Placer Claim Mined Out?

desertgolddigger

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I belong to a local club that owns a claim. This club has had this claim for many years, and acquired it after the old timers had mined it previously, and others after they commercial outfits closed up.
I walked quite a bit of the 160 acre claim, and noted that just about every wash had been worked. Most of the surface nuggets has also been detected by those with gold detectors. In other words, this place has been picked over and over and over.
But I m a stubborn type of person, and I figured, just watching how people ram their puffer and blower drywashers, that some gold was just being blown through them. maybe not much, but some small stuff that never got a chance to settle behind the riffles.
I know many of you would never go to the effort of digging for three to four hours through the tailings in these washes. Again, I'm a bit stubborn, and anyway, I just wanted to have some fun locally, instead of driving 300 miles roundtrip to something that gives a little more for less effort.
I've spent the last three weeks, digging a few times a week along about 30 yards of wash, and have recovered just about a gram of gold. That might not seem like much, but I have only dug up 5 grams, not counting this one gram in almost 20 years out here drywashing in the desert of southern California.
As you would know, things always seem to go wrong. My gas powered blower motor decided it was time for the repair shop, and haven't heard from the shop in two weeks. So I purchased a WORX WG521 corded electric leaf blower to use with my Royal Large drywasher. I'm using a portable generator to provide the power. And it actually is working better than with my old gas powered blower. I have to run the blower on the lowest speed, or I just blow everything through the riffles. Results are very good, as I am getting gold specks so small that I will have to use the Blue bowl in order to recover them.
I'm not only getting a little gold, I'm having some fun, and I am getting a good workout. I've lost 10 pounds since I started. So things are going well.
I'm still digging test holes around the old time hard rock mines in the hope I will find where the gold has drifted downhill below these mines. So far just a couple specks here and there. I figure I just have to move laterally one way or the other before I get something better Of course, I' don't really know if the old timers stripped the hillsides. Even if they have, they apparently aren't as thorough as I am. I hope that I may be lucky and find a larger piece of gold that the old timers, previous placer miners, and detectorists have missed.
Hope everyone is having as much fun as I have been having.
 
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JohnWhite

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If the gold isn't clean it won't stick to mercury. Mercury is dangerous stuff if used improperly, I don't feel it wise to casually recommend it on the internet. Also gets the ire of environmentalists. I don't get why you guys keep bringing up the microscopic disseminated gold, it is of no interest to a small operator. There is no way to make wages on that stuff on a small scale.
You are probably right…

Ed T
 

N-Lionberger

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The old Jimmy Sierra special whites detector is supposed to work well for searching for iron concentrations in desert washes I have one I used for coin hunting until I got my Minelab. I use my Fisher GB2 for finding iron concentrations in the decomposing slate bedrock we have up here on the Trinity.
 

JohnWhite

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The old Jimmy Sierra special whites detector is supposed to work well for searching for iron concentrations in desert washes I have one I used for coin hunting until I got my Minelab. I use my Fisher GB2 for finding iron concentrations in the decomposing slate bedrock we have up here on the Trinity.
I still have my gm2…the iron meter no longer works but it still has its zip zip…

Ed T
 

JohnWhite

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The Jimmy Sierra special didn't have the meter.
I learned something new today…With the iron grunt who needs the meter???Or is that the GMT???

It’s been so long since I have used a detector…
Ed T
 
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desertgolddigger

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I've combined the Hard rock thread into this one. It's easier for me.

I went out prospecting that small mountain. All I could manage were three locations near where a mine is supposed to be. I still haven't found the darn thing. Results of those three locations turned out about what you'd expect to dig up in your backyard. Absolutely no gold, but some black sands,

I spotted some gray layered wavy rocks I thought were interesting, and cracked two. I said, wow, it looks like small flecks of gold throughout them. After crushing and panning, absolutely nothing. Apparently it was some kind of mineral that shone like gold, but wasn't.

That location is now finished. I'm going back to our club claim tomorrow to get my gold fix, working the old dry washer tailing piles. They aren't giving up much, between 0.05 and 0.08 grams an outing, but at least it's something.
 

Assembler

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I've combined the Hard rock thread into this one. It's easier for me.

I went out prospecting that small mountain. All I could manage were three locations near where a mine is supposed to be. I still haven't found the darn thing. Results of those three locations turned out about what you'd expect to dig up in your backyard. Absolutely no gold, but some black sands,

I spotted some gray layered wavy rocks I thought were interesting, and cracked two. I said, wow, it looks like small flecks of gold throughout them. After crushing and panning, absolutely nothing. Apparently it was some kind of mineral that shone like gold, but wasn't.

