Pupils pan for gold

Lancing has plenty of budding geologists, many of whom undertake exciting excursions, experiments and investigations to complement their studies. Pupils also benefit from the rich variety of visiting speakers, with Dr Norman Moles – Principal Lecturer in Geology at the University of Brighton – being the latest in the College’s ever-varied list of guest lecturers. In addition to his fascinating talk on the science of gold, Dr Moles and Dr Reesink (Geography teacher at the College) arranged for the pupils to participate in an informative gold panning exercise.

Gold panning

We spoke to Fourth Former Henry Y about the afternoon:

“Dr Moles introduced us to the science of gold: how gold rises to the surface from the crust, what impurities it may have, and how to artificially alloy it. We talked about the processes and objectives of fieldwork, and how gold is found in rivers through the process of panning. Gold panning refers to the method used to separate gold from the rest of the sediment – an interesting fact was that often tonnes of sediment have to be moved in order to find reasonable quantities of gold, especially in a river environment. Later in the afternoon we spent time panning for gold using river bed samples from Scotland and Ireland. There was definitely an art to it, but we found gold! I would like to thank Dr Reesink for organising such an interesting experience and I hope that we can do more of this kind of work in the future.”

Commenting on the exercise, Dr Reesink said: “In order to find gold, pupils have to understand plate tectonics, the rock cycle, and the processes of erosion and deposition by rivers. Gold panning is not just good fun, but it brings together a wide range of elements from geology and geography."

We look forward to hearing more about our pupils’ geographical studies.

Gold panning