Monday, September 17, 2012

Panning Out

If you've spent any time around a TV in the last few years you've probably noticed a show or two that involves prospecting for gold.  There is one that takes where this team of guys from Oregon go to Alaska with little mining experience and they nearly lose it all in their first year, and do better the next year.  There is another show where several people use dredges in the sea in Nome, and this now has gone into another season of diving through the ice to get gold.  Then there is Gold Fever on the Outdoor Channel that proclaims there is gold in every state except Missouri...

A few years ago I corresponded with a local geologist who said there was no evidence of gold anywhere in the county so I had to check for myself.  I'm not exactly sure, but I think I have captured some but it was such a small commodity that it was hardly worth the effort.  It was a couple of golden glints of sparkle at the bottom of my pan.  So small that they got lodged in the fine sand scratches and couldn't be removed with the sucker bottle.

I recently spent some time on the Kalama River up in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.  I'd take my pan down to the icy water every morning.  The river ran fast, deep and cold from the melt-off of the snow on Mt. Saint Helens.  I couldn't get into the deep holes where there were the best chances of finding gold.  the best I could do was turn over rocks and scoop up sand from where the spring waters receded.

I washed sand for a couple hours a day and when it was time to go home I had a good sucker bottle full of black sand with sparkly gold like material in it. When I got home I took a magnet to the bottle and was delight when all the magnetite went for the magnet.  I poured the contents into my black pan, pulled the magnetite out of the pan and refined it a little more and still found a trace of what may have been gold, but not enough to try refining it any more.  I now call it Nano Gold.

If you really want to find gold, I think you'd be better off investing in a bottle of Goldwasser and sip it slowly near a fire.


Blogger Beth said...

I loved finding fool's gold as a child - and never once felt like a fool.

5:26 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

Oooo... nice one. That touched a sore spot. I've lived in and near gold country for a good part of my life but never really got interested in prospecting until I moved to freaking Missouri. Where there isn't any.


7:44 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Beth, there was always a chance that it could have been real.

Darev, most areas don't have it and the areas that do are hard to find. That's why it's so expensive.

5:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll bet if there was a way to estimate the weight of the gold in the sediment that washes down the Columbia and out to sea in a year it would be an impressive amount of weight . . ..

11:10 AM  

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