Most people have heard old stories of the California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century. Prospectors from across the United States, and even across the world, headed for the West Coast in hopes of striking it rich. Some of them found their fortunes, others were not so lucky, but the thought of such an endeavor may be exciting enough to make 21st century folks wish it were 1848 all over again.
What many people don’t realize is that the gold rush is not over. Well, perhaps the ‘rush’ part is a thing of the past, but that is not to say that people don’t still find gold. Gold prospecting is alive and well for those that have the ambition and spirit to do it. For those adventurous few, there may be no better method than suction dredging.
In the early gold rush days the sluice box consisted of a simple wooden trough lined with raised obstructions placed at a ninety-degree angle to the flow of the water. These obstructions are what are known as riffels. When all of the gold carrying gravel is “run” through the sluice the water is shut off and the riffels are removed. The heavy materials containing the gold known as concentrates would be gathered. This run would sometimes consist of processing several tons of gold-bearing gravel through the box. Continue reading
From pounded out iron to highly sophisticated polymers the gold pan has remained the last step in any gold prospecting operation. I am always intrigued by simple and elegant tools that have stood the test of time and remain the standard by which things are done. Why dose gold panning work? Continue reading