Prospecting my own land in NE Washington state?

Fermion

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Jan 12, 2013
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I am fascinated about gold prospecting but have never done much more than pan some creeks in western Washington (and rand a letrap sluice).

I dream of doing a trip to Alaska but we are building a house in the NE corner of Washington state now and are pretty busy in the summer. Maybe in a year or two.

Anyway, in addition to the lot we have in town where we are building our house, we have about 30 acres of mountain land 8 miles out of town. It isn't remote, there is a nice county paved road the property borders and we have built a pole barn on it. At the time of building the pole barn, I had to dig some post holes with my little U35-4 Kubota excavator (8,000 pound machine). I noticed at the time the rocks in the excavated dirt were very round but didn't think a lot about it.

I now wonder if instead of glacial till, those rocks could represent some sort of past water flow. The land is sloping, but not steep, and has benches (one where we built the pole barn). The paved county road is at the bottom of this valley along the side of the property. There is no stream or anything there now though. Since we are about 10 to 15 miles as the crow flies from the Columbia river, I don't even know if it would even have been a path there in the ancient past. I did some searching in this county (Stevens) and there were gold deposits found, but mostly on the river (China Bend) and in some of the mountain areas.

What I am wondering is if there is any chance of some tiny specs actually on my property? Pretty sure it is not economical gold but I am now wondering if it would be interesting to dig down a bit deeper with my excavator in an area and pan some. Could there just be gold in any old river material in north eastern Washington or would it already have been discovered? There are zero signs or indications that our property had ever been mined, but I guess someone in the past 150 years came by to sample, even with no water in the area.

Even if I could only get a few specs it would be fun....right now though we have 12 inches of snow and I can barely get in the driveway lol.
 

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Fermion

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Jan 12, 2013
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I had to go today to cut up a tree that had fallen across our road on the property so I grabbed five 5 gallon buckets of gravel/dirt from another area lower on the property (a 2 foot deep trench I had dug for drainage 4 years ago). Again, this isn't really freshly dug material, just waste dirt from the trench that has been piled up for 4 years. It looked gravely so I figured what the hell.

I got back and did one single pan from one of the 5 gallon buckets and ended up with quite a bit of black sand and 3 tiny tiny TINY gold specks. I am still surprised how much black sand there is in pretty much surface dirt...must be all the galena in this area, manganese, or something.

It then started snowing on me and my hands were freezing so I just did the one pan. I need to set up something a little better than a pan, but something cheap and quick to build, so I can test a larger amount.
 

Assembler

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May 10, 2017
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I had to go today to cut up a tree that had fallen across our road on the property so I grabbed five 5 gallon buckets of gravel/dirt from another area lower on the property (a 2 foot deep trench I had dug for drainage 4 years ago). Again, this isn't really freshly dug material, just waste dirt from the trench that has been piled up for 4 years. It looked gravely so I figured what the hell.

I got back and did one single pan from one of the 5 gallon buckets and ended up with quite a bit of black sand and 3 tiny tiny TINY gold specks. I am still surprised how much black sand there is in pretty much surface dirt...must be all the galena in this area, manganese, or something.

It then started snowing on me and my hands were freezing so I just did the one pan. I need to set up something a little better than a pan, but something cheap and quick to build, so I can test a larger amount.
This may sound silly. Since you all ready have a 2 foot deep drainage trench how about making it a little deeper by using some wind action?

Pick a windy day that you can be up wind from at the trench and use a leaf blower to make the trench a little deeper. Then take what is at the bottom of the trench after the leaf blower treatment and pan the bottom materials to see if you end up with more then a few tiny specks.

Be sure to wear good dust protection gear such as mask and goggles for the time working the trench. You should be able to move a fair amount of materials down the trench in just 10 - 15 minutes.

You may want to use some magnets to help remove some of the black sands to help with the panning process.
 

Assembler

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May 10, 2017
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When ever the sun comes out you should be able to leaf blower a thin dryer layer off of the surface of the trench down to the end of the trench. You will have to control how much materials are being removed from the surface of the trench. This will leave behind materials that you control.

You will get better each time you try and work the surface of the trench. Maybe you can get to the point where you may have 50 or more colors per pan.
 

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Fermion

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Jan 12, 2013
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Yeah, the Ex isn't at the property right now and there are weight limits on the road (a ton of rain here recently plus snow melt). When I do get it there, for sure I am going to dig to China, at least in one spot. Glory hole baby!
 

scruggs

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You never know until you try it! From what you described its worth a go! Good luck to you!
 

Assembler

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May 10, 2017
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Yeah, the Ex isn't at the property right now and there are weight limits on the road (a ton of rain here recently plus snow melt). When I do get it there, for sure I am going to dig to China, at least in one spot. Glory hole baby!
Just take it down to bedrock for a test if not to far down. Likely will not pay for the fuel however you will have some answers.

Save me a few hundred colors as you go down digging.........lol.
 

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