Find Gold in Michigan
As children, you searched for gold in our backyards and played in the local creek with a pan. Panning for gold in Michigan and digging for gold does not have to be a sport for children with a bit of imagination. The United States, in particular, Michigan, is covered with gold, waiting for the right person to find it.
Armature gold mining is not the easiest way to get gold, but it is a fun way to spend a weekend. It is also a good way to make a bit of money if you go into the experience prepared and with the patience to seek out the right spot to start your dig. There are many things you should know about gold mining before you start.
The History of Gold Mining
Gold mining has been a part of the United States since almost the beginning of the country. The California gold rush brought gold mining in the United States to a new level of interest. The gold production of the country increased in the country and continued to spread through the discovery of many low-grade deposits around the country.
Michigan was one of many states to find deposits of gold. The mining of gold did not fully start until the 1880s, with the opening of several underground tunnels. While most states have some measure of gold in their soil, Michigan’s discovery of gold resulted in the opening of several companies.
Where to Find Gold in Michigan
Understanding the geology of the state is a start to knowing where to look for god. Gold occurs naturally with other types of minerals like quartz. Gold is found in three different places in Michigan:
Locating gold in and around bedrock is one of the first things new prospectors do as it is the easiest way to locate it. Gold found in bedrock is easy to collect with little equipment. The gold you collect will not be the large chunks, but with the pocket, you can takeout pennyweights to ounces of trapped gold.
Sediment has many different types of soils and rocks in which gold is located. Gold will wash downstream during storms as it is pushed to the surface during a storm. It will flow down waterways and deposit itself in the soil and clay of streambeds.
Gold deposited into streambeds can be found through sifting through the soil to look for the chunks that came downstream. It takes time and patience to sift through the soil and find the chunks.
3. Placer Deposit
Mining with larger equipment can uncover large deposits to be mined. These require more work to extract as the gold is in deep pockets that require mining equipment to dig out the natural deposit. It is similar to coal mining, with the creation of a shaft in the ground to extract the gold.
Gold Deposits in Michigan
Placer gold is found throughout Michigan. Any stream in Michigan has the potential to have gold in it because of the glaciers that once sat on the land. Multiple counties have rivers where gold has been and can be found, including:
- Marquette: Marquette country has placer gold prospects from glacial deposits. Marquette county is a very prolific site for gold, especially near the Ropes Gold Mine.
- Antrim: The Antrim River can provide gold nuggets that are not small.
- Boyne: Boyne River: Placer gold deposits are located in shallow gravels.
- Eaton: The Grand River, the longest river in Michigan, has deposits throughout its length.
- Emmet: The Little Traverse Creek has deposits up and down its length.
- Jackson: The grand river runs through this country.
- Ingam: The Grand River runs throughout this country.
- Kalkaska: The Rapid River has gravel bars in its middle that can be panned for gold.
- Kent: The country of Kent has Ada Creek. Ada creek has gravel bars with placer gold deposits in its length. There are also glacial moraines, which produce gold through panning.
- Leelanau: Lake Leelanau has gravels along with its shore and pacer gold deposits along its lengths.
- Manistee: Manistee River has gold deposits from gravel bars.
- Montcalm: The Flat River in Montcalm has the Victoria Copper Mine, which produces deposits of placer gold.
- Muskegon: The White River has pacer deposits with gold in some of the deposits.
- Newaygo: The Muskegon River has placer gold in gravel deposits that are exposed along its diagonal length.
In these counties, multiple deposits have been located and are monitored for activity. Almost any of the rivers in Michigan can provide a fair amount of prospected gold. It is always good to research an area properly for all the possible place gold can be panned for. Also, proper permits are required for placer mining in these riverbeds.
The great lakes, in particular, Lake Superior has had gold found in and around its shores. You should research the various closed mines in the area to find the best spots for deposits and material that has run downstream.
How to prepare to find gold in Michigan
Planning for gold in Michigan requires you to have the right supplies, though people do get lucky and are just able to pick it up off the ground in some areas. If you want to get started, there are a few things you need to look into.
Gold Prospecting Equipment
- Gold Pan: A gold pan is the standard equipment for many prospectors. Panning by hand is one of the main tools used for gold prospecting. It makes the sifting of soil for gold flakes or nuggets simple to find. Don’t want to buy one? Learn how to make a gold pan.
- Shovel: A shovel or any other tool for digging into a soil bed. A shovel is also good for larger deposits. It is advisable not to undercut any streams you prospect as it can damage the streams permanently. Check out the best folding shovels.
Where to Go
Where to find gold in Michigan is to look for where gold deposits might be, look for where glaciers once sat or passed through the state. During the ice age, many glaciers brought deposits of gold through the state as they made their march throughout the state, while prospecting is allowed in some areas of the state because of fishing restrictions or other environmental reasons.
The Upper Peninsula, the shore of Lake Superior, and Lake Michigan beach gold are everywhere. They have high amounts of gold for recreational prospectors. Any of the great lakes and some of the streams in the national forest offer terrific prospects for gold hunting.
Particular rivers in Michigan have greater amounts of gold that can be mined that others. The Grand River, the longest river in the state, is an excellent place to start prospecting as it makes for a quick or convenient session. Ionia and the Portland State Game Area are particularly good for new prospectors.
