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To Jack, WM6, Sodbuster and others regarding 'sinking.'

September 29, 2019 08:53PM avatar
Regarding 'SINKING' we typically associate that with a ship that 'sinks.'' But why does it end up on the bottom of the lake or ocean or ??? If it just 'Sinks' why did it stop when it came to a solid mass? Drop a coin on the driveway or a hard dirt surface, it doesn't sink. Drop it in 2" of grass and it stops when it hits the soil or bottom area of the grass. Why did it stop? Why didn't it keep 'sinking' if that's what's supposed to happen? because it encountered something solid which wasn't looser or in a fluid state.

The magic word here to explain what happens is 'DISPLACEMENT.' A boat on water, a rock that's thrown in, a dropped metal hand trowel and many other solid objects that are not buoyant end up making their way downward because of their weight and solid structure, combined with the very fluid state of water which is moved aside (aka → DISPLACED) due to the solid matter and that allows it to make it's way downward until it encounters a more solid surface that it doesn't displace.

A dropped soda or beer can, can be stopped on a wet-packed sandy beach and usually not displace the wet packed sand like the same beverage can dropped on a dry, loose sand beach because the looser sand is disturbed and moved (DISPLACED) due to the impact and that can might end up a little deeper than one on the hard-packed wet sand area.

Coins, rings and similar lost / dropped metal objects will typically come to rest on a solid surface material. There they will generally remain ... UNLESS:

1.. They are covered due to the build-up over them by grass clippings, fallen leaves or other vegetation. That isn't 'sinking' but is 'DEPOSITION' forming on top of them. You can drive around and look at yards that have had a lot of build-up as noted by the grass either side of a sidewalk or curb that is much higher then the sidewalk or curb height. You can also see buildup at the base of many trees with ground buildup over what would often be exposed roots at the tree base.

2.. Some yards or parks or other grassy areas have had sand or loose dirt fill brought in to help level the area, and that is also not 'sinking' but 'DEPOSITION' by humans for a specific purpose.

3.. Sometimes laws, be them yards or at parks or schools or ??? can get heavily watered or soaked from heavy rains or flooding, etc., and that then can put the soil, when well saturated, into a somewhat fluid state and, in those cases, at times, there might be some 'DISPLACEMENT' due to the solid metal object being heavier and displacing the very watery soil or sand which moves and gravity takes control. Does it 'sink?' Sort of, but it only moves a little lower due to 'Displacement.' The same holds true of worms or burrowing critters that move (DISPLACE) some dirt beneath a lost object and that allows 'Displacement' and not an actual 'sinking' effect. The void created is filled with material from above, which could be dirt or rocks and any solid object associated with that mixture free-falling into the voided space.

4.. Foot traffic, by human or animal, and vehicular traffic can also have an effect on 'DISPLACEMENT' as I have observed in over 54 years of very active metal detecting. I have come across cases where vehicles have driven along old dirt roads during a rainy season, or across some parks and schools and other places in urban environments, especially noted in places like Portland Oregon or the Willamette Valley that can get a lot of heavy rain during a year. From that or other very wet conditions, high vehicle traffic displaces things, and the same applies to play areas that get very wet, and muddy, and high foot traffic causes 'DISPLCEMENT.'

Let's not forget cattle as well. Hunting old farms, ranches and homesteads where horses and cattle of all types are in an enclosure, or especially near a water trough, watering hole, or just some very wet low-level areas, all their stomping and maneuvering around has 'Displaced' a lot of coins, tokens, and other metal objects compared with nearby areas that haven't seen that kind of heavy use / traffic or an intense wetted area.

Other Man-Caused Disturbance:When I had my detector shop on main street in Kaysville Utah in '81, I would walk across the street to detect the grassy front lawn in front of the Library and City Hall. I found quite a few coins, but surprisingly most of the modern coins were in the 3+ in to 6" range, while in the surface to 3" range I mostly found the wheat-back cents and older silver coins. Well, the newer coins didn't sink down while the older coins sank up!

