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Shasta County California Gold Production

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Posted February 11, 2007 in Gold Mining

By A. H. KOSCHMANN and M. H. BERGENDAHL - USGS 1968

Click here for the Principle Gold Producing Districts of the United States Index

Lode and placer gold as well as large amounts of byproduct gold from the West Shasta copper-zinc district have been mined in Shasta County. The major lode districts are the Deadwood-French Gulch, Harrison Gulch, Old Diggings, and Whiskey-town. Placer operations are centered in the Igo dis┬Čtrict and along the Roaring River.

Total gold production of Shasta County from 1880 through 1959 was 2,033,000 ounces, mostly of lode and byproduct origin. Output of placer gold from 1905 through 1959 was 375,472 ounces. Most of the foregoing production was before 1940; during 1950-59 less than 1,000 ounces per year was reported.

Precambrian rocks are exposed in the southwestern part of the county (Averill, 1939, p. 110-111). Northeastward the country rock changes successively to the Copley Greenstone of Early (?) Devonian age, then to sedimentary rocks of Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, and Jurassic ages. The southern part of the county is covered with sedimentary rocks of Cretaceous, Tertiary, and Quaternary ages. The east half of the county is blanketed by a series of lava flows extruded during Tertiary and Quaternary time. Lassen Peak, the only active volcano in California, is in the southeast corner of the county.

DEADWOOD-FRENCH GULCH DISTRICT
The Deadwood-French Gulch district is along the central part of the west border of Shasta County. Gold was discovered in this general area in 1848 in the gravels of Clear Creek, and 4 years later gold-bearing veins were producing at the Washington mine (Ferguson, 1914, p. 33). Activity in the district continued at a rather moderate rate until 1941, after which only a few ounces were produced annually. Ferguson (1914, p. 55) reported a production of $1,607,764 (78,000 ounces) through 1911. Production through 1959 was about 128,900 ounces of gold, mostly from lode mines.

The western part of the area is underlain by biotite-hornblende schists of pre-Devonian age, and the eastern part is underlain by a younger rock, the Copley Greenstone, of Early (?) Devonian age, which is overlain by the Bragdon Formation of Mississippian age (Ferguson, 1914, p. 24). These rocks were invaded in Late Jurassic time by a series of granitic and porphyritic rocks. The gold deposits are in fissure veins that are most numerous in the Bragdon Formation, but some veins occur also in quartz diorite and alaskite porphyry. The vein minerals consist of pyrite, arsenopyrite, sphalerite, galena, native gold, and a minor amount of chalcopyrite in a quartz gangue.

HARRISON GULCH DISTRICT

The Harrison Gulch district is in the southwest corner of Shasta County.

The Midas mine, discovered in 1894, was the major producer in the district and had an output of $3,563,587 in gold until 1914 (Logan, 1926, p. 173-174), when a fire caused it to close. It was reopened the following year under new ownership, and operations continued until 1920. The district was inactive from 1920 through 1959. The total production for the district was about $4 million (Averill, 1939, p. 142). No placer production is recorded in this district.

At the Midas mine, gold occurs in three lenticular quartz veins in a schistose country rock (Logan, 1926, p. 174).

IGO DISTRICT
The Igo district is in T. 31 N., R. 6 W., along Clear Creek. The quaternary gravels along Clear Creek near Igo were worked in the early days, but they are only briefly mentioned in the literature (Diller, 1914a, p. 20-21), and no published account of their discovery, development, or early production was found.

The district was revived in 1933 and through 1942 produced more than 113,000 ounces of placer gold, but after 1942 operations were sharply curtailed and the district was dormant in 1959. Total recorded production from 1933 through 1959 was 115,022 ounces; all but a few hundred ounces was from placers.


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