That location is now finished. I'm going back to our club claim tomorrow to get my gold fix, working the old dry washer tailing piles. They aren't giving up much, between 0.05 and 0.08 grams an outing, but at least it's something.
If you find a reasonable amount of colors in a pan you can start chasing that and maybe be the first to find that source.
Food for thought.
 
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desertgolddigger

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If you find a reasonable amount of colors in a pan you can start chasing that and maybe be the first to find that source.
Food for thought.
If I can ever find the mine, I might be able to find the wash below it. I thought I'd found it last week, because the thing I found was a small shaft going in about eight feet, getting narrower. But the USGS map says that was a prospect. The mine is supposed to be on the other side, up 10 feet higher. It may be filled in, or is hidden from view by some obstruction. The problem is, I see no visible sign man has been on that side.

If the weatherman isn't as wrong about winds as he was today, I will be out at the claim, Placer mining. When I'm finished, I'll try again to locate this mine.
 

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If I can ever find the mine, I might be able to find the wash below it. I thought I'd found it last week, because the thing I found was a small shaft going in about eight feet, getting narrower. But the USGS map says that was a prospect. The mine is supposed to be on the other side, up 10 feet higher. It may be filled in, or is hidden from view by some obstruction. The problem is, I see no visible sign man has been on that side.

If the weatherman isn't as wrong about winds as he was today, I will be out at the claim, Placer mining. When I'm finished, I'll try again to locate this mine.
In this neck of the woods a lot of "Mines" don't have very much at all around them.
It is always worth a look as you never know.
 

JohnWhite

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In this neck of the woods a lot of "Mines" don't have very much at all around them.
It is always worth a look as you never know.
There are so many abandoned mines here in the U.S.A…And there are quite a few in the 29 Palms and Joshua Tree area…The only problem is finding one worth working…

Good luck in your quest…

Ed T
 

Assembler

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There are so many abandoned mines here in the U.S.A…And there are quite a few in the 29 Palms and Joshua Tree area…The only problem is finding one worth working…

Good luck in your quest…

Ed T
Yes good luck to you as well. Stick with it and you will find some.
 
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desertgolddigger

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In this neck of the woods a lot of "Mines" don't have very much at all around them.
It is always worth a look as you never know.
One thing I cannot do alone, and physically can't, is go down a vertical mine. That's why I would have to work the tailings.

Also, even one that goes in fairly level is dangerous alone. I don't have anyone to go with, hard rock mining. So, again, I can only work tailings.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Today was pretty good for me at the club claim. While the weight probably isn't great, I got over 60 tiny pieces, mostly wire and flat, and the bitty nuggets.

I only ran a little over six full buckets because I wanted to sample the wash I found yesterday. I wasn't able to find a way to the wash I remembered seeing abut fifteen years ago until yesterday, when I found a much better way to drive there. It's about 100 yards off of our club claim.

I only dug up two full buckets to sample. I was totally floored when I panned out 12 very small pieces of gold hidden in amongst a very large amount of magnetite and black sands.

Now here's the kicker. This wash, and the area around it has been prospected since I visited it some 15 years ago. There are nearly a dozen test digs on the hillsides, two of which are fairly large. But it looks like the prospector who worked this area is no longer doing so. I plan on going tomorrow to dig in the wash to see if there's a consistency to the placer gold.

The old prospects I found consisted of one quartz vein, and one mineralized dig. If the little gold stays consistent, there has to be more sources than what the previous prospector discovered.

Anyway, It's now time to sample here and there to see where this yellow stuff is coming from.
 

southfork

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Today was pretty good for me at the club claim. While the weight probably isn't great, I got over 60 tiny pieces, mostly wire and flat, and the bitty nuggets.

I only ran a little over six full buckets because I wanted to sample the wash I found yesterday. I wasn't able to find a way to the wash I remembered seeing abut fifteen years ago until yesterday, when I found a much better way to drive there. It's about 100 yards off of our club claim.

I only dug up two full buckets to sample. I was totally floored when I panned out 12 very small pieces of gold hidden in amongst a very large amount of magnetite and black sands.

Now here's the kicker. This wash, and the area around it has been prospected since I visited it some 15 years ago. There are nearly a dozen test digs on the hillsides, two of which are fairly large. But it looks like the prospector who worked this area is no longer doing so. I plan on going tomorrow to dig in the wash to see if there's a consistency to the placer gold.

The old prospects I found consisted of one quartz vein, and one mineralized dig. If the little gold stays consistent, there has to be more sources than what the previous prospector discovered.

