Thursday, June 1, 2023


Prospectors: Look for these rocks that may indicate the presence of gold

If you’re an RV prospector with a thirst for adventure and a desire to strike gold, knowing the types of rocks and minerals that indicate the presence of gold is essential. Identifying these geological clues can significantly increase your chances of discovering the valuable yellow metal. Here, I will identify rocks and minerals commonly associated with gold deposits and how to recognize them on your next RV prospecting trip.


Charles James/Flickr

Quartz is one of the most common rocks found on Earth, but its association with gold makes it an essential indicator for prospectors. Gold often forms in quartz veins due to the rock’s high silica content, which helps dissolve gold at high temperatures and pressures. The gold solidifies and deposits within the quartz veins as the hydrothermal fluids cool.

Look for milky white, glassy, or crystalline quartz rocks. Iron-stained patches or rusty, oxidized areas on the quartz is also a good sign, as it may indicate that gold is nearby. While not all quartz rocks will contain gold, finding one in a gold-rich area is worth investigating.

Greenstone belts

Greenstone belts are ancient volcanic and sedimentary rocks, primarily composed of basalt and other mafic rocks. These geological formations have undergone significant metamorphism and are often rich in gold deposits. The greenish hue of these rocks comes from the presence of minerals like chlorite, actinolite, and epidote.

In North America, greenstone belts are particularly prominent in the Canadian Shield, parts of the Western United States, and Alaska. Keep an eye out for the distinctive greenish color and the characteristic layered appearance of these rocks, often suggesting a higher probability of finding gold in the vicinity.


James St. John photo/Flickr

Schist is a metamorphic rock that forms under high temperature and pressure conditions. You can identify schist by its unique flaky, platy texture. It is commonly found in gold-bearing regions. Schist typically consists of mica, feldspar, and quartz minerals, which can host gold deposits.

The presence of schist in an area is a good indicator of past geological activity, such as plate tectonics and volcanic eruptions, which are known to facilitate the formation of gold deposits. Prospecting in areas with schist rocks may yield promising results.

Iron oxides

Iron oxides like hematite and magnetite are often found in gold-bearing regions. These minerals can indicate the presence of gold due to their formation in hydrothermal systems. Iron oxides can appear as rust-colored, reddish-brown, or black rocks with a metallic luster.

While iron oxides are not always directly associated with gold, their presence in the area is a strong indicator of geological processes conducive to gold formation. Be on the lookout for these distinctive minerals when prospecting for gold.


Pyrite, or fool’s gold, is a common sulfide mineral found in gold-bearing regions. While pyrite does not typically contain significant amounts of gold, its presence in an area indicates that gold may be nearby. Pyrite forms under similar conditions as gold and often occurs alongside it within quartz veins and other geological formations.

Photo by Stan Celestian on Flickr

Pyrite is easily recognizable by its metallic luster and brassy yellow color. Although it can be easily mistaken for gold, a simple streak test using a streak plate, an unglazed piece of porcelain tile, is used to test the characteristic streak of minerals by rubbing the mineral across the tile. Pyrite will leave a greenish-black streak on a streak plate, while gold will leave a yellow streak.

Calaverite and sylvanite

James St. John/Flickr

Calaverite and sylvanite are two telluride minerals that indicate the presence of gold. Both minerals contain gold in their chemical structure, often forming alongside gold deposits in quartz veins. Calaverite is a gold-silver telluride, while sylvanite is a gold-silver-lead telluride.

These minerals can be challenging to identify due to their rarity and similarity to other minerals. However, their presence in an area strongly indicates gold deposits. Look for metallic, silver-gray rocks with shiny, reflective surfaces.

Increasing your chances of locating a pay streak

As an RV prospector, understanding the types of rocks and minerals commonly associated with gold deposits is essential to increase your chances of locating a pay streak. Look for quartz, greenstone belts, schist, iron oxides, pyrite, calaverite, and sylvanite. These rocks will help you identify promising areas for prospecting.

These rocks and minerals, while no guarantee of the presence of gold, serve as invaluable geological clues that can lead you to areas with a higher likelihood of gold deposits. As you gain experience in the field, your ability to recognize these geological indicators will improve, enhancing your prospecting success.

Remember the importance of safety and responsible mining practices when venturing out on your RV prospecting trips. Obtain the necessary permits, respect private property, and adhere to environmental regulations to ensure a sustainable and enjoyable gold prospecting experience.

Knowing these gold-indicating rocks and minerals makes you better prepared to embark on your RV prospecting adventures. So, pack up your gear, hit the road, and let the hunt for that elusive yellow treasure begin. Good luck!



5 5 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Steve H
1 month ago

You left out gneiss and pegmatite dikes, both of which may be found as host rocks of gold veins in the Rockies. The Idaho Springs Formation, a gneiss intruded by numerous pegmatites, is the source of all the gold mines in Idaho Springs, Central City-Blackhawk, and Georgetown, Colorado.

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.