The Halo Effect
– by Kevin Hoagland
Any object that is buried in the ground that will deteriorate or rust such as iron, or tarnish like silver can create a positive signal by a detector. Relic detectorists experience this more than most detectorists in finding iron signals that have oxidized into the soil causing a very small iron target to appear to have much more mass. As the metal begins to decay, it leaches into the surrounding soil and given proper soil conditions can produce a good target signal. Once this oxidation layer is broken, it may disappear causing the detectorist to believe that the target was a false signal.
This is mentioned for the fact that gold in nature is not pure. The most common metals associated with gold will rust or tarnish. Once you begin to dig the target and break the oxidation ring, the target may disappear. If this happens do not abandon the dig until you are convinced that there is no target. In many cases you will be able to see a difference in the soil coloration. In the case of iron targets, the ground around the target may be a dark red or black due to the oxidizing action. Be especially careful of this in areas where gold is known to be found in iron ores.
Watch this video to see The Halo Effect explained: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55L2z0_P4Og
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Kevin Hoagland is the Executive Director of Development for the GPAA and the host of the latest prospecting tv series from the GPAA; Gold Trails. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.