Is this the Blue Lead? Need help.

jmkesler

Jr. Member
Nov 2, 2012
25
7
Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
I have access to some family owned land in the county of Rowan in North Carolina and need some help with prospecting. Apparently there were at least 3-4 open pit and/or vertical shaft mines on the land in the 1800's but were never registered... and as such, no written history appears to be available. My Great grandparents found them when they bought the land and my great aunts and uncles remember the pits were about 30 feet wide and the shaft farther than you could see. They of course then filled them up trash back in the 1920's. Anyways, we are in gold country so I thought I'd see what was left. I haven't checked the remnants of the pit or the shaft but I have found some small gold in the small spring fed creek that goes through the property. My question is how to best get to it and what dirt/clay is best to process. The creek is old and doesn't have much water flow per say as it only begins about 300-400 yards away from our land. The origin is literally across the street. So there is not much in the way of gravel or sand bars and or typical places to look. This video is a view of the dark blue clay that lines the creek in most places and is full of quartz and other rocks. Is this the Blue Lead? I'll post a video of the creek soon.

Here's a link to the video on youtube: IMAG0843.jpgIMAG0840_1.jpg
 

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Perhaps Kuger can provide some help. He posted some beautiful pics of blue lead underwater.
 

Good Morning JM,
From your video the clay breaks up easily with some concentrated water pressure and that is in your favor as it can be broken down easily for sampling. Having a good quantity of quartz in the area is also a good sign. As you have mines on the property it would seem like the area has possibilities. Having a simple plastic gold pan would really help you to understand just what you have in the creek. A question about the mines - are they hardrock, placer type or a mixture of placer/dirt/solid rock? All mines are dangerous even new ones but old ones where timbers have rotted or where the ground has shifted since the mine was dug are even more dangerous. Be very careful about being in them and for sure if you go in them let others know exactly where you will be going!

Good Luck...........63bkpkr
 

I bought one of those Garrett gold panning kits and have been visiting the farm, digging a bucketload and returning home to pan. So far I've only panned two full buckets and have found maybe 12-15 small pieces mostly the size of pepper fkes or smaller. The blue clay is so thick that I do a little bit at a time and break it down in the the pan with a screen. I sprayed it with the water to show the small rocks contained within. There are also large chunks of dirty and white quartz mixed in. As far as what type of mines they were, I am not sure, there is no history and the mines are full of dirt and trash. but there are large chunks of white quartz found all over the place. The largest ones being at least 3 feet wide. There is one spot where there are large pieces coming out of the ground that I can't budge. So who knows. I'll keep looking and will post more evidence soon.
 

Sorry, I meant to say thank you for your responses earlier. Also, I don't think I was clear about the description of the gold mines in their current state. The shafts are depressions that are approximately 8 feet wide and filled in and the pit is more of a large depression that is full as well. I can't go into them the descriptions I have of them come from my elders' memories.

By the Way, When I do get back to thfarm, should I try digging above, in or below the blue clay? The creek cutting thru cuts a nice cross section. Thanks.
 

Hi JM,
Try going below the blue clay. Clay holds gold but still there may be larger pieces of gold at the bottom of the clay. If you could show some pictures it would help to understand what you might want to do. Do NOT take the pictures with a cell phone as if the phone has a GPS system in it it will tag the picture with the latitude and longitude of where the picture was taken at and that info can be opened by checking the details sent with the picture. You might check on the internet to find a simple safe substance that dissolves or softens clay, maybe some typical household liquid????

How have you confirmed that what you are finding is gold? A piece of gold will flatten easily when hit with a hammer while most other things that look like gold will shatter. You've talked about 'small' pieces of gold so if you were going to hammer test it then I'd try a small hammer using a piece of clean metal to put the gold on (a solid bench underneath the metal) and then tap the sample with a hammer. If it is gold it will not take much of a blow to flatten, smear and spread it. Small gold is easy to loose! Also before hitting it with a hammer look at it under magnification to get an idea of what the surface looks like: smooth, pitted, porous, rough

Somewhere just recently here on Tnet is a thread about finding gold in quartz even though the gold may not show on the outside. They determined with a metal detector that there was gold inside the quartz. Do Not just have at a large piece of Quartz with a sledge! Quartz will shatter and the pieces will be Sharp so one must First put on protective clothing everywhere including neck, head, eye and hand protection! Then have at the Quartz with a sledge hammer if you want to and are curious about it. Without a detector it will be pure luck to happen upon gold in a hunk of quartz.

