Rivers – Skim-Bars – Placer Gold Deposits
One of the most notable things about Skim-Bar Placer gold Deposits is that they form on the top surface of gravel bars, as opposed to coarser gold, where the weight of the gold particles allows the gold to settle down on or near bedrock. This means you are likely to find that the majority of the placer gold on a skim bar is fine to very fine / flour gold; but lots of it as a placer deposit zone.
In the United States, a 400-mile stretch of the Snake River in western Wyoming and southern Idaho has skim bars that have been intermittently worked since about 1860. At first, transient miners using rockers and simply sluice techniques, focusing on the richest spots, and some of those prospectors did very well. Inevitably dredges and larger wash plants of more ambitious mining focused on these skim bar regions as well. Once those initial pay streaks were cleaned up by the larger mining operations, commercial dredge mining in that region was not viable. There are those today that feel given the nature of replenishing flood gold, suction dredge operations may still be considered by some – of course, getting state approval to do so is another whole challenge.
Many of the rivers across North America, and for that matter, many countries around the world, have skim bars within their watercourses. Being familiar with what a skim bar is, and how to best approach it for gold prospecting can make a huge difference in one’s measure of successes. Of course, with all flood gold deposits, while attractive to many small-scale miners and recreational prospectors, flood gold deposits typically do not represent a viable opportunity for commercial mining endeavours.
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