Gold in Them Hills?

I had an opportunity to get out in the woods a few hours this past weekend.  Prospecting was secondary with the primary goal to survey property belonging to the family which has been left to its own devices for several decades.  With machete in one hand, GPS in the other and backpack containing the essentials secured to my back I headed out.  It wasn’t long before bug spray became a valuable commodity, this time of year I strongly suggest having it in your pack.

The lithology according to the NB Bedrock Lexicon denotes the following;

Grey, medium- to thick-bedded, fine- to medium-grained, lithic wacke interstratified with dark grey, laminated, locally graptolite-bearing, siltstone and light to dark grey shale (Poole, 1957). Graded bedding and flute casts well displayed along Rte. 102 near Kingsclear indicate deposition by turbidity currents (Gordon, 1973; Fyffe, 1995c).

The property has an exposed rock face as elevation climbs to 130m in this part of the property. There is also a small stream which was very inviting for panning which I’ll describe later.  The exposed bedrock contained significant orange-red siltstone, the weathered rock a more brownish hue.  Working along the ridge there were significant outcrops of what appeared to be coarsely grained biotite-feldspar-quartz gneiss, and further along unexpected outcrops of a quartz conglomerate containing larger rounded quartz stones cemented with quartz sand and slightly discolored by yellow-brown iron staining. (see poor picture)

The stream had a large percentage of rounded quartz stones which likely were deposited through weathering of the underlying quartz conglomerate, and the visible rock face noted at higher elevations.  Noting the strong association of gold and quartz I took a bit of time to pan the stream to see if there was any sign of color.  Unfortunately I had packed in a hurry and had forgotten my snuffer bottle which would have allowed me to pick out any interesting material to evaluate later.  I was surprised of the absence of black sand and other iron rich magnetic material.  Panning did produce a few gold-like flakes, unfortunately I came ill-prepared and have plans to return exclusively for further panning as I didn’t process much material due to time constraints.  The stream itself is active during the spring runoff and reduces to a trickle later in the summer.  There are plenty of areas for gold and other minerals to get trapped, such as around tree roots, at the bottom of small waterfalls, etc.  I was able to easily hit bedrock in many areas which is encouraging, if there is anything to be found it shouldn’t be that difficult.

StreamThe stream had an brownish discoloration which I chalked up to the iron-rich siltstone.  It’s also possible that the stream is fed by stagnant water from a beaver pond, although the direction and origin appeared more apt to be fed by a nearby spring or aquifer.

All in all a nice hike in the woods, but if you are averse to blackflies, mosquitoes or horseflies this isn’t the hobby for you.  All comments are welcome, any help with identification is also much appreciated.  If anyone is interested in the Fredericton area to head out panning/prospecting drop me a line.


About kevgo

Living in Fredericton, NB and venturing into the hills when able. So many hobbies and so little time, all sports, metal detecting, rock hounding, prospecting, computer 'stuff' and family round out my days.
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