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Best Method Of Scanning Solid Rock

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Hello. Not sure if I'm doing this right as I am now your newest member, as well as a self-proclaimed technological idiot! Have been interested in prospecting for over 15 years, yet have only had the chance to "learn" so far - not much gold to be found in Minnesota!!

Before I get to the meat and potatoes of the question, guess I should say a little more about background. Have a strong mechanical background, so long as it doesn't include internal combustion engines. Getting up in age, but more importantly, have had the misfortune to be involved in a couple of accidents over the years with debilitating results. Still fully functional...for a 90-year-old!! :-P (<-- joking) Unfortunately, I found myself in a bit of a predicament a year ago. Father passed away from cancer and Mom is in nursing home with advanced Alzheimer's. Now I am in charge of her future care and well-being. Finances are non-sustainable in long-term.

About the only thing left for me at this point is a wild idea I have about trying to use my unique mechanical skills and non-conformal way of thinking to try to find some un-found gold. Specifically, I'm looking at lode mines. Have found a surprising number of areas that "appear" to have a possible route to venture into, but it would mean being able to see down into solid rock as far as cheaply possible in hopes of finding a very small vein that larger companies wouldn't waste their time with.

Have researched Ground Penetrating Radar, metal detectors, search coils, and a few other things. I can make my mining equipment very inexpensively, can access pretty much any area that the Gov't will allow. Seems to come down (affordably) to using a PI metal detector with a homemade giant coil. Having [virtually] no experience with metal detectors, am having the most trouble trying to figure out how to go about finding the right brand/model for this type of situation, newer or older, or even home built. And instead of actually looking for gold, would probably do better to have the ability to scan for iron ore, as the gold will most likely be running with a fair amount of iron.

Btw, I read the conversations concerning LRL's (Fitzgerald, KellyCo, black boxes, Mother Lode Locators, etc, etc), so not even going to waste anyone's time asking anything there.

Lastly, I'm a flat-lander. Have never been to "Gold Country", regardless of which state you may consider that to be. Don't know if I'll get anywhere with this, but thank you all in advance...just in case!

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When you say, "That type is really hard to read", I'm assuming you mean solid rock? The lodes could be as small as a few inches, but would normally be from "a bit larger" to "considerably larger" areas of highly metallic ore veins. The larger the vein, the deeper it can be, presumably, and it still cause a noticeable fluctuation on the detector. ...Er, fluctuation...don't know your metal detecting term offhand. Anyway, wouldn't it make sense to ground balance to the majority of the rock and then mark every disturbance as a target? Whether going over the marked areas repeatedly trying to discern what is there, drilling small core holes to sample, or simply going all in on the seemingly best target... Have heard so many times that when metal detecting, even in high trash areas to dig every target. I understand that with experience comes a better understanding of what might be a trash target to skip over, though I'm not one of those experienced persons. Likewise, I do not believe that there are many, if any, here who are experienced in detecting solid rock. After all, why detect it if you cannot dig it? Well, I can dig it presuming a valid claim and NOI/POO (Notice of Intent/Plan of Operations). Simply looking for a little thought and input from some of you experienced with PI and possibly VLF detectors.


Seems that a lower frequency would be best, as that should provide the deepest results. I'm trying to best understand how to obtain such results without first having to have literally years of detecting experience. Still have a bit to learn on making large coils, but so far they """seem""" pretty straight-forward. I like the idea of the Fitzgerald MLL (Mother Lode Locator), but I, too, believe it is more of a....um, how do I be nice about this....I don't trust it. However, the words on the website seem to make logical sense - using a lower frequency, that is. Also, that device uses a 12V power source @ 5A, which is considerably more powerful than a handheld detector. Even the GPX5000 uses a max of 8.7V @ 1A. If someone could harness 12V @ 5A (or more) and send it through some sort of very large search coil or, as the LRL's claim, to use probes, then seems like that could possibly read quite deeply into even solid rock. Again, presuming that this someone understands about making the correct and necessary adjustments. However, it also seems like you would have to move said probes around quite a lot and make many readings, all while keeping very good notes, in order to 'read' the minerals underneath. Concerning LRL's, I simply cannot understand placing probes in the ground one, two, or even several times, and then coming out of it with enough to make a reasonable picture of what lies beneath. But again, I don't want to go there...just , well, rambling.


Is way past my bedtime - time to go count gold nuggets jumping out of a creek into a gold pan!

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He was referring to the type face(font) in the original post, which was very hard to read. I have converted it to standard.

I hate to dash dreams but I have done it a lot over the years. If you are looking to make some money, this is not the way to do it. At best, you are going to spend a lot of money getting an education. I can give you the same education for free.

This is not something that thousands of people have not already tried. If dragging big coils around found gold veins than big mining companies would have crews out doing just that. Without getting into details the issue is simple. Detectors see the number of square inches or square feet of target as seen looking straight down.

Here are the depths attainable with metal detectors on large items, whether a PI or specialized VLF. These are depths under perfect conditions in non-mineralized ground.


Your problem is not the equipment, it is the nature and reality of how gold occurs in gold veins. It is normally near invisible to the naked eye. You would need masses of gold as large as the items in the chart to get similar depths. The sad reality is you are not going to be finding gold as large as one gallon cans and larger. Therefore, the depths that can be obtained on these large objects will not be attainable while looking for naturally occurring gold.

Large drag coils are employed to look for single large gold nuggets and meteorites and could be employed in very specific area to possibly look for extremely rich gold veins at shallow depths. But it would have to be in the middle of world class gold country, like Australia or now Africa. And even then the odds of success are very slim.

