The Survival Podcast Forum

Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics => Outdoors Activities => Topic started by: Jonathon January on June 17, 2012, 11:58:29 AM

Title: gold panning
Post by: Jonathon January on June 17, 2012, 11:58:29 AM
If this is a cave in I'm sorry. I searched real quick on gold panning and prospecting but didnt find anything.... Otherwise please  move to appropriate areas.

On with the show!

I've been watching the second season of the tv show gold rush which kind of got me interested in gold panning. Unsure of the possibilities here in Pennsylvania I began doing some minor research. Turns out that in the east and north west of pa gold can be found. And that there are four actual gold mines in the state.  Sooo, im really wanting to try my hand at this. Diving a little deeper into research I find out in my county there are traces of three different periods of glacier activity (as i understand it). which left gold deposits. At that time i could feel a fever coming on.... Gold fever....
A little more digging, I find a gold forum where someone posted about finding gold in a stream/creek in the next town over.... Holy Hell, I'm burning up..... I start checking this map of glacier activity to mapquest sat' photos..... Hell, this area should have a good chunk..... Ok I'm texting an adventurous friend and he's down......   So, let's do this.

 Now, im not trying strike it rich. Not expecting to find any grandiose nuggets. Just want to find some color in my pan.  From what I've read I dont need a permit as long as im on public lands and not using any large scale equipment which is fine. I just want to go out with a small shovel and a pan and find some color. Does anyone have experience they can share? Where to look. How deep you "typically" have to dig..... Technique or anything.
Title: Re: gold panning
Post by: shambo on June 17, 2012, 06:05:02 PM
Good luck and join the club!
I am a panner from Colorado, one of the highest "free" gold states, and I am still not rich! But I have a lot of fun. First and most important, even though they are "public lands",  check with the local government or county regulations. We have county open space, but they can make their own rules if you can pan.

As far as finding any, gold is the heaviest thing in the ground or stream, so it will be finding it's way to bedrock. The best places to dig are in a stream, downstream behind big rocks and boulders. Dig past the stream gravel to black sands (also heavy and an indicator you are in the right place depth-wise.) Collect the material using a shovel or metal scoop and put it through a mesh sorter over a 5-gl bucket. Collect as much as you think will pay off (?) and then pan what is in the bucket.

Another method is to look at the high water line on the bank and dig behind rocks there. But BEWARE! FILL IN ALL HOLES and watch the regs for this activity. Some places discourage gold hunting if you undermine - DON'T DO IT!

I'm assuming you know how to pan (?), but remember, water is your friend! Lots of water will help the 'heavys' (gold & black sand) sink to the bottom, then sort off the sand & gravel from the top layers. Doubt that you'll find pickers or nuggets. These are rare, found already, or because gold is soft, are always getting smaller! Flakes are a good find. Flour gold takes extra sorting from the black sands by drying and using a magnet to take off the black sands.

Good luck!
Title: Re: gold panning
Post by: donaldj on June 17, 2012, 08:18:46 PM
Ive done some in the past and have landed about 1/4 ounce from a creek in SC.  Got some non-gem ruby, too. I guess michigan is pretty good for this too.

I am a rank amateur at this.

My understanding is to look where there is eddy currents, such as near a large rock, or where there are sharp bends in the river.

If you do find some in your pan, make sure it's amongst black iron particles. Also, until you get good panning technique, you might want to empty your panning into a big tub and try it again.
Title: Re: gold panning
Post by: Jonathon January on June 18, 2012, 06:00:32 AM
Thanks guys.

No, i have no experience at all... This will be my first time ever doing it.
Title: Re: gold panning
Post by: LdMorgan on June 19, 2012, 12:03:15 PM
Another good place to look is in the tailings from old mining operations. Like from the 1800's.

Dredges of the time, for example, typically used screens that let all the fine gold and all nuggets 1/4" in diameter or smaller fall right through.

(Gold was cheaper then!)

