Central Montana Prospectors
Central Montana Prospectors

Gold Nugget Turned Out to Be Much More

      A prospector in Australia was sure the rock he found while using a metal detector had a gold nugget in it. He took it to some scientists and they discovered it was really a rare meteorite that was formed somewhere between Jupiter and Mars. 

     What a deal!! Come to find out it might be a source of finding out just how old the universe is. It's amazing what people find while looking for gold. Check out this website to learn more: https://www.msn.com/en-us/video/science/mans-gold-nugget-turns-out-to-be-a-super-rare-meteorite/vi-AAEwmPK

Blue Clay and It's Relationship with Gold

     Upon return from Zortman and talk came to going back up to the dig site after the dig was over to pick up the blue clay balls set aside as our team was digging, had to ask the question, "What's the value of it?"

     As the team poured buckets of gravel into the hopper of the high banker and the water washed away the dirt and small chunks on occasion there was a ball of clay that had an usual texture. Didn't know it meant anything.

     Apparently clay balls, especially blue ones indicate there is gold and more of it in the ball. Through a process the gold is extracted and there can be quite a bit attached to this stick, gooey stuff, so check out the balls with blue for something new. 

Montana Gold

     Just outside Helena is a town called Avon. The largest gold nugget ever found in the area came from a claim atop the mountain there along the Alaska Canadian foot trail through the woods there. The owner of the claim there, Brad Davey, gave it up and said to go claim it. A local prospecting group was shown the site, explored and never said boo to its membership even though it was offered to work.

     Nearby there are pounds of gold coming out of the layers in those hills.  It's all waiting for the exploring mind to get out there and work a plan of extraction. Summer is the time to do it. Can't wait till winter to make a difference in your life. 

Get Gold Without Leaving Town 

     Want to sit at home, make a call, and order your gold without leaving town? You can do that right here in the state of Montana by making a call to Top O Deep, a company out of Ronana that sells their gold from their claim in the Garnet Mountains or from miners in Washington or Alaska.

     Either way you look at it, you can get a $15 dollar bag of pay dirt with plenty of gold in it, have Ralph put in a $25 gold nugget and voila, you have a great birthday, anniversary, or holiday gift of the perfect nature. Just call 1-406-676-3503 and have him send you some for your stash of finds.  They are at 37185 Little Marten Rd, in Ronan, Mt 59864. You will be happy to hold your gold in your hand.

Pocket Gold

      One thing about prospectors is that they love to dip into their pocket and pull out their latest treasure. Bruce of Blue Jewel Mine in Helena did just that. He has gold shooting out of quartzite, and the rattling bottle of gold he found using a metal detector and digging up whatever made a noise as he traversed the ground.

     The allure of the gold of southern Arizona is so strong with graphic descriptions of how to search for it in a book by Dr. Erik Melichiorre, that he is making tracks to head to Arizona and develop a gold mine there, basically ditching sapphire digging. 

      When gold is formed in the middle of rocks, this makes for a unique hunting experience as it doesn't always show up and you have to hit it with a hammer to dislodge the gold from your find. Either way the shiny pieces are worth the effort especially when you are escaping the cold of Montana winters.

       The gold that you can pull out of your pocket and put on display is certainly worth the fun getting it out of the ground.

Earth Gives Up the Gold

     On the internet there can be some very interesting combinations of information about all kinds of topics in one show.

     Recently this one posted was of the most gigantic pieces of gold ever found. It is amazing what the earth can belch out from its belly of darkness. What it has been hiding are for those lucky ones who find them. 

     Check out history in the showcasing of gold; it's amazing.  https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/the-most-gigantic-gold-finds-of-all-time/ss-BBTQYUa?li=BBnbfcN#image=3

The Source of Our Money in Fort Knox

      Lots of descriptions of how gold is formed were presented in Butte. The graphics, which some presenter called "cartoons" (oh no you don't!!) means you have a description of the changing of the earth's crust forming pockets where that shiny stuff breeds (pardon the description). 

