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Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Recreation/Gold Prospecting

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Gold Prospecting
General Conference

See also Gold Prospecting - Advanced

Skill Level 1
Year of Introduction: 2008



Earning this honor meets a requirement for:

1. Create a list of equipment used for gold panning. Describe each item and tell what it is used for. The list should include at least the following.

a. Gold Pan
A gold pan is typically a round pan with a flat bottom and conical sides. Modern gold pans are made from plastic and have riffles formed into one side. Gold panning is the simplest way to prospect for placer or flood gold.
A plastic gold pan with built in riffles is your best choice since it is lighter and won’t rust. Green or blue pans are somewhat easier to use than black pans since it is easier to see the black sands against green or blue than it is to see them against a black pan. A pan with a wide bottom will be easier to use when separating the gold from the black sands than a pan with a narrow bottom. For beginners stick with a basic pan and leave the pans with multiple sets of riffles, or non-round shapes alone. A pan full of material is heavy so for pathfinders an 8-10 inch pan is probably best. For adults start out with a 12-14 inch pan. Pans are available in sizes up to 17 inches but a 17 inch pan is very heavy when it is full.
b. Classifier
A classifier is a screen that is used to classify material to be panned. Classifying material is the process of separating different sizes of material. Usually a classifier is used to remove large rocks prior to panning. Classifiers are available with screens having holes from 1/2 inch down to 1/100th of an inch in size and are identified by the size of the holes in fractions of an inch. So a number 2 classifier would have 1/2 inch holes while a number 100 would have holes that were 1/100th of an inch in size. For panning the usual sizes of classifier used are 2, 4, and 8.
A cheap classifier that is very useful for classifying wet or damp material can be made using a roll of 1/2 or 1/4 inch hardware cloth. Take the hardware cloth and cut out a section large enough to make a cylinder that just fits inside your bucket with about an inch of overlap at the seam. Using the wire that held the roll of hardware cloth together, sew up the seam. Cut a number of 2-3 inch slits spaced evenly along one edge of the cylinder. Cut out a piece of hardware cloth that will just fit inside of the cylinder and secure it to the bottom of the cylinder by bending the flaps formed by cutting the slits under the bottom. Sew the bottom piece to the flaps using more of the wire from the hardware cloth. You should now have a basket that fits inside your bucket. You will want to wrap the top edge with something like cotton rope to protect your hands. To use the classifier fill the bucket with water and then swish the classifier full of material in the water. The small material will be rinsed out into the bucket and the remaining material can be discarded.
c. Snuffer Bottle
A snuffer or sucker bottle is a plastic squeezable bottle used to suck up gold or black sands from the bottom of the gold pan. The snuffer bottle has a straw through the opening. This straw lets you squeeze the bottle without worrying about the gold inside squirting out through the opening. If you have a large enough snuffer bottle or if you have more than one, consider just sucking up all the black sands and taking them home to cleanup later. You will be able to pan much more material if you don’t stop to clean out just the gold from each pan.
For cleaning out the gold from the black sands a small plastic eyedropper is useful to suck up just the gold and drop it in a vial.
Glass vials are very nice for displaying gold, but they will break if dropped on a rock, use plastic vials when in the field.
d. Shovel
A shovel is used to dig up the material to be panned.
e. Pick
A pick is used to breakup hard packed material.
f. Bucket
A bucket is used to haul material from the location it is being dug out of the ground, to a location where it can be panned. 5 gallon buckets are popular because they are readily available and most classifiers are designed to fit on top of them. However 5 gallon buckets have one big disadvantage, when they are full they are very heavy, and they are almost always filled too full. 3 gallon buckets with the same size opening as a 5 gallon bucket are a much better choice.
g. Trowel
A trowel is used to dig material from locations where a large shovel will not fit.
h. Pry bar
A pry bar is used to move large rocks to allow you to get to the material underneath them. Other items that might be used for this are pulleys, winches, or come alongs.
i. Rock hammer
A rock hammer can be used to break up rocks so that they can be more easily moved.
j. Crevice tool
A crevice tool is a thin piece of metal with a narrow scoop on one end. It is used to dig material out of very narrow crevices between rocks. Purpose made crevice tools can be purchased, but you may have something around the house that will work just as well. Likely candidates are old flat screw drivers, hub cap removal tools from cars you no longer own, or just a piece of metal rod with one end pounded flat.
k. Drinking water
Prospecting is usually hard work, often in the hot sun. Staying hydrated is very important, and you almost certainly shouldn't drink the water from the river or stream you are panning in, so you should always have drinking water available.
l. Other possible items.
Other items you might want with you include
  • Sun screen
  • Food
  • A canoe yoke and short straps. (This makes a wonderful bucket carrier.)
  • Dry change of clothes.
  • Small towel
  • Water shoes or waders
  • Backpack, to carry all your stuff in.
  • Knee pad
  • Etc, etc, etc...