So unless those dredge tailings have already been reworked, they're as rich now as they ever were--in everything but the larger nuggets.
Title: Re: gold panning
Post by: Bolomark on July 02, 2012, 04:47:02 PM
get yourself any copies of this mag. bookstore) read.
next get yourself a green(contrasting color to the gold) gold pan to start. useful info on the left side menu.
a couple of bb gun bb's (to simulate gold)
a couple of 5 gal buckets and a shovel. and a plastic or metal washtub to practice in your back yard .
fill tub with water, fill pan with dirt and rocks throw in the bb's and make mud, work pan like you- tube vids should be able to pan down to the bb's in less than a minute.
you are just making mud and causing the gold to sink to the bottom of the pan.slowly work off the upper material.
when your panning always work over a tub in case something gets away and it will just fall into the tub.
you know your having fun when a couple of hours goes buy and you never even notice.
or better yet you wake up the next day with a sore back ,a sunburn and mosqito bites on your lower back where your shirt rode up because you were bent over panning and digging.
check your state regs for fishing here in Washington we have time where we can't prospect because of fish spawning.
its not rocket science they have been doing it along time,without the new equipment.
Title: Re: gold panning
Post by: endurance on July 02, 2012, 06:41:57 PM
I just bought a small backpacking sluice this week and went out with a friend today.  It was fun and we ended up with one large flake and a lot of specks in a ridiculous amount of black sand.  If black sand was worth anything, we'd be rich!
Title: Re: gold panning
Post by: Bolomark on July 02, 2012, 06:59:34 PM
some guys save their black sand and when they get a couple of gallons worth take it into a refiner for melting and gold removal. 8)
Title: Re: gold panning
Post by: amishjim on January 31, 2014, 05:05:05 AM
Howdy Project X,
                              Did you ever end up going prospecting? I'm in Pittsburgh and I'm ready to play. Odds for finding some seem to be better in Indiana.
Title: Re: gold panning
Post by: Jonathon January on October 18, 2015, 04:52:57 PM
Howdy Project X,
                              Did you ever end up going prospecting? I'm in Pittsburgh and I'm ready to play. Odds for finding some seem to be better in Indiana.

No I did not but my interest has been spiked the last week. Maybe next spring.
Title: Re: gold panning
Post by: Cedar on October 24, 2015, 10:43:24 AM
I owned my own metal gold pan from the time I was little. Dad owned a mine somewhere in Oregon once. All I remember about it, it was in the wall of a hill and it seemed a long way up a scramble to get into the mouth of it. Why he owned it, I have no idea. I do not believe I had the metal  pan due to that, but for when we went to Alaska for the summer in 1970? I think the pan was larger than I was. I still have that pan, but when I was living in Canada in serious gold mining country, I got one of the plastic ones with the ridges inside. I use the metal one too, but the plastic one will do you better probably. Learn to swirl good, and use those ridges, you will want to get a snifter too.

My Advice? Don't get bit by the 'gold bug fever', but go out and have fun. If you get some color, YAY, if you did not get any, enjoy the picnic lunch you took with you and the scenery. I think the most gold I got was wearing a black shirt and sitting in the river all day, collecting gold dust on the shirt as it was zooming by. I used to find more ruby than gold. Often turning rocks will find you nuggets. My friends right next to me would find them, but I never would. My talents lie elsewhere I guess.

Title: Re: gold panning
Post by: Jonathon January on October 24, 2015, 02:40:51 PM
From the little bit of research I've done. All I'll ever find around here is "flour dust", but that's fine with me. Like you said Cedar, enjoy the day out in nature. 
I think it'd be fun just to see that little bit of color in my pan and know that the spots I've searched out via maps no one else has probably been in there in years.
Title: Re: gold panning
Post by: Elwyn on November 03, 2015, 02:40:11 AM
There used to be a TV show about gold panning. It is called "Gold Fever" It had a  lot of info and interesting things on it.

If  you get a metal gold pan, toss it into a faire for 5-10 minutes before using it. There is a coating on them that helps the gold slide out of the pan. So the coating has to be burned off.