     That yellow stuff rushes into peculiar places as the earth cools and a University of Montana geologist describes it perfectly here: http://www.umt.edu/this-is-montana/columns/stories/montana-gold.php

Put This Technique on Your List of Plans for Next Summer; It Can Be Utilized In Montana Culverts As Well

Gold in Quartz: The Saga of Hot Metal Rushing Through the Cracks

      Now, just how are you going to get that gold off of that piece of quartz? And furthermore, where might you find such a dandy collector piece? I wouldn't want to think of destroying this natural beauty because it is such a one of a kind. Lust for the shiny isn't always the best if you need to bypass the creations of the divine.

       Collectors might find this combination of metals and rocks interesting as to how it was formed. But I would imagine that crushing would be one of the first techniques used. How all our earth rolled around as it was forming and cooling.

The Energy of Gold

      Ever ask yourself, "Why is the search for gold to possess so compelling?" Outside of financial gain, might there be something to the attraction of this mineral to the human body? Maybe... there is a reason for the search, the lust, or the compunction.

      This website has some interesting facts, figures, and ideas as to just why and how we as a culture developed this connection. Educating ourselves about the impact minerals have beyond the money might be a profitable endeavor. 

       Learn more here and develop your knowledge about gold: http://www.goldgold.com/gold-and-how-it-affects-the-body.html

Australia is Giving Up the Gold, Fast!!

     Autralia seems to have all the luck. Just recently a guy almost stumbled over this gold discovery, but it has made him almost 15 million dollars in 4 days.

     Makes you want to book a flight and head down to Perth.  Quite a bit of money to find in just a short few days. Not that kind of find in America....who's got the luck these days are the down under folks. 

      Read all about it on this link. https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/once-in-a-lifetime-discovery-of-gold-reportedly-delivers-more-than-dollar10-million-in-four-days/ar-BBN71KW?li=BBnb7Kz

Gold, and the Story of How to Find It in Montana Mostly

Missing the Gold Nuggets

     In prospect talk with Delbert Henry in Great Falls Missouri River Diner he says if you use a large magnet around the base of rocks in a river to glean gold along with the black sands, you will be missing the nuggets because the gold nuggets need to be covered with iron in order for the magnet to pick up the nugget. With the suggestion on the video on the home page, the big nuggets are lost. Regroup for another try.


Finding Gold on Stemple Pass with Alan Robertson and Kelly Fowler, August 18

Claim Jumping: It Makes Some Hot, Others Not

     When visiting with a Great Falls guy on the shores of Canyon Ferry Lake about the extent of digging on the Beverly #1 claim of the Helena Mineral Society, he said when he returned up there and saw how much gravel had been moved since his last visit, he couldn't imagine what and how it happened. He lamented there, "Must have been a whole lot of claim jumping going on." 

     While having breakfast at the Missouri River Diner and sharing my story of searching for sapphires, a customer jumped in the conversation and told of his experience in Helena. He shared ideas of where to prospect around Helena. He said, "The old timers were worried about claim jumping, but not the young ones."

Sampling is the Name of the Game with Gold

      When a prospecting group goes on an outing to the hills of Montana, they dig on their claim or at a specified spot. Just how do you keep your gold separate from your neighbor and know if where you are digging is producing anything?

      There are a variety of techniques that are used with machines that can keep your sampling confined.

      Steve Hick's Denver Gold Saver was designed by the USFS to try out samples of earth and gravel and to be able to tell what vein or area is gold ladened or not. It will run one bucket in one minute at a time. Your sluice down below can be emptied and you can check for your results.

      The same idea is what can be done with Kelly Fowler's Little Monster or Omni. If a prospector has ten buckets of gravel or one, they can be run separately from anyone else's gravel. There is no co-mingling with other people's gravel or work.  So one can line up, run your buckets, get your concentrate and or nuggets and the next person can do the same. Even though you work in a group, you can get individual samplings. 

