How do you find gold?
  • Gold is a very dense, precious metal that is found in rocks or in the soil of riverbeds.
  • As erosion wears away the earthís surface and the continental plates move the gold moves closer to the earthís surface.
  • In New Zealand the most common place to find gold is at the bottom of some riverbeds in South Otago. The water running in these rivers wears away the soil and exposes the gold. These rivers run through areas where thereís gold deposits.
  • Gold miners scoop up soil and water from the river and swirl away the dirt and sand in a pan in the hope of finding tiny pieces of gold. This is called panning.
  • Gold miners would pan a river to find out if it was worth mining in the area.
  Did You Know?
  • Gold thatís panned is called alluvial (ah-loo-ve-ell) gold.
  • You also get lode gold which is found in "veins" of quartz rock. A vein of gold is bit like a vein of blood but gold runs through rock not your body!
  • In some places, like Thames, gold was dug out of the ground in huge mines. This kind of gold has to be mechanically crushed and chemically treated to separate the gold from the quartz rock.
  • The rarest kind of gold is a solid lump of gold called a nugget and the biggest nugget ever found was 70.8kgs
  • Thereís a type of stone called Copper Pyrite which looks like shiny gold flecks in the rocks and it has the nickname "Fools Gold" because itís fooled many gold miners.
Do some panning
Get a collection of small objects like paperclips, shells, tiny toys, erasers, and stones. Ask an adult if you can have some small gold item like an earring. Put all the objects into a large shallow dish or a wok. Add water and swish the objects around. What happens to the most dense objects - the ones that are heavy for their size?
Find out about the great "Gold Rush" in South Otago in the 1860ís.
How do you make gold soup?
Put 14 carrots in it!
from Rebecca Hatton

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