The Downieville Gold District
January 2011 by Chris RalphMany locals are just waiting for California to allow dredging once more, especially with the current gold prices. There are still plenty of good opportunities for prospectors in this area, just as it has been for so many years.
I suspect detailed geological mapping and prospecting would lead to discovery of one or more overlooked gold deposits in the district even though it has been heavily prospected in the past.
Even though these were some of the earliest placer deposits to be worked, there is still plenty of gold left today—it just takes more work to recover. Knowing about the old locations where gold has been found is the first step to success.
Some scattered reports say that gold may have been washed from streams here as early as the 1840s, but the undisputed major discovery came in 1870.
Everyone has heard of the golden beach at Nome, but Nome did not have the richest beach.
There are a large number of different kinds of gangue minerals, and each of them has its own tale to contribute to the story of the chemistry and geology of a deposit.
The more experienced prospectors know these lesser known spots are the types of places where big finds are still made.
The small-scale miner has reasonable opportunity to exploit some of these small, rich placer gold deposits.
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