After making some inquiries I was told by the city that they wanted to do some upgrading and re-do the lawn and level it, and plant fresh grass, and also decorate the entire area. So, a year or two before I showed up they had tilled the entire grassy area in that block. Then raked and leveled the soil and planted a new lawn. This didn't involve any 'sinking' behavior, and was simply a matter that the tilling churned everything up and left a lot of the older and formerly deeper coils now shallower, and the more recent deposits of modern change down deeper. A condition caused by 'DISPLACEMENT' and not by any 'sinking.'

I have Relic Hunted off-and-on from May of 1969 until July of 1983 using older TR and TR-Disc. models that handled iron really well, but were difficult to use due to the need to maintain a consistent coil-to-ground height and good Threshold audio. I found stuff, but urban Coin Hunting was more rewarding. In mid-'83 we got our first good slow-motion / quick-response VLF Discriminator that handled iron well and I changed brands and also made an instant switch to more devoted Relic Hunting. What does this have to do with the topic? Simple ....

1983 was a little over 114 years after my all-time favorite ghost town I named 'Twin Flats' Utah got started, and my very dedicated and very, very frequent trips for Relic Hunting became my #1 metal detecting pleasure. That old town site and many others I would frequent, as well as working old-use places in and around towns that also called for using a Relic Hunter's detectors and approach were similar in what they held hidden and the rather shallow depths targets came from.

And after 114 years until I started working 'Twin Flats' in '83, and until now an additional 36 years later, that townsite produced a record-setting amount of old coins for me. Most of the coins were carded in 2X2's and put in display sheets to fill 4 binders, and I still had a lot of coins that were cleaned and carded or waiting to be cleaned. Hundreds of coins dating back to 1836, and some of them I spotted laying exposed or partly exposed on the surface!

The bulk, like 92% to 95% of the rest, I had to 'toe-scuff'' or use a hand-trowel to recover from just sub-surface down to about the ±3" depth. The other 5% or slightly more took me a little deeper, down to 4' or 6+" for most of those and just 3 that were deeper, came from areas associated with the bottle digger craze of 1954 to '58 or so and all that 'Disturbance' from digging and making dirt mounds with objects in them that weren't glassware.

Even in the looser desert dirt that can kick up dust clouds behind your vehicle, and where they do get rain, periodic thunder storm showers and wintry snow that can often be in a muddy state during certain seasons .... coins and other lost stuff have basically been where lost because there hasn't been any vehicle use or trampage by man or beast in wetter or muddier times. And even over 150 years later, they still didn't 'sink.'

Over half-a-century of in-the-field observation combined with common logic, and supported by similar thoughts and opinions from educated people in this hobby who have also pondered and studied the topic themselves and concluded ... Coins don't 'Sink' but can, over different periods of time, end up at different positions in the ground due to 'Displacement' or 'Deposition.' That's it.


"Your EYES ... the only 100% accurate form of Discrimination!"

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Subject Author Views Posted

Sinking coins?

Kraemer 243 September 27, 2019 06:59PM

To Jack, WM6, Sodbuster and others regarding 'sinking.'

Monte 144 September 29, 2019 08:53PM

Re: Sinking coins?

WM6 179 September 29, 2019 12:18AM

Re: Sinking coins?

Sodbuster 151 September 28, 2019 10:02AM

Jack, there is a simple answer: 'Coins Don't Sink.' -- Also, a long storied post for ANYONE to read and answer.

Monte 188 September 28, 2019 08:13AM

Re: Jack, there is a simple answer: 'Coins Don't Sink.' -- Also, a long storied post for ANYONE to read and answer.

jmaryt 141 September 29, 2019 06:37PM

Re: Jack, there is a simple answer: 'Coins Don't Sink.' -- Also, a long storied post for ANYONE to read and answer.

BigDog 151 September 29, 2019 04:23PM

How many agree with Ron's conclusions, and do you use a different detector?

Monte 125 September 30, 2019 12:18AM

What! Nobody wants to read the story and tell me what they saw or found

Monte 136 September 29, 2019 03:37PM

Absolutely Coins Sink . . . . . . . . eye popping smiley

UtahRich 145 September 29, 2019 02:02PM

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