Finding Placer Gold from High Water

by Prospector Jess

Hey, it’s Prospector Jess again. Tonight we’re going to talk a little bit more about the subject of flooding in case you can’t hear it out there. We’ve had a couple of rain squalls go through and there’s some real roar coming from the storm. I posted some pictures earlier, some video shorts of people who had posted various flooding images on the web regarding the Ventura River. That still continues to be an area of interest, having to do with the Thomas Fire burn area going from Ventura to Santa Barbara counties here in California. We also have the Woolsey fire to the south of us here, we’re kind of surrounded by a ring of fire, if you will. But all of those areas are under flood evacuation orders right now, just tonight. They were actually all day long, but, they’ve been kind of increasing again tonight because there’s going to be a big wall of water moving through.

So I wanted to talk a little more about that topic. What we’re looking at tonight is finding gold from high water. What does that have to do with gold prospecting?

Well, you know, when we talk about floods, one of the things you want to be able to identify quickly is where the flood is or better yet where it was. You don’t want to be there when it’s going on, unless you just want to take some pictures of some of the interesting flow patterns that take place that might be useful later. But the objective right now is to kind of give you an idea of what floodwaters do and how you can identify them when the floods abate, because you want to know where they were to know where the gold will be; right? So let’s take a look and let’s see.

So you know, this is the area around the Ventura River. These are images that people have taken over the years, but really that, you know, today, look no different than any of the worst of these. One of the things I’ll be talking about later I’ll get to in a second is identifying and preserving high watermark data.

First thing I wanted to show you was the flooding and the Ventura river area. I posted a video earlier tonight that video should be available down below on the “Hunting for Gold” Facebook fan page. Take a look at it. It’s a image of flooding in the Ventura River. That’s what this area is right here. And one of the things you want to be aware of is that flooding continues, as I pointed out earlier, there’s still a roar from time to time as there’s been walls of water moving through this area. This has definitely been one of these atmospheric river conditions, as I mentioned in the last couple of nights. And so we are under flood watch in Ventura County by and large as in this emergency condition where they’ve actually evacuated people up in the Thomas Fire area and Woolsey fire area down at Malibu. That’s all kind of a breaking news.

What we’re going to talk about a bit is how that affects or how you can use flood information that’s preserved in the indicators from a high water flood.

And so I’m going to go through that a little bit with you and discuss kind of the reason why you want to know that to find gold, and so it’s important for us to be able to locate gold, know where the water has flooded and what the level the water got to. So that we can identify the places to go look for gold. The objective of course is to find more gold, but that’s not the only thing we’re looking for initially. In fact, we’re not looking for gold at all. We’re looking for the stream flow. We’re looking for indicators of high water. I’ll talk about that in a minute and we’re looking for other evidence including historical evidence, records and so forth that would tell us that gold has been found in the area that would be helpful. It isn’t necessary, but is certainly helpful. Now why I say it’s not necessary because gold can be found almost anywhere and in some cases gold can be found where nobody ever found it before.

It’s just more rare than usual, but in some cases it’s much more valuable. For example, the Carlin mine in Nevada was one of the biggest producers in the U.S. over the last few decades. Guess what? Just north east of there, they discovered a new band of material that’s even more rich and more valuable than the Carlin mine. And then he didn’t even really know it was there until very recently, so it can be there. You just have to know what to look for. And then you also just have to explore, and dig.

So what we’re going to talk about tonight is this kind of high water concept and I wanted to go over quickly with you what that’s about. So let’s go to our blackboard and what we’re going to discuss is kinda how waterflow takes place. So traditionally you think of water flow is kind of going into some kind of riparian (river) canyon and depositing in the bottom some gold bearing materials.

So this is our flow in summer and then in winter this flow might go much higher. For example, it might go like this and there might be another curve over in here. And so what can happen is over in this region, if it’s on the inside edge of the curve, there can be some very rich material deposited up here that swept from down below here and might not be anything in the bottom of this, in the summertime. That’s not at all uncommon, same thing with this area over here. But the real thing we want to watch for is when we have this kind of condition where there’s multiple levels, we need to know what the high water indicators were for the floods that went through there, not just the recent ones, ancient ones as well. I’ll get into that in a second.

So let’s take a look at what that means. A clear the board. So when we have this kind of condition where we have a water, a summer flow, and then maybe we might have some kind of a cut, what we call a river cut or a high cut terrace, and might have several of these and what these would indicate to meet, and this might be just a cliff. And what this would indicate to me is that over the years we’ve had a series of flows through here that have continually cut through this canyon in multiple levels or layers, if you will, at different times, each of which leaves behind a terrace, a little ledge that’s important to track. And of course this is the one that’s being cut right now. This ledge is important in part because oftentimes like if you start seeing rounded cobbles buried up in a separate one that’s called a high bench and that can have underneath it and old river bottom, that could have a load of gold trapped right down in this region here.

So what we’re looking for is what kind of indicators where we know about or see visually, that would tell us that there’s been high water moving through here and there was the flood conditions we’re seeing right now. It’s pretty obvious where the high water, as you just look at the. You look at the conditions and viola it’s right in front of your face. When you look at one of these things and you see all this, here’s an RV park down by the beach, and it’s flooded. Well the high waters clearly going through the RV Park, so with the high waters that high, but how would you know after it all dries out where the high water went to, that’s what you need to know to identify this stuff. So what we’re going to talk about here is a way of identifying that.

