Iowa Hill District
June 2012 by Chris RalphFor the last two years we’ve held a hands-on prospectors training session in the Iowa Hill district of California’s Mother Lode country as a part of our Gold Prospecting and Mining Summit event. Because of this, I thought it might be good to take a look at the history, geology and opportunities that the Iowa Hill district still offers to the individual prospector.
He made some casual conversation until he got around to what really brought him into my camper.
The fact that mineral deposits can contribute specific types of heavy minerals is why the analysis of the heavy mineral concentrates in the streams of an area can be an important prospecting technique for finding undiscovered mineral deposits.
The area was mined intermittently from around 1900 to 1915, but was also mined in the late 1800s, with a total output valued at about $100,000, which is around $9.5 million at the current gold price.
Back in October I read with great interest Chris Ralph’s article on the use of a metal detector while drywashing, and I wholeheartedly agree—I wouldn’t even consider going drywashing without using a metal detector in conjunction...
I grew up in Southern California, and found my first nugget there, so I know my way around. Because there is good gold there, I thought it might be helpful to take a look at the many placer gold opportunities found in the southern part of the state.
The amount of gold in the traces from the low-grade scattered veinlets may be much more than the traces from the small but rich pocket, at least until the pocket hunter closes in on the rich pocket. Further confusion arises if the prospector stumbles across a placer deposit on one of the higher peaks.
Digging in the right spots will produce excellent results, like this group of nuggets taken by the author while metal detecting during the last few months. The biggest nugget is over an ounce.
The Bawl Mill • Our Readers Say • Gold Deposition and Gradients of Placer Streams—Part I • Pursuing Rare Earths in Wyoming • The Mole • Prospecting for Copper Ores—Part I • Repair / Replace Tax Rule Changes • The Wisdom of Mark Twain—And Tales of Cheating the Unwary Prospector • Colorado Mining Association Appeals Roadless Ruling • Ganes Creek Hits 10 Years—Part II • Fifteen and Counting • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices