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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southfork

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I didn't go to the Claim today. I stayed home, and ran all my piles of dry washer material. I ended up with 52 half buckets, so it took a couple hours to get it all done, and do the cleanup of the backyard.

I got another surprise when panning the 1/4 to 1/8 inch micro pea gravel. I found another little picker weighing just 6/100 gram. The remaining material netted me .295 grams, which brought my August total to just over one gram.

I don't expect to reach my 2 gram monthly goal, unless I hit some really rich spots. I'm happy because the weather has not been friendly to my type of mining.
That's some well-earned gold working in this heat Happy mining
 
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desertgolddigger

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Today was another great day at the Claim. Dug up lots of tiny pieces with a smattering of small chunkies. Weight came out to .15 grams. August total is now 1.35 grams.

I'm now starting into the wash area adjacent to my pit. Digging down finds that things haven't quite dried out, so I'm just scraping the over burden so that it can dry out. Will have to keep doing that until I hit bedrock in the wash.

There's still plenty of other material bordering the wash I can work
 
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desertgolddigger

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Been out to the Claim a couple more times. One reason is that while I'm not getting a lot of the tiny gold, I'm getting more chunkier pieces. I got two pickers, .046 and .091 grams today.

I've finally gotten back to the main wash, and all these chunkier pieces are coming from that area along the very edge.

One thing I noted is that there's patches of cemented gravel filling low spots. I'm breaking up all of this, and scraping things down to solid bedrock. I'm also running into crumbling bedrock, so I'm trying to demolish these areas, until it turns into smooth bedrock. Not sure my efforts are paying off, but I'd like to think the previous prospectors who ignored these two areas, have provided me with some nice gold.

Any comments on my guesses about where the gold is coming from? I'm still learning where the yellow stuff hides.
 
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desertgolddigger

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I'm going to readdress something a second time for all of those people who still pan out their gold.

This was my second time to run this panning tailings through my dry washer. I always considered myself a fairly good at panning, but after today, no more.

I only had about two five gallon buckets of this material, but when all was done, I ended up with 1/4 gram of gold, from material I thought I'd scoured all the gold out of.

So, for all those newbies, and self professed panning experts, DO NOT THROW AWAY YOUR PANNING TAILINGS. Keep them for a month or two, then run them through your dry washer again. You may be surprised at what you find.

I thought I wouldn't reach my two gram goal for August. I ended up with 2.2 grams because of my panning tailings.

Another hint. When you notice a lot of fluff dirt in the bottom of your dry washer, just don't dump it on the ground. What I got this morning in that fluff were dozens of specks of micro fine gold. If you don't like the micro fine gold, please mail it to me. :laughing7:
 
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desertgolddigger

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Somewhere I mentioned the average take per outing. I will never do that again. Somehow I think it's going to bite me again if I do. Why do I mention this? It's because my last three outings have produced .035, .043, and .010 grams. Ugh!!!! All that work for such small amounts. But then I think, I didn't get skunked, and I should be grateful.

I sure hope your holiday weekend has been a good one. I might not have gotten a great deal of gold, but I got my exercise, and am still losing weight. My Doctor is going to be pleased. :-)
 
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desertgolddigger

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Well, I guess the area I've been working for the past several months, has pretty much slowed in production. Where I'd been averaging over 1/10 gram per outing is down to about 4/100 of a gram now. It's still producing, just isn't worth the effort, unless this is the only area that produces anything.

My beedy brain has tried to figure out why this 25x20 foot area gave so much. I think I may have an answer. This area is at the junction of the main wash, and two very steep, deep channels that feed just opposite each other. I wonder if all the turbulence created by three channels of water mixing in this area was the cause for the increased gold output?

I think there are two more places along this main wash that have a single deep channel that feeds into it. I'm going to do some test digging to see if these steep channels make a difference. If so, I will have to look at all the other main washes on the claim, and see if there are other feeder channels.

Anybody want to comment on my supposition. I'm just curious if my idea is valid.

While out there tomorrow, I'm going up to one of the big hard rock mines, and sift out some material, as well as searching for possible gold bearing rock the old timers missed. I just don't know how deep I will have to dig before I'm below the normal metal detecting depth. I'm guessing 10-12 inches might be a good start.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Today I tried upstream of my current dig. Results were a big fat zero. That's one reason I named my thread title as I did. Most of this wash has been mined to death.

I guess I was lucky to find the patch I worked for several months. After the monsoonal rain is over, and things dry out, I will try down stream. I think the wash gradually widens out, as well as deepens. It appears the diggers haven't tried digging to the West, where I think it widens.

Today wasn't a total waste. I carted more of the pea gravel I'd piled up, back to the house. Got another three or so trips to get that pile cleared. I'm trying to remove all the old piles, and fill in, or at least grade the holes. We have endangered Desert Tortoise that cruise through the claim. I spotted one, and today I saw one of their tracks going across the wash I've been working.

Now I have to hope we don't get another massive flood in the claim area lime the last that just about destroyed the access roads in the area.
 
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desertgolddigger

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It seems that the sweet spot I had been working is now worked out. I got out earrrrly this morning, and dug up 18 half buckets, I got a couple pieces in the 1/16 inch range, and about 30 other pieces that I call micro size that still can be picked up with tweezers.

So I figure I'd better scale back my monthly goal to whatever I get. I had three months of 2 grams plus, and now I'm back to a few hundredths if a gram per outing. I'll go out a few times a week, unless I hit another good pay streak. Gas cost too much to go out 3 to 4 times a week.

Still, it was nice working in 70 degree temperatures, and getting some more fitness out of it.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Seems the title of this thread is starting to hold true for now. Yesterday I nearly got skunked. I might have gotten 1/100th gram from the 20 specks I managed to get.

So, for now, instead of hard wearying pick ax work, I'll go back to working the old dry washer piles. But for the most part, the majority of these piles will only produce a few 100ths for every 20 half buckets. But I don't have to work as hard, and can maybe run 20 full buckets in the time I have spent in a pit.

And maybe I'll eventually luck out, and hit another pile where the miner ran his/her dry washer material too fast. Two good piles I worked produced about 1/3 gram for several days.

Going out tomorrow, as the temperatures are going to be very comfortable. I hope I get lucky.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Today's dry washer pile gave skimpy returns. Got only 14 pieces for 30 half buckets, but the weight was 3/100ths of a gram. Ten were of the small chunky variety, and the other four were the typical specks I had been getting. Working the old dry washer piles allows the extra 10-12 half buckets over the work in the pit.

I may revisit this pile if my next outing into the wash comes up empty. That is, if the material in the wash has dried out yet. I'm going to work the main wash where a feeder wash comes down a very steep slope from a minor hard rock mine. What I call the "Pit" was adjacent to one of those feeder washes, and apparently it really mixed things up. I'm guessing that's why I managed a little over six grams in that area. I just hope this new one will pan out better yellow stuff. Will let ya know.
 

Reed Lukens

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The area that you're in sure has a ton of history. Maybe look for a claim of your own?
All of the marked squares have gold mining history. Maybe you can find a better area on your own -
Screenshot_20220917-120347_Chrome.jpg
 
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desertgolddigger

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Reed, thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately, I'm not great at figuring out how some of these websites work. "Land Matters" is one of them, I see big boxes drawn on the map in red and blue, whatever the colors mean.

I can find the information on claims by clicking the map, but I can't figure out how to show all the borders for the claims So, even if I wished to stake a claim, I can't find out where the land with no claims are.

To me the whole website is confusing.
 

southfork

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Reed, thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately, I'm not great at figuring out how some of these websites work. "Land Matters" is one of them, I see big boxes drawn on the map in red and blue, whatever the colors mean.

I can find the information on claims by clicking the map, but I can't figure out how to show all the borders for the claims So, even if I wished to stake a claim, I can't find out where the land with no claims are.

To me the whole website is confusing.
It takes practice I have a hard time with it also. But if you find the little square close to where you're working and click on it there's a lot of layers and tools on the page. To find open claims patented claims open ground play with it if I can make it work anybody can.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Also today, I found a dirty rock (some quartz) that had gold specks, and a couple of small chunks of bright gold.

I crushed some of the rock, only to discover those chunks turned to silvery powder. I'm guessing this was Pyrite in the rock,

I also managed to find one little gold speck in the pan, but when I pressed down with my tweezers, it also just crumbled.

Rats!!! I thought I'd gotten my first gold bearing rock.
 
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desertgolddigger

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This morning I took a chance, and went back to a dry washer tailing pile I sampled a few days ago. I'd gotten not a lot of pieces, but some were fairly chunky.

Today was no different. The number of pieces was really low (21), for 50 half buckets, but the weight was fantastic at .16 grams. Several you would call small pickers.

I'm trying to figure out where these heavier pieces are located in this pile. It looks like several layers of dry washing tailings, not put down by the same individual.

I haven't reached the normal layer that was put down by nature, so it's going to be interesting to see how things pan out as I dig down to that natural base layer.

Yes, I worked my rear off this morning, and I'm paying the price, being exhausted. But I think this grouping of piles that stretches some 20x20 yards might pay out, if not in lots of tiny pieces, then more chunkier ones.

Not sure I'll go early in the morning. Will Have to see how my body feels. But if I do go, I will dig out another 50 half buckets, and see what happens.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Today, I just shut off my alarm, and went back to sleep. I was just too tired to go mining.

But I did get out tp the backyard to see how well my new Mining Assistant would work. And he does OK, but I think I'll have to let him go, and work on a smaller, sturdier Mining Assistant.

