also a 6" trout took up residence in my main hole.

    Really wish I had a bazooka with 1/4-1/8" classification. I think it would do good even on the super-fines as the gold is rounded and not flat like on the beach. I'd love to run the Model 4 or 4D here, but no motors are allowed. I don't think there's enough flow for even a stream sluice without damming, and that's another no-no under state law. Took a hike upstream and did some samples to see if I'm right about the gold line. Upstream I found a wing dam and a complete dam built. There's no digging the banks, but they're flooding the banks so they can dig them. The complete dam is at the end of a real deep hole. If they keep this up, we won't be able to mine the park anymore! I'll have to run a bucket from each spot to check the gold line as a panful wasn't enough sample material.

    There were 3 other miners out that day. Hit the thrift shops for a golf bag cart. They also work good for handling 5 gal buckets! They were mobbed by the flies out there, and got more bites than gold. I shared with them the fly spray for horses secret for not getting bugged.

    Bagged about 3 times the gold of my last trip. There's more to be had once I pan out the miller table tailings. I'm guessing I'm loosing about 1 in 3 off the table, even though the sand won't move unless disturbed on the table. Again found more of the metallic pieces that might be electrum or platinum. I'm thinking of adding another glory hole to the table that I could sweep these into. Melt them down and see what I get.

    Might get a day next week to go again.
    Aufisher, Mdts and Nitric like this.

  15. #15
    us
    Apr 2015
    Oshkosh, WI
    1,009
    1460 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Went back to Nugget Lake yesterday, and this time remembered the camera!

    I went back to the old spot and dug that and opened the hole a little more downstream. I seemed to be off the gold a little, but was still bagging 3 pieces minimum per pan. Hit a nice ~#30 piece but everything else was below #50. I talked to a local, and he said there might be diamonds. That might explain the blue rocks! Was able to pan out 6 buckets before I got chased out by weather. Glad I didn't go today, as they got a ton of rain this morning.

    Here's the park map. I'm hitting the creek by the YOU ARE HERE mark.

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    Here's the rules, or at least some of them.

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    Here's the spot. I'm digging on the left side of the obstruction where it calms into the pool. You can just barely see the rock that had the nice sand trail.

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    At the back of the pool there's a concrete slab that makes a nice panning seat.

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    Here's one of the blue rocks. I think this might be kimberlite.

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    Here's a shot of the trails. They are mowed with bridges at river crossings.

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    Nitric likes this.

 

 
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