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How To pan for gold for beginners

Updated on February 3, 2011

There are several different ways to pan for gold.With the current economy, you may want to consider panning for gold, or you may just want to do it for fun. Utah, Alaska, Arizona, and Texas are said to be rich in gold. With an atomic number of 79, gold is something people have killed over, or died for. Gold has been traded through history. If you are thinking about digging for gold as a hobby, I will suggest that you do some research on where to find it in your current city, unless you decide you want to travel.

Remember, before you pan for gold, you want to do some research on the land, and see who the owner is. After you find the owner, get written permission to look for gold on their land. Now, it is time for the fun stuff. Before you go out, you need to choose the right pans. The color of your gold pan is important. Green is considered the best color as it not only shows gold well but also the blacks sands that one is attempting to separate from the gold. A 14” gold pan is about the right size for most adults, while most children would probably be better served with a 10” gold pan. Your gold pan will have riffles.

Once you have the pan, and the spot picked out for panning, chose a bucket or an old tub that is large enough for your gold pan, are going to and put a scoop of dirt and rocks into it. Fill your container about a quarter full of material, and then cover with water. You don’t want your container full of water; leave some space to work with.

There are lots of ways to pan, but all that is important is getting rid of that sand and gravel while keeping those sample pieces. Submerge the pan just below the surface of the water, and allow the water to soak into the material. It may be necessary to stir the material up somewhat to wet all the material in to pan. Then swish the pan vigorously side to side and front to rear, all the while keeping it just under the water and basically level.

The goal is to get all the material in the pan moving vigorously and very soupy. The gold or lead is heavier than an equal size piece of sand, and so with all the material moving around the heavy pieces will quickly sink to the bottom of the pan. The next step involves taking the pan of material and tilting it forward, away from the pan, and scooping some water up out of the tub. Scoop the pan into the water and then lift the pan while tossing the water away. The water should ride up the tilted pan, and then as the water flows back out of the pan it will carry some material out with it.

Then the pan goes back to the level/submerged position for another round of vigorous swishing. Then back up, tilt forward, and scoop/wash the material. Repeat this over and over again. Your gold will have settled to the bottom of your pan. If you have a piece, use a pair of tweezers and a small vile with water, place your gold into this container.

People have actually found loads of gold using these methods. Panning for gold is becoming more popular these days. It is estimated that only 15% of gold was found during the gold rush. Gold often stops moving when it encounters slow moving water. River beds are some of the best places to find gold.


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