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Steve: Can I Pick You Brain?

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You have had a lot of success over the years.  I imagine you have found some wonderfully large masses of gold.  Think about each of those for a few moments, especially those in the lower 48.  Does anything appear as a common feature of their locations?  Surely not everything would fit the same mold, but was there anything present frequent enough to indicate one location might be a little bit more likely to yield big gold than another?


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22 minutes ago, Steve Herschbach said:

Physically speaking, no. Every place is a puzzle that needs figuring out. The only commonality is the historical data indicating large gold was found in the past. If you want to catch big fish, go where big fish have been caught in the past. In general I don’t hunt places where the records indicate nothing but small gold unless there are no other options.


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Gold Skarns have a tendency to produce big gold. As soon as I am released to get back to my life, these Skarns are a primary deposit I will be hunting.

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My interpretation of the question was not what environments produce large gold, but what commonality exists in large gold deposits that can be visually observed in the field. Most of my large nuggets came from river placer deposits, so one could say hunt water deposited environments. Places with water worn rock, though many desert placers are residual, and no water worn rock in evidence. But what, to the eyeball, makes one water produced placer environment better for large nuggets than another? Simply hunting wherever you see water worn rock would be a waste of time. What, to the eyeball, makes one mountainous area better than another? What, to the eyeball, makes one skarn better than another? Just hunt all skarns? Yes, one should hunt favorable geology, but that’s not the question that was asked. Or at least, that’s not how I’m reading it.

May as well say “unusual arc settings characterized by tectonic complexity and relatively uncommon igneous rock compositions, especially the alkaline suite, are more prospective for giant and bonanza gold deposits than “normal”, andesite-dominated arcs” *

Sounds impressive, but if you read the article, the answer boils down to gold is where you find it, and that applies even more to large nuggets. I still maintain, you want to find large nuggets, and not spend a lifetime doing it, go where they have been found before. In that given area, follow the geology that is producing the large nuggets. The nuggets will typically be in a placer, residual or stream produced, source will most often be epithermal.

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1 hour ago, Steve Herschbach said:

you want to find large nuggets, and not spend a lifetime doing it, go where they have been found before.

That's gold right there. 😉

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Well in Australia to find large nuggets should be the same as USA.

1.  Where someone knowing what they are doing have not been there.

2.  Where most people think it not worth giving the location a go.

3.  Where you have to cover a large area with a careful coverage.

4.  Where you least expect it. They tend to surprise you and even beginners tend to stumble over them.

I once found a 80 ounce specimen that yielded over 16 ounces of gold in a place I had found a couple of kilos of gold. It hid on me for over 2 months of gridding the area, and although 24 inches deep I got a soft broad signal on the way back to my hidden vehicle 150 yards from the patch. Note this nuggets fall in the N° 3 category.  

My first multi ounce nugget 4 oz was found at a completely flogged surface patch. I detected near the road entrance to the surface where the miners had not removed. After getting  about ½ Oz I decided to try on the other side road away from the workings. This locations was close to the town road speed limit. On the side of the surfacing of the road the shire had graded a gutter on the edge of the road. I thought I had hit a soft drink can. It turned out to be 4 Oz and across on the other side I got a nice 11 gram bit. Note these two nuggets fall in the N° 1 & 2 category.

My wife found a nice nugget just before a fence that us males got over in a hurry to get started on on a new area that we were going to try. Did she rub it in that she just stayed near the car unlike us boys. Note this nugget fall in the N° 2 & 4 category.

A guy who lived less than 200 yards from me Found a 96 Oz nugget in a town that most people ignored as no large nuggets were listed in the 20+ Oz Vic Aust. list. Note this nugget fall in the N° 1 & 2 category.

It all depends on effort, luck, knowledge and being in the right spot. So good luck to those that try. The main thing is you have to be in the right spot first and know what you are doing. 



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