There are 244,000 metric tons of gold discovered, but there’s plenty more out there still untouched, and it can be found all over. If you own land, you might be able to find gold on your property if you know where to look.
If you’re wondering what the best way to know if there’s gold in your backyard is, then read on.
The best way to know if there’s gold in your backyard is to look for bedrock or in stream beds with quartz deposits inside. Gold and quartz are chemically complementary rocks at a molecular level. If you live nearby rivers, streams, or bodies of water, you have a greater chance of finding gold.
Can You Find Gold In Your Backyard
You can find gold in your backyard. Although there’s no guarantee it’s present, there are some easy indicators that can tell you you should be looking.
Gold has a very dense structure, so it weighs a lot. If you have a stream or riverbed running through your yard with sandy or gravelly spots, you should grab a gold pan and check the dirt around your waterway.
If there’s no water in your yard, skip down to the next section, and I’ll explain how to dig for gold.
Gold pans look like a cross between a shallow bowl and a plate. You can pick them up easily on Amazon.
I recommend the M5 Gold Panning Kit from Amazon. It includes two gold pans, vials, a black sand magnet, tweezers, and more so you can get started right away.
Click here to learn more and get started on your hunt for gold.
- You are buying a gold pan panning kit. You get a 6" mini classifiers 10 mesh, a 10" green gold pan, 12" green gold pan, tweezers, 5 assorted vials, black sand magnet , trowel and a sniffer bottle.
Last update on 2022-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Panning for gold takes some skill, but it’s a lot of fun. You fill the pan 3/4 full of the dirt found along the edge of the water and then use the water to help remove lighter dirt and moss and allow the gold to settle to the bottom.
For a more detailed tutorial showing how to handle the pan and remove undesirables, I suggest watching this excellent video from Klesh Gold.
They explain the process and tools and offer a step-by-step visual guide on working with all of it.
Can I Dig For Gold In My Backyard
You can dig for gold in your own yard. However, you need the mineral rights to keep it.
Most residential real estate purchases do not confer mineral rights to the owner. You can often buy these separately.
If you start digging and finding gold, you may have to give it to the state or another mineral rights holder.
GokceCapital explains, “Mineral rights don’t come into effect until you begin to dig below the surface of the property. But the bottom line is: if you do not have the mineral rights to a parcel of land, then you do not have the legal ability to explore, extract, or sell the naturally occurring deposits below.”
First, you need to check if you own the mineral rights to your land. You’ll need to go to the local courthouse and search mineral rights records.
Hiring a Landman, Attorney or Title company is often the fastest way to find what you need, but the fees can run from 100s to 1000s of dollars if it takes a long time.
You may need to search back in the property records from one owner to the next, working backward to the original document.
If you own the rights already, then you can dig. However, if you do not, you’ll have to track down the person or entity that holds the rights and arrange to purchase them.
Getting mineral rights takes a little effort, but it’s worth it. The cost is generally $0-250 per acre.
Once you have the mineral rights, you can dig to your heart’s content so long as you’re not subject to HOA rules or other preventative ordinances.
Why Can’t I Find Gold In My Backyard
If you can’t find gold in your backyard, there are three possibilities.
First, if you are panning, you may need to work on your technique. It takes some skill to extract gold and learn to let it sink while removing everything lighter.
Second, assuming you have found the right place to dig, you may need to go deeper. Most gold is not sitting around on or just below the surface.
It slips into the hollow spaces in bedrock or quartz beneath the earth. Seriously digging for gold can involve heavy machinery.
Finally, the reason you aren’t finding gold in your backyard is that it’s not there. Gold is not under every home. Though there is plenty to be found, there’s no way to be sure.
How Do I Find Gold In My Yard
You find gold in your backyard by looking for indicators it could be present. Start by looking for a body of running water.
Signs that there used to be a river can also be an excellent place to look. Dried up streambeds and washes have a lot of potential.
Next, look for the sandy, gravelly dirt most commonly found on the surface where gold has been deposited.
Then look around for bedrock and quartz. Bedrock is the solid, packed rock found under the surface rather than the looser soil found on top.
Depending on the terrain, you may see some of this exposed in your yard. If your bedrock has quartz crystals in it, you can start chipping away at it to try and find a seam of gold.
What Happens If You Find Gold In Your Backyard
If you find gold in your backyard, either because you have mineral rights and dug it up or simply laying around on the surface, generally, you get to keep it.
Similarly, if you are digging a garden bed and unearth a treasure chest full of gold, you will most likely get to keep it.
So long as you find the gold on your property and are within your rights (such as mineral rights), you keep your gold.
Signs Of Gold In The Ground
Numerous indicators can point to gold in the ground. For example, looking for signs that prospectors have worked in the area can tell you that there’s a good chance there is gold.
Below I have listed several easy ways to identify old dig sites. You’ll also find tips on the soil, regions, and rocks most commonly associated with gold.
- The earth has been scraped clean to expose the bedrock below. Large areas that are cleared but do not show signs of any intent to build a home can tell you prospectors have worked in the area before.
- Faultlines are a perfect place to start looking, as gold veins are often found along with these areas.
- Small dams and ponds are often created for gold extraction.
- Ground cuts or artificial trenches that serve no other purpose are sometimes sites where gold was found or at least sought.
