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What Is Placer Gold?
Merriam-Webster defines "placer" as: An alluvial, marine, or glacial deposit containing particles of valuable mineral and especially of gold. A natural concentration of heavy minerals caused by the effect of gravity on moving particles.
When heavy, stable minerals are freed from their matrix by weathering processes, they are slowly washed downslope into streams that quickly winnow the lighter matrix. The heavy minerals become concentrated in stream, beach, and lag (residual) gravels and constitute workable ore deposits. Minerals that form placer deposits include gold, platinum, cassiterite, magnetite, chromite, ilmenite, rutile, native copper, zircon, monazite, and various gemstones.