April 2004 by Edgar B. Heylmun, PhDWall-rock (country rock) alteration is found in all hard-rock mining districts and has been caused by hydrothermal solutions in the past history of the region. The zones of alteration have a bearing on where one might drill for ore bodies. The weekend prospector does not have the tools nor knowledge to block out ore deposits, but he can narrow down his search dramatically by understanding the zones of wall-rock alteration that he sees.
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This mine was a real wonder of engineering, and the water supply and drifts had to be carefully managed to keep it in operation. In fact, it didn’t close due to lack of gold, but instead closed with the fall of the Roman Empire.
Excerpts from California Mining Journal, our original title, published 50 years ago this month.
People always ask me what is so important about locating contact zones. The answer to that: Gold.
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