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Nugget Shooting on Bedrock

There are two effective methods for gold nugget shooting on bedrock.

1)  Use of a very high frequency (VHF) metal detector(s)


2)  Scouring bedrock locations that are hard to reach.

Choice number 2 is the most effective for over all production of all coarse gold.  It is not that the previous place miners "missed" lots of nuggets.  It is more a common fact that we humans are lazy by nature and will want to stop when the going gets tough.  After all there are easier spots to dig than under stream banks and deep pockets.  And yet, this is where the bulk of all the new coarse nuggets will be found with the exception of gold in waterfalls.

My personal favorite is working stream or river banks that have been under cut by the flow of water (past or present).

Production seems to be higher if the bank has dirt on it with plant growth on top (especially peat type soil).  Typically what I have found in these spots is a decent soil layer up to twelve inches deep, followed by medium coarse gravel to a maximum rock size of 2 - 3 inches across, finally followed by a very coarse rock layer with some fair sized boulders mixed in.  Since we are digging down to reach a bedrock bottom, you will see the various levels of the streams life as the water changed course over thousands of years.  Actually this is where false bedrock came from.

False bedrock is a cemented clay layer that was laid down during one of the streams directional changes in it's past.  You can get flake gold from the top of these clay shelves, but rarely nuggets as they pass right through.  You will notice a LOT of black sand between the rocks when you are digging the lower bottom layer of heavy gravel.  The rocks have acted as riffles early in the stream's life, coupled with a high water flow rate, leaving this mineralized blanket trapped in the rocky layer.  Panning this section will yield a fair bit of fine and flake color but the real treasure is at the bottom.

I clear a fair sized area when going deep to avoid any surprise cave-ins, meaning the sides fall back into your "dig".  Use the black sand layer as a guide to indicate when you are getting close to hitting bedrock.  This heavy sand layer varies from 2 feet to 6" inches above most bedrock bottoms.

As you start to punch through this black section, you will get tired quickly.  The weight of each shovelful is immense so take rests as you go.  When you finally hear a metal clank you are at bedrock.  For maximum yield of coarse gold you must take your time from this point on.  It will mean a dramatic difference in total gold recovered on this bedrock layer.  Seek out cracks and depressions as you dig.  It will be slow going as you travel sideways because of all the over burden you have to  move to reach more bedrock areas.  This is how drifting came into practice.  When "old timers" used to dig shafts sideways using timbers to support the roof up.  I don't recommend this approach as one mistake and you have dug your own grave.

Ideally you will spend weeks working an area, digging along bedrock, pulling nuggets from their hiding places and amassing quite a few thousand dollars in gold.

Vacuum nuggets off bedrock with the Magnum Gold Hornet.


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