The Stonewall Jackson Mine, San Diego County, California
July 2001 by Richard H. Peterson, PhDFor obvious reasons southern California is not known historically for its gold mines. Gold production was concentrated heavily in the Sierra Nevada foothills in the northern part of the state. However, the high mountainous region of eastern San Diego County was the site of a number of productive hardrock gold mines, notably in the late 19th century.
In the 1980s, I spent 5 summers living in a tent in order to map the 450 mi2 South Pass granite-greenstone belt and many of its historic mines. While mapping, I was quite impressed by the general lack of development of lode gold deposits.
Q: I have tried various leaching techniques from which I cannot get a precipitate.
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“The biggest nugget you’ll ever find is in a spot that many have walked over for years.” I’m not sure who told me that, but the more I think about that statement, the more it makes sense.
A number of visiting gold miners were quite impressed with our operation and the amount of gold we had recovered in only three hours. No one usually likes digging and slugging buckets all day long, but we actually began to enjoy it after a few good...
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