Anyway, It's now time to sample here and there to see where this yellow stuff is coming from.
Maybe file your own claim:icon_thumright:
 
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desertgolddigger

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I was out to what I hoped might be a claim for me.

Results from 15 buckets were 4 tiny specks. This kind of tells me the two buck 12 piece take was just dumb luck. It kind of follows my whole placer mining career. I typically find a good spot that gives very good results the first time, and the following digs at the same location give me next to nothing.

This is why I said I needed to do some digging at this wash, and if today is any indication, I will do much better digging in the dry washer tailing piles I've been getting at least 1/20th of a gram minimum from six full buckets.

I won't give up on this location, but I will try again in a week or so, after a couple of good gold fixes at the dry washer tailing piles. Last outing netted me 0.191 grams.

EDITED 1/30/22: I classified yesterdays panning tailings to check if I missed something, and I did, but nothing to yell about. I found four more specks.

Tomorrow I'll go dry wash at the old dry wash tailing piles and process my normal six full buckets. This usually takes me about five hours because there's so much large gravel to move.

After that, I'll go back to the new wash, and move up 100 paces, dig another four half buckets, and see what is in that. If nothing, I'll move up another 100 paces, and try again.

These washes have been worked, but more gold may've been deposited into it by recent rains. I'll just have to see.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Today wasn't very good. The wash I was hoping might produce something, again produced poor results. Two test buckets netted one piece, though this one was slightly larger than previous finds.

This test was 100 paces upstream from my previous dig, which was 100 paces upstream from the end of the wash which meets the big river. I'll do another test 100 paces up from todays dig.

This wash is about 1/2 mile long, not counting a possible steep wash coming down from the mountain at the upper end.

I get the feeling that the modern era prospector that worked the slopes and this wash might not have found all the sources of gold, but did find the significant ones. Maybe I'll get lucky and find something he didn't find, though it will probably be insignificant.

This are doesn't have any significant quartz in the wash. Most likely any gold will be much the same as I've already found, and probably the really tiny stuff you need a 30X loupe to see.

My regular foray at the club claim didn't provide much either, probably 1/20th of a gram or slightly more.

I'll try again tomorrow. Maybe I'll do better.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Are you digging down to bedrock or caliche?
The time before this gig, yes I did. But today was miserable with the wind. I didn't get down that far, but I think I was close. It's caliche in this wash, and it's soggy. That means I plan on digging through the caliche to see what's below it.
When I was digging over in Coolgardie, the guys brought a jackhammer to break through about six inches of caliche, and they found another layer of very compacted material that was full of gold. I kind of hope that the same thing might happen here, though it's probably just bedrock underneath.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Am too pooped to go out today. So I just cleaned up what I had from the bottom of my mining tools box. It wasn't much, but 0.067 gams that fell out of my dry washer box into the toll box isn't bad.

I also extracted the magnetic black sands from the material smaller than mesh 75. I will continue to save the material until I fill the container. The container just contains blond sands, non-magnetic black sands, and whatever gold might be there.

Yesterday I moved to the other main wash on the claim. This wash has seen a lot of people digging over the years. A large nugget (over 1/8 inch) is a rarity, but does occasionally pop up from the digs along the banks.

This wash had a few dozen mines/prospects that feed it. On one side of the was, you find darker sands, and on the other a lot of fluffy white sands. There's loads of shards of bedrock that've been embedded by the massive floods of the past. Years ago no one dug the banks, but tried to find bedrock, and they never have in this wash. It's at least over 15 feet down, as one group of miners dug a pit that required a ladder to go down in.

I'm digging n the fluffy white sand side. I found only one piece of gold larger than 16 mesh. The rest was tiny specks which amounted to 1/20th of a gram total.

I moved to this location simply because the other wash was tiring me out so much. It was difficult walking up and down a 45 degree bank, and the digging is almost like digging in concrete.

I guess you could call me lazy, but the hard work digging into such hard tailing piles was killing my arthritic hands.

The location is also about 1/4 mile closer to our access road, so I don't have to transport the gravels I place on that road as far, saving gas. And I don't have to go over that rough steep hill. 8-)

Anyway, digging is easier, so I just run more buckets. I was averaging just 6 full buckets of classified material at the other was, taking some nearly five hours to gather and dry wash. The new location probably will let me do 20 full buckets in less time, with similar quantities of the yellow stuff, and more very fine gold.

I've pretty much given up on trying to find rock bearing gold. The general area I live in is pretty much mined out of the stuff already exposed, or has a claim on it. I'll keep looking for float in this new wash. I found three rusty rocks I broke, and I think two might have a tiny bit of gold. I just need to crush them, and pan it. (Fooled again by a few speck that glinted like gold)
 
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