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When you pan for gold, one of the biggest factors involved can be said to be luck. Rather like gambling, there are no sure ways to strike gold. However, there are a few precautions you can take to maximise your chances of hitting gold.
The first thing to do is to choose your location. Find information on areas that have already been mined for gold. Although the main bulk of the gold will be gone, there will still be some remnants left.
Certain streams and rivers in areas of California are still excellent places to pan for gold. Alaskan rivers are also said to be very good places to pan for gold. The gold rush may be over, but you can still strike it lucky in certain areas.
The next thing to do is to perfect your gold panning technique. The only tool you need to pan for gold is a good pan, usually a ridged pan made from metal or plastic. Once you have chosen your stretch of water, pick about four handfuls of material from the stream bed. Gold is much heavier than normal rocks and tends to become stuck in the sediment.
The gold will not move about much on the river bed because of its weight. It also tends to become stuck in the crevices of wood or large rocks. Once you have your material in the pan, place the pan in the water and move it in a circular motion. The lighter rocks and mud will be washed away from the pan and the heavier rocks will be left behind. Repeat this motion until about half of the material in the pan has been removed.
Bring your pan out of the water and begin to repeat the swirling motion. Tip the pan so that rocks and heavier flakes are caught in the ridges of the pan. You can also buy small pipes that can be used to spray water into the pan. This can help separate any rocks, nuggets or flakes from the sediment that is left in the pan.
When you pan for gold, it is important to keep a watchful eye. Tiny nuggets or flakes of gold may easily slip past your eye. On their own, they are not too valuable, but if you can collect a small amount, they may hold some value. Patience is also a virtue when you pan for gold. You may have to pan for hours before you hit anything of value.
There is a great amount of fun to be had when you pan for gold. Many website and travel agents arrange for gold panning holidays where you can not only pan for gold, but also visit old mining sites. There are also gold museums and historical tours of old gold rush sites. There are still fortunes to be made panning for gold, and best of all, it is a hobby anyone can take up with hardly any investment.
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