Gold mining in Arizona has a long history. From 1860 to 1965, Arizona mines produced 13,321,000 ounces of gold.
The Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) has now compiled “some of the most significant publications [about gold mining and gold deposits], scanned them, produced PDF files, deployed an optical character recognition filter to facilitate word searches” and has posted them on its website for free download. (Link to free publications)
You can see production by county here. That page briefly describes gold districts within the counties.
You can read about mining scams here, a report from the now defunct State Department of Mines and Mineral Resources. The site is now maintained by AZGS.
Arizona is blessed with abundant mineral resources, see map below.
In that one sentence, Jack London captured every prospectors dream. While the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) can’t promise you gold splashed like yellow butter across the bottom of your pan, we may be able to provide some insight into gold prospecting in Arizona.
Over the past century, AZGS geologists documented gold lode and placer mining throughout the State. That information first appeared in print as early as 1910 with updates and revisions continuing through the late 1980s. Once easy to get, those bulletins are now out-of-print and out-of-mind, but the information is just as valid today as when it was first published.
We’ve compiled some of the most significant publications, scanned them, produced PDF files, deployed an optical character recognition filter to facilitate word searches, and then uploaded them here for both public and professional consumption.
The cornerstones of this collection are the gold placer and lode gold manuscripts. They represent decades of work by several different authors. The first gold placer paper, Bulletin 10, was originally published in 1915. The version presented here was last revised in 1961 by E.D. Wilson -- who at the time had more than 40 years geologic experience in Arizona – and reprinted in 1988.
While the publications provided here focus largely on gold prospecting, we added additional texts on radioactive minerals, mineral identification in the field, developing small mines, copper and gold in the Payson area, and the geology and ore deposits of the Tombstone area.
Have you seen our Mineral Resources Map? Click Here
A brief county-by-county, district-by-district breakdown of gold deposits in Arizona
A short piece on the history of mining in Arizona.
ADMMR – Arizona Dept. of Mines & Mineral Resources
There are 12 additional links at the web site for Arizona related to minerals and their locations within the state.
Publications for Download
An epic lack of foresight, accuracy and rationale... https://www.tfmetalsreport.com/comment/170246#comment-170246
Doc establishing this forum got me all fired up so I did a bunch of research and learned that yes, I actually do have a small abandoned silver mine on my property- the internet is truly wonderful! So I thought I would share what I learned and put some questions out there in case anyone knows the answers. I found this stuff fascinating, but for you gold-only prospecting types, this may not interest you much (heck, it may not interest ANYONE) so please feel free to scroll past.
So it turns out that there was a silver mine that was worked from colonial times up through the Civil War, less than a mile from where I live. For safety, the entrance was concreted-over in the 70's, but this is what it looks like today
According to a report from our state Geological Survey, "the ore was Agentiferous Galena hosted by Quartz veins" which explains all the bits of quarts that come up in my fields when it rains. I have found quarts chunks near my house the size of basketballs, so apparently this stuff is everywhere on this property. This is what the Argentiferous galena in quartz looks like (from an online pic):
This same geological survey report on the nearby silver mine showed that this quartz appears in several plunging folds where a dolomite bed is overlain by a phyllite bed- the silver-bearing galena/quartz is in the contacts between these folds. This is the geologists drawing of it at the nearby mine:
Well lookie here: My property is directly adjacent to the historic silver mine, and apparently has some of the same geology. The silver mine location is in the box, and I indicated the location of the tunnel on my property with the yellow arrow:
It seems that these folds also uplifted at a spot on my land, and the mining company tested the vein. At the base of a 30ft. rock outcrop there is a crack/hole in the rock. When you go in, you realize that the rounded top was quarried out and this was a mining venture. The roof is really quite stable (no timbers required) and it looks like the diagram below:
This looks to me like they followed a vein, it gave out, and they quit. Another internet source on the history of the nearby mine mentions that original mine documents state "there were actually four locations where ore was mined including... a third shaft reported in a bluff near the XXXXX creek plus a few small pits in the area." I believe this refers my place and the above shaft.
SO... questions: I am assuming that all the "easy pickings" are gone, and the civil war era miners took the easily-found ore from this outcrop. But, I have some advantages they did not, including use of a metal detector. So is it possible to metal detect for this stuff? Apparently the quartz contained mostly lead (and they sold this during the Civil War for bullets- made more money with this than with the silver) so is it possible, even if I found stuff, to separate the silver from the ore at home? Can I separate the silver from the lead at home?
