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History & Geology

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Geology and stories from the past

Placer Gold Deposits in the Western States


…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.

Colorado Uranium Mining in the 1950s Boom


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.

Gold Geochemistry: Where Does Gold Come From?


Prospectors often wonder why gold deposits in veins like it does. Why is one vein rich while another is barren, even though they are only a few hundred feet apart?

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Understanding Rock Formations: Petrology for Prospectors


There are times when being able to recognize a type of rock can make you a much more successful prospector.

Exploration Rush at Tonopah, Nevada


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.

Ancestral Yuba River Placer Gold Deposits


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

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Jamestown and Our Mother Lode Gold Rush Adventures


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.

Using Favorable Rock Types to Find More Gold


The more experienced prospectors know these lesser known spots are the types of places where big finds are still made.

The Mysterious Telluride Minerals


…let’s dive in and take a closer look at these rich gold and silver-bearing minerals to find out what they are, where they form, and how to identify them.

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The Coolgardie Gold Mining Camp of Southern California


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.

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.

Polymetallic Skarn Deposits


Polymetallic skarn deposits are an interesting class of deposits that can contain a number of different types of metals.

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Charles P. Watson, Chief Geologist

All About Lead Minerals, Silver and Gold


Many miners know that lead is very commonly associated with silver values, but the truth is that it is also associated with gold values in many locations as well.

The Potholes—California’s Oldest Known Mining District


Every time we prospected here we found gold, sometimes some really coarse flakes, but no large nuggets (yet).

Sixteen to One Gold Mine: Going Underground - Pt II


We descended hunched over, down a long, steep, wooden staircase to the 1,000-level.

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All About Native Silver


Some of the wire forms are strange and fantastic, with wires sticking out in twisted, seemingly random directions. Others have deformed crystals and all of them have significant value to collectors.

Sixteen to One Gold Mine: Unique Challenges and Potential Rewards - Pt I


Many of the Sixteen to One’s challenges arise from its unusual geology and the pocket characteristics of the ore deposits.

What About Palladium?


Palladium may well be an underexplored element and therefore an opportunity for prospectors and geologists. This is because they are often less than obvious and other than the native metals, a chemical analysis of samples is required to identify PGM-enriched rocks.

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Unique Rare Earth Mine in Texas


Exploration for and prospecting in search of similar deposits should focus on rhyolite bodies located in fluorite-bearing areas.

Gold in The Midwest--Part I


Gold can potentially be found in all the glaciated areas of the Midwest, but to find it in any appreciable amount one needs to look to areas where the gold gets concentrated by more recent water flows.

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