Desert Gold: Use Metal Detectors to Prospect for Gold in the Desert
Prospecting for gold in the desert calls for a vastly different method than panning or sluicing for gold in streams, rivers and creeks. When you’re trying to find gold nuggets in a desert environment that has no naturally occurring water sources, then a good metal detector can be your best friend. Although it’s possible to prospect for veins of gold in rock formations above ground in the desert (gold deposits are usually found in conjunction with quartz), your chances of finding gold are much better with a metal detector.
Don’t make the assumption that just because you live in a desert, that there are gold nuggets in the ground that you can find with a metal detector. It’s true that some of the best gold metal detecting can be done in desert environments, such as areas of Australia, Africa, and certain states in the U.S.A. like California and Arizona. But Texas, for example, is one desert location that doesn’t have an abundance of gold to find due to its geology.
Following the advice above, the first thing that you need to do is find out if gold nuggets have ever been found in your area with a metal detector. A quick Internet search can easily tell you whether or not amateur prospectors have metal detected for gold in your state (plenty of gold prospecting forums and blogs out there with info on the best spots). If not, the only way you’re going to find gold in the desert with a metal detector is by taking a vacation to Australia, California, Arizona, Africa, or another locale that is rich in nuggets.
Secondly, once you’ve determined where you’re going to look for gold nuggets, it’s time to purchase a metal detector. While many metal detectors can detect nuggets, there are detectors that are specially designed to find gold buried in the ground (in desert or non-desert environments). When you visit your local metal detecting retail shop, make sure that you ask specifically to see detectors that have been calibrated to look for gold nuggets.
The actual process of metal detecting for gold nuggets in the desert isn’t very complicated; ideally, you should get the dealer from whom you purchase your metal detector to show you how to use it properly (remember: always practice outdoors, not inside. The surrounding building can actually throw off the metal detector.)
Make sure that you bring a small shovel, good headphones, and any other equipment that you might need when you’re hunting for nuggets. Although your chances of striking it rich with the mother load might be small, you’ll definitely have fun with your new hobby.