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Finding Treasures: Gold, Gems, and Fossils

Updated on January 7, 2015

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Finding Treasures: Gold, Gems, and Fossils

There are quite a few mines and quarries where people can find their own treasures. Some make it easy by packaging the mining dirt for washing at a flume. Others allow treasure seekers to dig for their gems, metals, or fossils. Still others will rent panning equipment for gold hunters. Some rent tools, others require that you bring your own. Whether it is gold, geodes, gemstones, or fossils you can probably find a place to mine your own.

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Why Do Mines Allow You to Search and Keep

One reason some mines allow personal mining is they offer a service of cutting and faceting the gemstones. Rough stones are much less valuable than cut and polished stones. So, they allow individuals to fine their own stones for a relatively small fee, then charge to make the stones into something useful.

Geodes

Geodes are usually round or triangular in shape. They are rocks that hide beautiful mineral deposits within, and many have one or more hollow cavities. They often form near volcanoes. A

Gold

Gold is usually found by panning. Gold often is excavated by nature from mountains and washed along a stream. Because of its density, gold will settle near the bottom of a pan when water and river bottom materials are scooped together and sloshed. As the sand is splashed out of the pan, the bright flash of the gold makes it easy to find and remove.

Smoky Mountain Gems

The mountains in North Carolina often contain sapphires, rubies, emeralds, garnets, amethyst, and other stones of desirable minerals. In this region the technique often used is to allow the public to purchase bags or buckets of dirt and sit at a flume to wash away the sand. The stones are then identified by employees, and it is at this point that the sales pitch to cut and set the stones is made.

Fossils

Fossils are often encased in rocks. Their presence makes a weakness in the plane the rock will break, so using the right tools will cause the fossil to be revealed. Whether the fossil is an imprint, the object itself, or a petrified version of what once was, it is likely to be collectible.

In petrified imprints the object that once was has been replaced with a mineral deposit that solidifies giving the appearance of the original object.

Fossils often occur in areas that were once favorable for preserving them. So, look for fossils where they are known to occur.

Diamonds

In Murfreesburo, Arkansas is located a very unique place to find diamonds, a State Park. In most State Parks you would not be allowed to take anything, but in Arkansas at Crater of Diamonds State Park, for a fee, you can hunt for diamonds.

Metal Detectors

Metal detectors can assist with locating gold or copper deposits. These metals can occur in ores in large enough concentrations, such as a gold nugget, that they can cause a response from a metal detector. But, metal detectors are useless on gemstones.

An inductor, a coil of wire, can concentrate a changing magnetic field, created by alternating current. Magnetic field changes can cause a current to flow in a conductor, which causes a new magnetic field to be created. This new magnetic field causes a current change in the inductor. So, sending a magnetic field into a conductor causes electrical current, which creates another magnetic field that is detected by the inductor as a change of current. The greater the number of loops of wire, the greater the magnetic field sent into the metal, and the greater response of the inductor to the magnetic field the conductor causes.

Use the Correct Tools

Fossils are often encased in rocks. Their presence makes a weakness in the plane the rock will break, so using the right tools will cause the fossil to be revealed. Whether the fossil is an imprint, the object itself, or a petrified version of what once was, it is likely to be collectible.

In petrified imprints the object that once was has been replaced with a mineral deposit that solidifies giving the appearance of the original object.

Fossils often occur in areas that were once favorable for preserving them. So, look for fossils where they are known to occur.

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    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 5 years ago from Connecticut

      Very interesting and a fun lens! I'm always ready for a treasure hunt, and I've found a few small fossil shells. Most 'treasure' finds are more contemporary including old coins and bottles. The fun is in the hunt!

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 5 years ago

      Very interesting lens! A few years ago I found a small diamond embedded in a chunk of kimberlite near a local extinct volcano.

    • profile image

      ladykida 5 years ago

      ha! i missed 2 of the quiz questions, lol!

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      A great lens, loved the questions since they educated me as I went. I had a rock collection as a kid and I still am fascinated by them (love the colored gems the most . . like sapphires).

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Interesting! Nice lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Oh what fun, I'm ready to go treasure hunting!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Fascinating! I always wanted to try treasure hunting, and was only put off it, because it seems there are so few places where one is permitted to do it locally!

      I did find my own special treasure once though! I lost my wedding ring, nowhere could it be found, I looked everywhere, inside and out. Then a year later I was removing the old content from a planter, ready to add fresh soil and new plants. I tipped it over to get the old out, and there I found embedded in the soil and roots, my ring!

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      Lovely lens - a treasure in itself.