Gold was among the first metals to be mined because it commonly occurs in its native form, that is, not combined with other elements, because it is beautiful and imperishable, and because exquisite objects can be made from it. Artisans of ancient civilizations used gold lavishly in decorating tombs and temples, and gold objects made more than 5,000 years ago have been found in Egypt. Particularly noteworthy are the gold items discovered by Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon in 1922 in the tomb of Tutankhamun. This young pharaoh ruled Egypt in the 14th century B.C. An exhibit of some of these items, called "Treasures of Tutankhamun," attracted more than 6 million visitors in six cities during a tour of the United States in 1977-79.
The graves of nobles at the ancient Citadel of Mycenae near Nauplion, Greece, discovered by Heinrich Schliemann in 1876, yielded a great variety of gold figurines, masks, cups, diadems, and jewelry, plus hundreds of decorated beads and buttons. These elegant works of art were created by skilled craftsmen more than 3,500 years ago.
The ancient civilizations appear to have obtained their supplies of gold from various deposits in the Middle East. Mines in the region of the Upper Nile near the Red Sea and in the Nubian Desert area supplied much of the gold used by the Egyptian pharaohs. When these mines could no longer meet their demands, deposits elsewhere, possibly in Yemen and southern Africa, were exploited.
Artisans in Mesopotamia and Palestine probably obtained their supplies from Egypt and Arabia. Recent studies of the Mahd adh Dhahab (meaning "Cradle of Gold") mine in the present Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reveal that gold, silver, and copper were recovered from this region during the reign of King Solomon (961-922 B.C.).
The gold in the Aztec and Inca treasuries of Mexico and Peru believed to have come from Colombia, although some undoubtedly was obtained from other sources. The Conquistadores plundered the treasuries of these civilizations during their explorations of the New World, and many gold and silver objects were melted and cast into coins and bars, destroying the priceless artifacts of the Indian culture.
Nations of the world today use gold as a medium of exchange in monetary transactions. A large part of the gold stocks of the United States is stored in the vault of the Fort Knox Bullion Depository. The Depository, located about 30 miles southwest of Louisville, Kentucky, is under the supervision of the Director of the Mint.
Gold in the Depository consists of bars about the size of ordinary building bricks (7 x 3 5/8 x 1 3/4 inches) that weigh about 27.5 pounds each (about 400 troy ounces; 1 troy ounce equals about 1.1 avoirdupois ounces.) They are stored without wrappings in the vault compartments.
Aside from monetary uses, gold is used in jewelry and allied wares, electrical - electronic applications, dentistry, the aircraft-aerospace industry, the arts, and medical and chemical fields.
The changes in demand for gold and supply from domestic mines in the past two decades reflect price changes. After the United States deregulated gold in 1971, the price increased markedly, briefly reaching more than $800 per troy ounce in 1980. Since 1980, the price has remained in the range of $320 to $460 per troy ounce. The rapidly rising prices of the 1970's encouraged both experienced explorationists and amateur prospectors to renew their search for gold. As a result of their efforts, many new mines opened in the 1980's, accounting for much of the expansion of gold output. The sharp declines in consumption in 1974 and 1980 resulted from reduced demands for jewelry (the major use of fabricated gold) and investment products, which in turn reflected rapid price increases in those years.
Gold is called a "noble" metal (an alchemistic term) because it does not oxidize under ordinary conditions. Its chemical symbol Au is derived from the Latin word "aurum." In pure form gold has a metallic luster and is sun yellow, but mixtures of other metals, such as silver, copper, nickel, platinum, palladium, tellurium, and iron, with gold create various color hues ranging from silver-white to green and orange-red.
Pure gold is relatively soft--it has about the hardness of a penny. It is the most malleable and ductile of metals. The specific gravity or density of pure gold is 19.3 compared to 14.0 for mercury and 11.4 for lead. Impure gold, as it commonly occurs in deposits, has a density of 16 to 18, whereas the associated waste rock (gangue) has a density of about 2.5. The difference in density enables gold to be concentrated by gravity and permits the separation of gold from clay, silt, sand, and gravel by various agitating and collecting devices such as the gold pan, rocker, and sluicebox.
Mercury (quicksilver) has a chemical affinity for gold. When mercury is added to gold-bearing material, the two metals form an amalgam. Mercury is later separated from amalgam by retorting. Extraction of gold and other precious metals from their ores by treatment with mercury is called amalgamation. Gold dissolves in aqua regia, a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acids, and in sodium or potassium cyanide. The latter solvent is the basis for the cyanide process that is used to recover gold from low-grade ore.
The degree of purity of native gold, bullion (bars or ingots of unrefined gold), and refined gold is stated in terms of gold content. "Fineness" defines gold content in parts per thousand. For example, a gold nugget containing 885 parts of pure gold and 115 parts of other metals, such as silver and copper, would be considered 885-fine. "Karat" indicates the proportion of solid gold in an alloy based on a total of 24 parts. Thus, 14-karat (14K) gold indicates a composition of 14 parts of gold and 10 parts of other metals. Incidentally, 14K gold is commonly used in jewelry manufacture. "Karat" should not be confused with "carat," a unit of weight used for precious stones.
The basic unit of weight used in dealing with gold is the troy ounce. One troy ounce is equivalent to 20 troy pennyweights. In the jewelry industry, the common unit of measure is the pennyweight (dwt.) which is equivalent to 1.555 grams.
The term "gold-filled" is used to describe articles of jewelry made of base metal which are covered on one or more surfaces with a layer of gold alloy. A quality mark may be used to show the quantity and fineness of the gold alloy. In the United States no article having a gold alloy coating of less than 10-karat fineness may have any quality mark affixed. Lower limits are permitted in some countries.
No article having a gold alloy portion of less than one-twentieth by weight may be marked "gold-filled," but articles may be marked "rolled gold plate" provided the proportional fraction and fineness designations are also shown. Electroplated jewelry items carrying at least 7 millionths of an inch (0.18 micrometers) of gold on significant surfaces may be labeled "electroplate." Plated thicknesses less than this may be marked "gold flashed" or "gold washed."
Gold is relatively scarce in the earth, but it occurs in many different kinds of rocks and in many different geological environments. Though scarce, gold is concentrated by geologic processes to form commercial deposits of two principal types: lode (primary) deposits and placer (secondary) deposits.
