The Rocker Box Blog Archive

Playing Hide & Seek with Gold - Part 1


My 2-cents


Gold is fascinating. Not just to me, but to people across the world and across time. Why? In its native form, it’s just shiny metal. Why would people put such value on something that you cannot eat or drink? In and of itself it’s not going to keep you alive. Still…for millenniums gold has been valued to the point that “man” will do just about anything to acquire it…ANYTHING!

Lucky for us, gold can come right out of the ground in a valuable form without any special processing. In fact, you can sell raw gold for about twice the “spot” value to collectors, jewelers, and even tourists. All it takes is to hunt some of that elusive commodity, and you’re rich…right?

Well…maybe. Just like there’s a difference between fishing and catching, there’s a difference between prospecting and finding. It’s a game of Hide & Seek…with the Gold.

Like I said, gold is fascinating. Gold is malleable, which means it can be pounded into a sheet so thin that you can literally see through it. Gold is “noble,” meaning it won’t rust, corrode, or oxidize, making it easy to spot (if the piece is big enough). Gold is heavy. VERY heavy. Gold is 19.32 times heavier than water, or almost twice as heavy as lead. This fact gives us a huge advantage for finding gold in the game of Hide & Seek.

Gold Prospecting & Placer Deposits
When it breaks out of its “lode” (where it’s located in solid rock), gold will ALWAYS move downhill. Gravity makes sure of this. So, as it tumbles down a hill, gold will ALWAYS take the path of least resistance down. As whatever the gold is sitting on at the time destabilizes, the gold will continue to move down until it hits something it cannot penetrate…like bedrock. There are factors that will assist gold in moving ever father down, including erosion, water, ground movements…anything that destabilizes what the gold is sitting on at this moment. What I will mainly concentrate on right now is water.

Water can move mountains…literally. Water is powerful. If you’ve ever seen videos (or even see with your own eyes) a flood of water hitting boulders, you know that when enough water flows, it will move those huge boulders that can weigh tons. Water can move gold also. But, it takes A LOT of water pressure to move gold, especially sideways. But that’s the direction it goes (generally) when water pushes it in a river…until something happens that lessens that water pressure. And, that’s the key to our winning the game.

Gold Mining in the 21st Century
As stated above, it takes A LOT of water pressure to move gold. It takes a river flowing very fast, like at flood stage, to generate the pressure necessary to move gold. The biggest boulders in the river will also be moving during this time. Both the boulders (rolling down the river) and the gold (crawling across the bedrock) will keep moving until something happens to lessen the pressure, leading us to our first clue:

Gold will “Drop” when the water pressure drops.

When the water flows around a curve in the river, the outside of the curve has the fastest water, therefore the highest water pressure. The inside of the curve has the slowest water, therefore the least water pressure.



Therefore…gold can be found at the beginning and the end of the


Recreational Gold Prospecting for Fun and Profit
In fact, if you stand at the beginning of the inside curve and look upstream, you’ll probably see a line of big boulders that seems to go straight for the end of the previous (upstream) curve. Do you think that just might be a possible paystreak?

If you go down to a river and look at water flowing around any good size boulder, you’ll notice that there is a slow spot at the top (upstream) and bottom (downstream) points of the boulder, and fast water on both sides. Guess what? The slow water at those two points mean low water pressure. Low water pressure means a location that gold can “drop” and accumulate.

There are many other clues we can discuss, and we will in future posts. For now, absorb the above and go down to a local river and look at how the water flows (at whatever level it is now). Then, look around at the river bank and imagine how the water would flow at flood stage. Look for the inside curves. Look for the lines of boulders. This is the first part of “reading a river” for gold.

Modern Gold Mining Techniques
There is a lot moree on this subject, and there are many good books and DVDs on reading a river and prospecting for gold. I recommend several (above) to increase your knowledge, and as field guides to take with you in your game of Hide & Seek with Gold!

Regardless if your local river is known for gold or not, go down there and start practicing "reading" the river as I have described above. Practice makes perfect, and come treasure hunting time, you'll be better prepared to Get that Gold!

RDH Backpack Prospecting Kit

Full Disclosure: The supplies, equipment, tips, techniques, and procedures I recommend are based on my evaluation and experience. I link items I recommend to companies I have an affiliate agreement with (or to The Rocker Box Catalog) from which I receive a small percentage of sales if sales are made during your visit to their website. The recommendations are mine, and mine alone. I use any proceeds to pay for The Rocker Box website, and to generate future articles and activities. I thank you in advance for your patronage and support to further the great recreations, hobbies, and vocations of treasure hunting, gold prospecting, metal detecting, ghost town hunting, and rock hounding.

30-Second Bio: I am a retired soldier of the US Army Special Forces (aka Green Berets),The Author: Mark Prewitt serving for over 25 years. My specialties were communications, medicine, operations and intelligence, with extensive cross training in weapons and demolitions. I was a paratrooper, jumpmaster, combat diver, combat dive supervisor, combat dive medic, sniper, and pathfinder. I’ve been deployed countless times to locations on four continents, and have participated in operations in open water, riverine, jungle, mountain, desert, arctic, and urban environments…but I’ve been a “treasure Hunter” since I was eight. The End.