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dick ward

Anyone know what these are?

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I have found quite a few of these lately while detecting. They seem to be made of aluminum

and they give a down signal tone on my GPX. Size is 32mm x 11mm on the intact one.


Some kind of blasting caps?


Thanks for any information you can give.


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That's what they look like to me. A little bigger in diameter and made of different material from the ones I usually find though. Maybe a booster of some sort? Are you in old tailing piles?

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Hi Dick,


Look like they could be blasting caps... and Yes, they are incased in aluminum. The ones in your photo are a bit larger in diameter than the Hercules caps I have used, which are a little bigger than a standard pencil and about 2.5" + inches in length... But there are many types of explosive systems and caps to detonate them out there....


Many times when you are blasting a round....with multiple charges you get a timing misfire in one hole and that will dislodge an un-detonated charge next to it.... So it is not uncommon to find a few sticks broken sticks of un-exploded Dynamite mixed in waiting for you to stick your shovel into... along with the sticks you can also find an intact un-detonated cap or two for seasoning when you are mucking out your ore.... !!! .


I also in your photo I don't see any crimp marks.... so they so most likely those were electrically detonated caps. (The Fuse detonated version are the ones that you crimped around the end of the fuse so those caps would show indentations.) which I don't see.


Fresh explosives generally are pretty stable and safe to handle but.... if you add to that "age and neglect" that will change the composition ~ where the Nitrate gel in old explosives will settle out with gravity... and could gather and puddle in the bottom of a container as an oil ~ that is why when storing you need to turn the boxes over regularly... If they have been siting for a really long time the Nitro gel will settle and could puddle (if contained).. and that "Nitroglycerin" could crystalize and that would make it highly unstable and dangerous.


So that is something I would think about if I found a large amount of old explosives in a box or a few Old and moldy boxes sitting un-attended and neglected in a old mine...in wax paper or a plastic bag... Just a thought....


PS: I have found plenty of old caps with my detector too.... most of those were older than the ones in your photo ~ Late 1800s to early 1900s and very weathered and harmless...


In your photo I see a white power substance... "If that is nitrate???" there could be a few nitrate crystals contained and settled in the bottom aluminum container if the bottom in still intact?


I Just thought that I'd throw in a word a caution.



It's all part of prospecting and looking for nuggets... all sorts of stuff to look out for: from snakes to deep shafts to rock falling on your head... It's all part of the grand adventure!



All the best,

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