Lode deposits are the targets for the "hardrock" prospector seeking gold at the site of its deposition from mineralizing solutions. Geologists have proposed various hypotheses to explain the source of solutions from which mineral constituents are precipitated in lode deposits.
One widely accepted hypothesis proposes that many gold deposits, especially those found in volcanic and sedimentary rocks, formed from circulating ground waters driven by heat from bodies of magma (molten rock) intruded into the Earth's crust within about 2 to 5 miles of the surface. Active geothermal systems, which are exploited in parts of the United States for natural hot water and steam, provide a modern analog for these gold-depositing systems. Most of the water in geothermal systems originates as rainfall, which moves downward through fractures and permeable beds in cooler parts of the crust and is drawn laterally into areas heated by magma, where it is driven upward through fractures. As the water is heated, it dissolves metals from the surrounding rocks. When the heated waters reach cooler rocks at shallower depths, metallic minerals precipitate to form veins or blanket-like ore bodies.
Another hypothesis suggests that gold-bearing solutions may be expelled from magma as it cools, precipitating ore materials as they move into cooler surrounding rocks. This hypothesis is applied particularly to gold deposits located in or near masses of granitic rock, which represent solidified magma.
A third hypothesis is applied mainly to gold-bearing veins in metamorphic rocks that occur in mountain belts at continental margins. In the mountain-building process, sedimentary and volcanic rocks may be deeply buried or thrust under the edge of the continent, where they are subjected to high temperatures and pressures resulting in chemical reactions that change the rocks to new mineral assemblages (metamorphism). This hypothesis suggests that water is expelled from the rocks and migrates upwards, precipitating ore materials as pressures and temperatures decrease. The ore metals are thought to originate from the rocks undergoing active metamorphism.
The primary concerns of the prospector or miner interested in a lode deposit of gold are to determine the average gold content (tenor) per ton of mineralized rock and the size of the deposit. From these data, estimates can be made of the deposit's value. One of the most commonly used methods for determining the gold and silver content of mineralized rocks is the fire assay. The results are reported as troy ounces of gold or silver or both per short avoirdupois ton of ore or as grams per metric ton of ore.
Placer deposits represent concentrations of gold derived from lode deposits by erosion, disintegration or decomposition of the enclosing rock, and subsequent concentration by gravity. Gold is extremely resistant to weathering and, when freed from enclosing rocks, is carried downstream as metallic particles consisting of "dust," flakes, grains, or nuggets. Gold particles in stream deposits are often concentrated on or near bedrock, because they move downward during high-water periods when the entire bed load of sand, gravel, and boulders is agitated and is moving downstream. Fine gold particles collect in depressions or in pockets in sand and gravel bars where the stream current slackens. Concentrations of gold in gravel are called "pay streaks."
In gold-bearing country, prospectors look for gold where coarse sands and gravel have accumulated and where "black sands" have concentrated and settled with the gold. Magnetite is the most common mineral in black sands, but other heavy minerals such as cassiterite, monazite, ilmenite, chromite, platinum-group metals, and some gem stones may be present.
Placer deposits have formed in the same manner throughout the Earth's history. The processes of weathering and erosion create surface placer deposits that may be buried under rock debris. Although these "fossil" placers are subsequently cemented into hard rocks, the shape and characteristics of old river channels are still recognizable.
The content of recoverable free gold in placer deposits is determined by the free gold assay method, which involves amalgamation of gold-bearing concentrate collected by dredging, hydraulic mining, or other placer mining operations. In the period when the price of gold was fixed, the common practice was to report assay results as the value of gold (in cents or dollars) contained in a cubic yard of material. Now results are reported as grams per cubic yard or grams per cubic meter.
Through laboratory research, the U.S. Geological Survey has developed new methods for determining the gold content of rocks and soils of the Earth's crust. These methods, which detect and measure the amounts of other elements as well as gold, include atomic absorption spectrometry, neutron activation, and inductively coupled plasma-atomic emissionon spectrometry. These methods enable rapid and extremely sensitive analyses to be made of large numbers of samples.
Gold was produced in the southern Appalachian region as early as 1792 and perhaps as early as 1775 in southern California. The discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in California sparked the gold rush of 1849-50, and hundreds of mining camps sprang to life as new deposits were discovered. Gold production increased rapidly. Deposits in the Mother Lode and Grass Valley districts in California and the Comstock Lode in Nevada were discovered during the 1860's, and the Cripple Creek deposits in Colorado began to produce gold in 1892. By 1905 the Tonopah and Goldfield deposits in Nevada and the Alaskan placer deposits had been discovered, and United States gold production for the first time exceeded 4 million troy ounces a year--a level maintained until 1917.
During World War I and for some years thereafter, the annual production declined to about 2 million ounces. When the price of gold was raised from $20.67 to $35 an ounce in 1934, production increased rapidly and again exceeded the 4-million-ounce level in 1937. Shortly after the start of World War II, gold mines were closed by the War Production Board and not permitted to reopen until 1945.
From the end of World War II through 1983, domestic mine production of gold did not exceed 2 million ounces annually. Since 1985, annual production has risen by 1 million to 1.5 million ounces every year. By the end of 1989, the cumulative output from deposits in the United States since 1792 reached 363 million ounces.
Consumption of gold in the United States ranged from about 6 million to more than 7 million troy ounces per year from 1969 to 1973, and from about 4 million to 5 million troy ounces per year from 1974 to 1979, whereas during the 1970's annual gold production from domestic mines ranged from about 1 million to 1.75 million troy ounces. Since 1980 consumption of gold has been nearly constant at between 3 and 3.5 million troy ounces per year. Mine production has increased at a quickening pace since 1980, reaching about 9 million troy ounces per year in 1990, and exceeding consumption since 1986. Prior to 1986, the balance of supply was obtained from secondary (scrap) sources and imports. Total world production of gold is estimated to be about 3.4 billion troy ounces, of which more than two-thirds was mined in the past 50 years. About 45 percent of the world's total gold production has been from the Witwatersrand district in South Africa.
The largest gold mine in the United States is the Homestake mine at Lead, South Dakota. This mine, which is 8,000 feet deep, has accounted for almost 10 percent of total United States gold production since it opened in 1876. It has combined production and reserves of about 40 million troy ounces.
