Metal detecting Atlanta & North GA

I haven’t posted in a while, so I wanted to give you some updates. So far this year, I’ve found 6 silver dimes and other coins from the mid-20th century (mostly 1940s thru 1960s). The 1 anna coin (British coin from India) is pretty unique and it was found in the historic Matt GA area.

Metal detecting finds from North GA in 2019
Metal detecting finds using GTI 2500 in North Georgia.

The silver dimes were found at numerous locations thru-out North GA (Five in Forsyth county and one in Cherokee county). Most of the silver dimes were found on private residence with the oldest location dating back to 1891. However, I did find one of the silver dimes at a public school in Forsyth county that was founded in the 1960s. I’ve also been finding some really cool relics:

Metal detecting Settingdown creek in GA

Wow, I had a blast this morning. I went metal detecting in a creek in North Georgia called Settingdown creek. I was very unprepared for the adventure.

I brought with me my metal detector, a long handle sand scoop and my finds pouch. The first target was a bullet or percussion cap, it’s really small. The sand scoop was worthless, the site was covered in bed rock and there was nothing to scoop!

The next target was identified by my GTI 2500 as a coin and target imaging said it was b-size or coin sized, but unfortunately I never found it. The target was located in a deep crevice in the bedrock and multiple rocks were stuck between me and the target. I didn’t have the proper equipment to find it. I really needed my gold prospecting equipment called a crevice tool that normally used to clean out crevices to find gold nuggets.

The next couple of targets were bullets, a lead weight and a pulltab. I was real excited on the pulltab signal because it had all the characteristics of gold ring. I also identified another coin signal in a different crevice, but again I never recovered it because I just couldn’t remove the rocks that were jammed in the crevice preventing me from retrieving it.

At the end of the hunt, I moved to some deep sand in a area of the creek where the water was moving real slow. The long handle sand scoop worked great here. I found a real deep quarter, a zinc penny, a piece of scrap metal and my first meteorite! It might be a meteorite, but it’s probably just a piece of lode stone.

River finds metal detecting north GA — Settingdown creek
Meteorite or lodestone?

Metal detecting Daytona Beach FL summer 2019

I had the pleasure to metal detect Daytona beach for a few days this summer. I had my GTI 2500 this year, last year I also made a trip to the beach and I used my Fisher 1280-X aquanaut.

Both machines are VLF type machines and neither worked in the wet salt sand. I tried all sorts of settings on the GTI like salt elimination mode and lowering the sensitivity. I also tried the trick of swinging the coil several inches above the ground to minimize the effects of the mineralized soil. Although, I could get the GTI 2500 to work in wet sand everything I did severally limited its depth. At least, that’s what I think was going on, I wasn’t successfully in finding many targets in the wet sand and when I did they were normally right on top of the ground! I would walk for an hour and maybe find one or two targets. The dry sand was another story, so keep reading.

I also lost a day to weather and the entire day was spent inside because of thunderstorms almost the entire day. In addition, our trip was cut short when my father-in-law passed away and we headed home a day early.

Once I figured out VLF machines are terrible in wet salty sand, I detected only the dry sand at the top of the beach. What’s great about Daytona is the fact that cars and pick-up trucks are allowed on the beach, so there is plenty of activity everywhere on the beach. Also anything dropped in the dry sand is instantly lost, where items dropped in the compact wet sand are visible until the surf consumes them. So, the dry sand has a lot of potential for great finds and here are my finds for between 4-8 hours of metal detecting Daytona beach FL:

A pulse type machine such as the White’s TDI beachhunter is the way to go in salt water beaches. Pulse machines are completely unaffected by mineralization including wet salt. They don’t offer discrimination, but the White’s TDI beachhunter does offer two tones (low and high) based on the setting of the pulse delay which can be used as rough discrimination.

As you can see I didn’t find any gold this trip, but I had a great time and my wife would join me so that was big plus too. Metal detecting Daytona is fun, great exercise and I did find a few junk jewelry items. Not everyone wears 14kt gold, but I did find gold in spending time with my family and enjoying what life gives us.

Ox Knob found Metal Detecting Atlanta Area Parks

Taylor, Mike and I spent around three hours today metal detecting two old parks in Atlanta. Both parks were within a mile from Grant park. Wow, the first park was literally covered in trash targets! I started the hunt using my 12.5″ coil. That was a major mistake! I quickly switched to the standard 9.5″ coil, but even that coil had trouble keeping all the signals apart.

I’m sure there are some great coins hidden beneath all the trash, but neither of us found one. I did find some interesting copper relics. One of the copper relics hinges on one end and I think I’ll try and bend it back into what I believe is the original shape.