2. Define the following:

a. Pay dirt

Pay dirt is material containing high concentrations of gold.

b. Quartz

Quartz is the second most common mineral on earth. It is a crystal made of silicon dioxide and is often found near with gold. Finding quartz does not mean that you will also find gold, but if you find gold there will almost always be quartz nearby. Lode gold is usually found mixed in or around quartz veins.


c. Pyrite

Pyrite is often referred to as fool’s gold, there are other minerals that are also mistaken for gold but pyrite is by far the most common. Pyrite is composed of iron sulfide, and can easily be distinguished from gold because it is much less dense and it leaves a black streak if rubbed across the bottom of a gold pan.

d. Blond sands

Any of the light colored material washed out of the pan while panning. Blond sands usually have a specific gravity of 2 – 2.5, that is they are about twice as heavy as water.

e. Black sands

Black sands are mostly made of magnetite and hematite. Black sands have a specific gravity of about 5.

f. Placer

Placer gold is the gold that has been eroded from the mother lode and washed down into the streams and rivers.

g. Lode

Lode gold is gold that is still in the rock before it has been eroded and washed into a stream or river. A group of lodes or veins of gold is often referred to as a mother lode. One of the best-known mother lodes is the California Mother Lode. This is a zone one to four miles wide and 120 miles long in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. The individual gold deposits within the mother lode are gold bearing quartz veins up to 50 feet thick and a few thousand feet long.

h. Nugget

A nugget is a naturally occurring chunk of gold. Nuggets can be picked up with your fingers and are usually at least a gram or more in weight. The largest nugget ever found was the “Welcome Stranger” and weighed 2316 troy ounces, it was found in Moliagul, Victoria, Australia on February 5, 1869. Smaller pieces of gold that can still be picked up with your fingers are called pickers.

i. Flake

A flake is a piece of gold that is flat and cannot be easily picked up with your fingers.

j. Dust

Dust or flour gold, are tiny pieces of gold too small to be called flakes.

k. specific gravity

Specific gravity is the ratio of the density a given material to the density of water. So a material with a specific gravity of 2 is twice as dense as water.

l. Wet and Dry panning

Panning is using a gold pan to separate gold from the surrounding material. This is accomplished by suspending the material in the pan in a fluid. Once the material is suspended in the fluid the denser material settles to the bottom of the pan. The fluid can be anything but the most common is water or air. Wet panning is panning using water as the fluid, dry panning is using air as the fluid. Wet panning is much more efficient that dry panning because gold is much denser than the surrounding material compared to water, but compared to air all the material is relatively dense.

m. Mercury (historical use) DO NOT USE TODAY

Mercury is a toxic metal that is liquid at room temperature. Since it is toxic it should be avoided, however it has often been used to pull fine gold out of black sands. When mixed with black sands containing gold, the mercury will amalgamate with the gold and you will end up with a lump of mercury containing all of the gold.

n. Troy pound

One troy pound equals .82 regular or “avoirdupois” pounds, and is made up of 12 troy ounces.

o. Troy ounce

The troy ounce is the standard measure of gold and other precious metals. One troy ounce equals 1.1 regular or “avoirdupois” ounces.

p. Pennyweight (dwt)

A pennyweight is 1/20th of a troy ounce.

q. Grain

A grain is 1/24th of a pennyweight.

r. Gold fever

What people get that causes them to keep hunting for gold. Extreme cases of "Gold Fever" have been known to cause people to do seemingly insane things such as hauling a ton of equipment over the 33 mile Chilkoot Trail during the Klondike Gold Rush. Leaving good well-paying employment when rumour of a strike is heard to go across the world to live in a hard climate searching for gold. Some may be found but usually not enough value to keep you in food and clothing to survive. Check out major gold rushes around the world. Central Otago in New Zealand, Bendigo in Australia.

