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Micron Gold – The True Mother Lode
Illusory Gold – True Mother Load
For centuries man’s search for gold and precious metals has focused on tangible or visible materials that can be extracted from the earth with minimal effort using gravity and water, and these metals can be extracted from their surrounding gravel and soil.
I will mainly talk about gold in this article. Most prospectors and miners understand that gold has a specific gravity of 19.5, meaning that it is much heavier than its equivalent size earth particles. For example, a 1/8″ grain of gold should weigh at least 4 to 5 times the weight of a grain of granite, quartz, etc., if the surrounding grain is the same size. This kind of situation makes it very easy to quickly pan the weight of gold by volume. The problem is Is: Gold particles 1/8″ or larger actually make up a small percentage of all known placer gold around Earth. The fact is: more than 80% – 90% of free, particulate, (placer), gold on Earth is smaller than the human eye. We’re talking about large amounts of micron-sized gold that actually drifts in the wind, washes down rivers of mud in floods, and accumulates in small temporary layers during floodwater rescues.
Much of this micron gold cannot be panned or extracted in river or stream water due to the viscosity index of water. The micron gold particles will go into suspension and fall out of the pan during agitation. Therefore, the visible gold particles you may capture when you sample an area represent only a small fraction of the gold you actually put into the river or stream. This is especially true in areas where water viscosity increases due to seasonal changes in water. Things like bacteria, algae and other organic products that make the water less suitable for emotional panning.
It is very important to take your known gold bearing to a controlled water environment to carefully remove the gold particles. Many of you already recognize the importance of careful screening, (sorting), stuff to increase your chances of striking gold, but there are many more important things to know if you want to increase your chances even further. In the next paragraph I am going to list several important steps that will increase your gold yield by 3 to 4 times if you are careful with your content and follow these steps.
– The water environment is important for all fine gold extraction methods: hand panning, spiral wheel, shaker table, blue bowl, etc, etc…
– Clean, warm water at temperatures above 90 degrees helps reduce circulation and helps prevent fine particles of gold from washing away.
– Additives like thinners and surfactants help control water viscosity.
There are many other tricks which we will discuss later. For now we will discuss the best method we have found to capture micron gold particles in a higher percentage than other known methods. This captured material must be transported to a controlled process and not to a river or stream. Segregation of material in a river or stream will cause measurable loss of gold.
My wife, Sharon, and I have been prospecting for gold since the early 1980s, and we’ve certainly struck a lot of gold. What we lost was the majority of micron gold. In fact, we were losing most of the gold we were extracting. We didn’t realize this until we began to study our tails very carefully with microscope magnification.
One early spring day in April 2010, Sharon Eckley had an incredible idea about natural water flow activity in our nearby mountain valleys. She began sketching how rivers cut into Earth’s landscape. She mentioned to me that most of the gold we had caught in the past had been removed from the upper layers of the river after floods and storms. Her idea was to create a sluice system that replicated this naturally proven method of trapping and staging tiny gold particles in specific layers. I immediately realized that she was quite right to think so. I have found that women are often very clever in their thinking about relativity or process, especially where scientific discoveries are concerned. I believe women are more in tune with gold prospecting than most men realize.
I quickly recognized the possibility of replicating the fluid dynamics of a natural river flow, and so we built a sluice box that induced an inverted vortex in the main flow path. This first prototype performed so well that we immediately realized that large quantities could be captured in micron layers. Large particles of placer gold were stuck to the bottom like all the other sluices we had used before, but now there was another action going on.
The hidden micron gold was now in our grasp and we were taking it home! It often captures 4 to 5 times more gold.
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