- Open stopes are larger open, artificial areas where miners removed a vein of gold or other precious material near the surface.
- Large piles of rocks, especially beside waterways, can show you where prospectors have been to remove obstacles so they can pan for gold.
- Gravel ‘benches’ where a stream or riverbed has cut down below the gravel layer, but you can still see the gravel along the shoreline.
- Dumpsites with piles of used and picked through sand, gravel, and rock are possible indications that someone was looking for gold in your area.
- Roads, especially older, non-maintained dirt tracks that lead nowhere, were often used to take carts or vehicles to a dig site.
- Shallow depressions that look like they were dug out are often precisely what they look like, and someone may have been digging for gold.
What Type Of Soil Is Gold Found In
Gold is found in the soil along rivers and streams or in areas where there used to be a running body of water.
The further upstream you go, the more likely you are to find coarse gold. Washes and desert areas that once had running water are equally likely to have gold inside.
Sil with lots of quartz in it is another probable indicator. Likewise, gravel over bedrock is a great way to pinpoint an area for further investigation.
However, the best type of soil to look for that often indicates the presence of gold is ‘black sand.’
Black sand is literally finely ground black sand. This type of soil contains oxidized magnetic minerals, usually found alongside gold.
This is so common that it’s the most obvious indicator. You can check this smooth, shiny sand for magnetic properties by running a magnet over it to see if it sticks.
The black sand indicates heavy metals like iron and sometimes gold are present and might be available in larger quantities.
While not all black sand has gold in or near it, most gold has black sand somewhere in the area.
Where Is Gold Found In The Ground
Gold is not found everywhere. Fortunately, there are quite a few regions where gold is relatively commonplace.
Outside the US, gold is often found in Australia, which is well known for its dry, sandy climate.
Additionally, large, well-known gold deposits are in Canada, Russia, and South Africa.
Some gold is found in the southwest desert. California famously had a gold rush, and their sports team, the 49ers, is named for that event.
Officially the California gold rush began on January 24, 1848, when James W. Marshall of Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California, found gold.
However, news traveled slowly in those days and had to cross the country by horses and wagons rather than wire, phone, or internet.
By 1949 people came from all around to try and find their fortunes in California.
Arizona had a few gold deposits as well, but Nevada is far better known for it.
Lastly, Alaska still has lots of active gold dig sites in areas near Fairbanks and Juneau, and Nome to this day.
Rocks Associated With Gold
There are a handful of rocks associated with finding gold. If you have large deposits of any of these, you will have a higher chance of finding gold in your own backyard.
Below are explanations of why each of these types of rock is associated with gold.
- Bedrock – Bedrock is the most reliable place to find gold. Simply put, this occurs because it works like a trap. The natural fractures create a perfect home for gold nuggets to become trapped. Most gold is found in bedrock.
- Black Sand – Black Sand is typically comprised of several members of the iron family. This sand is magnetic, and it is a strong indicator of the presence of heavy metals in the area. Gold is a weighty metal, so you often find it near black sand.
- Granite and Plutonic Rocks – Granite and plutonic rocks may be the ancestor of gold. These rocks are likely the primal source of gold. Ancient oceans and prehistoric magma appear to have distributed gold into granite deposits and plutonic rock, which shows that they formed or were forced together.
- Fools Gold – A brassy, yellow pyrite, fool’s gold is known for being brittle rather than soft and pliable like gold. Yet recent studies show that this pyrite may get its color from actual gold molecules. It shouldn’t be a big surprise since the two are often found in the same regions. If you find fool’s gold, there is probably real gold nearby.
- Quartz – Quartz deposits often have gold inclusions or veins in them. However, some gold prospectors consider this unreliable, saying it’s not a reliable indicator. However, since gold can occur in quartz, it has been used for centuries as a strong indicator.
Helpful Tips To Know About Is There Gold In My Backyard
If there is gold in your backyard, you need to know where to look for it.
Streambeds, bedrock, and quartz seams are often helpful indicators that tell you there’s gold nearby, but it’s never guaranteed.
Here are more helpful tips to know about is there gold in my backyard.
- More extensive gold deposits are generally well below the surface. Many of the largest gold deposits on earth are 4000 to 15000 feet underground and require extensive digging.
- Fools Gold was long believed to be merely a shiny gold-colored rock. However, it turns out there may be some actual gold content in fool’s gold after all. According to Science Focus, “Gold has also been found in fool’s gold in the form of an alloy, where the pyrite and gold atoms are mixed together.” However, that doesn’t mean you can extract the gold atoms.
- Any serious gold production activities in your yard generally require mineral rights. Unfortunately, these are not automatically a part of a land purchase. As Cornell Law explains, “Mineral rights generally include the right to sell all or part of the interest, the right to enter the land to produce and carry on production activities, the right to lease the mineral rights to others, and the right to create fractional shares of the mineral interest.”
Most people dream of striking it rich at some point, but you can look for gold in your own backyard.
While the chances are slim that you’ll make a fortune, it can happen. If you know what to look for and where to find it, your chances go up.
Make sure you are panning or have the mineral rights to dig for gold before you get started. Otherwise, you might not get to keep what you find.
Hunting for gold in your yard can be great fun and highly profitable.