Prospecting Tools

Prospecting tools are the most important things that you need to get started on your prospecting hobby. Like in any commercial activity, you cannot get too far without the right equipment. When you are making the effort to go all the way out there to pursue your hobby, the right prospecting tools can make all the difference between a fulfilling trip and a waste of time. From simple to the most complex, here's a look at prospecting tools that aid your search for that elusive El Dorado.

Gold Pan
For centuries, the gold pan has been the most important, common and useful tool to help find gold in a particular area. These plastic, steel or tin-based pans are just like soup-plates, allowing you to scoop up a bit of earth, wash off the loose debris and allow the gold to settle down. These pans are around 10 to 14 inches in diameter and have ribbed sides to catch the gold dust as it settles down in the pan.

These gold pans have been used, as prospecting tools, since time immemorial and even today, they are as effective as ever. However, don't go thinking that you will find large nuggets in there because the most common thing that you will probably find is gold dust, which is good only to keep for keep's sake.

Sluice Box
The next thing on the progression ladder, of prospecting tools, is a sluice box. The box is nothing but a glorified gold pan, with a different shape but the same concept. The box is a long version of the gold pan, which has an opening to let the water in, riffles to hold onto the gold dust and bits, and an outlet to let the debris and unwanted stuff out.

There are powered and non-powered sluice boxes - two styles that make a slight difference to the way you use the sluice box. The powered version has a motor that pumps water to the sluice box kept on the banks of the water, not in the water. The pump takes the water from the source and passes it through the box. That is also known as a high-banker!

The only difference in the high-banker or the powered sluice box is that a water jet is used to spray down the smaller gravel.

Dredging
This is, effectively, the process of sucking up the gravel from the river bed or from the bottom of a creek, before passing it through a sluice box. The concept is quite similar to vacuuming, where gravel is sucked up through a trailing mouth/inlet that scrapes along the bottom. The concept is almost similar to that of the high-banker.

The difference is only that while the high-banker's suction pipe sucks in water from the source, the dredger scrapes the bottom of the water source and sucks up gravel from there. Thereafter, once the gravel lands onto the sluice box, the remaining process remains exactly the same as a high-banker.

Metal Detection
A relatively simpler way of looking for gold, metal detectors aren't truly prospecting tools in the true sense of the word. The fact that they are sensitive to all metals, and not just gold, makes them extremely ineffective when searching for gold. However, if you are a regular user of metal detectors and can differentiate between the different kinds of feedback you get, you should be able to make it worth your while.

Metal detectors are available easily and, in some cases, can also be made on your own. That makes them a wonderful craft project for children as well. If you are looking to search for gold on land, then you can try out one of the many metal detector models available on the market. Depending on how powerful you metal detector is, the chances of you probing deeper below the ground improve.

All these prospecting tools are relatively simple, in principle and are meant for just one thing -determining the prospect of finding gold in a particular area. Most of them haven't changed at all since the first day they were used. That is a symbol of how perfect they are for what they are meant to do.

There are few other things like gum boots, overalls or gloves that you can, if you choose, use. While not entirely essential, these can be quite handy when it comes to handling the wild outdoors. There might poisonous snakes and spiders out there so you need to make sure that you have all the safety precautions you might need

Using these prospecting tools is also quite simple because it doesn't really require us to do anything. All we need to do is let water do the work! As the gold, which has heavier density, sinks to the bottom of the water, it gets caught in the groves, strains or riffles built into the gold pans and sluice boxes.

As long as you take care of them and put them to good use, you'll find prospecting tools to last a lifetime!

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