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Author Topic: Gold n’ Clay  (Read 57320 times)

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Offline garyww

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Re: Gold n’ Clay
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2009, 01:17:41 PM »
Also there is the agglomeration of clay and gold that is the result of prior hydraulic mining and I see a lot of this stuff in the California gold country. I assume it's seen elsewhere as well if there was any old hydraulic operations. I call it manmade clay as it is not naturally occuring but an amalgamation of natural clays, old organic material, ultra fine sand and gravel particles and heavier stuff including gold. Fortunately it breaks up easily if agitated and I love to work in it when I find big deposits which most people bypass. My personal opinion is that the clay acts a lot like wax in that stiffer particles simply get lodged into the softer material and can't get away.
Most of the stuff coming out of our high-bankers will eventuall look a lot like clay since we're creating the perfect environment for agglomerations of materials if there is enough organic material in the source materials. I often rework old high-banker tailings people leave behind and more often than not there are very productive compared to the natural benches. The material at the bottom of the piles look very much like diluted clays and this is where we find the best material to recycle.

Offline Chuxgold

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Re: Gold n’ Clay
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2009, 04:46:37 AM »
I was reminded of a friend of mine that had found some platinum in a clay that would not dissolve in water.  And had to be fired. So couldn’t all clay be put on or around a camp fire and then crush and work the ashes. The sun could be used the same way,
This may  seem unreasonable for most gold but the really fine gold is lost to the oils that coat it. With only heavy detergents that will liberate it wet.
I have seen clay so rich that I will never see it again like that. Carefully washed it would yellow the hole bottom of the box. But when caution gave in to fatigue. And to much was not run right. All the yellow would vanish. The cohesive nature of clay is really grate. Do to it it usually being disseminated. And not crushed. The particles of disseminated silts is not granular. The silica’s have lumpy arms that are covered in globular crystals. That make them vary sticky to each other and what mite get cot inbetween them. If not slowly washed they can eliminate any gold smaller than 400mesh from lodging even with other gold.
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Offline GPEX admin

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Re: Gold n’ Clay
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2009, 01:03:57 PM »
Still not abandoning my curiosity to unravel the untold secrets Mother Nature has cast, in regard to her grasp on gold, and her relentless efforts to accumulate it in peculiar sorts of ways. For I kind of like nuggets too.

We, as apprentice reapers of the earth’s resources are ever-so-slowly gaining knowledge of the where’s, in relation to locations commonly found to hold her riches, yet to do that effectively to the ultimate (say, nine times out of ten, instead of one time out of virtual thousands), we also must consider the why’s and the how’s.

Now, could it be this dear old lady is acting somewhat like a squirrely squirrel, wandering about erratically, burying one tiny piece here, one there, another way over there, so on and so forth? I don’t believe so, for it is far more methodical than that. The why’s we need not consider herein, so let us then draw our focus toward the how’s, and of course, the tools we can concoct to overcome the dear lady’s grasp on that which we seek so passionately.

So.... rather than bop all over the province, country, continent or globe, in addressing the many varied deposits we could study, let us consider, for say, just one watercourse - - that of the mighty Fraser River. For it represents one prime example of a massive transportation vehicle of clay particles, from stem to stern. Now, somewhat similar to viewing Google Earth and its global panorama, let us rapidly keep zooming in until all that can be seen is a total blur, whereas, before our eyes (in mental simulation) we see the cluster of clay particles, the larger being, say, the size of peas. Now we focus on ultra-fine gold particles, ranging in size from watermelons to grapefruits to golf balls. And they’re all moving, merrily floating their little boat-like journey to some distant oceanic bed, except - - - - - - ??

Now, what’s happening?  Is it the gold particle becomes swarmed and drawn within the mass of thousands of little clay particles, and thus their combined weight then becoming too great, the entire mass then succumbs to gravity’s draw, whence the driving force of the watercourse decelerates? Or is it the gold particle decides to take a nap around the next bend, and the masses of clay particles spot it then swarms about it to either protect it or otherwise capture it (for some reason we will never know)? Either way, in all likelihood, both answers could be the correct yes. Quickly now, we must zoom back out a bit, to make way for these cazillions of mega-fine clay particles who bring forth many more captives and commence building their fortress of gold. Awe.... but it is not of yellow to the eyes, its rather of varied shades of gray, bluish, reddish, greenish or whatever have you. This whole process is repeated meg-millions of times, building up each individual clay bed. What an army! What a process! Float-sink, float-sink, float-sink, float-sink.

