Gold is one of the most precious metals discovered by man, and the most loved metal. History has many examples of people exploring new territories in the hope of finding traces of this valuable metal. Gold mining has been practiced by man since time immemorial, and continues even today.
While gold mining is carried out with much expertise, and only by trained professionals, anyone can try their hand at gold prospecting.
In fact, the major aim of gold prospecting enthusiasts is not to get rich overnight by selling the gold they collect, but to get a thrill out of their endeavor. Imagine spending an entire day in the sun, looking for the metal, only to find a gold nugget "smiling" at you from the pan. Sheer bliss!
What is Gold Panning
Gold panning is an integral part of gold prospecting as it is the process of separating the traces of gold from impurities such as sand, pieces of rock, black sand, gravel, small particles, etc. It is based on the principle of specific gravity of substances, which compares the density of a substance with the density of water.
The substances having high specific gravity i.e. a density higher than the density of water, sink in water while the substances with low specific gravity, float in water. Gold is an element with very high specific gravity and when put in water, can be easily separated from the other substances.
In nature, gold can be found in many forms such as fine traces, nuggets or flecks on crystalline rocks such as quartz. In order to increase the chances of succeeding on your gold prospecting mission, just follow some of the gold panning tips discussed here.
Useful Tips for Gold Panning
Before you set out to find gold, you should do some research as to which are the places where you have a higher chance of coming across the metal. Most people who do explore for gold, do so on the banks of rivers.
This is because it is widely believed that traces of gold on rocks upstream are washed down by the force of flowing water and this gold gets accumulated downstream, especially at places where the river bends its course of flow. In the U.S., the most likely places for gold mining and gold prospecting are Colorado, Utah and Oregon.
Now, once you are at the site, collect soil from the river bank with a shovel and put it in a gold pan which you can easily get from the market. After this, you need to separate out the gold from the many impurities present, by a process known as gold panning.
- Remove the bigger rock particles with your hands and use a sieve or a classifier to remove the medium-sized particles.
- Now break the chunks of soil and clay with your hands and remove moss and traces of mud.
- Hold the pan under water in such a way that it is tilted away from your body. Now, start moving the pan rapidly from side to side. This makes the gold present in the pan to settle at the bottom while the lighter particles float on the surface.
- Once the gold gets settled at the bottom of the pan, start moving the pan in a back and forth motion to gently remove the sand.
- Continue the process till almost all the sand flows out, tilting the pan a little more each time.
- When all the debris has flowed out, you will be able to see traces of gold, if any. Carefully collect this gold and store it safely.
There are some more points you should keep in mind to successfully carry out the process of gold panning. Following these tips will help you master the art of obtaining gold from trash.
Firstly, don't use fast flowing water for the process. This may wash away the gold you tried so hard to collect. Secondly, wash your hands before panning for gold to make sure that your hands are free from oily substances. Adding a little amount of soapy substance to the water may help as well.
Gold panning can be an interesting hobby as you get a chance to explore beautiful landscapes while on a hunt for gold. Moreover, the probability of finding a chunk of gold is really tempting. So, what are you waiting for? Just set out on a treasure hunt and hope these tips will help you strike gold. Good luck!