Gold Discovery with Alan Robertson

Alan Robertson Shows How to Modify Your Search for Gold with Cleverly Created Equipment on Claim Sites with Wheelbarrows and Handmade Bucket Scoopers

Arm Yourself With a Bag of Tricks so You are Ready to Shop Till You Drop

      With a stop at the thrift store I wanted to see if I could spot some gold jewelry in the endless displays of necklaces and bracelets. I took a bracelet that was heavy as gold is. Asked how much it was and thought I would take my chances.

       When I got home went to the computer to see how to authenticate it. There were some good ideas. Gold does not attract to a magnet. But of course it has to be a big enough one. The scratch test is one that works to a certain extent. Then they said if it floats, it is not gold.  Mine bracelet was heavy so didn't even try that.

      The stamp on the clasp couldn't be read so research was out. The tainting if near the skin didn't either. Then they said to use an acid that you have to purchase. Lots of good ideas, but color would work as well. When I saw the gold bracelet a guy at our club showing got for a dollar and it was worth lots, I thought I would give a hand at such findings. Must say with some quick tricks in one's bag as you walk in, a self training could work with ideas from the internet. Here's a good, educational site. https://www.sbcgold.com/blog/test-gold-5-simple-ways-spot-fake-gold/

Gathering Your Gold

      What do you do with your gold when you find it? Some say you NEVER sell it. Some stash it in their safe and use guns to protect it. Others pack it around in display boxes to show others. Some say nuggets are flat. If you look at most of these, they look like it.  Any way you look at those pieces the earth divulges from its creation, they are beautiful to the eye and shine right out in your gold pan or gravel bag. Can't miss them especially when they are put in water. 

      Of course one weighs them, puts notes on the bottom or has them appraised.  Safe keeping is a necessity but letting the eyes of others feast upon the possibility is way better than storing them in a dark, dingy closet space or under your mattress or bed. 

      Will Heierman, from Texas, has a dandy collection from Avon, Montana along with his rubies and sapphires. Being without this would make a person feel empty. 

Finding Gold in Montana Alan Robertson's Style

Learn to Pan Gold With These Panning Demonstrations

Kids Kits Teach Panning Easily

     If you want to start training of your youngsters or grandkids on the skill of gold panning, get your hands on this kit from GeoCentral. This was on sale at the Butte Mining Museum and is perfect for those kids who want to get their feet wet in prospecting.  Every kid wants to bring home a token of their trips out and about. This is the perfect thing. 

     Motivation comes from having real gold in your pan when swishing the water around in the pan. You will make long lasting prospectors with your family and friends if they have access to a kit with all the supplies and directions how to use and do it.

Panning For Gold Takes Skill With Your Pan

     Panning for gold is a process of what you do after you dig some buckets of gravel and run them through a sluice with a trommel. On the Horse Laugh claim on Stemple Pass in June 2018, the concentrates from several buckets of gravel produced this scene for checking if gold was found on the site. Multiple people from the Blackfoot River Prospecting Club dug in various places all over the claim and had their buckets  run through the Denver Gold Saver to see what they found for the day's meeting event on site. 

     You can see this video of Jim's gold panning with results of gold being pointed out by whoever was watching. Nice to see results like that https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVMHgmSKRcU&feature=youtu.be

Trees actually pick up the metal from soil and deposit it within their leaves.


Trees Save Mountains

      Scientist have been studying for years with great interest why gold is found in the leaves of trees.

     Through a variety of studies they have discovered it is not through absorption through the air but rather through the vascular system of the trees that gold from under the ground is brought up and isolated into the leaves of the trees because it is considered toxic to the tree.

     So if you're looking for gold its best to consider looking up above the ground in order to find the gold deposits beneath the ground.

     The results of these studies indicate that the prospecting search for gold should start with the trees on the side of the mountain because they would indicate where the deposits of gold would be down below.

