A gold nugget is a naturally occurring piece of native gold. Flowing bodies of water (water courses) are responsible for the concentration and growing of gold nuggets. There is a variety of ways through which gold nuggets are found: in the residual deposits where the gold-bearing veins are weathered, by placer mining (the mining of the alluvial soil for deposits; done through tunneling equipment, open-pit, or various surface excavating equipment), and in the piles left by previous mining like those left by gold mining.
Nuggets are also formed due to cold weather and in streams and rivers, where small pieces and fragments lie. Due to gold being very soft, when smaller pieces hit each other under pressure, they combine and form a bigger piece. These gold pieces are prone to weld together under hammering loads or impact, just like the pressure produced in rapids and under waterfalls. Other metals, such as platinum, also form nuggets in the very same way.
Welcome Stranger, found by John Deason and Richard Oates at Moliagul, Victoria, Australia, in 1869, is the largest gold nugget ever found. It weighed around 78 kgs (171.6 lbs). One of the world’s largest ‘Cubic’ gold pieces is the Latrobe nugget, found at Mount Mclvor, Victoria (Australia). It is kept in the Natural History Museum and is named in the honor Charles La Trobe, Governor of Victoria. The structure of this nugget is very rare, and it requires specific conditions to grow.
But the Holtermann Nugget is the largest specimen of gold ever found. It is 59 inches long, and weighs around 286 kg (629.2 lbs). It is named after the person who found it, Bernhardt Otto Holtermann. He was a successful gold miner, politician and businessman in Australia.
Holtermann emigrated from Liverpool, to avoid military service, and reached Australia. He became partners with Ludwig Hugo Louis Beyers, a polish miner. They did prospecting for some years, but without any rewards. Their fortune turned, when The Star Hope of Gold Mining Company, in which both were among the partners, found large deposits of gold in 1871. The Holtermann Nugget was then discovered on 19 October 1872, but Holtermann was not the only one to get lucky.
Some of the largest gold nuggets discovered in Alaska are:
- The Alaska Centennial Nugget: it is the largest nugget found in Alaska in 1988 near Ruby by a miner while operating his bulldozer. It weighs around 294.10 troy ounces.
- The Anvil Nugget: it was found by the Pioneer Mining Company in 1903 at Anvil Creek near Nome. The Anvil Nugget weighs around 182 troy ounces.
- The Ganes Nugget: it was found by Llyod Magnuson (son of Warren Magnuson) in 1985 on Ganes Creek near McGrath, while commercial mining. It weighs around 122 troy ounces.
- The Heart of Gold: it was found by Mic Martinek in 1984 on Glacier Creek near Kantishna, and is still owned by him. It weighs around 92 Troy Ounces.
- Prospector’s Dream: it was discovered in 1985 by Dollie Magnuson Nelson (daughter of Warren Magnuson) on Ganes Creek near McGrath. It weighs around 62.5 troy ounces. It was found in the same area where the Ganes Nugget was discovered.
This story is brought to you by Silver Scott Mines, a publicly traded (OTC: SILS) junior mining company. Silver Scott Mines is a development stage precious metals company that currently operates in Mexico through a wholly owned subsidiary, Minera Mystery S. de R.L. de C.V. The Mexico corporate office is in Hermosillo, Sonora, the state capital and industrial center for northwestern Mexico. Core projects for Silver Scott Mines are Quitovac in Sonora, Venturnia vein zone in Chihuahua, and the Virgin de Carmen vein zone in Sonora. Additional targets are being developed in six other areas.