The TM 808 above is a VLF and as such cannot deal with high mineralization. The depths are likely to be half or less of those published in bad ground. Similar results can be had with a Minelab or other PI and very large coils in more mineralized ground. But the target size rule remains.

Beware, you will find people willing to tell you otherwise if it involves parting you from your hard earned cash.


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So you know nothing about gold mining or using detectors and you think you can do better than many experienced people, is that the idea?

sorry if I misunderstood your rambling thought process...too jumbled for me to read carefully.


good luck my friend!


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Hi Steve, 


Good explanation of a difficult topic.

It is difficult to guess just how hard finding gold can be without first-hand experience.

It is also hard to realize just how much ingenuity and money has been spent

trying to come up with ways to make it easier.

The age-old solutions seem to be research, hard work and direct experience.

It is also many times misleading on these forums when highly experienced detectorists

write with unusual modesty about what they find.

They can make it look pretty easy.

It's not.

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You also mentioned searching over lode mines.

Be very careful entering old mines, especially if you are alone. Apart from structural weaknesses which could leave you trapped and unable to get out, you could encounter dangerous gases, deep pools of water and rattlesnakes.


As some of the others have already mentioned, the people who really know what they are doing can make finding gold look easy. It isn't. It's bloody hard work. Not made any easier by the fact that so many other experienced people over hundreds of years have already searched and cleared many of the places where the rest of us are going to start looking.


But there is gold still out there. If there wasn't, this forum and others like it wouldn't exist. You just have to have realistic expectations about what you are likely to find and how much. The best advice i can give you is to start in a place where people are actually finding gold now. Talk to the people, join a club and learn from their knowledge. Because once you know how to find gold where you know it exists, you will find it easier to locate in places where you are winging it.


Good luck.

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Thank you Rumblefish. For a minute there I was beginning to think I had chosen the wrong metal detector forum to reach out to. Also thanks to Steve for the latter portion of your post. You were pretty hard-hitting in the first part, but that's nothing I haven't seen before. I suppose Columbus got the same reaction when he kept trying to tell folks, "The earth, she's-a-round".

You kind folks don't quite understand what I have in mind...but then, that's my point. I'm not being fully forthcoming with my ideas because, as yet, I don't know whether they really are new or not. Suffice it to say I have no intentions of trying to work former mines that have already been reworked many times over. Are there still ores at these mines? Many, yes. But are they "worthwhile" ores? That said, I hope that I have stumbled across an idea that might just pay off to some extent.

So as for my coming here to learn, that is what I'm attempting to do. My trip, if it happens, will be some time (hopefully) next year. I might get to a point where I 'learn' that it would be a foolish venture, even if just for the fun of it. ...Then again, I might not.

Thank you all for your quick responses...I've seen other forums where it took months (literally!!) for someone to reply to a post. As for the misunderstanding about the font type, I apologize. Was easy to read on my screen. Thank you Steve for making it better for everyone. Just for the record, what is "standard"? Ariel?

Finally, having been away from internet for many, many, MANY years, not sure if my writings are difficult to understand. Yes, I ramble. Don't believe me? Just ask my wife! 😛 I try to be clear - try to choose my words carefully - try to avoid tpyos....er, typos. If anyone has any off-topic feedback for me, please don't hesitate.

...Had a couple of questions stemming from the info Steve provided, but they're now forgotten. Sometimes I think I've only got one active brain cell anymore! Then again, maybe it's because I've been trying to post tonight for nearly 4 hours. ...keep getting disconnected.

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Oroseeker I say go for it!

One thing about looking for gold with a detector is not knowing what might be dug up. You see it is the chase that most are after finding it is just the icing on the cake.

If you are getting into it to make money you are going to be discouraged.

Not many make money at it.

Don't get crazy about making your detector run better buy building parts for it.

Learn how to use it first.That will take you a long time, then maybe start fiddling with it. I believe there is a forum called Geotech that deals with this kind of stuff.

Good luck,Root

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Oroseeker -

If you are trying to make money or strike it rich, listen to Steve and the other experienced guys. For a new and inexperienced guy to go out and just strike it rich - well your odds are near zero. Its a much better chance that you will be hit by a meteorite when you go out to check your mailbox.

If you just want to day dream about an adventure, feel free. You don't even need a metal detector to dream!

If you have a serious goal of making some money, get a job. If you have a job, get a second one.

I am in your same shoes as far as a parent who has advanced Alzheimers, needs to be in a home and not enough money to care for themselves (although mine is my father in law).

If your father served in the military in war time, your mom likely qualifies for veterans benefits, even though your dad is deceased. It is significant, and I was able to get this for my father in law and that money has made all the difference in the world for him. There are other benefits through medicaid and possibly local aid programs. If money for your mom's care is the real issue, then investigating these benefits is probably the best route.

I've found a lot of gold, so has Steve and a number of other guys who post on this forum. I've had days where I find lots more than a thousand dollars worth, but many, many more days where I would have made more money flipping burgers at McDonalds. For me, its an adventure and I enjoy the quest. I have an actual university degree in mine engineering, and have been prospecting for dang near 40 years. I write about prospecting for a magazine about prospecting and have written a book that is basically the encyclopedia of prospecting for individuals. So I know what I am talking about.

If your real goal is to make money, there are lots better ways to do it.

If your goal is the adventure of getting out into the field and finding some gold for yourself, then you will likely have a great time.

And as far as building a detector for yourself - unless you are an electronics experts with lots of experience building various electronic items, you really want to stick with a store bought detector. A metal detector is not a beginners project. If your funds are limited, look at used equipment. Don't even think about LRLs and similar devices - a coat hanger bent into a Y shape or a Y shaped stick is every bit as effective (which is to say such things are not effective at all).

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