In the past two decades, low-grade disseminated gold deposits have become increasingly important. More than 75 such deposits have been found in the Western States, mostly in Nevada. The first major producer of this type was the Carlin deposit, which was discovered in 1962 and started production in 1965. Since then many more deposits have been discovered in the vicinity of Carlin, and the Carlin area now comprises a major mining district with seven operating open pits producing more than 1,500,000 troy ounces of gold per year.
About 15 percent of the gold produced in the United States has come from mining other metallic ores. Where base metals- -such as copper, lead, and zinc--are deposited, either in veins or as scattered mineral grains, minor amounts of gold are commonly deposited with them. Deposits of this type are mined for the predominant metals, but the gold is also recovered as a byproduct during processing of the ore. Most byproduct gold has come from porphyry deposits, which are so large that even though they contain only a small amount of gold per ton of ore, so much rock is mined that a substantial amount of gold is recovered. The largest single source of byproduct gold in the United States is the porphyry deposit at Bingham Canyon, Utah, which has produced about 18 million troy ounces of gold since 1906.
Geologists examine all factors controlling the origin and emplacement of mineral deposits, including those containing gold. Igneous and metamorphic rocks are studied in the field and in the laboratory to gain an understanding of how they came to their present location, how they crystallized to solid rock, and how mineral-bearing solutions formed within them. Studies of rock structures, such as folds, faults, fractures, and joints, and of the effects of heat and pressure on rocks suggest why and where fractures occurred and where veins might be found. Studies of weathering processes and transportation of rock debris by water enable geologists to predict the most likely places for placer deposits to form. The occurrence of gold is not capricious; its presence in various rocks and its occurrence under differing environmental conditions follow natural laws. As geologists increase their knowledge of the mineralizing processes, they improve their ability to find gold.
Alluvial Gold Prospecting
The prospecting techniques covered in this course are universal and apply to rivers anywhere, not just in the USA. Research is responsible for 80% of your success as a gold prospector. You must learn to perform good research to discover the very best places to search for gold. Becoming a good investigator will practically guarantee your success. Join a local prospecting club. Many clubs own claims for the exclusive use of their members. Some also have outings in good gold prospecting areas throughout the year. The experienced club members you will find at the meetings and outings are usually very willing to answer your questions.
Find the closest mining equipment dealers in the area you are interested in. Try the Yellow Pages under Mining Equipment and/or Metal Detectors. Keene Engineering advertises in all the mining magazines and the ads have a listing of their dealers organized by state. Local dealers will probably be your best source of information. Of course it helps if you are buying something when asking for help or advice. Buy a book! Again, a local dealer should have the best selection of "where to go" books for their area. Another good source is Cal-Gold. Although they are located in Southern California and Arizona, they have a good selection of books on other areas. Take a look at their book list. Go to your local public library, university library and local bookstores (especially used books). Oftentimes you can find history books about your local area dealing with prospecting and mining history or other related adventures.
Use the internet to check the "alt.mining.recreational" newsgroup FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) list. There is a lot of good information in the FAQ and you may just find what you are looking for. Ask questions in the alt.mining.recreational newsgroup. There is a much better chance someone will have the answer in the newsgroup than if you ask me. Check out all treasure hunting and prospecting forums on the internet. There is much to be learned from the comments that are made there.
You can also find others from your area with a lot of important information. Remember, finding out where gold has already been found will greatly increase your effectiveness and reduce the time it takes to get gold in your pan. Don't waste your time searching in the least likely places first. Go to the proven sites and don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions.
Introduction to Prospecting
How fascinating the pursuit of gold is! It can be found in most mountainous areas in our country. Finding gold can be an enjoyable experience, not so much for the monetary value of the metal itself, but more for the opportunity to stop and experience the beauty of Mother Nature's treasures. Many of us travel too fast in our lives. Panning for gold is an activity that can really pay dividends other than the procurement of the precious metal. But as anyone interested in the sport of fishing knows, the fisherman can never predict whether the next cast will bring him a trophy or no fish at all. So to the prospector does not know what his pan will yield with each successive panning. Perhaps nothing, perhaps a few lead sinkers from the fishermen who have also plied the stream for rewards, or just maybe a nice gold nugget. Good hunting!
Interesting facts about gold: When it is found in nature it can be pure, 24 karat. Since gold does not oxidize, its color makes it easily identified. The high density of gold allows its deposition in unique places in a stream. A bar of pure gold measuring 2" X 3" X 10" would weigh approximately 43 pounds. Although it is rare, many areas of the United States contain enough gold to readily find it. Among metals it has the highest degree of malleability. Gold Leaf can be pounded out to a thickness of 15 atoms wide. 1000 sheets of gold leaf equal the thickness of a human hair.
Where is the Gold? Gold can be found in many areas. The techniques discussed in this course can be employed to find gold in many areas. Therefore, our discussion about gold prospecting will be approached from a general point of view. Streams are commonly associated with the finding of gold. This gold is known as placer gold. This means that the gold has been weathered away from its mother lode, literally the mother of the smaller fragments. It is the finding of placer gold that can create a trail to the mother lode source. The method most commonly employed is panning. The process of panning is when the prospector uses a specially designed gold pan to locate his treasure. Streams are an excellent place to look because of several factors:
1. A stream passes through many miles of possibly gold laden minerals.
2. The density of gold (10 times as much as common sand) allows it to be deposited in special places in or adjacent to the stream area. These places are commonly known as "pay streaks"
3. Spring floods will redeposit gold to provide a new supply annually.
4. It is a cool place to spend a summer afternoon.
5. The kids will love a frolic in the water while you can prospect for gold.
6. There are a variety of other natural things to enjoy while you relax (fishing)
7. Roads commonly pass along streams and river paths creating a great opportunity to prospect.
8. The placer gold that is located will sometimes lead you to the location of higher quantities of gold and its source, the mother lode.
In the next lesson, we will discuss which streams contain gold, where in the streams to look, and.....
Where to find Gold
Which Streams contain gold? Generally speaking, streams that are most likely to contain gold must have four characteristics.
1. They should be unregulated (not dammed).
This factor is important because this technique is based on the spring flood churning up the minerals found in the streambed. When this is done during the spring flood, the gold and other dense materials fall to the bottom of certain areas first. This concentrates these valuable minerals which allows prospectors to find them.
2. They should be in a mineral rich area
Mineral Rich Area: A good indication as to whether you are in a mineral rich area is to look at the rocks exposed by the stream erosion and highway cuts used in road construction. Virtually any place that the rocks show a non-sedimentary layering will probably be an excellent place to look. This mineral layering is very infrequently level. Many times the rock layers appear to bend and incline. Quartz is commonly found in parts of the layering along with feldspar or other identifiable minerals. Consult field identification manuals for a more specific description of these minerals. They are common and can be easily identified with a little research.
TIP ---> Another indication of a mineral rich area is the presence of black sand. Placer gold is usually found with black sand but the presence of black sand does not necessarily indicate the presence of gold.
3. They should fall through enough elevation to cause sufficient churning in the spring flood
As discussed earlier, gold is extremely dense. If the stream in which you are looking is slow moving and flat, the dense material will have settled out far upstream. As the meandering stream makes its way, it travels in a lazy, snake-like manner, twisting one way then the next. These rivers will provide you with little success. Rapids and waterfalls and white water are indications of quick elevation drops. The spring flood will churn up everything in the river's expanded boundaries.
4. Stream path and rock formations facilitate the deposition of the dense materials (gold, lead, iron, mercury etc.)
As mentioned before, placer gold settles in specific areas of a streambed called pay streaks. These pay streaks are most often found where the water flow slows down significantly. They may also form along a path, which follows the shortest, straightest path down the streambed at high water. As the Spring flood recedes, the deposits can be left some distance above a low, common summer water level. When looking for a good place to search, imagine what the river would have looked liked during the flood (better yet, go take a look if you can get there).
Most streams do not travel in a straight line for very long either horizontally or vertically. The inside of the bends and where the stream levels out after a steeper run are good places for pay streaks to form.
Another good spot to look can be found on the downstream sides of large boulders and other obstacles. These create an area where the flowing water slows down for just a short time. The highly dense materials can be concentrated here.
Other obstacles include bedrock ridges and large fallen trees. The obstacles can be even more productive if they are in that shortest, straightest path down the streambed. Pay streaks may take several years to form so the best obstacles to investigate are those which appear to have been there for a long time. The best rock formations that help the prospector are those that trap dense materials that are flowing by during the flood. These formations can be best described as exposed bedrock with small, near vertical fissures. Smooth, well-worn bedrock is almost never productive.
Where to look for gold:
Gravel bars usually found on the inside of the river bends - especially newly formed. Although the gold here is mostly small flakes to very fine, there sometimes is a lot of it.
Where streams level out after a steeper part such as downstream of rapids or waterfalls.
Small streaks of gravel laying on the bed rock (but you will need some sort of sucker to retrieve it if it is underwater).
Downstream sides of large boulders and other obstacles which because of size or other factors appear to have been there for a long time.
Pot holes or cracks in the bedrock. ---> TIP: In popular prospecting areas, the large, obvious cracks have most likely been cleaned out many times. Look for lines of moss running along the bedrock. There is almost always a small crack under the moss and these cracks can contain a surprising amount of gold.
...and speaking of moss: Moss and grass roots near the riverbank.
Highbenches. As a stream cuts deeper into a canyon, it can leave patches of gravel high on the canyon wall. These are called benches.
Look for round or rounded rocks well above the present high water level. Round or rounded rocks have lived in a river at some time in their lives. Always keep in mind that these are the most likely places to find gold.
There is an old saying: "Gold is where you find it." What this really means is, you may find a spot that looks perfect and not find any gold at all or you may find a spot that looks like it would be barren but you find a "bonanza." Just try to keep your mind open to all possibilities. In the next lesson, we will discuss how to equip yourself before heading out into the field.
The right tools for the job
What equipment is needed to pan for gold?
Unlike many activities that require a sizable investment, gold panning is inexpensive. Most of the tools needed are commonly found around the home. The usual equipment needed is:
1. Small bottle. For storing the your gold. Almost any small bottle will do so long as it can close tightly and is water tight. A good example of this is a baby food container however, be careful not to drop it! 35 mm film containers work well and don't break. Glass gold vials are available at prospecting stores and come in a variety of sizes from 2 DWT (pennyweight) to several ounces. They work well for estimating how much gold you have accumulated and for showing off your gold.
2. Crevice Tools: Paint brushes, slotted screwdriver, tablespoon, garden trowel and/or commercial crevice tools. These tools help clean out the crevasses to get out all of the material contained within. Remember, the gold is very dense so it will settle to the bottom of the space.
3. Garden shovel
4. Utility bucket. A 5-Gallon bucket is handy for carrying and organizing your collection of tools. It also can be used to transport the materials to be panned. These are very inexpensive or even free.
5. Magnet. May be used to remove magnetic black sand in a plastic pan.
6. Optional items include a classifier, sniffer bottle, and ice pick. Sniffer bottles (also called snuffer bottles or sucker bottles) are very handy for removing the gold from your pan. They may usually be purchased wherever gold pans are sold.
7. Gold pan
Gold pans are available in some commercial locations or through mail order. The pans themselves come in at least two materials, black plastic and unpainted steel. Several pan diameters are also available. These pans are designed for the specific purpose of panning and it is highly recommended that they be purchased. The strength of the prospector should be the determining factor as to which diameter to choose. The larger the pan, the more material can be searched but it will be heavier. This disadvantage in weight is an advantage in the chance of success. The larger the amount of material searched, the greater the chance of success.
As to the pan material itself, each has their pros and cons. Steel is most often associated with the old time prospector. The prospector also could heat up food and water in his pan. If panning and heating water and food seems to make sense to you, then steel could be the better choice. Since many streams contain mercury either naturally or from previous mining operations, using a gold pan for cooking can be very dangerous. Both pan materials have their advantages and disadvantages and with a little thought the prospector will choose the style which best suits his needs. Steel pans will sink while plastic pans usually float. If a steel pan is dropped in deep water, it will quickly sink to the bottom but it will stay put in shallow water and will not float away. If a plastic pan is dropped in fast water, it must be retrieved immediately or it may have to be chased for some distance. Steel pans must be protected from corrosion or they will rust although some prospectors believe a thin layer of rust creates a rougher surface, which helps retain fine gold.
The best way to prevent rust is to allow the pan to dry out when not in use. Leaving damp concentrates in a steel pan will cause it to rust rapidly. New pans usually have a thin coating of oil to prevent corrosion. This oil can cause the loss of fine gold by adhering to the small particles making them float out of the pan. The oil can be removed by heating the pan at least until it turns blue and stops smoking. Paint thinner or other solvent may also be used. Steel pans may also be used to heat up concentrates to dry them. The plastic pans are generally black, green or blue in color. Small gold flakes and black sand are more easily identified against the contrasting colored background. They do not corrode and are generally less expensive than the steel pans.
Pans come in two basic shapes: the regular flat bottom and the drop center bottom. The drop center bottom retains the heavy material at the bottom and helps prevent it from moving up the side of the pan but it will make it more difficult to remove this material and pan down to just gold. The drop center pan is probably the best choice for beginners. Various types of gold traps called riffles are often molded into the side of plastic pans. These traps usually cover about one third of the side to help keep the heavier material in the pan. They can look like stair steps or ridges. The stair step type will allow faster panning initially but at some point they will get in the way and the smooth side of the pan will have to be used to finish up. There will be less material left in the pan with the ridge type of riffle when this point is reached.
All the different varieties of gold pans have their advocates and those who find fault. It probably all comes down to which pan one starts with. Since they don't cost very much, it may be best to purchase two or three types and determine which pan is best for you. The extras may be used by family members and friends or as a "safety pan." A safety pan is placed under the pan being used especially when panning concentrates to catch any gold that may inadvertently slide over the lip of the pan. It may also be used to check panning technique by re-panning the safety pan.
Let's review so far,
You have: your tools, time to prospect, you are traveling along a stream which looks unregulated, curves and has what appears to be a good amount of elevation drop, there appears to be a good selection of mineral diversity in the surrounding rocks and you are ready to find gold!
Find a spot in the waterway earlier discussed and imagine how the area looked in the spring flood. Go to an area above the mid-summer waterline and estimate the height of the winter flood level above present water level. Look for rock formations (bedrock) with various sized crevasses or large obstacles that created eddies where the heavy materials fell out of the turbulence of the spring flood.
---> NOTE: Keep track of the general height above present water level where you are looking. The heavy material may be concentrated at a particular level or a different one. By doing this, the prospector will begin to develop a "feel" for the future location of gold in that area.
Now comes the fun, the panning commences! Remove all material from the spot you have chosen and sweep it clean. This includes the live organic material on top (grass, weeds, moss etc.), the material in the area all the way to the bottom. The material on the bedrock and in the cracks is most likely to contain gold. Be very careful to save the dirt attached to the moss and roots. Remember, gold has a much higher density than the normal river material and will seek the lowest level of the area in which you are looking. Load this material into your pan. Fill it to about 2/3 capacity, or to a physically comfortable level.
The next step is to perform the panning. This can be better described as separating the materials into layers based on their densities, removing the less dense materials at the top and then extracting the gold. Locate an area in the water where it will be comfortable to do the panning. The water should be flowing but not at the full force of the waterway. A flat rock in slow moving water about a foot deep is ideal. Sitting on the rock is much easier on the knees and back. Summer temperatures may offer a wading technique that will be both easy to perform and refreshing.
Fill the remaining space in the pan with water and locate the rim about the level of the water. Remember, what you are about to perform is a separation of material based on the different material densities, then the removal of the common materials (less dense, on the top) leaving the most dense on the bottom. Hold the pan level and agitate it sufficiently to create a homogeneous mixture where all the material seems to be suspended. The key here is all the material must be moving. I stick my finger in the mix as I agitate it to feel if everything is suspended. Almost immediately the organic material will rise to the top surface. As this is being performed, slow or stop the agitation and in a level position, gently lower the entire pan into the water, 1 or 2 inches below the surface. A gentle circular motion will cause the least dense materials to be carried away by the water.
Continue the agitating procedure until all the muddy silt and organic materials are removed. It also is a good idea to sift the entire pan with your fingers to remove large stones and other non-gold items. Be sure to break up and dissolve all clay lumps if any. Not only can they hold gold, they may be sticky and pick up some free gold in your pan. Also, break up any moss clumps and thoroughly clean any grass roots as they sometimes hold a surprising amount of gold. It is easy to know when the low-density organic material and silts have been removed. The water is no longer muddy while you are agitating the pan.
While you pan, stop to sift through the mixture and remove the largest stones. As the panning proceeds, the size of the removed stones will become smaller and smaller. How long should this part of the panning last? This is a very difficult question to answer, as there are many variables to take into account. If the prospector remembers that the function of the agitation is to separate the materials into their respective densities, the heaviest on the bottom and so on, the time needed to do this will be easier to estimate. A good rule to first start out is to agitate no longer than one minute.
Now comes the time to start removing the less dense materials - and hopefully, the gold. Lift the pan out of the water just about one to two inches in a level fashion. Start agitating the pan as before and tip the pan to an angle that will allow the most dense materials to collect in the lowest corner of the pan. When you are satisfied that the most dense material is collected there, it is time to remove all the rest of the less dense materials. While the pan is still tipped on the angle, dip it into the water and lift slowly upward. This action will create a small wave. If done correctly, the wave will take with it an amount of the undesired, low-density materials on the top. The key here is only the top layer of material is moving. Repeat the wave, taking away the low density material several times.
Alternate between the horizontal agitating motion and the tip and wave removal process until roughly 2-5 tablespoons of material remains. Since small gold particles can float on the surface tension if exposed to air for any length of time, it is important to keep the material submerged as much as possible. If you see any black sand or gold during the tip and wave removal process, it is definitely time to go back to the horizontal agitating motion. The black sand or gold will appear along the line between the bottom of the pan and the material. Do not hesitate to continue to remove the stones which are now large pebbles (at this point, I have always referred to the pebbles as boulders).
The process is now almost complete! There should be a small amount of fine material resting in the lower corner of the pan. This material is called concentrates because you have concentrated all the material in your pan down to this small amount. You may notice the presence of a high concentration of black sand. This is probably magnetite, which is a form of iron and other heavy material. The presence of this indicates that you have performed the technique properly as iron is 3 times as dense as the common sand and rocks that make up the majority of the river bed material. Some other things you may notice are old fishhooks, lead sinkers and perhaps mercury. These are all indications that your search is being performed properly. You have successfully separated a small amount of highly dense materials from the stream.
At this point, the importance in the size of the pan is obvious. The large pans will allow a significant amount of total material to be panned and the effort may cause your arms to want to fall off. The smaller pans are easier to use but yield a smaller amount of dense materials.
Lets review the panning procedure up to now:
1. Fill pan about 2/3 full with all debris from a small area from the streamside. In the case of cracks or under large items, remember - dense materials filter out first (deepest).
