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Chris Ralph

Chris Ralph gold prospector

Chris hails from Nevada, a state with a rich history of gold mining in the western USA. He has more than 35 years of prospecting experience, panning his first little 3/16 inch flake from the historic mother lode country of California way back in 1975. He’s been staking mining claims and digging for gold all over the western USA ever since. Chris followed his interests on a more formal level and obtained a degree in Mine Engineering from the Mackey School of Mines in Reno, Nevada and then worked in the gold mining industry.

Currently, Chris serves as the assistant editor of the ICMJ Prospecting and Mining Journal, an American magazine devoted to individual prospectors and small scale mining. He writes about various aspects of prospecting for gold, and his articles regularly address techniques and methods for detecting nuggets, especially the use of geologic knowledge to increase the quantity of gold prospectors can recover from their efforts.

Prospecting-and-mining-journal-Aug-10.jpg     book-cover-fists-full-of-gold.jpg
ICMJ Prospecting and Mining Journal Fists Full of Gold by Chris Ralph

In 2010, Chris released “Fists Full of Gold” an encyclopedic book about gold prospecting that covers the knowledge prospectors need to go beyond the beginner level and succeed at finding their own gold. The book focuses on the skills a prospector needs to be successful in detecting nuggets time and time again. He also has his own website – Chris Ralph’s Prospecting Encyclopedia.


Examining the GPZ 7000 Menu and Display system

March 21, 2015 12:17am

The GPZ 7000 comes with a menu and control system which is something very new for Minelab’s gold oriented metal detectors. In looking at it initially, it is clearly a close relative of the system used on the CTX 3030 – Minelab’s flagship treasure hunting detector. Some prospectors who do quite a bit of treasure hunting will already be thoroughly familiar with the menu system of the CTX 3030, but for me, although I do my share of coin, jewelry and treasure hunting, my passion is really in the area of gold prospecting so previously I had only spent a short time examining the menu system of the CTX. However, from the first time I saw the CTX 3030, I admired it’s easy to operate menu and display system. I have to say that I have long wished for an easily viewed menu screen system while running my GPX 5000. The new handle mounted menu controls on the GPZ 7000 makes this all possible and it is just as easy to use as I had hoped for.

Posted by Chris Ralph on March 21, 2015 12:17am | 0 Comments

Testing the GPZ 7000 in Nevada and California

February 18, 2015 07:00am

Recently, I had the opportunity to test Minelab’s new flagship detector, the GPZ 7000 and found it to be an amazing piece of equipment. Earlier in the summer I had been successfully using both my GPX 5000 and Minelab’s new SDC 2300.  Both of these detectors have their strengths and are great at finding gold, but in many ways the new GPZ 7000 is like swinging both the GPX and the SDC 2300 at the same time, only better. I found the GPZ 7000 to be surprisingly sensitive to small gold much like the SDC 2300, yet retaining all the depth, power and punch of the GPX 5000 on larger and deeper nuggets, with even greater depth on the largest chunks of gold.

Posted by Chris Ralph on February 18, 2015 07:00am | 0 Comments

Why Every Dry Blower Owner Ought to Purchase an SDC2300

November 06, 2014 11:51am

This summer I’ve been using my SDC 2300 for patch hunting and cleaning and just recently found a couple concentrations of small nuggets a few hundred yards apart. I recovered nuggets from these patches as small as 0.03 to 0.05 grams (some very small gold indeed), but I still wondered if there was even smaller gold present as well in the gravels of these nugget patches. 

Posted by Chris Ralph on November 06, 2014 11:51am | 1 Comment

The SDC 2300 Finds Both Little AND Big Nuggets!

July 25, 2014 05:41pm

I am just back from a two week prospecting trip to Alaska (11 days of digging), and I now have about 120+ hours of prospecting with the SDC 2300 and I have really been impressed with it. Just to show how successful the SDC 2300 has been for me, here are 50 grams (1.6 ounces) of SDC 2300 gold I have dug from both California and Alaska. 

Posted by Chris Ralph on July 25, 2014 05:41pm | 0 Comments

Trying Out Minelab's New SDC 2300

June 23, 2014 05:46pm

I've been enjoying the opportunity to test out Minelab's new SDC 2300. I do a lot of prospecting with various metal detectors and I have been excited about getting my hands on one ever since I heard some of the details of what this new detector would offer to prospectors.  Minelab is known for their cutting edge Pulse Induction technology, and the SDC 2300 certainly continues the tradition of revolutionary design that allows prospectors to accomplish things that just couldn't be done before. 

Posted by Chris Ralph on June 23, 2014 05:46pm | 1 Comment

A Tale of Greenstone Gold

October 09, 2013 10:10am

There are a number of different types of geologic settings that lead to the formation of gold nuggets. Some are rare, and some occur at many places around the world. One of the more common is associated with greenstone belts. Not every green colored rock is a greenstone, and what geologists are normally talking about with greenstone is a rock that once was black basalt on the ocean floor, but which has been subjected to the forces of heat and pressure that has changed the rock (metamorphic forces geologists call it).

Posted by Chris Ralph on October 09, 2013 10:10am | 1 Comment

Testing out the Minelab PRO-SWING 45

August 05, 2013 10:00am

One of the keys to success in metal detecting – whether you are hunting gold, relics or treasure - is that you need to keep at it. Success goes to those who are persistent and diligent in their efforts. The fellow who can only put in 3 hours each day will, in the long run, loose out to the fellow who is able to put in a full 8 hours or even more. It is especially true when you put in day after day of effort searching. You must not injure or wear yourself out.

Posted by Chris Ralph on August 05, 2013 10:00am | 0 Comments

Detecting in the Sixteen to One Mine - Part 2

January 22, 2013 09:20am

One might think that within not too long a period a person could run his metal detector over every inch of ground inside a mine. However because the Original Sixteen to One is a combination of a number of old mines and the property has been worked on a more or less continuous basis for well over 100 years, there are literally miles of old underground workings to explore and one could spend a lot of time going over every bit of the vein that was exposed in the walls of the old workings.

Posted by Chris Ralph on January 22, 2013 09:20am | 0 Comments

Detecting in the Sixteen to One Mine - Part 1

January 17, 2013 11:30am

Earlier this year I was given a very special opportunity to take my metal detector to one of the most famous underground gold mines in all of California, the original Sixteen to One Mine in the heart of the mother lode country at Allegheny. I was asked to give a little demonstration and talk about metal detecting technology, how it has changed and improved and to do some field testing of different types of detectors inside the mine.

Posted by Chris Ralph on January 17, 2013 11:30am | 0 Comments

Alaskan gold - Part 2

January 11, 2013 11:11am

The prospecting potential of the mining district where I visited included metal detecting for nuggets, but because there was plenty of water, the possibilities also included sluicing or high banking as well as suction dredging. The ground here was suitable for both pulse induction as well as VLF machines, most being fairly low mineralization, with some smaller areas strongly mineralized because of different underlying rocks. I brought both types of detector technology with me, as I wanted to be fully prepared. Although some larger nuggets have been found here, most of the gold is less than a half gram in weight. The gold deposits were well washed with nearly all the gold found within just the first few inches on top of bedrock. I spent considerable time detecting the bedrock on the bench areas above the creek that the miners had worked by hydraulic methods decades ago.

Posted by Chris Ralph on January 11, 2013 11:11am | 2 Comments
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