Residual Gold Deposits

Residual Gold Deposits

A Residual Gold Deposit is that which lies in the immediate vicinity of the source rock /mother lode. Generally speaking the mother lode would have been on a hillside or up on a sloped mountain and the residual gold would have fallen slightly downhill from this location through the forces of gravity and rock weathering only. The gold contained here will usually be high in quantity (depending on what erosive actions have occurred) and contain the strange angular and string-like shapes of the quartz to which it was originally attached.

Below you can see an image from the mother lode, it still has the quartz attached –

 

residual gold - Crystalline nugget & Quartz

residual gold - Crystalline nugget & Quartz

Here is an image of Residual Gold that has broken away from the mother lode. You can see that it still has the characteristic shapes from where the quartz would once have been, but is now long eroded and only the gold remains –

residual gold - crystalline gold

residual gold - crystalline gold

 

The closer you get to the mother lode the higher the quantity of gold there should be. Expert gold prospectors can find these residual gold deposits by working backwards and taking test pans up a river system and finding gold in ever increasing quantities. Once the gold begins to get smaller (or sometimes it may cease altogether) it is fairly safe to say that you have passed the mother lode and it was at one time perpendicular to your current location (at 90 degrees to the river). If you have the equipment available it may be worth your while (and curiosity) to begin taking samples from the river edges around these areas. Always take note of the results of each test pan, otherwise you have learned no valuable information – an empty test pan is still worthwhile information.

This gold will continue to work its way downhill until it eventually reaches a river system, it then becomes Alluvial Gold.

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