Butte, Montana—The Richest Hill on Earth
December 2017 by Chris Ralph
I recently had the opportunity to spend a day exploring around Butte, Montana and was amazed by the amount of mining that has taken place there. The old-timers called Butte “the richest hill on earth” and had pretty good reasons for doing so.
The more experienced prospectors know these lesser known spots are the types of places where big finds are still made.
We descended hunched over, down a long, steep, wooden staircase to the 1,000-level.
The favorable geology of the northeastern and central parts of the Seven Troughs Range are the parts most interesting to prospectors. They are underlain by a thick sequence of Tertiary volcanic rocks, mostly rhyolites and andesites.
Most prospectors learn early that pyrite is fool's gold...but the truth is it can be an excellent indicator mineral for gold and in many cases does contain small amounts of gold.
Historically, Montana has been an important gold producer, in terms of both lodes and placers, and it still produces gold for the prospector today.
There are many other locations in the area where gold has been found, but Woods Creek is the most famous of the creeks and gulches in the area where the 49ers searched for that elusive yellow metal.
Has your experience ever led you to wonder why some gold is deposited on bedrock and in crevices, while other gold is not? We’re going take a deeper look at this and see what we can figure it out.
The Bawl Mill • Legislative and Regulatory Update • Ask The Experts - Looking for help smelting gold • Ask The Experts - Chlorine bleach and vinegar makes a deadly combination • Ask The Experts - Were there insufficient values to continue mining at this site? • Watch Out for Split Estates When Filing Your Claim • Detecting the Fringe Areas • Conrey Dredge No. 4—Part II • California: The Land of Big Nuggets—Part I • Gold Detecting Strategies for Hydraulic Mines and Debris Flows • New Technology for Extracting Lithium To Be Tested in Nevada • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices