Is wet ground better for metal detecting? How does moisture in the soil affect your performance as a metal detectorist? Those are burning questions for us who enjoy the hobby. I am drawn to metal detecting because I want to uncover the treasures I have always dreamed of finding.
The metal detectors work better when moisture is in the soil, making it easier to detect metals buried underground. Read this blog post to learn more about the advantages of metal detecting on wet ground and how metal detectors handle damp soil.
Does Water Affect Metal Detector?
The first thing to know about finding treasure with a metal detector is that the ground conditions can matter. When the ground is wet, metal detectors function better and may detect objects deeper than they would otherwise.
Metal detectors are better at detecting hidden metals in the soil when there’s moisture in the ground. The soil tends to conduct electricity more efficiently than dry soil. It makes it easier for the detectors to find traces of various metals buried under the earth’s surface.
The detector sees a larger target, thanks to the halo effect. The “halo effect,” the most technical/scientific explanation, is somewhat controversial. (Source)
That is to say, the rumored size of the hidden item often exceeds its actual size. Long-term target oxidation, on the order of years, decades, or more, is generally accepted as the cause.
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How Halo Effect Helps Metal Detectorists
Is wet ground better for metal detecting? The halo effect can help.
Long-buried targets benefit from the halo effect, making them look much more significant than they are. Think about a nail made of iron, buried for a long time. As moisture in the ground progressively rusts the nail, creating iron oxides and iron salts, these oxides and salts move from the surface and create a “halo” around the nail. (Source)
It makes it a lot “easier” for a metal detector to detect. Most metals experience this effect to about the same extent. This halo effect, which takes years to develop, is eliminated when object excavation occurs.
Others doubt that noble metals like silver, copper, and gold can oxidize enough over time to create this halo.
Over time, metal items may rust as earth moisture penetrates their depths. Oxidation from rusting iron or tarnished coins seeps into the ground over time. Your detector will mistake it for a more significant item, making its location much more straightforward.
So, if you identify a target owing to the halo effect, and, for instance, it had a very faint signal, you will find that if you rebury it at the same depth, you will probably not now detect it.
Also, beachgoers need to know that the halo effect doesn’t have much time to build up and is easily erased by any ground movement. These factors often lead to the discovery of relics at deeper levels.
When gold forms into unusual shapes, it may be challenging to locate. Most gold hasn’t moved in a long time, so the halo effect helps us free a lot of it! But gold doesn’t rust or corrode. I hear you say. Correct. A halo of other minerals usually surrounds the gold due to salts and chemicals, like cyanide, that leach the gold away.
Check Out These Spots for Your Next Metal Detecting Trip
- Metal Detecting Places for Beginners- Some special metal detecting spots for newcomers
- Metal Detecting in Rivers and Creeks– How and where to metal detect along rivers
- Best Places to Metal Detect on The Outer Banks– Laws, clubs, and locations to metal detect on the Outer Banks
What Are The Metal Detectors for Underground Water?
Different types of metal detectors work better in other underground conditions. I use two metal detectors for my underground water treasure hunting. These are pulse induction (PI) and low frequency (VLF). These metal detectors can see through saltwater’s minerals. Easy to operate, they’re perfect for leisure users and treasure seekers.
Metal Detecting Tip: If you’re thinking about getting an “underwater detector” you need to learn a couple things. Check out this article 👉 A Complete Guide to Underwater Metal Detecting
Hunting requires knowing how to handle seashore minerals. In addition to pulverized minerals, there’s saltwater and heated rocks. Saltwater amplifies ground signals, causing false alarms.
Thus, the question “Is wet ground better for metal detecting?” depends on your metal detector.
If you’re having fun in the water but are disturbed by metal detector noise, try a VLF detector. You may adjust this budget-friendly detector to the ground. VLF detectors help uncover beach riches. You may change it for a more precise signal. (Source)
It’s worth noting that when utilizing a metal detector, you need to examine the beach’s mineral richness. Most entry-level metal detectors include an adjustable ground balance.
If you can’t afford a pulse detector, try PI circuitry. This metal detector sends signals using electrical pulses. Precious metals alter currents, but not ground or salt sand. Pulse circuits are great for identifying hard ground minerals but lack discrimination. (Source)
Thus, you can use a pulse induction metal detector to locate more valuable artifacts. This detector works in freshwater and saltwater.
PI Versus VLF Detector: Which Is Better?
Suppose you’re seeking a detector that can be used for underwater and buried treasure hunting. In that case, I recommend looking for one powered by PI technology. While low-frequency metal detectors can function underwater, they can also be prone to ground circuit degeneration.