2. Fill the remainder of the pan with water and agitate the mixture to separate the mixture into the materials' respective densities. Any motion will work as long as the mixture of the material and water is homogeneous (moving). Remember to include weeds and grass in the initial material to be panned, the roots commonly pull up material from the very bottom of the crack.
3. Tip the pan to remove the least dense materials and small stones. The most dense materials will collect in the lowest corner of the pan.
4. Locate and remove the gold. The next step below!!
Now comes the time to see how your efforts have paid off! In your pan you should have about the same amount of water as material (2-5 tablespoons). Remember that any gold will be in the bottom of this small amount of material and at this point will still be hidden. Hold the pan horizontally and tip it slowly to make the water run around the bottom outside corner of the pan in a circular motion. As the wave passes over the material left in the bottom of the pan, the force of the water will push a small amount of the material with it when the small wave strikes the amount of dense material. This will expose new material at the very bottom of the sand with each successive pass of the water.
The amount of water relative to the amount of material is fairly critical but easy to determine. Too much water will cause all the material to move and too little will not move the material at all. Look closely for when you have reached the bottom most part of that small pile, you should be able to see any gold that you have searched for. This last operation may be performed several times to make sure that you have searched the most dense materials thoroughly.
If you see any small bright yellow pieces of material, it is most likely to be gold. Do not be concerned about Fool's Gold, the color of gold is known to most people. When you see these small fragments, look carefully at the color. The color of gold is very distinctive and is easily identified. Fool's gold, also known as iron pyrite, breaks down and oxidizes quickly in a stream. Gold will remain in its identifiable form forever as gold does not oxidize. The particles get smaller in size however, through time and being washed down stream.
Removal of small particles of gold: This step can be slow and tedious and is best done at home since your time in the field is usually limited. After you have verified the presence of gold in the previous step, you can put the concentrates in a container for later processing in a tub or a large cat litter box. A few drops of a surfactant such as Jet-Dry® (dishwasher additive) will help keep small gold particles from floating.
The removal of larger-sized pieces of gold is easily done by just picking them up with your fingers. Many times, the size of the gold is so small that this is impossible. When this happens, wet the bottom of your finger and press it against the gold fragment. Lift the finger carefully and dip it in the small bottle filled with water. All small particles can be transported into storage this way. You will be surprised at how the small fragments of gold are easily seen, removed and stored.
Another good method to remove the gold is with the use of a sniffer bottle. It is a plastic bottle with a cone shaped cap. There is a tube protruding out of the cap and extending down into the bottle. The bottle is squeezed and released with the tube under water and near the gold. The gold is sucked into the bottle and because the tube extends into the bottle, squeezing the bottle again will squirt the water but not the gold back into the pan. By the way, when squeezing the bottle, ALWAYS point the tip of the bottle into your pan. Sometimes gold flakes get stuck in the tube and will come out with the water. Once filled with water, the sniffer bottle may be used to move the black sand away from the gold by squeezing it very gently - just enough to move the sand but not move the gold.
A third use of the sniffer bottle is to put the gold into a small vial. With gold and water in the bottle, remove the cap, remove the tube and gasket from the cap and replace the cap on the bottle. With the bottle upright, put the vial over the tip, invert the bottle and shake. The gold will drop into the vial. The gold will appear magnified if the vial is full of water. Placing the cap on the vial while both are under water will eliminate air bubbles.
A few parting words: Our nation's waterways are used for a variety of recreational purposes such as fishing, swimming and kayaking as well as prospecting. Please respect others by leaving the area as good or better than you found it. Leave as little evidence of your prospecting as possible by filling in your holes and packing out your (and others') trash. Respect private property and mining claims by not prospecting in these areas unless invited. Some claim owners don't mind if you pan on their claims - It never hurts to ask. A claim is only a right to the minerals on them so you may cross a claim to get to another area. Most prospectors are friendly and helpful but since their time in the field is usually limited, they may not appreciate long conversations or answering many questions. Try not to set up your operations right next to someone else. At least ask if it is alright. Let common sense be your guide. I hope this helps you to find your fair share of gold!
Good Hunting !!!!
1. Panning Tub by Tom Villone, Arizona: I've found that a mortar tray from Home Depot serves many duties. It is a fairly heavy black plastic tub, approximately 24"x18"x6"deep. They have one even larger if needed. The small one described is only $5.99, so I always carry a couple with me.
2. Cool Tool by Bill Westcott, California: This tool came with a Vac-Pac I bought several years ago. It is great for scraping out crevices and cleaning bedrock. I used to live in fear of losing it until I found out what it is and where to get them. It's a hoof cleaning tool for horses. I found them at PetSmart but you can probably find them anywhere horse supplies are sold. The ones I found at PetSmart have brightly colored handles so they are harder to lose but the pick part is made of softer metal so they bend more easily.
3. Dredging with Levels by Jim Witt, California I found that judging the right angle of drop on my 2" dredge sluice box was to cumbersome and I was often wrong. I often times work alone and could not take the time to watch the pitch carefully so I attached two levels on the dredge that would visually show me when the dredge was level side-to-side, and when it had the correct drop (2" for 3 foot). I established the correct drop for the sluice box and then mounted the level so that the bubble was centered. This way I also could tell when the rate of drop was wrong. This method worked great! Editor's Note: This idea could also be used on highbankers, drywashers or any other equipment that require leveling.
4. Classifying by Roy L. Calvert,Jr., Indiana: For a terrific classifier when a lot of fine gold is present, and overlooked nuggets aren't a big problem. Most retail stores carry sifters and colanders. I found one with a handle that comes in two sizes, one fits perfectly in the solid, outside portion of the standard galvanized minnow bucket, the larger one will work in a plastic 5-gallon bucket. I saw Jake Hartwick, at one of the GPAA Gold Prospector shows, using the standard classifier made from a pan, classifying into a plastic bucket. The only thing Jake overlooked was one of the first lessons taught by the GPAA & LDMA, the hydraulic force of water. Jake was classifying dry into his 5 gal. bucket! If you keep your minnow, or 5 gal. bucket filled to the top, your material will wash through much faster and leave the larger rocks, etc. in your classifier, cleaned of any heavies that may have been clinging to them. You can classifying much more material and faster, but don't forget to check your screen before tossing that material back, you may be pitching back the largest nugget you never found!