Before I told him the news of his termination, I just had to get his picture.

EDITED: I may need to rethink Mining Assistant firing. I've been looking for small bicycle wheel rims without spokes. My assistant uses 20 inch rims. The whole assembly is just too bulky for me to move easily. I think that 16 inch rims might be a better size. I also need to figure out a better framework that isn't as heavy as the PVC pipes, yet is still strong.
 

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russau

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Nice little trommel ! BUT you gotta remember that PVC is affected by the I.R . rays of the sun and gets brittle and dry's out and cracks after sometime. I also used it when I able to go out but I always carried spare parts in my trailer for the unavoidable accidents that followed me around the Country !:dontknow::tongue3::occasion14: Good Luck and stay healthy !
 
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desertgolddigger

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Nice little trommel ! BUT you gotta remember that PVC is affected by the I.R . rays of the sun and gets brittle and dry's out and cracks after sometime. I also used it when I able to go out but I always carried spare parts in my trailer for the unavoidable accidents that followed me around the Country !:dontknow::tongue3::occasion14: Good Luck and stay healthy !
Yeah I know about any kind of plastic rotting away because of the Sun. After use, I store it in my shed. I'm drawing up plans to send to a company who sells aluminum perforated square tubing, and the hardware needed to join them into things like carts, shelves, and even carriers to put on vehicles. They make the cuts for you (50 cents per). And they use the same size hardware I'm using on my current trommel.

I used it this morning to sift out 12 half buckets of pea gravel, removing the dirt and micro pea gravel. I mainly built it for that purpose, as the largest gold nuggets I've found on the Claim have been 1/4 inch and smaller. I figure there might be a few of these small nuggets in my gravel pile.

I wish I could tow a trailer into the Claim. The roads to, and on the Claim are just too bad for a trailer. I have to rely on my truck bed for moving anything.

Right now I'm taking a vacation from gold prospecting/mining. Need to get things done at the house, which includes sifting that pea gravel.

I think I found another source of good gold for the effort, It just takes more material to run through the dry washer. But so far, the gold is chunkier, and larger, if not as many pieces. I'll take the chunkier pieces over hundreds of those tiny ones that don't even add up to the same weight.
 
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desertgolddigger

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OK, Yeah, taking some days off. The brain trying to figure out just how deep the chunky gold goes, took me out this morning to discover the answer.

And the answer wasn't pretty gold color. I dug down to bedrock, getting 20 half buckets of material run through the washer.

I took the results home, only to discover , not a skunk, but nearly so. I managed just four very small pieces.

So, the chunky gold is definitely from someone who ran their dry washer way too fast. What puzzles me is the lack if smaller gold. Let's rethink this. Maybe not running the material too fast, but possibly running the dry washer until the riffles couldn't absorb any more heavies, and then spewed out the gold for lack of space. This is one reason I run my material slow, and never run more than five full buckets at a time. This might also be why my calculated 95 percent recovery rate is so much higher than other people get with the same equipment.

Tomorrow, the body willing, I will dig down about 6-9 inches, and see what happens. The following day out, I will dig that area a little deeper, to determine if there's still gold further down. I'm doubting that though.

What I think I've learned is that the layer under the dry washer tailing pile, consisting of what I call "fluff" (very fine dirt), is what Mother Nature Has laid down during strong wind storms. Digging into this fluff material is probably a waste of effort

At least I seem to learn something new about how to read the soil, and other things. Hopefully my school of learning the hard way will help others, so they don't end up wasting their time digging in things like a thick layer of fluff.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Yesterday I decided to work down in the wash. It's about 10 feet deep, with a very narrow path leading down into it. I had to clear some large rocks previous miners tossed on the pathway. I also have been removing a dry washer tailing pile that sits right in front of this path. So far, in five days of removal, I've found about .06 grams of gold. So the hard work to get a clear path is giving some gold.

Yesterday I decided to not work removing the rest of this blocking pile, and managed to get five 5 gallon buckets of material for the dry washer. Results were promising with .13 grams.

The area I decided to work has a steep tributary wash coming into it, which flows down from a hard rock mine. Previous miners have managed to pile up four to five feet of tailings. This is where I hope to start getting a good daily payout, after several outings of .01 grams or less in as many as 25 half buckets. I'm happy I found something during these outings, but working that hard for 10 pieces of tiny gold was getting me discouraged.

My thoughts about some of these dry washer miners is, 1) they don't understand how to properly set up, and feed the machine, and 2) lack the patience required to recover most of the gold they dig up. This lost gold is what I'm recovering.

Took another day off today, for me to recover. If working in the backyard, preparing that area to receive gravel can be considered taking a day off. Still have to dig up five cactus, and transplant them, in my established flower bed before I can level the area, and lay the gravel. There's always so much work with owning a home. 😮
 

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