A Beginners Prospecting Adventure in San Diego County
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Thread: A Beginners Prospecting Adventure in San Diego County

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  1. #1
    us
    Jul 2020
    San Diego
    14
    20 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Lightbulb A Beginner's Prospecting Adventure in San Diego County

    I am going to start a journal because I'm likely going to be posting a lot about my journey until I find my first Au, and the journal section seems the best place to share frequent updates without spamming the forum.


    Introduction
    - I've had no prior mining or gold panning experience
    - I have never taken a geology class (at least that I remember)
    - I have been reading and researching (yes, youtube counts as research!) the past 4-5 weeks.
    - I've been an avid hiker all over SD county, so I know the back country very well (mountains and desert)


    I tend to go through series of obsessions, and for the last 4-5 weeks its been gold prospecting. I have been consuming as much information as possible since I knew I had a lot to learn. I am considering this journal my documented learning experience


    My Research
    Is there gold in San Diego county? Yes, it's not mother-lode country, but we definitely have gold.

    Where is gold typically found in San Diego? Out east in the mountains and desert, Cleveland National Forest, Julian, Banner, Anza-Borrego etc.

    How did you do your initial research?
    Google is my library, I searched for "San Diego Gold History" to find out the areas and host rock where gold has been found. I found a surprising amount of old (late 1800's early 1900's) books, journals, and newspapers available online that described some of the old mines in the area in great detail, that combined with USGS reports have been helpful to narrow down my targets. Googling the names of old mines would bring up some old newspaper articles about the mine and reveal more secrets to where to look. Julian was the hot spot in the late 1800's and once the hard rock miners came in to town, they mainly found their gold in quartz veins running at a NNW direction. The gold was described as very rich, yielding 2.5 ounces per ton .

    Anyone else looking to prospect in San Diego, I suggest you at least skim through all 41 pages of this report https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/286730651.pdf

    Review geologic maps with locations of old mines and locate similar areas nearby.

    Use mylandmatters.org and thediggins websites to locate claims and make sure I'm not claim-jumping.


    My Goal
    Locate and retrieve gold in the wilderness of San Diego county. Placer or lode.


    What's Next?
    Get out to different locations and prospect for potential Au discoveries.

    So far I have tried creek panning and crevicing in one location, and have taken some small samples in the Pine Valley/Alpine district, and Mt Laguna district.

    1. Purchase a rock crusher (need to crush up and pan those samples)
    2. Get out and get more samples and/or pan.
    3. Repeat step 2 until Au is found, or go somewhere else (further east into the desert, or further north towards Julian)

    My next outing is this Saturday. I will post some updates.

    Until next time, enjoy the view from the PCT looking down at Aqua Caliente and Anza-Borrego.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by SDBanks; Jul 15, 2020 at 02:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Charter Member
    us
    I can dig it! "WP"

    Mar 2007
    Arizona
    Whites TM 808, Whites GMT, Tesoro Lobo Super Traq, Suction Dredges, Trommels, Gold Vacs, High Bankers, Fluid bed Gold Traps, Rock Crushers, Sluices, Dry Washers, Miller Tables, Rp4 Shaker table, etc.
    5,975
    5406 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Welcome to the obsession. Aka Gold Fever
    Get good at panning, it will serve you well.




    Go for the Gold
    GG~
    SDBanks and DizzyDigger like this.

  3. #3
    Charter Member
    us
    An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

    Oct 2004
    N. San Diego area (Pic of my two best 'finds'; son and grandson)
    Minelab Explorer
    20,572
    14762 times
    Shipwrecks
    Honorable Mentions (2)
    Prior to working in the ocean, I used the rule of thumb that 'one hour of research will save 10 hours trolling the seas".
    Perhaps the same rule of thumb applies to land hunts. Good to read you are doing a lot of research.
    Good luck !
    Don......
    SDBanks likes this.

  4. #4
    us
    steve andermatt

    Apr 2013
    California
    AT GOLD/Garrett /Garrett pro pointer/ 5x8 double d coil and sniper coil/Lesche digger
    4,886
    4590 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Good luck.Julian is my hometown, if you can find some open areas down Banner grade, my friend found a 1 ounce nugget walking the dry river bed down there when he was out hiking and all the hills above that area are riddled with mines so would be a great area but water is an issue It might benefit you to get a gold detector and add it to your prospecting tools.
    back of the boat

  5. #5
    us
    Jul 2020
    San Diego
    14
    20 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by Back-of-the-boat View Post
    Good luck.Julian is my hometown, if you can find some open areas down Banner grade, my friend found a 1 ounce nugget walking the dry river bed down there when he was out hiking and all the hills above that area are riddled with mines so would be a great area but water is an issue It might benefit you to get a gold detector and add it to your prospecting tools.
    Wow that would be amazing to find a nugget. I've heard some say that nuggets don't exist down here, only the fine stuff. I'd love for them to be wrong.


