Gold Deposits

gold-depositsWhen the phrase “gold deposits” comes up, it is in reference to places where there is a boatload of gold.  Now, this refers to a lot of different types of areas, such as gold mines, gold claims, gold placer deposits, and even within the placer deposit category we have residual deposits, alluvial deposits, glory holes, and more.

A gold mine is a man made excavation created to gain access to a gold vein, which is a location where much gold has been formed and is ripe for the recovery.  It takes large machinery and a lot of money to purchase land to be able to construct a gold mine, but if you can get ahold of these types of gold deposits, you will be rich without question.  Other types of gold deposits are the gold claims, which are essentially any mixture of the other types of gold deposits, and someone has just laid claim to the area as the one who gets to mine it first.

Placer Gold Deposits

Perhaps the most interesting and most accessible to the hobbyist and individual or small team gold crew are the placer gold deposits.  There are several types of these.  We will discuss these right here.  But first, what is a placer deposit anyways?  It is an area that is well protected from disruption and is an area of low water velocity.  That lets you know that we are talking about a place in a river, stream, or creek.

Placer deposits form where the speed of the water flow has slowed down enough for the heavier elements in the water to drop from floating about and can settle in this protected zone.  What you will see is black sand, and within this sand is gold flakes and nuggets!  So how about these other types of deposits?  They are residual, alluvial, and bench gold deposits that are all within the placer deposit category.

Types of Placer Gold Deposits

Residual placer deposits are the most common where rock has been weathered and yet there isn’t any water currently flowing.  This could happen due to rain water or past creek flows.  But the gold deposits have been exposed to the open air but have yet to be washed away, so they can be easily recovered.  Better yet, they show the fact that there must be other gold very close by, such as a gold vein.

An alluvial deposit is the classic placer deposit where black sand has been swept into a dead zone in the flow of the water and heavier items such as gold collect and are ready to be picked up and panned.  You will find some good nuggets, flakes, and powders here.

The final type of gold deposit that will be mentioned is the bench deposit, when gold actually enters a stream and collects in a high place, as opposed to the alluvial deposit which usually is formed in a low place such as a valley.  A bench deposit may be found at the top of a waterfall, and more interestingly, you can find what is called a glory hole at the bottom where the water velocity essentially stops by crashing down vertically.  It also has dug a hole there, and if you are lucky there will simply be a mound of gold piled up in that hole that will make you rich!  Look out for all of these types of gold deposits as you work!

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