With pulse induction technology, a metal detector makes an electromagnetic field that breaks down over a distance. Unlike other types of metal detectors, this one doesn’t have any ways to tell different metals apart. (Source)
The pulse indication of a PI detector is adjusted to measure its duration. The device can identify the kind of metal it’s looking for through its search coil. Before using a metal detector, it’s essential to know how to operate it and where to find it.
You can use the induction pulse detector to find gold nuggets at depths that are not possible with a VLF. You might consider getting a PI metal detector if you’re a serious metal detectorist. You can use a PI detector to find deeper ground than a VLF.
It allows me to find treasure, even if buried deep. It’s also handy for training metal detectorists. Pulse detectors can operate in harsh environmental conditions.
If you found this article your wanting to get wet metal detecting, let me show you how below:
- I have a complete guide to underwater detecting -> HERE
- Are rivers any good to Metal Detect? Read Metal Detecting in Rivers and Streams
- I compare amazing machines for water in this article -> My Thoughts on the Garrett Mark II Vs. Fisher CZ-21
- Wondering about which beach to search in CA? Read about 5 favorites -> HERE
- Wondering if you can get your machine wet? Read Are Metal Detectors Waterproof?
What Makes A Metal Detector Go Deeper?
The question “Is wet ground better for metal detecting?” also depends on how deep the ground is. Most metal detectors are capable of detecting items up to 8 feet deep. In ideal circumstances, a sensor with a mid-range range may reach up to 30 feet underground.
Most of the time, a search coil’s detection depth is the same as its diameter. The more it can find a target, the deeper it is. Due to its sizeable electrical interference (EM) field, however, a detector might be unable to find small things like rings and coins.
A small search coil, also called a “sniper coil,” can find things as deep as 7x10x18 cm, almost as deep as a standard 9x10x22 cm detector.
Most metal detectors have search coils that are about the same size. These usually have a diameter of 9 to 10 centimeters and create a search field that is 8 to 20 centimeters wide.
Also, big search coils are great for looking for relics and usually go deeper than regular metal detectors. They can also cover a larger area and find things farther away.
But it can be difficult for them to find small things like gold nuggets and earrings. Because these detectors have large EM fields, they are more likely to have electrical interference.
How Can I Improve Metal Detecting In Wet Ground?
You can improve metal detection on wet ground by knowing how several factors matter. You must know how damp or dry the ground is where you are searching. If the ground is wet, there is a good chance that any buried metals will be easier to detect. It is because water conducts electricity and sound waves better than dry land.
Going back to the question, “is wet ground better for metal detecting?” may also depend if the ground is too wet for too long. It can cause problems for your metal detector.
If there has been recent rainfall and the soil is still very wet, it could cause an overload on your machine’s circuit board. This event occurs due to increased electrical conductivity between the coil and the rod tip (this could happen even with a waterproof model).
Thus, this could damage your circuitry or even short out. So, it’s essential to be equipped with a suitable metal detector and know some factors that may affect metal detection in your chosen hunting location.
It can be an excellent place to look for something conducive. For example, if your object has high conductivity, adding more water will make it more conductive.
It also depends on the target’s location, where you are searching, and how deep you plan to explore. Some people swear by hunting in a puddle of water or on a muddy bank; others want to find solid, rock-free ground with dryer conditions.
When you are out metal detecting, the last thing anyone wants to do is get wet. As a professional in the treasure-hunting industry, I can tell you without a doubt that getting yourself wet during a detection will significantly change your game and overall experience.
For the question, “Is wet ground better for metal detecting?” Of course, there is no definitive answer. It depends. If your object of interest is high in conductivity and conductivity varies with soil moisture content, then more water equals more conductivity. Regardless, metal detecting is an enjoyable activity, even on wet grounds!
David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.
- “Halo Effect.” Metal Detecting World. Accessed October 3, 2022. https://www.metaldetectingworld.com/halo_effect.shtml
- “What is Halo?” Friendly Metal Detecting Forum. June 18, 2008. https://metaldetectingforum.com/showthread.php?t=15765
- “VLF Detectors.” Prospectors Patch. Accessed October 3, 2022. https://www.prospectorspatch.com.au/getting-started/understanding-the-jargon/#
- “Searching for Gold? Use a Pulse Induction Metal Detector?” Metal Detecting Tips. Accessed October 3, 2022. https://metaldetectingtips.com/what-is-pulse-induction-pi-in-metal-detecting-and-when-to-use-pi-tech/