3. What are the following identifying characteristics of Gold.

a. Specific gravity

The specific gravity of gold is 19.3. This is almost twice the specific gravity of lead, which is 11.3 and almost 4 times the specific gravity of black sands at around 5.

b. Color of streak

When rubbed against the bottom of a gold pan a piece of gold will leave a yellow streak.

c. Color

Gold is one of only two metals that in their raw state are not silver colored. Gold in its natural state is a yellow color. The other non-silver colored metal is copper.

4. Where are some good places on a river or stream to look for gold.

Gold is heavy so it is only moved by large amounts of fast water, like in the winter when a river is high or flooding. The gold will drop out of the stream wherever the water slows down, or where there is something to cause an area of low pressure in the stream. So look for gold on the downstream side of large rocks or boulders or in cracks that the gold may have dropped into and been wedged in place. Look on the inside part of bends in the stream. Imagine what the river would be like when it is full and look for gold where the water would have a chance to slow down.

Most importantly, the best places to look for gold is where gold has already been found. Since most of the world has already been checked for gold, the chances of a recreational prospector finding a new source of gold is about zero. Gold continues to wash into areas that are gold bearing, so just because an area has been panned successfully for gold in the past does not make it bad for panning today, instead the history of success is your best indicator of success in panning.

5. Make a timeline containing at least 15 items about the history of gold prospecting from 1600 until the present day, including the following rushes: California Gold Rush, Klondike/Yukon Gold Rush, Witwatersrand Gold Rush, and the Victorian Gold Rush.

The timeline should also include any local gold rushes. For each gold rush mentioned the time line should specify when it started and how long it lasted, as well as how many people were involved and the amount of gold recovered. Other items in the time line should include things like major technological developments in prospecting. Examples of this include the development and subsequent ban on hydraulic mining in California, the development of square set timbers in the Comstock silver mine, or the development of gold dredges.

California Gold Rush

The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) began on January 24, 1848, when gold was discovered by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill, in Coloma, California. News of the discovery soon spread, resulting in some 300,000 men, women, and children coming to California from the rest of the United States and abroad.

On August 19, 1848, the New York Herald was the first major newspaper on the East Coast to report that there was a gold rush in California; on December 5, President James Polk confirmed the discovery of gold in an address to Congress.

Klondike/Yukon Gold Rush

Routes to the Klondike.

The Klondike Gold Rush, sometimes referred to as the Yukon Gold Rush or Alaska Gold Rush, was a frenzy of gold rush immigration to and for gold prospecting, along the Klondike River near Dawson City, Yukon, Canada after gold was discovered there in the late 19th century. In total, about 12.5 million ounces of gold (about 20.12m3) have been taken from the Klondike area in the century since its discovery.


Keish (Skookum Jim Mason)

In August 1896, three people led by Keish (Skookum Jim Mason), a member of the Tagish First Nations, headed north, down the Yukon River from the Carcross area, looking for his sister Kate and her husband George Carmack. The party included Skookum Jim, his cousin, known as Dawson Charlie (or sometimes Tagish Charlie), and his nephew Patsy Henderson. After meeting up with George and Kate, who were fishing for salmon at the mouth of the Klondike River, they ran into Nova Scotian Robert Henderson who had been mining gold on the Indian River, just south of the Klondike. Henderson told George Carmack about where he was mining and that he did not want any "Siwashes" (meaning Indians) near him. On August 16, 1896, the Skookum party discovered rich placer gold deposits in Bonanza (Rabbit) Creek, Yukon. It is not clear who made the actual discovery, with some accounts saying that it was Kate Carmack, while others credit Skookum Jim. George Carmack was officially credited for the gold discovery because the actual claim was staked in his name. The group agreed to this because they felt that other miners would be reluctant to recognize a claim made by an Indian, given the strong racist attitudes of the time.

The Rush Begins

[[Image:Miners register claims.jpg|thumb|right|Miners wait to register their claims. The news spread to other mining camps in the Yukon River valley. Gold was first discovered in Rabbit Creek, which was later named Bonanza Creek because so many people came to the creek for gold. The Bonanza, Eldorado, and Hunker Creeks were rapidly staked by miners who had been previously working creeks and shoal|sandbars on the Fortymile and Stewart Rivers.

