What Is Placer Gold’s Story?

by Prospector Jess

Good evening everybody! Tonight’s discussion is “what is placer gold’s story.” What does your placer gold tell you about its environment, and what can you do about that when it comes to learning how to gold prospect? This is Prospector Jess from hunting4gold.com, and I’m here to bring you another tale of how you can find more gold. So let’s take a look.

Tonight we’re going to be dealing with placer gold and how it fits together with the rest of the puzzle we’ve been telling, about storms and water flow and all that good stuff. The idea is that you should be able to tell from any kind of gold that you’re finding. Now this is not placer, this is a piece of lode gold in ore form. It’s actually chalcopyrite that’s heavy in gold concentrate. The rock itself is very heavy, so it’s something to be aware of. That material actually has been mined and was part of a process, sending it offshore to have it refined. What we’re talking about tonight though is placer nuggets and placer gold, specifically about the forms and shapes it takes, and what those forms and shapes tell you about the history of that particular gold nugget. So let’s take a look.

Looking at this picture right here, you’ll see on this are some pretty gray objects, and they look kind of bland. These are actually platinum ore. If you’re looking for gold, you may as well look for platinum, osmium, or iridium. So what we’re seeing here are several chunky pieces of platinum nuggets that were brought out from a deposit, and the someone asked me a question, and that was what can you tell me about what these tell?

Well, one of the first things that I look at is the quality of the material, and what it’s telling me about the environment that these were put down in. One of the things that you can see right off the bat is they’re quite angular. They’re not bent over, they’re not curled. That means several things. One, they’re alloyed pretty intensely with other materials, so they may be more brittle than is typical for any kind of ore product, that’s true of gold as well as platinum. When it gets alloyed with a lot of material that’s more brittle, this is copper and sulfur and other atoms that get alloyed into a mineral called chalcopyrite. Well, that leads to a brittleness that might make you overlook that for gold as a prospect or platinum, if you will. The other thing that catches my attention about these is their angular nature. If they are not brittle and they’re angular like this, that means they’re crystalline. If their crystalline in nature, that’s a very important side effect, and I’ll show you a case of that that’s quite beautiful.

Here’s some crystalline gold. When you look closely at these crystals, you’ll begin to see something that’s quite amazing, and that is you actually see where it’s folding over, it’s starting to form what we typically call a nugget, but it hasn’t completely. And so there are chunks of it that are just detailed as all get out, just all kinds of little tiny pocs and crystals in there. That’s what forms those little pockets in what we typically associate with a nugget. This piece was etched out of some quartz. What you’ll find though is it was actually in the riverbed, and had partly been bent over on the edges, and so what happens is when you get these pieces, eventually all that quartz breaks away and forms the typical nugget, but before that happens, it’s a quartz bound gold crystal. If you find enough of it as in the case of this one right here, which was related to the piece we were looking at earlier, you can see there’s all kinds of angular pieces involved in these. They’re quite small pieces, but the angularity and the crystalline nature of them makes me think, oh, there’s likely a load nearby.

That’s the story it’s telling and so what happens is, your brain should go into gear at that point and as you prospect upstream up river or up hill, when the prospect cuts out and you stopped seeing this material, go off on a 90 degree tangent where this cutoff. Go up hill into the washes and basins that feed into the stream, because somewhere upstream this material is being fed in fairly near the stream you found it in. This is how you find gold lode, and so you’ll basically sniff yourself out and there’s a whole discussion of this in one of my videos, but basically what you’re going to try to do is find where this thing cuts out, then back up, and then go up hill one way, then go up hill the other way, and look for where you can find more of this material. As it starts to intensify and get more angular, you’re getting closer and closer to the possible source.

At that point, the story it tells you is a whole different one from placer prospecting, because now you’ve got yourself an underground lode. You can start a mine. You have to do the proper things and you have to make sure you have the claim, but you can also check to see if the claims that are given, because lode claims are quite different from placer. They can actually override each other and run right underneath each other, depends on how you claim them, and how the person before you claimed them, so you might find that you’ve got a lode. There’s also a lode claim nearby, but since yours is going in a different angle and into a different reach of the lode material, you can lay a claim right next to someone else’s, and you’re perfectly good to go, as long as you don’t interrupt their tunneling, you’re good.

So that’s another one from Prospector Jess, I just thought I’d tell you that story. What is the story that placer gold tells? When you’re looking for the typical nugget, you’re oftentimes looking for this material. This came from Mr. Chuck Smalley, who has done a lot of metal detecting and he came on our video show a few years back, and showed me some material he had gotten up in Alaska, out of some road beds,not bad for a couple of days work, I’d say, look at this stuff! See how rounded and angular it is? There are pieces of it in there that are quite angular, but the reality is that it has its own property. This piece is rounded, but it also has that kind of angular appearance deep inside. Again, a lot of this material was being carted from a source that had both lode and placer gold as part of its prospect.

Now, what Chuck was doing, he was detector mining the road bed that came from material that was out of a tailings pile from several mines. So it’s pretty hard to tell exactly where this came from, but you can see some of its angular, some of it’s pretty rounded, not very well flattened out so it doesn’t look like it came out of riverbed. But this one does look like it came out of a riverbed. So you can get this variation, and what you’re looking for is the more angular, the closer you are to the source, the more quartz you find embedded in it as we see in this one. Actually, not this one, I have another one like that, I just don’t have it with me. Sorry about that. But the more you see that is angular and the more material you see attached to it in terms of quartz and other source material, the more likely it’s not been in the river very long, or it would have broken out and folded over into a ball a long time ago.

So that’s Prospector Jess for tonight. Let me know how things are going.

I also wanted to point out you some action that’s happening. We’re getting a lot of activity on the page. The pictures and stuff came from Len Hatch. Thank you Len for letting us borrow that for our show tonight. He asked the question about what does it tell you about the material source that he’s finding, that platinum. And so I just thought I’d let you know. Down on the page, as you can tell, I posted something this afternoon about a re-framing of dredging as an ecology cleanup, which it really is.

That’s one of the facts that the Department of fish and game here in California claim for about 30 years of research. Every couple of years they have to go back in and monitor the dredges and see what effect they had on the fish. The end result was that it was cleaner when they were done, then when they started. The fish beds were better off, as long as it was done in the right seasons on some tributaries and some sources for salmon or other fish. However, the fact is that didn’t matter to the politicians.

I posted this thing which talks about funding a project for cleanup using dredges. That’s what they use for cleanup. Here in California, there are researchers that are doing this for millions of dollars. Why not have dredgers do it, and you can do it cost free. We’ll do it free of charge, no problem!

The fun part is you guys are jumping on this! 11,000 people were reached already! This thing got posted seven hours ago and we’ve got 1100 engagements, so that’s people liking, posting, commenting, and all that stuff. So have at it, and let me know what you think! It’s on the “hunting for gold” Facebook page, and it’s there for you to contribute to, along with last night’s video post, and so forth.

So anyway, let me know what you think!

Good night and good prospecting! This is Prospector Jess, over for now!