Gold Prospecting with a Metal Detector- Signs Pointing to Gold

An example of gold that can be found with a metal detector. Located recently by a MetalDetector.com customer in New England.

An example of gold that can be found with a metal detector. Located recently by a MetalDetector.com customer in New England.

Spring is here! And gold season is quickly approaching… So, here are a few prospecting tips to get you excited and ready to strike gold! Luckily, there are geological clues that point to gold. Just like you can read the soil for indicators of metal treasure, you can look for visual evidence when gold prospecting. Where is gold found? Often, it  is found in low places; definitely on top of bedrock and in front of obstructions that prevent it from moving further. Gold that has accumulated as a result of moving downriver is called placer gold. However, placer gold is not just found in rivers, it also accumulates on dry ground in valleys and rock crevices. Placer gold is a popular target because it has concentrated over a long period of time and is fairly easy to find if you are in gold bearing country.

Five Indicators that Gold May be Present:

  1. Rock Types for Gold are Nearby: If a certain rock type is known to be productive for gold in one zone, and the same rock type exists nearby, this is a good place to search.
  2. Lighter Colored Rocks: If you notice out-of-place colors in a group of rock formations, it can be a gold indicator. Acidic mineral solutions in gold areas can bleach the rocks to a lighter color.
  3. Presence of Quartz: Quartz is a common indicator that gold MAY be nearby. This is not always true. The hydrothermal conditions needed for gold deposits are also right for quartz. Quartz is more plentiful—so most gold deposits contain quartz, but most quartz deposits do not contain gold.
  4. Coexisting Rock Types: Most gold ores (and placer gold) contain small amounts of silver, copper, iron, garnet other minerals. These favorable host rocks can be important when determining gold prospecting zones.
  5. Abrupt Geological Shifts: Hard rock gold deposits are known to occur at the contact of two different types of rock. Example: one zone in New Mexico has rich dry placers; then just down the road is coal-bearing country. Not far from there is a turquoise mine. Detecting on the borderline of these zones can prove to be lucrative.

These are just a few tips. Reading gold prospecting books and articles can REALLY point you in the right direction! Check out our Learning Library for gold prospecting advice and our favorite gold-prospecting metal detectors!

Articles on our Best Gold Metal Detectors:

Whites TDI SL Metal Detector- Ultimate Gold & Relic PI Machine

Whites TDI SL Metal Detector

Whites TDI SL Metal Detector

Find tiny gold flakes or gold ‘pickers’ with Whites TDI SL Metal Detector—the ultimate gold nugget shooting detector! Pulse induction machines are known to penetrate deeper and handle highly mineralized soil. Whites TDI SL features full-control ground balance to filter out hot rocks, black sand and more. Trademarked features of this model include its lightweight design, threshold control, frequency control, pulse delay and waterproof search coil. At only 3.5 lbs., Whites TDI SL performs comparably to a much more expensive counterpart!

Proven Gold Prospecting Metal Detector

 According to TDI SL user Dan from Southern California, “the TDI SL is easiest to ground balance and produces a constant smooth threshold even in nasty mineralized soil.” It’s also a champion relic-hunting detector!

 

Related ArticleSelecting the Best Metal Detectors for Gold Nugget Metal Detecting

Garrett AT Pro Finds Gold Nugget in Quebec

Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector

Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector

Finding gold with a metal detector may seem like mission impossible; and it does require a lot of patience. HOWEVER, gold prospecting hobbyists assure that you CAN FIND GOLD with your metal detector. According to the late Charles Garrett (world famous treasure hunter, inventor and author) and veteran prospector Roy Lagal, any amateur prospector who follows three basic rules can find gold!

  1. Choose the right type of metal detector- capable of locating gold flakes and nuggets.
  2. Have patience and perseverance.
  3. Hunt in places where gold has already been found.

Gold-hunting detectors have proven themselves time and again, and most of them can expertly find coins and relics, as well. To prove that you can find gold, we’ve included below a video link: “Gold in Quebec” showing a hobbyist recovering a gold nugget from a stream. This prospector was hunting “Devil’s Rapid” in Quebec. Using the Garrett AT Pro, he heard a high-pitched gold signal. From there, he pinpointed the target in a bedrock crack under the water. Using a gold pan and running his detector over it, the prospector recovered a gold nugget that weighed in at 0.8 ounces. Another video depicts two prospectors hunting old tailing piles with the Garrett AT Gold. Although they didn’t hit pay dirt on this outing, they demonstrate the proper techniques for prospecting. A gold pan kit is essential when prospecting rivers and streams.

