Prospecting for New Areas

NOTE: The following are some general observations on what I look for. If you are in the Quartzsite or Parker area, the easiest way to look for gold is to pay $20 to the Quartzsite Metal Detecting Club. Doing so gets you access to over 360 acres of claimed ground. You can prospect worry free without the hassle of researching, staking, and recording. And paying over $150 just to file one 20 acre claim! I am a member. You should be one, too. Pay in person at Miner’s Depot, not by mail. You are going to Quartzsite anyway, correct?

Prospecting for New Areas

Some of you may have seen some of my sampling in my Instagram posts. That area was so typical of how a prospector looks at an area. First, the crazy looking ballast. Next follow the paved road to see where it goes into this unknown area. The video shows how things began.

Railroad_Ballast_Parker_Blvd from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.


One turn led to the La Posa County Fairgrounds. Boring. Other turn, “Dead End”. Yes! I follow all dead end roads and ones with signs that say “No Outlet”. At the end of the pavement I got out, not having time to follow the dirt road which continued past the pavement. I was hoping for some fluorescent quartz, maybe field agates if I was lucky.

Getting out, I immediately see rolled or rounded rocks. Some chunks of rock, some fragments, but mostly tumbled stones. Yes, streambed stuff on a hill, no doubt an ancient stream bed lifted up over the eons. There’s not enough rain in Arizona to have ever tumbled those stones in situ. So, I am thinking hillside placer of a sort. Maybe that’s why the railroad embankment had pebbles. I began then looking for my old friend black sand by eyesight and without my GMT with its black sand tracking feature. I found a few dark spots but not streaks like I want to find. None-the-less, I collected. My sample bucket later produced a goodly amount of black sand. My sign for looking further. Black sand doesn’t guarantee placer gold but no black sand seems to rule out placer gold.

I always advocate thorough research but we are all looking at ground as we drive city to city, never mind the text books. I’ll read up on that area now and there may in fact be nothing there but it is now an area to look into further. I am soon driving to Las Vegas from Kingman. The last time I went I pulled over for a bathroom break past a sign marked Kingman Wash — No Services. I always take those turnoffs. I picked up a piece of vesicular andesite that was glinting at me. Not used to sparkling volcanics. Pyrite or mica in the vesicles? No collecting area as it is in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

I will have a rock looked at even if collecting is in doubt. As a road cut, I wasn’t sure if it was AZDOT that had control of the roadside or the LMNRA. And collecting may be permitted at Lake Mead if the superintendent gives permission. Although no mining, of course. Speaking of doubtful ground, I still have to research the difference between Arizona Land Trust lands and “regular” state owned land. Maybe collecting is permitted in non-trust land even if no claiming is permitted. Another subject for another day, here I was just looking at an area.

After I got that andesite home I was so puzzled that I sent it off for XRF and fire assay. Both said decent values of gold and silver although XRF is unreliable, of course, for Au and AG. I was expecting copper from the XRF but no. Yet the assayer for the fire assay said there was an indication of copper by the colors he saw. Great, first conflict. I then collected some more andesite from the _exact _same spot a few months later to satisfy my curiosity. Reed Labs, another reliable fire assay group. ND: nothing detected. The mystery remains. And that is gold prospecting!

Looking at the area

Looking For Clues After The Railroad Ballast from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

Quick tailgate look at a sample

Panning out the Sample from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

January 22, Update

Sample Update Regarding Prospecting New Areas from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

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