News reached the United States in July 1897 at the height of a significant series of financial recessions and bank failures in the 1890s. The American economy had been hard hit by the Panic of 1893 and the Panic of 1896 which caused widespread unemployment. Many who were adversely impacted by the financial crises were motivated to try their luck in the gold fields. The first successful prospectors arrived in San Francisco, California on July 15 and in Seattle, Washington on July 17, setting off the Klondike stampede. In 1898, the population in the Klondike may have reached 40,000, which threatened to cause a famine. [[Image:Klondike mining camp.jpg|thumb|left|A typical gold mining operation, on Bonanza Creek. Men from all walks of life headed for the Yukon from as far away as New York, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Surprisingly, a large proportion were professionals, such as teachers and doctors, even a mayor or two, who gave up respectable careers to make the journey. Most were perfectly aware of their chance of finding significant amounts of gold were slim to none, and went for the adventure. As many as half of those who reached Dawson City kept right on going without doing any prospecting at all. Thus, by bringing large numbers of entrepreneurial adventurers to the region, the Gold Rush significantly contributed to the economic development of Western Canada, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

Most prospectors landed at the Alaskan towns of Skagway, or Dyea, both located at the head of the Lynn Canal. From these towns they traveled the Chilkoot Trail and crossed the Chilkoot Pass, or they hiked up to the White Pass into and proceeded thence to Lake Lindeman or Bennett Lake, the headwaters of the Yukon River. Here, some 25 to 35 miles40 to 56 km grueling miles from where they landed, prospectors built rafts and boats that would take them the final 500-plus miles (800-plus km) down the Yukon to Dawson City, near the gold fields. Stampeders had to carry a year's supply of goods — about a ton, more than half of it food — over the passes to be allowed to enter Canada. At the top of the passes, the stampeders encountered Canada's Royal Canadian Mounted Police|North West Mounted Police (NWMP and now the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) post that enforced that regulation, as well as customs and duties. It was put in place to avert shortages like those that had occurred in the previous two winters in Dawson City, and also to restrict the entry of guns, particularly handguns, into British territory. Another reason was to keep out of Canadian territory the criminal element which had established itself in Skagway and the other Yukon Ports (then still claimed as British territory), as well as the fears by British and Canadian authorities about a possible armed takeover of the goldfields as an American territory.

Once the bulk of the prospectors arrived at Dawson City, most of the major mining claims of the region were already established. However, any major potential unrest with the idle population was averted with the firm authority of the NWMP under the command of Sam Steele. People would eat beans and bread, but rarely a lucky prospector could get his hands on some fresh meat.

Witwatersrand Gold Rush

The Witwatersrand Gold Rush was a gold rush in 1886 that led to the establishment of Johannesburg, South Africa.

There had always been rumours of a modern-day "El Dorado" in the folklore of the native tribes that roamed the plains of the South African highveld, and the gold miners that had come from all over the world to seek out their fortunes on the alluvial mines of Barberton and Pilgrim's Rest, in what is now known as the province of Mpumalanga.

But it was not until 1886 that the massive wealth of the Witwatersrand would be uncovered. Scientific studies have pointed to the fact that the "Golden Arc" which stretches from Johannesburg to Welkom was once a massive inland lake, and that silt and gold deposits from alluvial gold settled in the area to form the gold-rich deposits that South Africa is famous for.


The farm where gold was first discovered in 1886.

It is believed that it was a Sunday in March 1886 that an Australian gold miner, George Harrison, stumbled across a rocky outcrop of the main gold-bearing reef. He declared his claim with the then-government of the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek (ZAR), and the area was pronounced open diggings. His discovery is recorded in history with a monument where the original gold outcrop is believed to be located, and a park named in his honour. Ironically, Harrison is believed to have sold his claim for less than 10 Pounds before leaving the area, and he was never heard from again.

Founding of Johannesburg

It did not take long for fortune-seekers from all over the world to flock to the area, and soon what was a dusty mining village known as Ferreira's Camp was formalised into a settlement. Initially, the ZAR did not believe that the gold would last for long, and mapped out a small triangular piece of land to cram as many plots onto as possible. This is the reason why Johannesburg's central business district streets are so narrow.

Within 10 years, the town was already the largest in South Africa, outstripping the growth of Cape Town, which was more than 200 years older. The gold rush saw massive development of Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand, and the area remains the prime metropolitan area of South Africa.

