By Greg Mulac
If you live on the North Eastern coast of the US in an area that does not have natural gold deposits, probably the best chance you have to pan gold is in areas where the glaciers dumped their trash. Well, back to “some trash is other people’s treasure,” and that’s what we have with what the glaciers dumped on us. It can give you a chance to try out the gold prospecting hobby near your home before venturing off to a gold bearing region.
In southwestern PA and Eastern Ohio we have an opportunity to go looking for these glacial deposits that are known to contain Fine Gold, Raw Diamonds and small Platinum. All of these are very fun and profitable to find.
How did it get here? Well it really did not have a choice. It was pushed with an unimaginable force from Canada and then dumped in our backyard. In this area we were impacted by at least 3 main glacial periods. The Wisconsian, Illinoian and the Kansan periods came through and left us some fine gold to play with. Most of these 3 periods had numerous advances and retreats, so the maps will give a better idea of where to look.
The best place I have found to get good information and maps is from the US government. They have a great map and information booklets available on there pa web site. It can be found at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/topogeo/pub/onlinepubs.aspx
Make sure to look around while your there and download and print the books and maps that interest you. The Pennsylvania Glacial Deposit map can be found at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/topogeo/maps/map59.pdf
The only difference in finding the gold compared to areas that have natural gold deposits is you will probably be dealing with smaller creeks and streams so dredging becomes a “do the best you can under the circumstances.” In looking for the gold in the Glacial areas I have not found much in the grey clay, most is found in the area about an inch from the top of the clay. In looking for a good spot while test panning, the black sand is still the best indicator.
The benefit to those Glaciers dumping their till on us is for those of us that call this home, we get to pan for gold with out having to run off to California or Alaska. If you start your gold prospecting adventures with fine gold, you will become one of the best at recovering any type of gold. When you can pan the concentrate down and recover the fine gold and Black magnetic sand, just imagine how easy it will be for you when you get to a spot that has nuggets that you can pick up with your fingers!