Green Valley Gold District, Payson, Arizona
March 2016 by W. Dan Hausel
It would seem that we are often indeed destined to repeat history. In terms of gold discovery, even with all the advancements that have been made over the years, it seems we are once again on the cusp of returning to the 1800s world of gold mining. Even as you read this, a new gold rush is taking place in a sleepy little town in South Carolina.
Apart from the hard rock mines, there are abundant gold-bearing placers, especially in the areas in and around Oriental Wash.
I would first like to mention that I am not a geologist. I have, however, spent the last 8 years intently searching for gold nuggets with a metal detector. I have found gold in numerous locations, and in several different types of gold deposits.
We have to remember that the earliest miners were not geologists, but came from a variety of backgrounds. Their survival depended on finding enough gold so they worked hard and adapted to whatever challenges these new areas presented.
On our last trip, we brought ropes and went down the first waterfall forty vertical feet, only to be confronted by a second, sixty-foot-high, overhanging waterfall that emptied into a slot canyon.
The majority of the gold produced in Goldfield has come from ores that are close enough to the surface to be oxidized by the air. This oxidized ore is normally a soft, shattered, earthy material usually stained yellow to brown by oxides of iron.
In 1967, a local resident showed me a pouch of small gold nuggets and flakes. Several years later I asked the same person where that gold was found. He responded, “From the streambed below the old stamp mill at Apex.”
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