How to pan for gold
Common gold questions

How to pan for gold

A simple guide that explains the basics of panning for gold.

For the hobbyist seeking to get their hands on real gold and get some exercise in the outdoors, panning for gold is a wonderful new hobby.  The equipment required to pan for gold is relatively inexpensive and easy to operate.  While gold panning is certainly not the fastest way to find your fortune in gold, it is a time honored tradition that can offer substantial returns for the diligent hobbyist.

The object when panning for gold is to locate a placer deposit.  A placer deposit refers to gold particles and nuggets that have been deposited by the force of moving water.  When a stream is at flood stage, the immense amount of water and the velocity at which it moves can cause small pieces of gold to be caught in the current.  This gold then travels downstream with the water until it drops out of the solution as the water slows as it encounter obstacles.  For this reason, placer deposits are most commonly found near large rocks or at bends in the stream.

To pan for gold, one needs to fill their pan with sand and then dip the pan into the stream to fill it with water.  Gently mix the water and sand with your hand to allow the gold to start sifting it's way to the bottom of the pan. 

Now, holding the pan with both hands, swirl it around in a circular motion to allow the centrifugal force to push some of the water and lighter materials out of the pan.  You can also hold the pan slightly below the surface of the moving water of the stream as you gently shake the pan to allow the lighter materials to be forced out.

After all the debris is sifted out of the pan, pick through what is left to find any gold dust, flakes or nuggets that may be in the bottom of the pan.

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