Gold prospecting is the act of going equipped to find gold in rocks or in stream beds with a view to exploiting that discovery. Up until the 20th century, gold prospecting was undertaken with the intent of securing and area to be worked exclusively. In the 20th and 21st centuries it is more commonly used to describe recreational gold hunting , especially in streams and usually on the basis of no given authority (although there are exceptions).
Here is a detailed aticle discussing Gold Prospecting in the United States of America.
Gold prospecting has been seen in many parts of the world including New Zealand especially in Otago, Australia, South Africa, Wales at Dolaucothi and in Gwynedd, in Canada and in the USA especially in California but also elsewhere. The Department of Agriculture in the USA is now of the view that recreational gold panning and gold prospecting in the general national forest areas, is permitted provided that no machinery is used.
In the UK, gold prospecting can only take place with the explicit permission of the Riparian owner and, even with such permission any activities that cause or permit pollution of a watercourse, even with re-suspended silt, could result in a criminal prosecution by the Environment Agency.
Gold lodes and placer gold in the USA and potential gold prospecting sites extends from near Montgomery, Alabama to Washington D.C..North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Alabama have many gold mines and prospecting sites. These states were the main source of gold for 45 years before the California gold discovery. The largest true California gold nugget weighed 54 pounds troy (20 kg). A 195 pound troy (73 kg) mass was also found.
Successful gold prospecting is based on knowing where gold has been found in the past. Gold prospecting and panning is said to be the USAs fastest growing outdoor recreation. It is also popular in Otago.
Some people like to pan for gold at public rights of way where bridges cross gold-bearing streams. All one needs to pan for gold is a shovel, an old dishpan or an inexpensive gold pan, a magnifying glass, a pair of tweezers and a small plastic vial in which to put your gold and a great deal of patience. Gold pans are found at hardware stores, metal detector stores, rock shops and hobby shops in areas where gold panning is popular. Patience you learn.
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