The gold I've found in California is also placer gold, deposited by water action. In placer country it is typical for the banks of the rivers, streams, creeks (cricks if there are cows around) to have round rocks embedded in them. Then again if you are in historic glacier country there might be no rocks and the gold will mostly be fine and smaller. In California where I am it is common to see round rocks in the banks and hills above rivers though not all hillsides/banks are old stream beds as I've seen many that have square rocks in them. The things I've mentioned here are simple clues to look for.


Have fun........63bkpkr
 

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I discovered back in March a gray clay vein in a north Ga Creek. while searching for the lost Henry McGee Silver mine. I haven't had it tested. but it looks alot like yours only much purer no rocks or sand. It leaves a silvery slick residue on your fingers after handling it. I have dissolved some of the clay and once dried, it is a fine silver powered, which once again is very slick and leaves a silvery residue on your skin. Any ideas on what it may be??? I have explored many creeks in the area and all over north Ga, this is the only place I have ever seen this type of clay. The vein is small and was recently exposed after a heavy flood.
 

Davidail, you bring up an interesting point! Not being familiar with either of your locations you could both take samples of the clay to high school or college geology/science teachers to see if they could identify the clay or the material (a salt or oxide) that is in it. I think several of us here will be very interested to see what you find out.........63bkpkr
 

Hi David,

After desolving the clay have you panned any of the material to see if the silver power will settle below the other material. I have some property in north GA that is bordered by a creek. This creek is full of Mica, some silver & some gold in color but Mica will wash out with the rest of the material. Since the subject material is power size, I would imagine you would want to agitate a while to allow it to settle below the sand. If it doesn't, it may be Mica. Silver should settle below sand.
 

Just a reminder - the Comstock Lode in Virginia City, NV was discovered by gold miners who finally thought to have their blue mud, that was clogging their
sluices up, assayed. The Comstock was the richest silver discovery in history, at the time.
 

Hate to say unfortunately... But I am on a short vacation right now and can't go check out the clay until at least Wednesday or Thursday. I will say this: the clay layer apparently stops at the bottom of the creek and I can't really get much when shoveling because of all the rocks. The gold I have found is indeed gold. There's just no mistaking the yellow in my green pan.thanks for the tip about the cell phone pictures... Hadn't really thought about that. However I have been told to be ready to go.to.court with family members known and unknown should I find the mother load!
 

JmK, are you refering to blue clay or "the" Blue Lead? The Blue Lead is in Nevada county, CA. I remember a reference to a Blue Lead in a publication that I have, authored by Raymond Wallace... The Anchient River of Gold (1985). He mentions an ancient river that comes down the length of the Sierras that is called The Blue Lead. Yes, the Blue Lead is mentioned on pages 8 and 9 of his book. TTC
 

Hi jmkesler
Im not from that area but i did did do some research on the the famous Reed mine in NC, It seems to me that your in your in that magic general area where large
nuggets were found. Just google Rowan county and gold nuggets, you know the area better then i, you should be a happy camper and keep you eyes peeled for natures bounty, wish i owned some land around there, but i come from Arizona, live in Reno now and study the Sierra Nevada "Blue Lead" dont have the geology background
to make a judgment, but it sure looks more then interesting especially if your finding small gold. I would say your around the carolina "Blue Lead". Wish i knew your exact location the creeks around there are very funny on the topo maps. I have another kind of map i look at i would say your in a very favorable area!

Good Luck
johnnysau
 

Thanks for the response. From what I read the term blue lead was used to describe a dense gravel filled blue-ish clay that the old timers would look for. As in, the blue clay would "lead" them to the gold. I've read that several places but its never really clear where they'd end up finding the gold. What I'm finding is fine coarse gold. I'm trying also to fugue out the best method of processing it. I'm leaning more towards a trommel or a high flow highbanker like the Gold hog excavator. Top priority being that it needs to be able to.chew ups clay.

