How to Prospect For Gold
Prospecting for gold can be a richly rewarding hobby. Generally, gold is more easily found in mountainous regions in the United States such as Alaska, California and Colorado. However, regardless of where you are
Gold in the pan (Photo credit: anglerp1)
, you can find gold. Although the amounts will vary greatly, you will be able to greatly enjoy the outdoors, time with family, and the challenge that is gold prospecting.
Before you begin prospecting, it is important to understand the rules that govern mining for minerals so that you can find gold legally. If you are prospecting on privately owned land, make sure to obtain the permission of the landowner first. You can legally prospect for gold on land that you own, if you also own the mineral rights to that piece of property.
Where To Find Gold
Although much of the gold in the American West was mined during the Gold Rush of the nineteenth century, there is still gold to be found if you know where to look. When looking for gold in a river, look for gravel bars that have recently been formed by flooding. Gold is a heavy metal so it sinks quickly, so it is often found in areas of deep gravel. Also look for high benches, which are patches of gravel located on the wall of a canyon. High benches are formed when a stream cuts deep into a canyon and leaves areas of gravel in its wake.
Panning For Gold
One of the easiest methods for finding gold is to pan in a river or stream. The only tool you need for this method is a good gold pan, which functions as an effective gold-catching device and acts as does bedrock in nature. Through natural separation of particles with the lightest on top and the heaviest, gold, settled at the lowest point.
Once you have found a likely place to pan for gold, simply fill your gold pan about three-quarters full with gravel. Next, stand over the water and submerge your pan in the water, and make sure all of the contents of the pan are fully saturated. After everything in the pan is wet, shake the gold pan from side to side, and sweep away the rocks that rise to the top. You will not sweep any gold out of the pan because only the lighter rocks rise to the top of the pan. When you get to the bottom of your pan, only the heaviest minerals will remain, carefully remove the dark material, black sands, from your pan to reveal your gold.
Get out here and get prospecting! You will have a blast looking for gold!