GPAA - Allegheny Chapter - Blog

Welcome to the GPAA Allegheny Chapter Blog!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Family Camping Trip

Greetings all!

I had a great time this past weekend.  We had our chapter meeting saurday at the property, while other members visited with the Buckeye Chapter in Bellville Ohio.  There was a light turn out for the meeting with maybe 40 in attendance.  Thanks to our former president for presiding over this meeting!

I had the pleasure of camping with my whole family for the very first time!  My wife, 4 kids, and even our dog had a great time!  Mother Nature threw a few curves our way in the form of showers and storms, but we enjoyed every minute of it.

I want to send out a special thanks to Duane Necessary for coming all the way from his place to test our waters!  He brought his dog with him and camped right next to us.  He is a great guy and seemed to really enjoy the site!

Now, on to the prospecting details!  The kids found many fossils to add to the collection, and I spent most of my time in a gravel bar!  A few games of skipping stones with my 7 year old and some instruction on Fossil Hunting later, and she was off and running!  I came home with about 5 gallons of concentrated gravel/sand to clean up in my re-circulator.  After first clean down, I had about 40 - 50 specks of color to show for my labors!  Not gonna get rich like this, but we had an amazing "Family" event!

Please remember to clean up after yourselves when camping.  Bring it in, bring it out.  We left with all of our trash and even picked up a few things from the site.  Not much stray trash out there as our members do a great job maintaining the site.  We took some stuff that had washed downstream with us for disposal.

Until next time!  May you always have friends by your side and Gold in your pans!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Meeting and Belleville Trip this Saturday!

Howdy all!

I have been a bit busy this past week getting ready for my family camping adventure at the property!  Co-ordinating a first camping trip for my wife, myself, and our four children has been a bit hectic, but we appear ready to go!

The monthly meeting is going to be held at the property @ 11am this saturday.

Directions to property

New members are always welcome!  Pot-luck style food and regular events to be held.  Prospecting in the creek as usual!

I will be on-site Friday evening and there thru Sunday mid-day.

Some of the group are going to Belleville to meet with The Ohio Buckeye Chapter for their annual FOSSICK event at the Swank property.

Hope to see you all at one event or the other!

Rockhound Steve

Monday, May 23, 2011

Booth Run - Greenville PA - 5-21-11

Howdy all,
  I got a chance to spend the day on the Allegheny Chapter site this past saturday!  The weather was awesome!  I got some time to chat with a few members like Chris and Bill (and a few others I forget the names of).  I met a nice couple from Erie who were prospecting my spot from last week.  They were not having much luck until I got there.
  I went a bit up-stream and dug out a nice honey hole next to the bank.  My spot was right on the egde of the water, beneath the roots of a fallen tree.  The spring floods had dug into the bank a bit and exposed a nice fresh area.  I could see remains of the former stream level in the bank, so I went to town in the stream just below this spot.
  After about an hour of collecting, I began to test a few scoops.  The couple I had met were nice enough to let me borrow their EZ Sluice.  This sluice was nice and compact, light, and easy to use.
It had the flare at the end to help funnel water, but this picture shows the basic sluice.  As the couple was doing their clean up, they found a nice fleck and came to show me some actual Booth Run Glarial Gold!

I spent the next ten minutes packing my gear to move to a different spot.  I had gathered 2.5 gallons of 1/4" classified concentrates to take home.  I forgot how heavy 2.5 gallons of sand and gravel is!

I took a much deserved Lunch break after that and moved down stream.  Here I ran into Chris and a few other members.  I had some nice conversation, then decided to snipe along the water line at the base of this cut in the hill.

The above image is two years old, but it still looks about the same.  I used my suction tube along the very base of the cut.  The gray silt is like concrete, and is also below the water line actink as a "False Bedrock".  My first pan showed a speck, so I had Chris take a look at it.  He confirmed the speck so I went back for more.

I got about 2 gallons of concentrates to take home from this area.  Once I get home, I use a 1/8" and 1/16" screening process before running in my recirculating clean up sluice.  Here are a few images of my finds.