Know the Laws and Regulations
The Department of Natural Resources in Michigan requires prospectors to obtain permission to prospect. The practice of prospecting for gold is recreational for most people and is monitored for the protection of habitats and the natural resources of the area.
There are also limits to the amount of gold that can be prospected every year. Power sluicing is not allowed in Michigan as it does too much damage.
Did you find real gold?
Planning for gold in Michigan is also knowing what you are looking for. You do not want to end up with “fools gold” or Pyrite. When you find your first gold identifying what you have found is important. There are several things to look for when making the call for pyrite or gold.
- Pyrite is shinier than regular gold. It will glisten in the sun and have sharply defined aspects, which shift in the sunlight. You can also place the stones in the dark as the shine disappears. If there is no shine when the stone is placed in the dark, then it is pyrite.
- Pyrite is a very firm metal harder than copper or gold. If you can scratch the material you have collected, then it is not gold. You can use a copper penny minted before 1982 or a pin to test this.
- True gold leaves a yellow mark if it is rubbed against white porcelain. If you have pyrite, the mark you make will be a greenish sheen when rubbed against the porcelain.
- The appearance of true gold is more rounded than pyrite. Pyrite has angles and deeper fissures from the angles.
- If you have a particularly strong sense of smell than it can help you identify true gold over pyrite, pyrite can smell of sulfur, which is a rotting egg smell. Gold does not smell like anything/.
- If you are still unable to tell the difference, you can use a metal detector to identify which of the materials you have. Gold is not a mineral as it pyrite, so a metal detector will not work with it if it is pyrite.
How to Pan for Gold
Panning for gold is a good way to start your gold hunt. There is plenty of gold to find in the local stream beads and creeks all over Michigan. It is a fun activity for a weekend or when you are camping with friends. It can also earn you a bit of money if you research and plan out where you are to start.
Panning for gold in the local creak requires you dig down far enough into the sediment to reach the pieces left behind. Panning for gold requires patience and work, as you need to go through multiple layers of sediment to fund it. The layers of sediment you need to locate will need to be gritty and black.
As gold is heavy, it will sink into the layers of sediment, meaning you will need to dig and pan carefully, so you don’t miss anything. A lot of people give up on a site too quickly because they don’t dig deep enough to search the under layer deposits.
With each pan of gold, you should run water over it as you sift through it. Having a screen over the top will help sift out the soil and leave the rocks behind. Amongst the rocks is where you will find the gold flakes or nuggets that the water worked out of the soil.
What is a Gold Sluice Box?
A gold sluice box is a special pan for prospectors. It is a narrow box with a wire top and bottom that you can trap soil in. As you run water through the box, the soil will get sifted out of the bottom, leaving larger chunks of rock and, hopefully, gold.
The method of using a gold sluice box is a lot faster than using a pan and a lot more efficient. It is less likely you accidentally sift out the gold while water is running through the pan. It also makes removing the larger chunks of sediment quicker and easier.
What makes sluice boxes truly unique is their ability to be placed in the water near the soil to have water run through them. The placement of the boxes as you head upstream allows for any soil traveling downriver to be caught in the boxes.
Once the soil is mixed up further upstream, it will float downstream and be captured in your boxes. Those boxes will allow you to pan for good faster and check multiple spots of the stream at once. Make sure to adjust the boxes to have the water run at the boxes at an angle.
As the soil and water pass through the boxes, the soil will go right on through while larger chunks are caught in the box. Your job will be to check your boxes to see what you have caught and to sift out any bits that did not run through the pans.
Do you need a Panning Kit, and what’s inside?
Panning a stream can be as easy as sticking a strainer in the water of your local stream, but there are better and more advantageous ways to start. The material the pan is made of, the size, and the colors can even make a difference when you are panning for gold. All can make a big difference when you are panning for gold in Michigan.
A gold panning pan that is plastic will be lighter, more cost-effective, and will come in multiple sizes. The problem with plastic is it can crack from repeat uses. It can also be bent from repeat uses, which makes it more likely to need replacing in the future.
A steel pan will hold up better than a plastic pan, but it will be heavier to use and will be more cumbersome to carry. If you are planning a larger adventure, you can find multiple sizes and shapes in most regular stores.
If you plan to spend a lot of time out looking for gold in Michigan, a steel pan would be best or investing in a gold panning kit. A good gold panning kit will come with multiple items that can help you in your prospecting.
Purchasing a kit can be a cost-effective way to get a lot of tools for one single price. The kits will usually come with the below items, though some come with more or fewer items depending on the type of kit.
- A shovel or other type of digging tool.
- A magnifying glass.
- One or more pans
- A strainer pan
- A snuffer bottle.
It isn’t required to have a kit to do your prospecting, but it is a way to get started with it. The kits come in multiple colors and materials. Many come with their carrying bags and boxes to make storage and transport simpler.
Prospecting for gold is a good hobby for the average person. It is also a terrific way to have fun with friends and explore the glory of nature. It is not the easiest way to get gold, but it does give you a lot of options or explore how gold can be found.
Purchasing a good kit is a way to jump right into the adventure, though using the basic shovel and a regular pan can also get you started. How you choose to plan out your trips and find gold is up to you. The most important part is knowing where to look.
If you are interested in finding some other treasures, try looking for Petoskey stones or doing some dumpster diving in Michigan.
Learn where to find gold in Texas and where to find gold in Georgia.