Is there any gold in that desert?
The old timers relied on water to separate gold from the other material and so did their prospecting almost exclusively in rivers. However, modern technology has opened up areas that the old timers ignored in those early gold rushes. In particular, modern equipment such as detectors and dry washers allow the prospector to find gold in desert areas and ancient dry riverbeds far from any source of water. These dry areas may appear to be barren and waterless but they are often rich sources of gold. Gold deposits in these dry lands usually owe their origin to the action of flash floods or ancient river flows.
Dry land detecting—it’s a walk in the park
One of the most important and versatile tools for today’s prospector is the high-tech gold detector. Modern detectors range in size from handheld pointers such as the Garrett Pro-pointer through to the top of the range Minelab GPZ 7000 and the purchase price starts well under $150 USD. Today’s gold detectors are lightweight, easy to use, and extremely effective both in detecting gold and screening out false signals such as iron.
In fact, using a modern detector is as easy as going for a walk in the park. Most detectors have automatic settings that enable you to walk slowly through a promising area moving the detector coil in a smooth sweeping action and find gold. As with any high-tech equipment, the more you know about the advanced settings and capabilities of the machine, the greater your chances of finding profitable gold deposits hidden deep underground.
Dry washing—cleaning up the gold without water
Dry washers are another very effective tool for gold recovery in arid areas. Dry washers are similar to traditional sluice boxes but use air to simulate the action of water. A bellows beneath the upper box blows the lighter material away and allows the heavier gold to settle and be trapped by the riffles in the lower box. More advanced designs also include vibrators, which further assist the gold to sink, and matting, which has an electrostatic charge to attract fine gold dust.
As with traditional wet sluices, it is important to keep an even, steady flow of material. Pre-classification of the material that you place into the dry washer helps maintain the flow. Ensure the material is really dry. Obviously, if you try to work with clay type soils the airflow is not going to be able to separate the gold from the heavy, moist clumps of dirt.
Dry washers are heavier and less portable than handheld detectors but they enable you to process a lot of material.
Desert areas received little attention from gold prospectors in the past but with the aid of modern equipment are now proving a rich and happy hunting ground for many. Desert areas in Australia and Nevada have particularly rich deposits. There are stories of people picking up nuggets from the surface with only the aid of a detector. You too can be part of this modern day gold rush. For more information go to: www.goldprospectingequip.com
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