5. Tracking gold by Mark Naylor, California: I have found that by placing a piece of conveyor belt as your top mat on your dredge you will increase your fine gold recovery. You can find different kinds of conveyor belts at industrial supply stores. You will note the fine intricate grooves and holes in the rubber that will trap almost all your fine gold. It also makes it readily visible which allows you to track were the gold is coming from.
6. Underwater Viewer by Roy Madewell, California: I use what I call a "periscope" to look under the water and check out the cracks and crevices. I made mine from a foot long piece of 3" ABS and siliconed a piece of plexiglass between the pipe and a union and cut almost all of the other half of the union off. I left about 3/8" of an inch on the union to protect the plexi from getting scratched whenever I set it down and used a round file to make several channels around this rim. These channels allow any air to escape from under the rim when you set it in the water and offer a clear view of the bottom and keep air from building up when looking in the white water around rocks. I'm going to make another one of these using 1 1/2" or 2" PVC pipe for use in real shallow cracks since I ALWAYS seem to find a crevice that is too small or shallow to use the larger one. I think that keeping the length down to 12" for the larger pipe is probably wise since the deeper you plunge it into the water the more your fighting it from trying to float away. Also if you keep the length down on the larger pipe you can use both eyes when looking into it and have much greater depth perception. I'll probably keep the smaller version down to around 18" long to prevent the feeling of looking down a garden hose and make it fit with my pry bars in the upper compartment of my pack.
7. Expanded Metal by Chuck Alldrin, California: Home Base has a diamond lathe used for plasterwork. It is very light weight and works great to recover fine gold. I use it under the riffles and over the carpet. You can get a sheet approx. 2'x 8' for $2.98. This is plenty to do several projects and give the extra away.
8. Digging Trowel by Chuck Alldrin, California: I bent the "heck" out of several cheap trowels and finally found a good CHEAP tool. Wal-Mart has a Corona # CT 3020 Red padded handle trowel for $4.97. It is made in the USA and has a LIFETIME warranty. It looks like it might be forged. It is tough and if it bends or breaks it will be replaced "free."
9. Panning Tubs by Rich Downing, California: I use the blue food grade barrels (plastic) approx. 55 gal. I cut these with a skill saw about 8 to 10 inches tall. You get two out of a barrel if you find them with the caps in place. I use them for panning out the cleaning's from my sluice at my camp site or at home. I generally pay five dollars per barrel.
---> Jack Hipp, Oregon: I also use the blue 55 gal. Food-grade plastic barrels, but instead I cut them lengthwise and have 2 very good panning troughs for several to use at once, or use one for the discharge of my "pooptube" classifier and the other for a source of clean water for the operation. Supported on 2 2x4's they are also very easy to clean out and can be drained with the 2 caps.
10. Sluice Cleanup by Rich Downing, California: I have found that the produce drawers from old refrigerators work well for getting everything out of the sluice on my dredge. Just find one that is slightly wider than the end of your sluice.
11. Riffle Material by Spyder, Oregon: In the sewing/crafts department of the local Walmart or similar department stores you can find a material I believe is called crochet canvas or something to that effect. Essentially, it is a 12 inch square piece of Plastic screen which fits nicely between the carpet and riffles of a sluice box. It greatly increases the recovery of fine gold.
12. Flood Gold by Dennis Krupnak, California: After a heavy rain, test pan the side streams that form off the main stream channel. Many are just small diversions that flow back into the main stream. They are often good sites for fine flood gold, which will be close to the surface. The best concentrations are usually at the point where the branch first leaves the main stream, but be sure to test farther down also.
13. Bedrock by Dave Peck, Nevada: I have been gold dredging the past several years, and have found myself in public areas that have been dredged many times before. I had spoken to an older couple that had been doing this for quite sometime, and they told me something interesting. They explained to me that in the late summer in the drier season, the bedrock dries and shrinks, creating pockets, cracks, and crevices. In the wetter season, the rush of water moving material down stream fills these areas, and as the clay absorbs the water, it swells, thus closing the cracks and pockets. This last summer, I was in a area that had a lot of bedrock that had been cleaned very well by others. I thought I'd give it a try, so I took a crowbar and screwdriver and pried the bedrock apart (it came apart in sheets), and there between the bedrock sheets was gold, sometimes one to two feet below the surface of the bedrock. I hadn't thought of it before I was told, so just thought I'd let others know.
14. Classifier by Brian Benn, California Another idea for a classifying screen was given to me by a guy named Henry. He is a great prospector. He goes to Alaska with the GPAA and used to pal around with the Buzzard. Anyway, all you do is get a 4-inch long piece of plastic pipe (PVC) or a section of a plastic bucket. Cut some hardware cloth of whatever mesh you want to the same diameter as your plastic pipe. Heat the bottom end of the pipe on an old hot plate or wood stove. When the plastic starts to melt, take it off and set it on the wire cloth. The plastic will solidify and "weld" the screen to the bottom of the pipe. Large diameter PVC (8 to 12 inch) works good. The thicker the pipe wall, the better. Scrap pipe can be found at construction sites and scrap bins around industrial sites.
15. Highbanker by Brian Benn, California: Henry also has a unique highbanker design in that it has no riffles, just carpet. It's like a beach box. The larger rocks that make it through the grizzly clear off the sluice really fast so he can feed it faster. He might lose some gold but I think he figures that if he loses 10% but feeds 25% more material he'll come out ahead. It seems to work too.
16. Cement Mixer by Loren Baldwin, Arizona: Here in Arizona, we have a lot of gold bearing clay & caliche that I separate using a small cement mixer, a couple of small barrels, some PVC (to connect the barrels) and a small bilge pump (500 gph). Basically all that I do is put a few shovelfulls of dirt in the mixer, fill it with water, start the mixer, and recirculate the water. All (or most) of the light material runs out of the mixer into the first barrel, the water transfers into the second barrel, and is recirculated with the pump. This method should work for moss also.
17. Classifier by Ron Watson, Washington: The simplest and cheapest classifier I've found is to take a plastic bucket and drill holes in it, the size is personal preference. You should pick a bucket that fits freely into your other buckets to make it easier to twist back and forth during the classification process.
