Types of Metal Detecting Activities, page 34:

GOLD NUGGET DETECTING or Electronic Gold Prospecting

Tips, Metal Detectors & Equipment Required

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Detectorist's discipline in search coil swinging is another major factor in successful gold nugget shooting. Small gold pieces may only be detected at short distances from the search coil, ranging from a few inches to a fraction of an inch. Swinging the coil high above the ground is one of the most common reasons for missing small- and medium-size gold nuggets.

Using headphones is essential for electronic gold prospecting as they enhance your ability to hear the faint but distinct signals emitted by small or deeply buried nuggets. Training your ears to hear the smallest detectable pieces of gold is as important as using the advanced headphones since the small targets are the majority of gold finds.

Try several sets of headphones with your detector before you buy - the differences can be incredible. You might want to check out the reviews, specifications and prices for many different sets of headphones at Headphones for Metal Detecting page.

If you are serious about getting into gold nugget hunting, make your investment into proper equipment - advanced metal detectors, accessory search coils of different sizes and the most sensitive headphones, especially designed for nugget hunting. After you learn your metal detector, practice a lot, develop your patience and persistence, and master your search techniques, your success will be consistent, and the best equipment will pay off many times.

Types of Metal Detectors Required:
Gold metal detectors that operate on frequencies ranging from 18kHz to 71kHz (higher than frequencies of regular metal detectors), have Automatic or Manual Ground Balance, and are especially designed for finding gold nuggets, flakes, and surface placer deposits.

Metal detectors of highest frequency are preferable as they are extremely sensitive to small gold. Their sensitivity grows with frequency; maximum being 71kHz. The "catch 22" is that these high-frequency detectors are also very sensitive to the iron mineral content of the ground. This can cause lots of false signals on highly mineralized soils, thus making operation difficult or impossible.

Many of the newer Pulse Induction Metal Detectors, such as the Minelab GPX-4500, also effective in gold nugget hunting. Such gold detectors allow to make new profitable discoveries at old gold fields.

Necessary Gold Detector's Features, Equipment & Accessories:

• Automatic Ground Tracking is preferred

• Precise Calibrated Discrimination

• True All Metal mode

Headphones must be always used to enhance your ability to hear miniscule gold nuggets. Headphones must muffle outside noises, enhance the faint sounds, utilize individual volume controls (for each headphone), match your detector for mono or stereo operation, and have surrounding ear pads that will stay comfortable for hours of detecting.

• Smaller search coils are more sensitive to smaller nuggets while giving up some overall depth. Small coils are successfully used in bedrock areas. Larger coils have more depth of detection on larger nuggets, but are not able to find some smaller nuggets. Large coils work best for recovering the oversize nuggets from tailing piles. Elliptical search coils are preferred.

• Stainless steel trowel or a short handle pick

• A magnet for picking up small iron junk items that are hard to locate in a dirt pile

• A plastic scoop or cup
A gold nugget can be easily separated from the dug soil by scooping the soil into the cup and waving it over the search coil.

• Plastic bottle or small vial made of glass or plastic for your gold nugget finds

• Tweezers and/or hemostats (also called a hemostatic clamp, arterial forceps or pean) for picking up nuggets

• Pry bar or large screwdriver for prying apart cracks in bedrock

• Large syringe for sucking up stuff out of cracks like flake gold

Headlamp is good to have when your daylight gold nugget hunting is likely to continue into the night hours.

• Hip Waders or rubber boots if you are to be in the water for a while and stay dry. Also kneepads and gloves are recommended.

Huge Gold Nugget

Non-Electronic Gold Prospecting includes the following activities:
1) Sniping - picking up gold nuggets right off of the bottom of streams; Sniping Tube or Diving Mask is required.
2) Panning - manual extraction of gold from sand by means of a gold pan; one cubic yard of material can be processed in 8 hours.
3) Sluicing - processing 3/4 of a cubic yard of gold-bearing gravels per hour with sluice box or rocker box near streams, or in dry desert areas by utilizing transported water and recirculation systems.
4) Gold Dredging - processing deeper gavels in the riverbeds with three types of dredges: surface dredges, submersible dredging tubes, and underwater submersible dredges.
5) Dry Washing - separating gold from sand and gravels with dry washers and without the use of water; not quite as efficient as dredging but essential when water is scarce or non-existent.

Happy Gold Nugget Hunting!

To see what gold metal detectors are available on the market today and read their reviews, you might want to visit my page on Metal Detectors for Gold Nugget Hunting.

To see what equipment for Non-Electronic Gold Prospecting is available on the market today and read reviews on gold pans, sluices, etc., you might want to visit my page on Equipment for Gold Prospecting.

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Source: en.wikipedia.org