    Well I went out last weekend as planned, grabbed 6 different ziploc bag samples home. No gold in any of my pans. No crushing yet so there still maybe some fines I will find after crushing.

    Appears to be schist with some heavy iron staining and quartz veins. In Julian the unusually gold rich veins were traveling in quartz veins in schist rock.

    Here's a few seconds of video showing what I found:
    https://s7.gifyu.com/images/20200718_074855_1.gif Link

    Wish I could have carried more samples so I only took one from the above. I like the way it looks so I think I will go back with my detector and get more samples from this area.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by SDBanks; Jul 20, 2020 at 09:02 PM. Reason: add image

  6. #6
    us
    Jul 2020
    San Diego
    14
    20 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I'm excited to get back out this weekend. Temperatures will be a bit cooler, should be able to cover more ground. I'm also going to bring my metal detector to possibly narrow down which areas to sample.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Appears to be a basalt dike intrusion
    Last edited by SDBanks; Jul 24, 2020 at 12:38 AM.

  7. #7
    us
    Jul 2020
    San Diego
    14
    20 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Last weekend was a bust. Brought a bike with me so I could go further faster, but I realized a bike is too fast. For example, I went right by a big vein that I visited last time, I had to go slow to find it again. Also uphill on a bike is much more difficult than hiking uphill. Anyways, I brought minelab profind 35 to help narrow down locations to sample, turns out it just helped me find a bunch of old bullets and one chunk of iron.

    I've heard both the key is persistence and also to try new places. I'm trying to balance that out, revisit places enough time to give them a chance, but eventually I need to move to richer areas.
    Goodyguy and Reed Lukens like this.

  8. #8
    us
    Aug 2012
    SO CAL
    SDC2300, Gold Monster, Sierra Gold Trac, GB2, the Falcon......and just as many drywashers
    939
    1323 times
    Prospecting
    Most Julian gold was lode, surface diggins where values became less with depth. What little placer there was got hit hard in the 30's and late 70's. Your time would be better spent just driving the 3 hours out to the desert and drywashing; Pot Holes, Tumco, Coolgardie, Randsberg, Virginia Dale etc.

    Know of a guy who has done ok drywashing around Pine Valley, Deer Park and Buckman Springs.......always an exception. Hint, get a drywasher and preferable a puffer as they catch the fines best.

    Lots of nasty sulfides/arsenic in those viens......mask up
    Last edited by Hard Prospector; Jul 31, 2020 at 12:31 AM.
    DizzyDigger and delnorter like this.

  9. #9
    us
    Jul 2020
    San Diego
    14
    20 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Using geologic maps my exploration target today brought me to an area described in USGS reports as:

    JTRm Metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks (Jurassic and Triassic)–Screens in the Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains are composed of upper amphibolite-facies metasedimentary rocks interlayered with minor amounts of amphibolite (the Julian Schist of Hudson, 1922)

    It was really hot today so I didn't go far but I did get to explore a "road to nowhere" I spotted from satellite photos. Picked up some float of what could have been waste rock but I didn't see a mine nearby.

    I really like this one:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Video:https://i.imgur.com/Xm5Z4f5.mp4
    Looks like Biotite Mica Schist with quartz inclusions and some sulfides.

    Also like this purple one, I think it is brecciated rose quartz and mica?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Crushed up a few of these guys (while wearing a mask), panned it out and no luck today. I didn't crush the one above, but I did crush his smaller cousins. I'm finding that I like a lot of these specimens too much to want to crush them, maybe that's just because I'm new and still enjoy all these rocks I'm finding.

    EDIT: Thanks for the tips Hard Prospector. Yes I think you are right that I'll need to travel to do decent, but I was still thinking/hoping I could find a speck or two just by propsecting, crush (if needed), and pan it out. I'd like to find something before having to invest in a drywasher. Wouldn't some of the fines show in my pan (with a drop of dish soap) or do I need a drywasher if I want to find any at all within SD county?
    Last edited by SDBanks; Aug 02, 2020 at 10:17 AM.

  10. #10
    us
    Jul 2020
    San Diego
    14
    20 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Cantaloupe size honk of a quartz vein and inclusion of some metamorphic(?) with some rod like minerals/crystals, not sure what the black mineral/rock is at all, any ideas? According to geologic maps I was on Julian Schist but also a contact zone where it changes to (Kc)Cuyamaca Gabbro.

    Attachment 1853514

    Video: https://imgur.com/a/F3Gncrp


    EDIT: After researching the area further turns out there was a Tungsten occurrence where I was. Pretty sure that's the rod shapes I'm seeing.
    Last edited by SDBanks; Aug 02, 2020 at 10:44 AM.

 

 

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