I guess what I am asking is, is there anything I can do with this as a hobby to get some silver, or is it just an interesting little footnote to the history of my property? Any suggestions or comments would be MUCH appreciated.
Great info , and thanks for taking the time to share it! I am bummed that I will not be retiring to the life of a silver magnate, but I figured as much. And you are welcome bug out to my cave. I could use a good man holding down my left flank- I'll be sure to stash a case of beer for you there.
That is so cool to have a mine on your property, Pining. In my pitiable experience, I have found that many minerals occur together in beautiful blends of colored rock. There wouldn't be any gold flecks in your silver ore would there? Actually, I think your creek would be worth a good look, especially if there is native silver afoot.
Does anyone have suggestions on a metal detector? Does it matter. I read sales info on one particular brand: the Minelab GTX 5000. They claim it sees deeper than other detectors. But it seems kind of pricey at $5700. I suppose it doesn't take too many finds to make up the difference. I am all ears for any advice.
Just dreaming :
I am happy to hear that I should begin with a less expensive detector. As the nuggets roll in, then I can step up to a better one... unless I like the one I have.
I have it in my head that success will be directly proportional to two things: researching where to look and the amount of ground covered.
Thank you Dr. Jerome and Peckerwood for your replies. I have a White MXT series E that I have used for coin hunting would it work for hunting gold or would I be better off trying some panning in the feeder creeks or main rivers.
I live on a feeder river that feeds into a larger river and my neighbor said he tried panning my river and found a flake of gold. There was also a fellow who went down the main river with a 4 wheeler with a sluice box strapped on the back and he said he found some also.
Just North about 10 miles a major mineral company found a massive deposit of copper and in their drill results was a report of a rich gold vein, I saw the reports on the drill results. The company had to abandon their plans for the mine because the deposit was mostly on Native American land and the natives would not allow the mine as they were afraid the watershed would be contaminated.
I guess I will dust off my old pan and work the bends in the river.
Thank you for the inspiration. sengfarmer
I have used L-Rods to successfully locate underground water pipes and know that the technique can be applied to other things.
Here is a site where people post maps and ask others to dowse them
I believe in this case they are using pendulums, which take a fair amount of practice to use properly, but can produce some amazing results.
Used to be a skeptic about this, but I have seen more than enough to know that it does work in the right hands (sorry 'bout that).
Looks we'll being losing Pining for a little while now that he know's there's silver" in them thar' hills!"
If I had a property that was geologically as intense as what he's describing I'd be rock hunting and scoping it out all the time. Good luck to you P4.
Somehow I think you're going to hit some kind of pay dirt. Sounds totally intriguing and had me saying "Wow" to myself. Quartz formations seem to be a key thing with gold/silver. Copper also.
You are just making me jealous with these pics of the inside of Pining's mine. We all need a gold mine in our back yards.
Is that you holding that large gold nugget Pining. You really should see a dentist. They could give you some nice gold front teeth. And I love the yellow hat.
But just in case you overlooked that gold sidewalk inside your mine there, I have been reading about metal detectors, hoping that if I understand how they work, I'll know what to buy according to my needs. It seems that the more expensive ones discriminate between metals to let you filter out rusty nails and such. So if one is searching in a residential area, or in a mine dump, that might be a helpful feature. But if one is in the wilderness where there have been no mining activities, I think I'd want to get a ping on any metal that is underground. Heck, out in the dryer locales, anything metal underground could be some sort of artifact that has value to collectors or is donatable to a museum--treasure indeed!
Advanced detectors even allow you to program multiple notches. For example, you could set the detector to disregard objects that have a phase shift comparable to a soda-can tab or a small nail. The disadvantage of discrimination and notching is that many valuable items might be filtered out because their phase shift is similar to that of "junk." But, if you know that you are looking for a specific type of object, these features can be extremely useful. Click for a new page link to the full atricle
I have this crazy idea that out west I can drive up and down the dry washes on an ATV with multiple detector heads in a 4' wide array mounted on a floating rack in front! The key to my whacky plan is covering much ground. The washes are reasonably level and mostly unsearched with thousands of years of material passing between their banks. Not the American river in CA, but well worth a look.
Anyone see major drawbacks to this plan?