      Ditch the gold mining rods and the drilling in the ground plus the digging out the side of mountains in order to find gold. 

     Check out the facks in these links.

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       Ever wanted to become an explorer or a gold digger?
     Now it is just too easy with Where To Find Gold!

     Where To Find Gold is a unique app which allows users to find locations for gold, silver, platinum and gems and view them on a map. This is the best tool for any rockie, hobbyst prospector, mining enthusiast as well as any person interested in geology. Great utility for gold panning and mineral hunting. Indispensable app for science teachers.


Available in the Google Play Store Click Link Here!


    This app is exceptional because it gives you the opportunity to see massive icons scattered all over any driving area as to where to find gold, and maybe try your luck.

     It also shows silver, and gemstones with full drop down listing of many other details including latitude and longitude. Awesome!

Gold For You

gold nuggets in centrifigal semicircle

You Gotta Know This!!

     While researching the internet in 2015 to create a power point for the prospecting class at MSU in Great Falls, I discovered this statement: gold is always being unearthed every day. That means gold comes up from underground and is washed down the rivers and streambeds just for you. 

It's Everywhere!

gold in the west us map


A Steal of a Deal: Finding Gold in Montana

 Panning for Montana gold can be a real treat when someone provides the claim to pan on, brings all the equipment and then proceeds to show you how to do it for hours accessing his knowledge and know how. That’s what you get when you sign up with Steve Hicks at this web address:  visitmt.com and search gold panning.



 The Continuing Saga of Recreational Prospecting vs Mining


     Even though we lost the battle this year to separate out recreational prospecting from mining in the Montana State Legislature, we have time to regroup and try it again. Delbert Henry of the Missouri River Diner in Great Falls, Montana always has good points to share on this topic.

      In early March Delbert showed this site about what Alaska has done over time to do this very idea.

      Maybe Montana could get a hint that there is a big difference between the two and take the plunge; it won’t hurt.

      Alaska, with a long history of prospecting has separated out the two very well, defined what it is and gives guidance with its federal and state agencies. Not hard, but a change of thinking, which Montanans can find daunting and with this legislature downright refuse to do anything of a new nature.

       But times do change and it can come. We are not all the same and by God, it is important to recognize that in the law.    

      Refusal doesn’t pack it, honesty,  responsibility, and integrity does. May the state of Montana stand up strong and support its people with providing for the needs of their citizens someday.


Washington Has It!

          Travel to another state in the union and just find out how static your own state is. On a trip to the state of Washington our web master checked out the prospecting conditions there. He discovered a liberal view of how it works that is the opposite of Montana.

            This state can successfully identify, like Alaska, that there is a difference between recreational prospecting and mining. There is an entrenchment in Montana of abhorrence to such an idea and as a matter of fact there is some pretty nasty profiling towards those who have a different point of view. So take a look at a neighboring state’s governmental and historically correct view of recreational prospecting. Montana could update itself to be more commensurate with thinking in this area. Click on the link to learn more.




There's Still Gold To be Found Everywhere!! Click Picture to Find Out Where. (Montana Is Not On The List!)


Pooping Gold!!

Bacteria Produces Gold

The US Government has set aside a special place in Montana to pan for gold. Here's a snippet of the site; click link below


From The Beginning


   First you fill your larger gold pan for the bottom with water. Then add water to the top gold pan and a small amount of concentrate.



   With a dipping and rocking motion you remove the excess lighter dirt and debris.

   The smaller amount of dirt that is left can be passed with the use of water by circling and tilting bringing the black sands and dirt below leaving the gold beneath the ridges. The weight of the water pulls the lighter stuff to the bottom leaving the heavier gold visible.



   You continue the process of unearthing the visible gold by the tipping your pan and encouraging the gold to stay to stay up top by pushing it up with your finger.