At MetalDetector.com, find everything you need for prospecting for Gold Nuggets, including:

Related Article: “What’s the Best Gold Prospecting Metal Detector?”
Related Article: “Garrett AT Pro Versus Garrett AT Gold Comparison”

Give a Glittery Holiday Gift: a Gold Metal Detector!

Garrett Metal Detectors ATX metal detector.

The Garrett ATX metal detector. Considered by many to be one of the best metal detectors for finding gold nuggets.

Do you live in gold country? If so, now is the time to prospect with a gold metal detector! A gold metal detector is an incredible holiday gift for the outdoorsman on your holiday list. Over a century ago, gold miners passed over lots of gold that was trapped in the walls of tunnels. People are now going back into abandoned mines with gold metal detectors to scan the walls. Today’s advanced gold detectors are picking up all of that overlooked treasure. If you live near any old mines with tailings piles, jump on the opportunity to go prospecting! The BIG holiday sale at MetalDetector.com offers new prospectors the chance to get the best gold detector at an affordable price.

Below are some of the top-ranked gold metal detectors at various price points:

Entry-Level Gold Detectors
Mid-Level Gold Detectors
High-End Gold Detectors

 

Going for the Gold!

Our buying guide articles on metal detectors are chock full of the information you need to make a great gift giving decision this holiday season. With that in mind, check out buyers guide article on the detectors for finding gold nuggets entitled What’s The Best Gold Prospecting Metal Detector.

 

Garrett Infinium LS has Mastered Both Land and Sea Detecting!

Garrett Infinium LS Metal Detector

Garrett Infinium LS Metal Detector

High-achieving treasure hunters gravitate towards the Garrett Infinium LS (Land/Sea) Metal Detector because of its extreme versatility! The Garrett Infinium LS performs exceptionally well underwater in the sea, in gold and meteorite fields, black sand beaches and war battlefields—for every type of metal detecting. This is an Advanced Pulse Induction (API) detector that finds more treasure at any depth with accurate discrimination. Automatic Ground Track features lock, slow and fast settings to master changing soil conditions. Other amenities include an Advanced Discrimination Dial, customized Tone ID and adjustable Audio Threshold. Experts say the Garrett Infinium LS is a champion detector for scuba diving – extremely deep seeking! Waterproof up to 200 feet;  includes DD™ PROformance submersible search coil and land headphones.

 

Categories of Metal Detecting and Detectors that Perform Best

Silver Coin Treasure Cache found by a MetalDetector.com customer.

Silver Coin Treasure Cache found by a MetalDetector.com customer.

The search for treasure is alluring and exciting—with endless possibilities when it comes to what you can find! If you are ready to get started treasure hunting with a metal detector, it’s important to understand the different “types” of hunting as well as which metal detectors are well-suited for each. There are generally three categories of metal detecting although they can branch into areas of specialization. In a nutshell, metal detecting types include:

  • On Land
  • At the Beach and/or Underwater
  • Prospecting for Gold, Precious Metals & Meteorites

You can spend anywhere from $100 to $3,000 on a new metal detector. That’s because they vary widely in the amount of technology, product features and options they’re equipped with.

Land Detecting

Whether you’re searching parks, fields, school yards or former battle grounds—land detecting is the most common type of detecting. This is where  you’ll likely be looking for coins, jewelry and historic artifacts. You may start out just looking for coins, but very quickly you will discover it’s a lot of fun to recover trade tokens, belt buckles, jewelry, and various types of metal objects. When collecting relics, you will learn to keep your discrimination level on “low,” as many older items were made of iron. Civil War relic collecting is a popular specialty within the land detecting mode. To get started coin shooting, read: “What are the Best Metal Detectors for Finding Coins?”

Fisher CZ-21 Underwater Metal Detector

Fisher CZ-21 Underwater Metal Detector

Beach and Water Detecting

Hunting the beach and along the shoreline are perhaps the quintessential forms of metal detecting. However, shallow-water (from your ankles to your chest) and underwater detecting are gaining popularity. Reason: recent shipwreck treasure! The majority of manufacturers offer waterproof metal detectors specifically for beach and water detecting. You can decide whether you’d like to scan the wet sand beach, wade in the ocean or lake, snorkel or scuba dive for treasure. It’s critical to determine how far your detector can be submerged, though. Some models are waterproof to 250 feet; others only 10 feet and others are only designed with water proof search coils. If the detector coils and the attached wiring are waterproof, you can safely search in shallow water, as long as you  keep the control box dry. The Fisher CZ-21 is an example of a totally waterproof detector with waterproof housing and a depth capability of 250 feet and will tune out even the harsh salt water mineralization at the ocean. A great article on this topic: “Underwater Metal Detectors – Reviewing the Best Options.”

