History & Geology
I grew up in Southern California, and found my first nugget there, so I know my way around. Because there is good gold there, I thought it might be helpful to take a look at the many placer gold opportunities found in the southern part of the state.
There are a number of characteristics that are used when one identifies a mineral. Each characteristic gives an indication as to what the mineral might be, and the combination of them will point to what it is.
The interesting thing about the Mother Lode area is that we can pretty much find at least a little gold in any creek or river (and even in some of the many dry gulches).
Nevada produces about 75% of all the gold mined in the US. This means that all the other 49 states combined only produce 25%, and this includes California, Alaska and Arizona.
This area could be re-evaluated for placer scheelite and gold potential in the future along with sand and gravel processing…
How rich does a hard rock ore have to be for it to be worthwhile to process and extract the gold?
…to see the huge differences between the gold production amounts of the Western States, let’s look at the gold production—both hard rock and placer—of these 13 states up to the present.
You can learn a lot from a small mining operation because you have to become proficient in every job. Soon I was preparing fuses, placing powder (dynamite) and learning the ins and outs of drilling and blasting.
There are times when being able to recognize a type of rock can make you a much more successful prospector.
A few months later, a young, greenhorn lawyer agreed to pay to have it assayed, and the quartz turned out to be rich in both gold and silver.
There are many other locations in the area where gold has been found, but Woods Creek is the most famous of the creeks and gulches in the area where the 49ers searched for that elusive yellow metal.
The more experienced prospectors know these lesser known spots are the types of places where big finds are still made.
The area was mined intermittently from around 1900 to 1915, but was also mined in the late 1800s, with a total output valued at about $100,000, which is around $9.5 million at the current gold price.
For the prospector, knowing what oxidized hydrothermal alteration looks like in the field is an important exploration tool.