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oldmancoyote1

Sluicing Anything But The Few Inches Above Bedrock?

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Around here in the Klamaths bedrock is at lest 2 feel down and often much deeper.  Digging through several feet of boulders and cobbles is serious hard work.  Then there is sand sliding in from the sides making progress very slow.  To beat that, I need to set the sides of the hole far apart or I get a hole with a hand-sized bottom continually filled with sand from the sides.  That is a lot of work.  Historically the creek was a huge gold producer.  I see little or no gold in the upper material.  Have I just not found the right spot, or is sluicing here hopeless?  Should I spend more time prospecting for productive material near the surface, or give it up?

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I think this is what they call "prospecting".....  How have you tested the top layers?  Have you ran a half cubic yard through your box or just done sample pans? 

Do you have any indication of how far it is to bedrock? If it is more than a couple feet, you got a lot of work ahead of you!

What makes you think you "may" have found the right spot in the first place? It doesn't sound like you know what is on bedrock.....

More info and we might be able to help you better

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Great points and questions Harry. There is a tremendous amount of gold all along the Klamath River.

Within these large and small gravel bars, both deep and shallow, are numerous flood layers along with the  layers from the original dredging and hydraulic operations. With close observation and experience they become quite apparent and predictable. Each or all can be surfaces for migrating gold to come to rest. Sample, sample, sample.

The year before last I met my sons over in Trinity County for some deer hunting. They hiked into the high country wilderness while I stayed in the lower elevations. One of them killed a nice buck and left for home the following day. As I had taken a week off from work, I stayed camping and hunting. 

Naturally the day after they left I killed a modest buck which required a difficult drag back to the closest road. This, with hanging it and skinning it that evening left this old guy pretty darn tired. With about 5 more days to my vacation I decided to drive to Happy Camp and hang the buck in the Kingfisher Markets cooler until I headed for home. Actually I had them cut, wrap and freeze the venison so I could stay longer.

Any way, getting back on track, I set up camp in a local Forest Service campground, right along the Klamath River,  not far from Happy Camp, for a little R & R.

Next morning, with a cup of coffee in hand, I took a walk along the river. As I walked along a large gravel bar I noticed a cut bank about 3 feet high on the land side of the bar. Within this cut bank were 3 distinct layers of material deposited by past events. The bottom layer was ancient compacted stream bed cobble which I believe had never been worked. This layer is a rather pale yellowish, brown with black coated cobble. On top of this is a very distinct layer of coarse red sand which most likely was washed downstream from old timers dredging or hydrolic operations. The top layer was a grey mixed size cobble, from suitcase size rocks right on down to sand. I think this top layer was created by the 1964 flood. Truly a 100 year flood.

Opps, time to go to work. About a 45 minute drive up the Smith River canyon here in Nortthern California.

 

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😉 more later. Long days working with the storm that came through.

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On 9/16/2019 at 5:08 PM, LipCa said:

I think this is what they call "prospecting".....  How have you tested the top layers?  Have you ran a half cubic yard through your box or just done sample pans? 

Do you have any indication of how far it is to bedrock? If it is more than a couple feet, you got a lot of work ahead of you!

What makes you think you "may" have found the right spot in the first place? It doesn't sound like you know what is on bedrock.....

More info and we might be able to help you better

Thanks for the reply.  Here is the deal.  The creek is quite small, about 12 feet across at most points.  I have dug down about 2 feet at four locations where the bed rock is exposed close by, and I have sluiced or panned the entire hole.  At 73 this is very hard work.  After two feel I am exhausted.   I don't have many of those holes in me.  My experience here and the experience of a friend is that the gold only starts about 2 feet down.  

The creek was mined in the 1800's, again extensively mined with a huddle bug about the beginning of the last century, and judging by the ages of the beer cans, several times after to some degree.  I am worried that most of the gold is gone and all that remains is on the bedrock.  

I guess I am looking for some encouragement.  Sampling and panning the length of the creek to find mineable  surface material is daunting when I worry that the creek is pretty much exhausted.  It takes an 7 foot wide hole through the cobbles etc. to expose the bedrock at 2 feet.  Only a hole that wide will remain free of sliding sand.  If I can find a place where the upper layer pays at least a little, I can see putting in the work to reach bedrock where I would expect most of the gold to lie.  I dread spending a summer exploring the length of the creek and finding nothing.  Am I naive to think I might find a surface exposure with mineable gold?  Geology I understand, but practical mining has very little to do with geology.

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Walking back and retrieving my back pack with pan, 1/4” screen, pick and such, I decided to sample this cut bank. Filling a pan with screened material from this top grey layer and washing it out at the river turned up a nice flat flake and a few, smaller, pepper sized pieces of gold.

Feeling pretty tired from hunting adventure, I screened out and panned two 5 gallon buckets filled only 1/2 full. Total of about 5 gallons of material. From this 5 gallons of the top grey layer I panned out .54 gram of gold. 

I didn’t get into the red sand or bottom original layers. Yet!

I too am getting a little old for such hard hunting and prospecting oldmancoyote1, so I just relaxed the following day and returned home with the venison and a little gold the next day.

I guess what I’m getting at is: gold in this Northern California area, with the tremendous amounts of rain we get, can be throughout a gravel bar or concentrated in these layers. In your smaller creek it may be more productive to concentrate on the edges of the stream where the layers are more evident and accessible. Obstructions to the flow of the creek such as outcrops, sharp bends, drop offs and the like should be checked out.

I take off on another deer hunting trip with my sons in the mountains downstream of Happy Camp tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll have time for a little prospecting too.

Good prospecting oldmancoyote1,

Mike

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Oldmancoyote1.......,  you didn't say if you found any gold for your effort.... but, if you did you probably wouldn't be asking the questions.

If you didn't find any, I'd be looking for easier gold.  I wouldn't be moving yards of overburden hoping for gold on the bedrock.

You might start where the bedrock is exposed and work towards the center of the stream on the bedrock. Maybe a couple feet wide until you have convinced  yourself you need to find another area.  Remember, gold is not usually evenly distributed throughout the stream.  Sometimes only on one side or in the middle. 

You are sure that your recovery system is working... right?

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Thanks LipCa

I'm mostly panning with some Angus McKirk sluicing.  I'll try your working from  bedrock towards gravels and cobbles.  Walking up the creek for a couple of miles looking for more favorable situations rather than just prospecting every gravel and cobble bar as I go seems like a good idea.

Thanks again

 

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On 9/19/2019 at 3:38 AM, delnorter said:

Walking back and retrieving my back pack with pan, 1/4” screen, pick and such, I decided to sample this cut bank. Filling a pan with screened material from this top grey layer and washing it out at the river...

Thanks Delinorter.  Good hunting.  I took the week end off and detected the local park.  Found a gold ring.  First gold I found with my detector.

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