A popular method for RV prospecting involves mining crevices in stream beds, where the natural flow of water can concentrate gold particles. We’ll look at “crevicing” in active stream beds and old tertiary streams, including the necessary tools, techniques, and safety precautions involved.
Understanding stream beds and crevices
A stream bed is technically the channel bottom of a creek or river where the water flows. But the prospector is also interested in the ground washed by high water and the long-dry beds of ancient streams. Crevices are small, narrow openings or fissures formed in the bedrock, in and around the stream bed, where rushing water carries gold washed down from its source. Gold, being a heavy element, tends to settle in these crevices due to gravity and the action of water. As water flows over rocks and through these crevices, it carries lighter sediment downstream, leaving behind heavier materials, including gold. These natural traps are often referred to as “pay streaks” or “gold traps” by prospectors.
Tools and equipment
A gold prospector needs essential tools and equipment to effectively mine crevices in stream beds. Some essential items include:
- Hand trowel
- Crevicing pick
- Gold pan
- Trowel for digging and scooping out sediments from crevices
- Pry bar and/or rock pick to break open or remove rocks from crevices
- Classifier—a mesh screen or sieve to filter out larger rocks and debris, leaving finer material for gold panning
- Tweezers or snuffer bottles for picking up and collecting gold flakes and nuggets
- Bucket or container to hold materials collected from crevices
- Gold pointer
- Different sizes of crevicing picks
The process of mining crevices in streams and historic riverbeds involves a few basic steps:
- Scouting: Look for areas with exposed bedrock or large rocks, as these are likely to have crevices that trap gold. Look at the flow of water and imagine how its course flowed and how it may have carried gold, settling particles in specific areas such as the inside bend of creeks and rivers. Ancient riverbeds, frequently a source of major paystreaks, may have flowed hundreds of feet from the current stream. Some may be found miles from current streams, which may be the richest of all.
- Clearing over-burden and debris: Use a small shovel, a rock pick, and a pry bar to remove rocks and debris from the crevice. Be careful not to disturb potential gold deposits below the surface of crevices.
- Use a trowel or shovel to dig out sediment and material from the crevice.
- Classification: Use a classifier to separate larger rocks and debris from the finer material.
- Panning: Collect the contents of the crevices and then pan the finer material to separate gold particles from other sediments.
- Use tweezers or a snuffer bottle to pick up and collect smaller gold flakes and nuggets that cannot be picked out by hand.
Mining crevices in stream beds can be physically demanding and potentially dangerous. Keep these safety precautions in mind:
- Scout the area for potential hazards, such as unstable rocks, overhanging rocks, or banks that could collapse.
- Wear appropriate safety gear, including gloves, sturdy footwear, and eye protection.
- Avoid working alone. One thing that always slightly unnerves me is that when working in or close to a running stream, I can’t hear the approach of wolves, bears, and other potentially dangerous creatures. Always inform someone of your location and expected return time.
- Stay aware of your surroundings, and be cautious of changing weather conditions, as rain can cause water levels to rise quickly.
RV prospecting by mining crevices in and around stream beds is a fun and potentially lucrative activity, requiring just a few basic tools that can easily be carried in an RV mining box.
Prospectors: Look for these rocks that may indicate the presence of gold
Not mentioned is that nearly all property is owned by someone, and that someone is not you. The gold that resides thereon is not yours and by taking it, you are stealing. You are open to prosecution and the consequences can be severe.
Nonsense. Most prospecting is done on public lands and in accordance with long-standing federal law.
Very interesting article- thank you!
Unfortunately, traveling mostly in NV and AZ, streams are a rarity. Metal detectors are our MO. We do both have a Garrett pinpointers.
Well, I’ve got a crevicing pick!!