We had a metal detector showdown, my brother and I, about who would find the best targets. I was using a Garrett GTI 2500 and Mike was equipped with a Minelab Equinox 800. My total in clad coins was 70 cents and Mike found 53 cents, so it was pretty close. I think the imaging saved me some time not digging aluminum cans, but I still dug a few, just to check the detector. I’ve also noticed deep coins fool the GTI imaging system, so I didn’t want to pass up a nice deep silver coin. Unfortunately, or fortunately, whichever way you think of it, all the larger than a coin targets were exactly as predicted by the GTI 2500, junk. Here’s a video of the metal detector showdown:

Here are some still shots of our finds for the day:

My finds using the GTI 2500 — the unusual copper “bracelet” is in the upper right hand corner
Mike’s finds for the day using a Minelab Equinox 800

In my eyes there was no clear winner in the metal detector showdown. I found 70 cents in clad and a few copper and brass relics in the roughly three hours of detecting and Mike found 53 cents and a bunch of trash. Neither of us found any old coins, not even a wheatie and that was our goal, at least it was my goal. If we were after clad coins, the local school yards in Forsyth or Dawson county would have probably been more productive. In the end, both machines did a good job.

I have a idea to really pit the two machines against each other. We return to either park and each mark out a 10′ x 10′ detecting area for each machine. I would hunt my 10′ x 10′ area with my GTI 2500 and Mike would hunt his 10′ x 10′ area with his Equinox 800. We would then switch and I would detect Mike’s 10′ x 10′ area and vice versa. The challenge would then be complete and we would compare our finds.

Update:

One of our youtube viewers identified two of my relics. I found a ox knob which was screwed on the end of a Oxen horns to prevent the ox from attempting to sharpen his horns and it also helped protect people and other animals from the sharp horns and I also found a Ford Model T valve stem cover nut! Here are some close-ups of my finds using my Garrett GTI 2500:

I thought everything I found was trash, but the ox knob, Model T nut and copper bracelet are pretty sweet finds!
Ox knob found metal detecting in Atlanta Park.
The ox knob would have been used on oxen pulled wagon’s such as this one. These bovine are not wearing ox knobs, but they look like they need them!

Does moisture affect the depth of VLF metal detectors during metal detecting?

The topic of moisture and how it affects depth is a hot topic with metal detectorists! Everyone has a theory but I’ve never seen a detailed study proving or disproving any of the theories. Many detectorists think moist soil increases depth and some think soil void of moisture increases depth, so who do we believe?

It’s going to sound crazy, but I think they are both correct! The answer lies in the soil composition.

Here in the south we have a lot of mineralization in our soil, so moisture might actually reduce metal detection depth. A metal detecting electrical engineer has this to say about detection depth in southern red soils, “This type of iron oxide, because of its consistency, achieves a solidity or connection between iron particles making it much harder to reject when wet.” Essentially what he’s saying is the iron oxides impede the signal by masking out the good targets by creating one big iron target when the soil is wet!

Highly mineralized soils, in particular soils with large concentrations of hematite, will loose detection depth due to the “clouding” effect of hematite or iron oxide. The iron oxide not only negatively impacts depth, but it also wrecks havoc on discrimination as well! Another negative of highly mineralized soil is what detectorists call phantom signals. The phantom signals are again caused by hematite or magnetite (black sand) and are basically signals caused by the soil mineralization instead of real targets such as coins or jewelry. The only solution to false signals is to turn down sensitivity until they go away. Theoretically, auto ground balancing machines should account for these moderate soils. In severe soil, it might sometimes be necessary to manually ground balance to eliminate these false signals or again reduce sensitivity.

So what happens in non-mineralized soils? The general consensus is moisture enhances detection depth by increasing the conductivity of targets. Non-mineralized soils essentially act like air and your metal detector should achieve similar depths as seen in air testing with the added benefit of enhanced conductivity during high moisture content. So both depth is increased and reliability of discrimination is increased, a win-win scenario for metal detecting in moist non-mineralized soils!

This article only pertains to VLF or TR detectors and VLF type detectors probably suffer the most from highly mineralized soil. One alternative are pulse type metal detectors. Pulse detectors have a single coil for sending and receiving and work on different principles from VLF type machines. In fact, pulse detectors normally don’t have ground balancing, because they are not affected by ground mineralization and sometimes ground mineralization will add slightly to the duration of the reflected pulse thereby increasing depth of detection! However, even though pulse detectors offer greater depth in mineralized soil, they do not discriminate. In particular, pulse detectors have trouble discriminating out iron targets. One way pulse detectors can discriminate iron is by using very long time delays, however since silver and copper have similar characteristics to iron with very long time delays this method is far from fool proof.

There you have it, moisture in soil is either a blessing or a curse. In southern states such as Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia, you might want to wait to hunt in the drier months for the deepest signals. I’m sure there are other places in the United States such as Idaho or western states where highly mineralized soil is a problem, but these five states have the rich red soil that is a known problem. Up north or areas with little or no soil mineralization might even see increased detection depths when the soil is moist.