If we stop to think about it, man is not the first harvester of gold, for it’s those can’t-see-em-with-the-naked-eye Clay Family members. Hmmh !  But let us not get distracted here

The strongest question then being (bearing in mind that gold is gonna keep right on floating down the river, then accumulate within a matrix that can cause us so much grief), how can we harvest just those particles of which we humanoid creatures seek? My own logic and sentiments are about the same as anybody else, in our chase after this elusive metal we must place our highest priority toward balancing the economic factor. It’s not that we can’t devise ways to attack these clay beds which grasp very profitable returns, provided we’re properly set up for the task, but for me, climbing in years, I tend to get a little more lazy about it and thus set the old noggin to thinking of ways around the situation.

Okay then, we’re now to the meat of my thoughts. Two, actually (hey, I’m doing good today). First, fine gold is the floaters - - clay particles, the swimmers. Mmm - then what abouts ‘Skimming the Surface’ to capture the gold particles before the masses of clay particles do their thingy. Sounds simply, and likely is. So off to the gadget workshop we go. Remembering too, the Fisheries & Oceans officer, but what bad can there be said for cleaning the river’s surface debris - - for that which is of protection is not amphibious, but rather aquatic - - so no harm can be done to fishes of any sizes.  They say you can’t set a trap within a fish-bearing watercourse, but I’ve not read a single thingy about..... On It !  Wowwy... do I ever hear clicky cogs all over the place, but one of you boys better get the grease out for I also hear a squeaky chirp. And onward, like the river waters, thoughts flow.

Thought #2 - -  a wee peek at the other side of the coin. For those of us who wish to work the clay beds for their prizes, obviously we need something somewhat of a centrifugal action to stir the gooey substance into a very loose slurry. However, instead of sending all off to a sluice or other device (right now) we then employ a drop of Le’ Famous old Jet-Dry, or other parallel of similar definition, to get that darned little floating yellow stuff to settle back down to where we can then handle it. Then down the sluice-ride we go. Ugh – a grave concern, for there secrets a staked-out Fisheries Officer flagging our every movement.  But Hey - - are we missing the boat here?  The following, thus far, is only of theory - - so back to my little storybook and off to ‘my’ workshop, I wander. And what do I reappear with?  What’s that, for I hear murmurs of someone said to be psychotic?  Who me?  Oh, probably so!  Awe, but you’re now braving to ask what in the blazes it is that I plan on doing with that bottle of fish oil in my hand? - -ta dah - - Well, I’m going to drop a bit of it in my slurry solution.  Say what?!!! - - silly goof, you’re gonna cause your gold to float, not sink to the bottom.  But hey, boys and girls, I’m thinking of doing just thatie sort of thing. Then what I’m gonna do, is skim my gold off the top, and not worry one hair about dumping the rest of that useless ugly old clay slurry down the sluiceway to collect all the monsterous nugget factors.  Sure, there’ll be a tad of other junky stuff I’d be skimming, too, but I’ll then just take this smaller volume offshore to my backyard, then use a smidget of your Jet-Dry, and Lo, there, lies all my little fine gold friends all lined up and awaiting on me to tenderly reunite them with long-lost members of their own kind. And surely, I won’t otherwise be wasting the whole day middling around with modeling clay. And the ‘fish oil’ factor, in as far as any Fisheries Officer could be concerned, bears no latitude for dispute, as it is as natural to any watercourse as is the waters itself.  We taketh from it, we puteth back.

For those who are traditionalists, sorry to have bored you – for those who carry open minds, I am pleased if you have, indeed, enjoyed one of the many little slants that often come to mind.

Whatcha think?  Could either of these equations work? And if so, any other ideas along these lines?
Somebody said that it couldn't be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That maybe it couldn't but he wouldn't be one
Who'd say so until he had tried.

Offline rockpup

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Re: Gold n’ Clay
« Reply #23 on: February 06, 2010, 06:50:57 PM »
Red clay and blue clay are the most gold bearing colour clays I have expierenced in the field.Mind you have have pulled fien gold out of light brown clay.Also seen real black mucky,black sand rich clay,tons of garnets with little gold or no gold(St.mary river).

Offline finch68

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Re: Gold n’ Clay
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2010, 11:13:43 AM »
Now if someone would send me a bit of clay known to have gold in it I would love to study it under the microscope.  Who knows what might reveal itself.


Offline muconium

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Re: Gold n’ Clay
« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2010, 10:57:39 AM »
Even though I prospect in the midwest where the pickings aren't as rich as the West, I thought I'd throw my two cents in here.

