Many of us are somewhat of generalists, not geologists.... So, while I find things like flat Granite Rocks interesting, my eyes tend to glaze over with very deep questions about the specifics on how they got there, especially when there is a lot of reference material already on the web.
Pictures are always worth 1000 words
I see that there IS
gold in South Carolina.
You said, "gold has been found within 10 miles of here."
Did you find it, or did you just hear that someone else found it?
I've done a little panning, only with marginal success in areas that I know to be "Gold Country", although some of the areas have been heavily dredged a century ago. I can remember panning with my Grandfather in a little inconspicuous creek where one could get a few flecks of gold, along with some good heavy Iron with every pan.
Anyway, if you aren't getting a lot of heavy black stuff in the bottom of the pan, then something is wrong.
About all I know is that gold is quite heavy, and it likes to collect around long-term obstructions, in very low spots in a creek or river. If you see gold on a beach, it probably isn't gold.