Gold Prospecting Detectors

Prospecting refers to searching for any kind of metal (gold, silver, copper). It goes without saying that the vast majority of prospecting with a metal detector is for GOLD! Since gold occurs in nature at different levels of purity and different mixtures of concentration, serious prospectors know that a gold detector will help them pinpoint this precious metal accurately. Some machines dedicated to gold prospecting tend to rely heavily on sounds, using a low tone for base metals, and a high-pitched “Beep” sound for gold. The Tesoro Lobo Super Traq gets high reviews and is exceptional for gold prospecting. Read more about prospecting: “What’s the Best Gold Prospecting Metal Detector?”

Garrett AT Pro Waterproof Metal Detector

Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector

Land, Water AND Gold Detectors

Favorite high-end detectors among seasoned hobbyists have different Modes, for working in more than one environment with the same machine. Touted as “Do it All,” “Land & Sea” and “Revolutionary,” these detectors are elite because you only need one model for every type of treasure hunting! With multi-purpose advanced units, you can search on land, under water or both—and go gold prospecting. Two example’s are the Garrett AT Pro and the Garrett AT Gold. Another unit is the Whites MXT metal detector. It has three distinct modes: gold, coins, relics—and it is equipped with a waterproof coil. Other multi “mode” detectors are just as adept on land as they are at sea. Listed below are a few examples:

Get your treasure hunting ON this fall and close out 2016 as an exciting year! You’ll find sale prices on all of the metal detector models listed above (and many more) during MetalDetector.com’s 2016 Big Fall Sale on Metal Detectors!

Australian Prospector Unearths 8-Pound Gold Nugget- Worth Nearly $200,000!

Found with a Metal Detector, the Gold Nugget above has Been Dubbed "Friday's Joy"

Found with a Metal Detector, the Gold Nugget above has Been Dubbed “Friday’s Joy”

Another extremely large gold nugget  has been discovered with a metal detector! Just recently (August, 2016), a detecting hobbyist was hunting a field in Central Victoria, Australia, when his detector went crazy. He thought it was just a horseshoe, but decided to dig it up anyway. To his amazement, the detectorist (who wishes to remain anonymous) saw something huge shimmering below him! “As I scraped away the clay and dug deeper, I couldn’t believe my eyes. This wasn’t an old piece of steel. I had just unearthed a colossal gold nugget – a once in a lifetime find! I didn’t think nuggets of this size were still around.” The 8-pound nugget was found 12 inches deep, and has been estimated upwards of $190,000.

Is this a “Mini Gold Rush?”

Interestingly, the man says this field is a worked-over area, but he found a 9-ounce nugget the day before. That’s why he returned to the area in hopes of finding more. The prospector will also be sharing the nugget’s proceeds with his hobbyist friends. He explained that they all previously agreed that they would split any royalties if treasure was ever found. This gold nugget find is creating a worldwide craze, according to Australian news reports. Rita Bentley, from the Prospectors and Miners Association, said she believes there will be a mini gold rush in Australia. Says Bentley, “I would imagine there will be some new people who thought, ‘I’ve always wanted to try that,’ and this will be what pushes them over the edge. Buy a detector and a miner’s right and get out there!” It’s incredible to know that there are nuggets of gold out there this size these days. In fact, a huge gold nugget was found in Northern California not too long ago. If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at gold prospecting, NOW is the TIME!

 

Related Article: Gold Nugget Hunting with a Metal Detector

Garrett AT Gold Underwater Detector: Hunt Rivers, Streams and Gold Fields

Garrett AT Gold Metal Detector

Garrett AT Gold Metal Detector is an All-Terrain Best Seller!