Rowan county is right next to Cabarrus county... Where America's gold rush begain and is only a few miles from the town of Gold Hill that also enjoyed years of productive mining. The.frustrating part is that I don't have much to go on besides old stories and old trash filled mines..
It's a mystery... But once you get gold fever... It's a heck of a lot of fun trying to unravel it! Thanks for the help!
 

My clay samples aren't the same as JMKesler's, mine are much purer with little if any sands or rocks. I ended up mixing the samples into a 5 gallon bucket, so there is some with sands and rocks but not all of it. The clay as I mention before is gray almost silver in color, Metallic looking. I did pan some this evening and it very pure only a few small rocks in it, no sand, no black sand. NO gold. Remember i took samples 10" deep into the vein. I've been reading up on it and I am convened, its either sulphuret of silver or sulphuret of Lead or even a mixture of the two of them. As I stated this vein is small in size maybe 20' in length and 2-3 foot wide in places. Its also like 15' deep, where the creek over flowed and cut into the bank to expose it. Nearest old gold mines are like 4 miles away. and everyone is working those creeks near the old mines.

I did discover this evening online a simple easy test to find out if its silver or lead, All you have to do is get either a plastic or glass cup fill it about 1/3 with the clay, (dissolved clay) and then add water to it until the cup is almost full. Next you need a copper wire such as a good ground wire 8 gauge or bigger and a small piece of copper tubing like 1/4 or 3/8 tubing. Place the copper wire into the cup all the way down into the clay attach it to a charger or battery Negative side. next take the 1/4 or 3/8 tubing and place it into the cup a few inches but don't allow it to touch the clay. Hook it up to the Battery or charger Positive side. Run for 24 hours. if there is silver or lead in it, it will stick to the positive side on the tubing. I found this on line this evening on how to separate sulphuret of silver from other contaminants. This process is how they do it. I will be performing this test on my sample tomorrow and will post as soon as i get the results. If there is some stuck to the Positive terminal then you can figure out what it is very easily simply by heating it to 625 degrees at which point the lead will melt off, if its lead. If It doesn't stick then I still want to find out what it is.

I live in FL so all I have is my 5 gallons of sample and I haven't been back to this creek since taking the sample back in March of this year. I've been working the other side of Ga in Rabun County have found numerous old gold mines not on any maps. I will be heading back up later this month as of now to Rabun county where I have found some color. Unless this sample turns out to be silver. I should have tested it months ago, But I've got gold fever and been chasing the gold. LOL
 

In Contrast, my blue clay has stones and lots of black sand... And some gold. I'll be back home tomorrow and will shoot some video of the creek to give you guys a better idea of the clay. Hopefully the location can't be found with a YouTube video like raw images!
 

JmK, are you refering to blue clay or "the" Blue Lead? The Blue Lead is in Nevada county, CA. I remember a reference to a Blue Lead in a publication that I have, authored by Raymond Wallace... The Anchient River of Gold (1985). He mentions an ancient river that comes down the length of the Sierras that is called The Blue Lead. Yes, the Blue Lead is mentioned on pages 8 and 9 of his book. TTC

Thats a great point Terry.
I can only speak for our area,in that the "famous blue lead",that the old timers were after.It is spotty in my area and I dont even know that it is part of the famous lead,but will say what ever it is,its always rich when I have encountered it
 

No its not mica, I have panned tons of it before this is much finer and heaver. Did pan another small batch this morning and did have some gold flower gold in it. Running the Electrical test on it now,, The water in cup has turned a green tint and the positive tube has some gray and green material on it. So don't know much yet. Anyone have any ideas? I may need to use Distilled water for this test.
Hi David,

After desolving the clay have you panned any of the material to see if the silver power will settle below the other material. I have some property in north GA that is bordered by a creek. This creek is full of Mica, some silver & some gold in color but Mica will wash out with the rest of the material. Since the subject material is power size, I would imagine you would want to agitate a while to allow it to settle below the sand. If it doesn't, it may be Mica. Silver should settle below sand.
 

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