Second Boer War

The Witwatersrand Gold Rush was a major contributing factor of the failed Jameson Raid of 1895 to 1896, and of the outbreak of the Second Boer War in 1899. Boer resentment over the large number of foreigners (Uitlanders) in the Witwatersrand led to heavy taxes and the denial of voting rights for the gold miners, and in response the uitlanders and the British owners of the mines began to pressure the overthrow of the Boer government.

Victorian Gold Rush

The Victorian gold rush was a period in the history of Victoria, Australia approximately between 1851 and the late 1860s. In 10 years the Australian population nearly tripled.


During this era Victoria dominated the world's gold output. Ballarat for a while ranked number one in terms of gold production.

Gold discoveries in Beechworth, Ballarat and Bendigo sparked gold rushes similar to the California Gold Rush. At its peak some two tonnes of gold per week flowed into the Treasury Building in Melbourne.

The gold era changed Victoria from a sheep grazing economy based around squatters, into an emerging industrial base and small (yeoman) farming community. The social impact of gold was that Victoria's population boomed and the lack of available land for small farming generated massive social tensions. Those on-going tensions around land and selection (small farming) culminated in the Kelly Outbreak of 1878.

Melbourne was a major Boomtown during the gold rush. The city became the centre of the colony with rail networks radiating to the regional towns and ports. Politically, Victoria's goldminers introduced male franchise and secret ballots, based on Chartist principles. As gold dwindled, pressures for land reform, protectionism and political reform grew and generated social struggles. A Land Convention in Melbourne during 1857 demanded land reform. Melbourne, or "Smellbourne" (due to the stench of the tanneries along the river), became one of the great cities of the British Empire and the world. Following the huge gold rushes were the Chinese in 1854. Their presence on the goldfields of Bendigo, Beechworth and the Bright district resulted in riots, entry taxes, killings and segregation in the short term and became the foundations of the White Australia policy. In short, the gold rush was a revolutionary event and reshaped Victoria, its society and politics.

Backfiring Guns

Underground mining at Walhalla, Victoria

By 1840 the city of Melbourne, in the south of Victoria, was nearly five years old. Population growth in Melbourne and the surrounding countryside had been steady, and the population was around 10,000.

In July 1851, Melbourne's 29,000 residents celebrated as they broke away from New South Wales and the Colony of Victoria was born. Weeks later gold was found in Victoria. The discovery by Louis Michel, and William McKay Aberdeen at Anderson's Creek, near Warrandyte 30 kilometers north-east of Melbourne was awarded a prize by the new Victorian Government, with other discoveries by James Esmond at Clunes in July 1851, and Thomas Hiscock at Buninyong, near Ballarat, on 2 August 1851.

On 20 July 1851 Thomas Peters, a hut-keeper on William Barker’s Mount Alexander station, found specks of gold at what is now known as Specimen Gully. This find was published in the Melbourne Argus on 8 September 1851, leading to a rush to the Mount Alexander or Forest Creek diggings, centered on present-day Castlemaine, claimed as the richest shallow alluvial goldfield in the world.

These discoveries were soon surpassed by Ballarat and Bendigo. Further discoveries including Beechworth in 1852, Bright, Omeo, Chiltern, Victoria (1858–59) and Walhalla followed.

Population of Melbourne
(excluding Aboriginal Population)
Year Population
1835 0
1840 10,000
1851 29,000
1854 123,000

The population of Melbourne grew swiftly as the gold fever took hold. The total number of people in Victoria also rose. By 1851 it was 75,000 people. Ten years later this rose to over 500,000.

First obtained was the alluvial gold found on the surface. It is reported that miners when first arrived on the Mount Tarrengower fields nuggets were picked up without digging. This was followed by exploitation of alluvial gold usually in creeks and rivers. The seekers used gold pans, puddling boxes and cradles to separate this gold from the dirt and water.

As alluvial gold ran out, underground or deep lead mining began. This was harder and dangerous. Locales such as Bendigo and Ballarat saw great concentrations of miners as teams and syndicates sank shafts. Coupled with erratic and vexatious policing and license checks, tensions flared around Beechworth Bendigo and Ballarat. These tensions culminated in the Eureka Rebellion of 1854. Following the rebellion, a range of reforms gave miners a greater democratic say in resolving disputes via Mining Courts and an extended electoral franchise.

At Walhalla alone, Cohens Reef produced over 50 tonnes (1.6 million tr oz) of gold in 40 years of mining.