Hand’s down, the Garrett AT Gold Metal Detector gets top ratings as a prospecting detector. This is a deep-seeking, all-terrain metal detector with an 18 kHz frequency- the best frequency for finding gold. The price of raw gold is high (recently $60/ per gram; $1,850 per ounce), so it is no surprise that detectorists who live in gold country hunt rivers and streams in search of pay dirt!  The rugged, high-performance Garrett AT Gold delivers BIG TIME with its advanced underwater design. Top features include: • True All-Metal Mode – provides deep detection and sensitivity for small nuggets, • Iron Audio – Hear discriminated iron and adjust mid-tone range, • Digital Target ID- from 0 to 99 (ferrous starting at 1 and highest conductive items at 99), • Tone Roll Audio offers enhanced target information as you pass over targets. Waterproof up to 10 feet. According to one MetalDetector.com reviewer: “I found 13 specimens of gold ore on an old tailings pile next to a road in S. Wyoming. The AT Gold is very sensitive. I am confident I will have no trouble detecting rare coins and gold nuggets down to 8″ deep or more.”

– Read all: Garrett AT Gold Metal Detector Reviews

Monster Gold Nugget Found in Butte County, California

The dream of finding gold is still alive! This is exciting news for amateur prospectors, who really just want to snag a small nugget for simple gold satisfaction. Long-time detectorist and web blogger “Digger Bob” shares a success story that is encouraging and motivational for amateur gold prospectors! His story: a “monster” gold nugget was found in the Butte foothills in Northern California. Weighing in at 6.25 troy lbs. and 75 oz., this huge nugget was discovered with a metal detector at a depth of 12″. The nugget was deposited on a small feeder creek/stream which fed from the main water channel.

Gold Detectors will ALL Find Gold

“Digger Bob” believes that any decent gold detector could have located this nugget, but says that it originally sounded like a trash signal. Because small nuggets had previously been detected in the same area, he knew to dig it up anyways. Gold detectorists always advise digging up ALL targets for this exact reason. Many times gold signals get ID’ed as trash targets – then turn up as gold. As it turns out, this huge gold nugget was sold at an auction for approximately $400,000!. “Digger Bob” points out that it IS really like hitting the lottery or finding your own “retirement fund.” The point is—gold is still absolutely out there, waiting to be discovered!

Common gold states include:  Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Search and Compare all Gold Metal Detectors at MetalDetector.com

 

Gold Prospecting: Gear Up for That Time of Year

Gold found with the new Makro Gold Racer metal detector

Gold recently found with the new Makro Gold Racer metal detector.

Is there a gold prospecting season? This is a common question across metal detecting forums. There is no hard and fast rule about when you can prospect in most states. However, in Alaska, gold prospecting season runs from June through September—only into October if the weather permits. In other known prospecting states: California, Nevada, North Carolina, New Mexico, there are no posted prospecting dates. It is important to note, though—many sites DO require permission to prospect if you plan to stake any claims.

Why the Rise in Gold Prospecting Recently?

Gold prospecting seems to be spiking again in recent years, and geologists theorize as to why. In California, droughts in recent years are cited as one of the reasons. California State University (Sacramento) geology department executive, Tim Horner, explained that amateur prospectors “have been able to get to places they couldn’t before” because the drought has shrunk many of the state’s rivers, “some down to a trickle.” Horner said that one of his students recently found about $900 worth of gold in a stream that had previously been too treacherous to explore. He added, “Looking for gold [the old-fashioned way] is a popular hobby, and some people are making a living doing it.”

The simplest way to get into prospecting is to comb through sediments along a riverbank. Gold is 19 times heavier than water and denser than other particles in a stream, so it quickly settles to the bottom or into cracks between rocks or grains. A park ranger who oversees the California Bear River Campground and Recreation Area has his own theory about why gold prospecting is gaining momentum. He suggests, “The relatively high price of gold and the relatively weak economy have brought out more prospectors in recent years. The fact that low water means they can wade further upstream and get to new areas is advantageous.”

Top-Rated Prospecting Metal Detectors

Since gold occurs in nature at different levels of purity and different levels of concentration, the phase shift for gold objects appears along a wide spectrum on the phase shift dial. “Phase shift” is the difference in timing between the transmitter coil’s frequency and the frequency of the target object. Basically, this means that an object with high inductance is going to have a larger phase shift, so it is highly beneficial to use a prospecting metal detector when hunting for gold. Some machines dedicated to gold prospecting eliminate coin identification features altogether, since you’re not looking for coins. Instead they rely on sounds alone, using  a low tone for base metals, and a high-pitched signal for gold. Among some of the best detectors designed for finding gold: Garrett AT Gold, Fisher Gold Bug, the Tesoro Lobo SuperTRAQ and XP DEUS. For more units that are made to find gold, read our buyers guide article called Best Metal Detectors for Gold Prospecting.

Related Article:

Gold Nugget Hunting with a Metal Detector