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I have been having a real problem when going into a new area trying to decide were to detect. Washes from time to time I find a piece or two by turning over rocks and detecting in that spot, but for the most part, most of the gold is gone. I've tried detecting on the top of the washes with a little better results if the washes aren't to deep but some of these washes have sides that go up a long way and are difficult to detect. So now I have been looking for contact zone or at least as I think I understand them. I have attached a pic in and area I am detecting now and it seems overwhelming to me. Everything looks like contact zones. I know gold is coming out of this area but I am really struggling to find any. I could use a little help deciding how to detect this area. I have circle and area that seems like a contact zone but is it? I am constantly looking for different signs, fuggy quarts, iron, etc until it drives me nuts.

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All a contact zone in in simple terms is a place where two different rock types come together. This can be very obvious, like green rock next to red rock. Or nearly invisible, where one type of salt and pepper rock comes up against a different type of salt and pepper rock.

If the contact zone is buried by overburden, the contact itself can grade from really obvious to invisible. In fact, you may not be able to see at ground level what might be obvious from an aerial view. You are simply trying to see something at surface level, like two different soil types, that might give a clue to the contact zone below.

In my opinion you are thinking too hard. You say you know gold is in the immediate area? Personally I hit the ground and start wandering around with my detector scanning as I go. The signs I look for is hand dug holes, ditches, piles of dirt, stacked rocks... anything that indicates prior work was done. If it looks interesting, put the coil over it.

Quartz is a nice indicator rock, but most places where you see quartz you won’t find any gold. It is just a very common rock. Ironstone and iron staining is nice to see. Each area is different really. Once you get familiar with an area either though experience or reading geologic reports of the area you can get a better feel for what rock types are associated with the gold in that area.

 

 

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Thanks Steve. You and your attachments have been very helpful. I have a lot to learn. I have been detecting the area every day. Each time I go out I learn more and more about it. Now after reading some of your material I am armed with a little more understanding. Today maybe the day.

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It's often a good idea to check out anything that's different or anywhere there is a change of some kind.  Contacts can be a good choice.  If it works out, keep at it, but don't push things beyond a reasonable effort.

Regarding the photo, you have indicated a contact between a blue soil and a red soil emphasized by a change in topography.  It might work out.  Try it.  Don't overlook the contact between blue and red soil along the upper right corner either.

 

Good luck.

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Here is a contact zone between what appears from a distance to be basalt and granite in Southern California.  As Steve said this one is obvious.  I took this picture from the road but I am unable to go out there.  I am down at fort Irwin training.  There are hard rock mines in the area that have produced gold with a little placer production too.

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On February 27, 2019 at 7:25 PM, billdean said:

I have been having a real problem when going into a new area trying to decide were to detect. Washes from time to time I find a piece or two by turning over rocks and detecting in that spot, but for the most part, most of the gold is gone. I've tried detecting on the top of the washes with a little better results if the washes aren't to deep but some of these washes have sides that go up a long way and are difficult to detect. So now I have been looking for contact zone or at least as I think I understand them. I have attached a pic in and area I am detecting now and it seems overwhelming to me. Everything looks like contact zones. I know gold is coming out of this area but I am really struggling to find any. I could use a little help deciding how to detect this area. I have circle and area that seems like a contact zone but is it? I am constantly looking for different signs, fuggy quarts, iron, etc until it drives me nuts.

 

I agree with the others.  When starting out, I spent too much time trying to find the magical contact zones.  As they said above, it is usually identified by a color change.  Your circled area has  a larger grey finger (probably of metamorphic rock) that I would consider a larger contact.   I also would check all  of those washes so long as the bedrock was not too deep.  If it's deep, hop around and cherry pick.  But the only way to learn is to cover a ton of ground.  You *will* get over the gold.

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Thanks for everyones help. I still have not found any gold this area, at least not detecting, but I hear others have. I found a little sampling here and there, but mostly fines to small flakes. The area has been hit hard, though I find old boot tacks, small bits of wire, screw, lead, bird shot so I assume there still some gold here. I will keep looking until it's time to head back to my home for the summer. There's alway next year. 

For the most part I have been detecting the benches above the washes, depression, gravel bars, rock intrusions. I think next time I go out I will try the sides of the washes. I am hunting just south of Wickenburg, Arizona. The area has a rich gold history but it also gets it share of traffic.

 

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I just wanted to say that I think I’m in the same boat as you!

 I haven’t been out many times but each time I go I look for something else I’ve seen a video on or read a post or article about and it DOES get a bit overwhelming and frustrating. I haven’t found anything either. I think it makes you question what you know when you don’t find gold where you’ve been told to look for it. “this sure LOOKS like iron-stained buggy quartz but maybe it isn’t? This LOOKS like the gravel layer from an old riverbed but are those rocks REALLY rounded enough? I’m down to lead and black sand in my pan so in THEORY I wouldn’t have lost the gold if there was any, right???”

I was watching one of Bill Southern’s videos yesterday and he didn’t find any gold. And he mentioned that no one finds gold every time. That was reassuring. I think when you’re new you just feel you NEED to find gold to confirm you’re doing it right! And it’s easy to forget that supposedly gold is RARE when you see all these amazing posts on here of peoples’ finds!

I have an idea that may help in a weird way. I think what you and I should both do is this:  when we go out hunting, we assume we’re geniuses. We’re obviously learning lots on this forum and elsewhere and doing the right things, so we’ll act as if we know what we’re doing until we get the confirmation that we’re right! ?

That said - when we CAN get advice or help, especially in person or with specific questions (like yours with the picture - what a brilliant way to confirm what you’ve learned!) we should, since secretly we know we have a lot to learn. But when we go OUT - geniuses. Thoughtful, careful, using-all-our-knowledge-so-far-no-matter-how-little geniuses. ?

-Julie

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billdean, jinmon..  I love your attitudes.  It's only a matter of time, keep going.... you'll get there, you're doing it right... It just has to be there to find it. 

It's the joy of the hunt, the joy gets better once you start finding it.  Your time can only come if you keep trying then the addiction starts.....

:wacko::nugget:

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Phrunt….I understand all about the addiction. I found gold with my monster, but in another area. I have been using my sdc-2300 here and yet to break it in. Its frustrating because I have already proven I can find it, just not with the sdc-2300. It's not coming out of my hands until I do! It does not come much easier to use than the sdc-2300. Turn it on and go. If i can find bird shot, it is just a matter of time. 

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