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History & Geology

Understanding and Prospecting Benches

The most obvious benches are usually near the valley floor, but they can be thousands of feet above the valley floor. Since benches were made by streams, they can contain placer deposits.

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Gold of Plumas County


Plumas County has a rich heritage of gold mining, much of it from placer deposits that can still be searched and panned today. Being at the far northern end of California’s famed Mother Lode, it is quite often overlooked by those searching for gold today—really a well-kept secret after all of these years!

Can You Recognize Valuable Ores?


The process of recognizing ores all starts with being able to recognize some basic minerals and knowing what hard rock ore looks like in the districts where you prospect.

Prospecting for Copper—What to Look for on the Outcrop


For the prospector, knowing what oxidized hydrothermal alteration looks like in the field is an important exploration tool.

Las Médulas—The Gem of the Roman Gold Mines


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Ancestral Yuba River Placer Gold Deposits


The small-scale miner has reasonable opportunity to exploit some of these small, rich placer gold deposits. 

Prospecting Homonyms


Three homonyms come to mind when I think of gemstones, gold and vegetables: carrot, carat and karat. Let’s look at carrot first.

Gold in Quartz


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