And so one of the things I have, and I’ll put the link to it, there’s a USGS publication and by the way, these are pretty good things and they’re readily available for free. So take advantage of them. This one’s relatively new update because of all of our hurricanes. Hurricanes lead to high water conditions as well. And so they’ve got a lot of new information about how to measure high water and to find it. And so what we’re looking at in this particular thing is identifying and preserving high watermark data. Well, what we’re doing is trying to identify high watermark visual indicators. We’re looking at what things would tell us that there’s been high water and floods in this area. And so what I’m going to show you tonight is a little trick or two, this journal’s pretty big. So we’re going to zoom through this first part of the report right now.

So when a flood takes place, the high water goes from side to side of the floodwaters, depending upon how flat the slope is. If the slope is, you know, fairly steep this, this water will move through quickly and it won’t be as wide as it flattens out and levels out into the floodplain and forms the s-curves of a snaking or meandering river, and sometimes the cross cuts making what’s called an oxbow or, or an isolated oxbow lake, at those points, that’s two different kinds of flow. We’re looking at the same kinds of indicators but under different conditions. So let’s take a look at some of this stuff. For example, here’s a mud-line and a flood on a house or a business. Here’s the mud line on a river bed or a ridge. Notice this same kind of feature, you’re looking for the browning of the bushes and the browning or coloration changes of the slopes that tells you a recent flood is moved through up to that level, indicating that water at one time during a flood was deep enough that this was the high water edge and all of this was under flowing floods and that’s why you see all these scoured cobbles, these rounded cobbles.

That’s the kind of stuff you’re going to look for when you’re looking for coarser gold, but what you’re looking for is the inside edge of a bend and this kind of high watermark up slope because that’s where this stuff is going to start depositing out and moving in and cutting new gold out of existing material. All of this older stuff back here might be centuries old for all you know, and so what happens is when the floods come, they start cutting into that and redepositing gold down in these regions right along just below the high water mark is a good place to start looking. It doesn’t hurt to look down in here, but the reality is all of this is going to be in flux. It’s going to be flowing and moving like a freight train, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, and dumping the gold up hill inside the bend using the helical flow, which I had talked about in the 20-20 prospecting report.

And so it’s important to kind of know how to identify these mud lines from various artifacts that you see around you. Now, of course, you’re not going to be looking for gold in the middle of buildings, but you get the idea.

And the idea is that that high watermark is the peak flow. The peak flow is what moves the most gold. It’s the thing that cuts into those rocks, cuts into that impacted concreted material, breaks it apart, smacks those boulders into quartz sand and hammers out the golden nuggets that come out. So this is all kind of part of that picture. And another thing you can look for is what they call a seed line. You can look along the edges of trees and see a change in the coloration and indicators. Indicators may have little tiny chunks of floating flood material stuck along the edge and then up above the waterline.

It’s all kind of old mossy weed stuff that’s still intact. This is kind of grayed out. Same thing here and so what you’re looking for, these kinds of indications that flooding went through at this level and what they’ve done is marked them with a tag so they can see that that’s the high water. You can do the same sort of thing just to kind of indicate where the high water line was during a flood. Another thing you’re looking for is a debris line. The. This is material line showing you the sticks and stones and sometimes you know, floating bottles and basketballs and tennis balls. I’ve seen all kinds of stuff a bowling ball, which my dog found once. Did, you know bowling balls float ? If you get enough water they’ll float. Okay? So what happens is they wood filled and they go downstream and they deposit along this high water line.

Wherever the debris is going to stick, here’s a bunch of sticks along this high water line. So now you see this pattern of the water was this deep through this region when it flooded. Same thing through here, it came up to this area and backed off. Same thing over here. So now notice this one. You can see the river cutting into this area along here, and the high water was up in here. So we know that this was freshly cut during this last storm and there might be new gold produced out of these roots that have been exposed downstream from where the roots were exposed in the cobbles and so forth.

These older cobbles might be from an ancient flood, you don’t know it’s worthy of investigation. So again, all of these indicators kind of give you a feel for where the gold might be based on the high water flooding.

That’s kind of the topic for tonight. I think we’ve covered just about everything I was going to cover. I’ll put a link to this guy in there along with the 20-20 report link, which covers more of this detail on how helical flow drives this stuff into these high water flows and what happens during a straight and curving debris flows. What kind of movements take place that sweep your gold into specific gold-lines or gold leads.

And that’s it for tonight. Anybody got any questions real quick?

We can cover that. Okay. So no questions right now. The one question I did get earlier had to do with this high water line concept and where the gold would go. So I thought I’d touch on it since it relates and since we’re still pouring rain out here and we still have flooding going on. Stay dry and stay warm. Get yourself a nice cup of hot cocoa or something really warm and keep yourself nourished. So have a good night and good prospecting.

Prospector, Jess over and out and I’ll catch you next time…

P.S. We’re doing these things on a regular basis. I would also like you to comment below. Tell me if this timeframe around 6:00 ish PM Paific time, each evening works for you? That’s Pacific time. I know it’s around 9:00 PM on the east coast, but you know, depending upon if I get more people chime in one way or the other, let me know about what half hour frame you would prefer to get interrupted by these videos. I know this thing gets posted and left online anyway, but it’s not live and your comments won’t be seen, so if that’s important to you. I wanted to make sure you had an opportunity to give feedback, have a good time prospecting together.

I’ll see you then. Good prospecting! Over and out.