The Golden Streams of Butte County, California
May 2011 by Frank Lorey IIIEven 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.
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.
The gravels in contact with the bedrock or false bedrock base are often the richest. The same facts apply to the alluvial paystreaks that are formed on gravel bars; the lowest level of the gold-bearing gravel is normally the richest.
One of the first minerals most prospectors learn to recognize is quartz, because, in the right circumstances, it can be an excellent indicator mineral for prospectors. Quartz is common, easy to identify, and is often associated with gold and other valuable metal deposits.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could know if there is gold in the ground without setting foot on the ground? Well you can, to a certain extent, if you can recognize mined ground from unmined.
Geology is a science of general tendencies with frequent exceptions, not one of hard and fast rules that are always true and never vary. For almost every well-accepted rule of gold deposits, I can point you to a number of important exceptions.
Contacts, faults and zones of weak rock are all places that can act as a pipeline to convey gold-bearing fluids, leading to valuable deposits.
The Bawl Mill • Why Haven't They Mined This Claim? • Ask The Experts—Where can I find information on the Abby mine? • Ask The Experts—Is it possible for a mountain range to have good lode gold deposits and yet the area streams not carrying like deposits of gold? • Ask The Experts—How do you amend a placer claim? • Ask The Experts—What happened to the BLM web site geocommunicator.gov? • The Ups and Downs of Geologic Faults • Fountain of Youth Gold • Legislative and Regulatory Update • Suction Dredging Update for California & Idaho • The Disappearance of State Mining Departments • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes & Mineral and Metal Prices