Last summer, I brought some chunks of clay home and tried breaking them up and massaging them into a pannable consistency, but no luck. I had an extra gallon of muriatic acid in the garage (aka hydrochloric, for washing concrete) so I soaked my clay samples in the acid. Lo and behold, it bubbled and foamed pretty impressively, and, after two or three rinses with clean water, the clay was dissolved in pretty short order, about 1/2 hour.

Muriatic is available at just about any hardware store, is cheap, and safe to use.

(No, I found nothing in my particular clay).  <-NO_>
Rusty dirt makes me drool.

Offline willthedancer

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Re: Gold n’ Clay
« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2010, 11:13:37 AM »
The clay on our mining claim in the western Cascades is a pale gray with slight orange and yellow tones, almost skin colored. We find the gold on top of it for the most part so far. We have not had enough time to see what the real distribution of gold is yet. Our spot is very close to the source of the gold, so all we get is pretty new stuff ie: dendritic,wire, and very rough textured nuggets. It appears that our part of this creek may have been glaciated. I am basing that on the broad flat bottom of the valley, but just downstream from our part the creek drops sharply into a stairway. The clay may be related to that same glaciation. We found some nice gold in a fairly open seam that runs down the stream bed. It was full of that same clay, but did not appear to be fault gouge, rather just clay infill. Other areas we have found are clay packed boulders and cobbles, with most of the gold in the top part, but some further in the layer. Did not work to the bed in those spots yet. We have almost no magnetite in our sand BTW.

Looking at it under the microscope, it is quartz with a little iron staining.
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Offline kerbyjackson

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Re: Gold n’ Clay
« Reply #27 on: February 09, 2010, 08:22:45 PM »
I've got to agree here that contrary to what many old timers claimed, in a gold bearing area, the clay is typically a pay layer.

Where I mine, which is in the vicinity of Galice, Oregon, we know that the bright red clays on the hillsides are highly mineralized and some have assayed at well over an ounce per yard. The big issue is that this gold is very tiny and special considerations are needed to work it.

Beyond that, in the creeks, we also know that if you find a layer of this same red clay, regardless of how thin the layer, there is a large amount of gold by volume. In some places, these layers range from only an inch thick to a foot thick. What we have found is that this clay can act like bedrock and stop fine gold (so it sits on top of the layer) and small chunks/pickers/small nuggets have difficulty working their way through the clay (hence they can be on top or within the clay layer).

Either way, in my neck of the woods, if you are working and suddenly see a bright red streak form in the water, you are in a heavy pay layer and it is very wise to thoroughly wash and scrub down any rocks that you pull out. A wire brush is really a necessity to break down the clay clinging to small boulders.

Offline Phouse

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Re: Gold n’ Clay
« Reply #28 on: February 10, 2010, 11:45:12 PM »
Right on Kirby!  As I said, that deep brick red clay is the most beautiful thing in the world!  The widest part of the seam that my friends and I worked was likely less than half an inch-up and down over five feet or so in a crack that ran horizontally to the river flow.  When I first started breaking in there and scraping that fudge into the pan and washing the rocks in my pan I knew it was going to be a challenge, red means iron and black sand that has been there a long time, where iron acumulates so does gold, and I had a real feeling that it was going to turn out good if I did it right.  I worked that pan, and worked it, lots of water changes, until it wasn't bleeding into the river anymore.  When I heard that ZZZzzz of metal against metal as I was washing it down I knew I did it right.  One of two finest pans I have ever had in my life, and the contender came from that same tiny crack with brick red clay.  We had to break down and move about a ton of rock to follow that tiny crack and we were rewarded with just about two ounces of gold by doing so.

Mooseman, follow that slide.  If you have iron staining running out of trapped deposits, you may very well have something really SPECIAL under there! <-yahoo_>
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Offline cloudwalker

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Re: Gold n’ Clay
« Reply #29 on: February 11, 2010, 05:37:20 AM »
What about clay layers and creeks that no longer follow the rules?  I work and area that was hydraulic mined and bucket dredged down to the bedrock throughout the 1800s.  The giant tailing piles were then bulldozed back into a natural looking valley and at first look seem to be old forest.  When I dig there I come up with as many as four different colors of clay in a single shovel.  The clay, rocks, and sand still seem to mixed in a conglomeration.  The gold appears to be evenly distributed throughout the area.  Should the heavier gold have migrated back toward the bedrock after all this time or do you think most of it is still mixed within the random clay deposits?


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