18. Clean Up Tub by Joanne, Greg and Azu Dueck, Canada: I have found the black Rubbermaid agricultural tubs to be excellent for cleaning out a large sluice or dredge and working concentrates. I found mine at a Co-Op store but the building supply stores probably have them too. They are strong enough to drag around over uneven ground when full of material and water. They are fairly pricey but have a number of great features:
· Heavy construction with cross braces underneath · Heavy, large, curl over rim for a full grip all the way around. Strong enough to drill and put rope handles/attachments on. · For large dredges, they will hold all the cons and still float to the shore (carefully) once you empty some of the water out. Dredgers can use rope attachments to hold the unit in place while doing a clean up so that it won't sink and frees up another set of hands. · Large enough to properly shake out those 'golden' mats. · Range of sizes from (30 and 50 gallon seem to be a good medium size) · For cleaning cons it is large enough for two people to pan into and keep the overpan material in one spot. Also, large enough to comfortably screen your material. · Large and sturdy enough to set up you clean-up concentrator inside with overflow buckets etc.
I'm sure there are other brands and varieties out there, look around and pick one for your needs. These larger tubs are great for the larger operations or working the cons at home but are definitely not for everyone even though the weight really isn't bad for the size and uses.
Obviously, panning is a back breaking experience! This is exactly why ingenious prospectors developed sluices, dredges, rocker boxes, and the like. These guys could shovel tons of earth per week, and extracted quite a bit of gold. Early 49ers came up with some serious technology, and while this equipment all works quite well, it still involves lots of effort and had many other shortcomings. Certainly, their massive erosion-causing hydraulic spray hoses would never be allowed to operate today, and while mercury does a great job of binding to and collecting gold, it caused horrific problems with heavy metal poisoning of fish, birds, and people dependent on the watershed. Unfortunately, the Great California Gold Rush of the 19th century continues to have lasting, deleterious effects even today.
So what is the answer to finding large amounts of gold today without breaking any environmental regulations or needing permits? Nugget shooting is an all encompassing term used to describe the lazy man's and environmentally friendly way of prospecting. Instead of spending hours and hours panning or dredging for little, tiny bits of flakes, the nugget shooter goes home completely empty-handed quite often. However, once the nugget shooter makes his find, it is usually substantial. Most commercial gold produced is from chemical extraction of crushed ore, and natural nuggets are actually fairly rare. While gold is usually around $300 an ounce or so, a gold nugget can fetch many times as much to a collector or jeweler in its natural form. Don't believe me? Visit a website that sells them.
Nugget shooting involves one of two things:
1. Metal Detecting. Surely, if you live in an active or inactive mining area, you've seen the mine tailings. Extraction techniques during the 19th century and even well into the 20th century were very crude. Amazingly, for all the hard work these early miners spent every day, they left a surprising amount of of gold and silver in their waste piles. Today's mines employ cyanide and get up to a 99% recovery rate, but if you can work a few of these early ones with your detector, you'll probably do pretty well. I would also recommend the roads leading up to, and then the rest of the area surrounding them.
HINT: If you are serious about focusing on gold, then don't short yourself by buying an all-purpose detector. Sure you'll still find the big ounce-sized nuggets, but you'll also miss the much more numerous small ones that a good gold detector would easily locate. The other reason, is because most gold detectors have ground balancing which is essential around mining areas where there may be lots of hot rock.
- Metal Detector Designed For Gold - Digging trowel - Small Pick Axe - Water
2. Sniping. Believe it or not, this is nothing more than using a periscope or snorkel. Sniping is nothing more than what the word means to an infantryman - locating targets of opportunity. Gold is generally the heaviest material washing down a river, so it gets trapped behind boulders, in cracks, and bedrock. Since gold doesn't ever oxidize and is always noticeably shiny, you really can see it on the river bottom. Believe me though, this requires a lot of time, but when you find a natural nugget with your own eyes, there is nothing like it. I will admit though, after I do this for a while and don't find anything right away, I'll fill up a canvas bucket with earth that I dug out from behind boulders, crevices, and underneath bedrock in the river and then bring it to shore to pan out. I've recovered a few flakes this way.
- Homemade periscope or mask with snorkel - 35mm Camera Film jar to store nuggets - Small Crowbar with dummy cord - Soup ladle with bent (45o) handle or small shovel to scoop up dirt in likely spots - Heavy pair of tweezers - Sniffer Bottle - Gold Pan
Interested? To give you a hand, here's instructions on how to build an underwater periscope that a good friend of mine sent me:
1. Buy yourself a black, 4" PVC sewer pipe. The reason why it needs to be black is because the gold will literally light up inside of it. White is brighter than gold, so it would be harder to see.
2. Cut your tube as long as you like. This may require a little trial and error, so start long and bring your hack saw with you to your first outing. Keep in mind that you will want to be able to see your hand grasp a nugget on the bottom - while you are still breathing above the surface. Of course, this is unless you also have a mask to occasionally submerge with, so its all up to your preference.
3. Rub sandpaper inside the tube. Sewer pipe is usually really shiny, and since we don't want any extra reflections to distract our attention, it is really worthwhile to make the inside dull.
4. Purchase two big handles for both sides of the tube. Flexible, rubber handles or small furniture handles aren't suitable for the task. You need to get large and sturdy handles to keep your periscope steady against a strong current. Place one near the very top of the tube to keep it firm against your face, and the other halfway towards the bottom to steer it. Drill holes through the pipe to affix the handles, and then use silicone to seal. Next, tie off a dummy cord to the handle so you you wont be chasing your new periscope down the stream.
5. While you still have your drill out, make several holes about 1/2"- 1" down from the rim of the top of the tube. Then, find some old rags or rubber foam and lace cord around it and through your new holes. This makes for a nice, soft viewpiece to rest your face on while you look for nuggets.
6. Finally, pay a visit to a professional glass cutter and have them cut you a viewing glass (and a couple replacements) for the bottom of the tube. Next, wipe the glass really well with ammonia glass cleaner, and use your high quality silicone or caulk to attach it (Note: You'll be sorry if you use the generic stuff - take it from a cheapskate who had a bad day! Use the most expensive silicone or caulk you can find). First, lay a thin line down on the edge of the glass and lay it down on the tube. Next, spread your adhesive around the side where the glass meets the plastic. Finally, once your adhesive has dried, put some one the inside of the tube where the the glass meets the plastic.
When you use your periscope, try not to get the inside of the tube wet, since the beads will block some of the view. The fix for this, of course is to glue another piece of glass in close to the top, but would only work if you had it totally air tight. More power to you though.
Good luck in your gold quest, and I hope these articles helped!