Major and long lasting impact

Australia's population changed dramatically as a result of the rushes. In 1851 the Australian population was 437,655, of which 77,345, or just under 18%, were Victorians. A decade later the Australian population had grown to 1,151,947 and the Victorian population had increased to 538,628; just under 47% of the Australian total and a sevenfold increase. In some small country towns where gold was found abundant, the population could grow of over 1000% in a decade (e.g. Rutherglen had a population of ~2'000. Ten years later, it had ~60'000 which is a 3000% increase). The rapid growth was predominantly a result of the gold rushes.

The gold rush is reflected in the architecture of Victorian gold-boom cities like Melbourne, Castlemaine, Ballarat, Bendigo and Ararat. Ballarat has Sovereign Hill — a 60 acre (240,000 m²) recreation of a gold rush town — as well as the Gold Museum, while Bendigo has a large operating gold mine system which also functions as a tourist attraction.

The rushes left the legacy of quaint Victorian towns in the Goldfields tourist region like Maldon, Beechworth, Clunes, Heathcote, Victoria, Maryborough, Daylesford, Stawell, Beaufort, Creswick, St Arnaud, Dunolly, Inglewood and Buninyong. With the exception of Ballarat and Bendigo, many of these towns were substantially larger than they are today. Most populations moved to other districts when gold played out in a given locality.

At the other end of the spectrum ghost towns, such as Walhalla, Mafeking and Steiglitz still exist.

As with many gold towns, after deposits of gold had been exploited, the town of Cassilis ceased to exist. This picture shows the remains of part of King Cassilis Mine

The last major gold rush in Victoria was at Berringa, south of Ballarat, in the first decade of the 20th century. Gold mining ceased in Victoria, not because there was no more gold but in part because of the depth and cost of pumping. The First World War also drained Australia of the labour needed to work the mines, but worse the prohibition on the export of gold from Australia in 1915, the abolition of the gold standard throughout the Empire, saw many goldtowns in Victoria die. The slump in gold production never recovered. However, as of 2005 the recent increase in the gold price has seen a resurgence in commercial mining activity; mining has yet to be resumed in Bendigo, while some is occurring in Ballarat, and exploration proceeds elsewhere, for example, in Glen Wills, an isolated mountain area near Mitta Mitta in north-eastern Victoria.

6. Learn about gold panning by doing one of the following:

a. Do some gold panning. (preferred)

Most states in the U.S. have areas where gold can be located. The best way to meet this requirement is to go to an area and actually dig up the material and pan it there. It would be best for the instructor to scout the area first and find a location where there is at least some gold available, ideally there should be at least a few flakes or specs of gold in each pan.

Another way to meet this requirement is for the instructor to get some gold bearing material and then have the students pan it in some type of trough, the plastic pans available at your local hardware store for mixing mortar work well. You can also build a panning trough out of 2x10 lumber with a thin plywood bottom and line it with plastic.

You can also purchase black sand concentrates from various locations on the Internet. These can be mixed with sand and gravel from a local river or stream bank and then used for panning. When panning don’t fill the pan completely full. It is easier, especially for beginners to start with a pan that is 1/2 to 3/4 full. You may also want to drop a small lead weight like a fishing weight into the pan. If the lead is still in the pan when the pan is down to just black sands then you can be sure that the gold is still there also.

b. Practice panning using flattened lead or tungsten shot mixed with sand (preferably from a river bank).

Get some sand and gravel, from a river or stream bank if possible, and mix in a specific number of flattened lead or tungsten shot. Tungsten shot would be the best choice for two reasons if you can find it. First unlike lead, tungsten is non toxic, and second, while lead at 11.3 is only about half the specific gravity of gold, tungsten is almost identical at 19.62.

7. Look up the following verses in the Bible and discuss them in relation to prospecting for gold.

a. Matthew 13:44-46

Matthew 13:44-46
44The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

This verse suggests that it is perfectly acceptable to prospect for high value items. God wants us to be financially successful. The kingdom of heaven, like high value treasure, is worth having.

b. Matthew 6:19-21

Matthew 6:19-21
19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. 20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Here Jesus covers the flip side of earthly treasure. Putting earthly wealth ahead of heaven is disaster. As in most things, Christians need to seek a reasonable balance on earth and put the emphasis on heavenly things.