Gold Panning

     If you would like to access the minerals in the earth in your home state in a simple format, gold panning might interest you. Panning is a way of taking small amounts of earth on site, putting it into your pan and sorting out the mud, dirt, bigger and smaller rocks, black sands with the agitation of water. You can eventually find those gold flakes and nuggets at the bottom of your pan. Gold is always eroding from under the ground as it was formed long ago. This process is called placer mining as it is finding gold without using large scale operations to find it.

     Most gold pans today are made of plastic. They usually have ridges for you to slowly empty out the excess to expose your heavier pieces of metal such as gold. The lighter stones, dirt and debris will be swished out the edge of the pan by your rocking motion and stratifying. The gold within the small patch of earthy material can be separated by water swirling around the side of the pan pulling down the sand to the bottom leaving the gold up top by the ridges.

     Gold pans come in a variety of sizes from 10-17 inches in diameter with 14 inches being most popular. The sides are angled in 30-45 degrees and choices of what to use depends sometimes on the size of your hands or preference. Women need smaller ones because oftentimes their hands are smaller. Some panners use a smaller pan over the top of a larger pan to catch the possible overflow or mistakes so they can pan that again as well. Having several sizes of the gold pans available comes in handy. The green and red pans are preferred by the panner as it is easier to see the black sands and gold in them. But certainly a black pan shows up the shiny gold better if you can deal with the issue of the black sands.

     The Australians use a square box type of pan with ridges on the sides and an entrapment case in the bottom to hold your concentrates (dirt with big rocks and gravel taken out). The side to side motion that this type uses can influence the panner’s muscles differently as there is not the circular motion a round pan enlists. There are advantages to both types. The Australian one comes in black usually.

     A new plastic gold pan needs to be seasoned because the oils produced in the manufacturing can cause the gold to slide off your pan. If in the stream using a new pan, rub gritty dirt in it to scuff up the base and edges. If you are at home get a scotch guard scrub pad to do the same procedure. You want to not use any oils near your pan as you will have to season it again as well. Care in tending to your gold pan is needed.

     Dawn dish soap is invaluable in a gold pan as it causes the gold flakes to sink to the bottom of the pan so you can collect it in your vial. It doesn’t take much but gold panners keep Dawn dish soap close-by; it’s invaluable and makes a big difference with what you can find in your dirt scoops.

      You must know that gold panning is how one processes small amounts of gravel or dirt. Some people like to go on site, dig and bring home buckets of gravel and process them at home. If this is your style, taking time on the riverbank to use your gold pan is no something that is attractive. You need to design your own type of plan that works for you to find your gold.

ToThe End Result


   Practice with the instruction from a gold panning expert such as Bob Rosteck in person or watching his video here can get you skilled in the art of rocking, dipping, and swirling. 

   Taigen Pyne tries his hand at it. Guidance always helps.



   Once your gold is isolated in the pan a pipet is used to suck up the flakes or chunks and then you hold it over your vial filled with water and the gold will drop down in without squeezing the pipet.



   After gold panning a cup of concentrate from Zortman Big Dig in the fashion described above here is the gold recovered.

   Hopefully you will find lots of gold in your concentrates as well using this method.

delbert at the diner with sweet potato

Gold Panning Success

           Nuggets and Dust             Flour and Flakes

      In mid winter or early spring before the onsite season begins Here is Delbert Henry’s gold he has prospected across Montana and in Alaska that can be seen at the counter of the Missouri River Diner.

     Thanks to Bob Rosteck for panning it down to the vial level. It all looks good to the eye and gives satisfaction to the heart. We all want nuggets, big nuggets, but it is always great to have visible results of your hard work even in a vial to show others and prove to yourself: I did it!!

gold vial in hand

gold dust in vial

 How To Make Gold Scrap Melt.

Short Form for Gold Panning

Please feel free to print yourself a copy.

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© Central Montana Prospectors Coalition, Site Created & Written By Alma Winberry