Many placer deposits formed over millions of years of erosion causing concentrations of gold in certain areas. Finding these gold concentrations is sometimes predictable, but sometimes these locations are not where you would expect.
Ancient rivers channels, exposed bench deposits, and other geologic events can cause them to exist in places that you might not think to look, but regardless of where they are found, it is gravity that generally dictates where the gold is located.
The placer gold deposits that most people think about are those that are found in existing creeks and rivers, and are located where most prospectors would look; behind large boulders, down deep in bedrock cracks, inside bends, and various areas that allow gold to settle.
These placer deposits are often replenished every year by the typical high water runoff that comes during the spring.
Occasionally, there are extreme weather events that can cause gold to be located in places that a miner might not expect it to be, and can also replenish areas that have been depleted by miners over the years.Metal Detecting for Gold NuggetsPatch Hunting for Gold NuggetsBuy Large Gold Nuggets
Extreme heavy rains can cause excessive erosion, releasing concentrations of gold from newly exposed bench deposits and lode gold that may have never been mined before. Huge overland flows of rainfall can push this gold down into the rivers and creeks. The interesting thing about these high water events is how gold can sometimes be deposited in areas that you would not expect.
When water is flowing rapidly downstream, it can pick up gold and place it in all sorts of weird places. This is a time when the standard spots that you have learned to look for gold may not always apply. The powerful energy of high water can place gold where you would never think of finding it. A nice gold nugget may get wedged under a rock or some vegetation that is far above the standard high water line.
A good example of this is in arid environments like the desert southwest where flash flooding can occur. Extreme high water events can dislodge gold from bedrock and place them up in all kinds off odd locations.
After the water recedes, a typical dry wash is left behind and gold can be found all over the place. Often times, the newly released gold will settle in the same location that you would expect to find gold, and you can find gold in old locations that may have been considered to be “worked out”.
It can be easy for a prospector to spend all their time looking in all the areas you would expect to find gold, and easily overlook gold that was transported after a storm. Try to picture the areas as they were during heavy rains and high water, not just an average water flow. This may help you notice areas that have been overlooked by others. Maybe a large boulder that or exposed tree root that sits high above the water’s edge during the summer made the perfect gold trap during a huge spring storm.
If you live in gold country, it may be beneficial to visit the river immediately following a storm. You may notice some great locations that you can come back to in the summertime.
The great thing about prospecting for gold is that there is always more to be found. The natural processes of erosion ensure that we will always have some new gold deposits to work. Prospecting for placer gold following a storm you can often find very rich gold concentrations, but just like all prospecting, it requires that you get outside and look for it!