Speck of Gold!  My first Booth Run Fleck!
Pyrite in Star Like formation!
Micro Gold on Quartz
Unknown Stranded Specimen (Pyrite and ?)

All in all, I had a wonderful day!  It was great to get out and see the property a second time!  I look forward to many more trips.  My family and I will be camping on site for the next monthly meeting in June!

"Rockhound" Steve

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Everyday Items have other uses!

Greetings All!


Yesterday, I had to go to the local Home Depot for some supplies for work.  While I was there, I found myself looking at some of the products thinking how I could use them for Prospecting.  There were Buckets, Shovels, Screwdrivers, Brushes, Flashlights, Kneepads, and a ton of other things that are fairly common to Prospecting.  But I was also looking at other things that sparked my interest.

I found myself in the Home and Garden section staring at PVC Pipe, Corrugated Pipe, and assorted other things thinking how I could build a Sucker Tube, Mini Sluice, Gravity Suction Tube, etc.....

I came across something that caught my eye for two reasons:  First, it was Gold Pan Green (yes, i know they come in all sorts of colors, but mine is the same color), and Second, it was covered in riffles!

A common Down Spout erosion guard!  When your roof protects you from the rain, it diverts loads of water into your gutters.  The gutters then empty into the down spout and flow with gravity to the ground.  Anyone who has down spouts will tell you that if you don't do something with the water coming out, it will either pool next to the foundation and cause a wet basement, or erode the heck out of your yard!  Simply put, this plastic device will save you tons of headaches as a homeowner!

But look at it again!  It's almost a perfect Mini-Sluice!  Place the wide end up stream to allow the water in.  Cut the very end of the narrow end to allow water to flow straight thru without a lot of turbidity at the end.

20 Riffles to flow over!  It is VERY light!  Less than 36" long, it can fit mostly into a backpack.  It's plastic so it won't corrode.  And best of all, it was really really cheap @ under $7!!

It has some flaws though, and I will have to test it.  There are two channels along the side of the riffles that will allow any material to slide right thru, and the riffles themselves are rather rounded.  I plan on putting dowel rods down the sides to plug the channels and divert material to always flow over riffles.  I also plan on scratching the surface a bit to create extra friction for trapping material.  And I may even sharpen the riffle tips a bit.

Field testing will take place this weekend!

Think of any other interesting items to use?  Please post in a comment!

On a personal note, I also try and recycle as much material and items as I can.  I use the overburden and concentrates left overs I bring home to beautify my yard and fill the driveway, I use coffee containers to hold material and concentrates, I have a closed loop water system for cleaning concentrates.

May you find color in your pan and friends by your side!
"Rockhound" Steve

**Edit after Testing**

I tested this item in a stream and found a few problems right off the bat.

1 - The piece is way too bouyant!  It took a huge rock to keep it down!  I think that trimming the sides and the end will help.

2 - The channels in the side need to be addressed.  I have decided to put dowel rods down the sides to help keep material on the riffles.

3 - The narrow end cap needs to be cut off to allow material to flow straight thru the box.

4 - I think i need to "rough" up the surface a bit to help trap fine materials. 

Second field test after i finsih these changes.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Some Interesting and Helpful Documents

Greetings to all!

I was crusing around the web yesterday and ran across some interesting and useful things at the Pennsylvania DCNR site:

First was a map of Pennsylvania Glacial Deposits

The second was a booklet about Common Fossils of Pennsylvania

I highly recommend checking them out and browsing the site.  Use the tax dollars you spent on the site and enjoy some of the educational fruits of our labors!

I have also added these to the Documents page for future study.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Todays Additions to the blog

Hello all,
  just a quick note, I have added some new photos to The Facebook Page and added a few pages to the blog.

Check out the

Calendar Page

Directions Page

Links Page

  I am still fleshing out a bunch of info, images, and such.  Any suggestions, please E-mail me!


Contact Information

Robert Smith  
Blog Author
Steve Foster
Facebook Page