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recreational gold panning in the Sierra?

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recreational gold panning in the Sierra?

Postby rlown » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:36 pm

Has anyone on the forum ever taken along one of those plastic gold pans just for grins and tried?



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Re: recreational gold panning in the Sierra?

Postby frediver » Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:06 pm

I've thought about it but if I ever packed one it would be metal so I could cook with it.
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Re: recreational gold panning in the Sierra?

Postby balzaccom » Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:53 pm

Only car camping...never backpacking.

Gold tends to be down in the lower elevations, so I'd think there is little point to taking a pan up high...

And yes, I did find a few flakes.
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Re: recreational gold panning in the Sierra?

Postby mokelumnekid » Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:55 pm

Giantbrookie will be more currant than I am, but most of the ore deposits associated with the Sierra (broadly defined) are well west of the crest in the hard rocks mines of the Mother Load- following the trace of Hwy 49 and between the Bear Mountains and the Melones Fault system; and what is called the 'Eastern gold belt ' (east of the mother load and much smaller), and the placer deposits buried under Tertiary fluvial (river) systems. I worked in one of those placer mines outside the scenic town of Volcano in the early 1970's and we found a surprising amount of gold, along the bedrock floor of an ancient river bed about 180 feet down. We worked it by shafts. It was insanely dangerous but I was young, energetic and foolish. Then of course there are the spotty, small deposits associated with Tertiary volcanic activity in the Ebbetts Pass corridor (Silver Mtn. and the mines along Monitor Pass and Markleeville area) that were mostly silver initially and copper and sulfur later. I believe one of the Monitor Pass mines may be a superfund site now. I'd be very surprised if panning pulled up any color there- mostly pyrite or other gold colored oxides, but one never knows.

The higher and further south you go, the more barren the rocks get wrt metals like gold. For many of the same reasons the Sierra is not an especially good place for quality crystals, (tho I have found one *monster* smoky quartz crystal.) The conditions of volatile saturation in the Sierra granitic magmas, and the pervasive amount of granitoids (not a lot of host rock of proper composition) don't yield the right conditions. But hey, panning is a fun way to kill some time I guess...

I have seen native Moly in granites along Sonora Pass highway, which is unusual.

I have a lot of literature on this subject at my office, but I'm home now. I did go to a school of mines for one degree, and one thing I learned is that the genesis of ore deposits is incredibly complex.
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Re: recreational gold panning in the Sierra?

Postby balzaccom » Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:58 am

mokelumnekid wrote: I did go to a school of mines for one degree, and one thing I learned is that the genesis of ore deposits is incredibly complex.



What? You mean you can't just hike up there and find gold on the groung? Dang!
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Re: recreational gold panning in the Sierra?

Postby tarbuckle » Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:53 am

When I was an avid backpacker about 15 years ago in the Trinity Alps I would hike pass the old tailings on the way to the High Country. Tried panning at camp one day and found some. Got bit by the bug real bad. No more hiking to back country lakes for me. It was all about prospecting. My pack went from 30lbs to about 90lbs.
One thing led to another and the next thing I know I staked a claim and became a gold dredger.Hadn't been backpacking since. With the passing of SB670 I now metal detect and hike to old mines. Although I do have a trip planned in the Marbles this summer.It will be my first backpacking trip in many years.
Careful if you find some. It may change your life :D
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Re: recreational gold panning in the Sierra?

Postby rlown » Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:25 pm

funny that you mention the TA mines, tarbuckle.. it's like 3 different rock types come together and voila, there's a mine! I did a hike up Coffee creek in the Alps a couple years ago and thought the same thing. Pretty sure i won't get weird about it and buy a dredge, given the regulations, err shutdown. I just look at a certain pool once in awhile and say, that's where i'd pan.
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Re: recreational gold panning in the Sierra?

Postby dave54 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:23 pm

My wife's cousin belongs to one of those 'time share gold mine' clubs. They buy up gold claims all around the country, and members can have exclusive right to a claim for a period of time, usually a week. What you find you get to keep, and if you don't find anything at least you had a place to camp for a week. Some of the claims are quite remote and in rugged country, others are drive-ups close to a main road.

We have gone with him a few times, and I am not rich yet. He has found a little, and says he is about even with his finds covering his annual fees.
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Re: recreational gold panning in the Sierra?

Postby tarbuckle » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:13 pm

It's like history frozen in time at those mines.
Ore cart wheels
Image

Don't know what this is,but it's old
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Re: recreational gold panning in the Sierra?

Postby tarbuckle » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:21 pm

rlown wrote:funny that you mention the TA mines, tarbuckle.. it's like 3 different rock types come together and voila, there's a mine! I did a hike up Coffee creek in the Alps a couple years ago and thought the same thing. Pretty sure i won't get weird about it and buy a dredge, given the regulations, err shutdown. I just look at a certain pool once in awhile and say, that's where i'd pan.


If you plan a trip in the Trinity's and have to hike one of the low elevation canyons to get to a lake, ( ex Grizzly, Papoose, Canyon Creek, etc) bring the pan. Try the moss. You won't find much but you will get color in your pan.
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Re: recreational gold panning in the Sierra?

Postby Strider » Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:48 pm

mokelumnekid wrote:I have seen native Moly in granites along Sonora Pass highway, which is unusual.


I've found traces in slag heaps of turquoise-colored quartz on logging roads behind Big Trees.
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