Where is gold found in Oregon?

by Prospector Jess

Hey, it’s Prospector Jess.
Today we’re going to go look at gold prospects in Oregon.

Where is gold found in Oregon?

Specifically we’ll look a little bit at the history and the geology of gold in the area of Oregon, so when it comes to Oregon, one of the first things I want to call your attention to is the two main regions where gold is found frequently in Oregon. That is in the southwest this is an extension of the Klamath Mountains region from California, this area, and here’s the Rogue river and various other things (including platinum). We’ll get into that in a second, and then in the northeast we see this big region here that’s full of gold prospects and gold mines. Both of these areas have a lot of gold because of the geology in the local region. We’ll talk about that in a second as well.

I also want to call your attention to this little bit of gold goes all along this region. This is the Cascade mountain center and basically forms the backbone of the Cascades going up through Oregon and into Washington and on into Canada. Those are areas where there has been volcanism and other uplifting activities that lead to intrusive formation of hydrothermal deposits. Remember we’ve talked about that before. These are the things that caused secondary mineralization. The metals plate out in those hydrothermal vents in the form of Crystalline quartz and other minerals that are related. The objective here is to keep an eye out for that kind of geology.

So in the southwest Oregon here, you have an area that forms a essentially Jackson County and Josephine County, Ashland, Goldhill, Jacksonville, Upper Applegate river. Then there’s Galice, the Galice district, which is famous, world famous for gold. Grant’s pass, Greenback the Illinois River, and the Lower Applegate river and Waldo, remember where’s Waldo.

Waldo is down in this region herein southwest Oregon. And what we’re looking for is those places that contain gold, and this is one of them, these rivers along the Rogue river and so forth. The history of the gold in this region is kind of interesting. About 1852 gold was discovered by people basically coming up through this region from the 1849 gold rush in California and they continued to find gold on up through the, through the Klamath Mountains and Basin, and into this section of Oregon. To this day, there’s good goal to be found in those river canyons. Now, another area, is an area in northeast Oregon.

I wanted to call your attention to that because in the northeast is also a nice legend to keep in mind, and that is supposedly around 1845 because of the way the Oregon trail led through an area here starting with a town called Vale, which is right in this area right here on up along the Snake river area, you can see through route 82 up over to the Dalles, which is over in the area in northern Oregon along the middle Columbia river.

You basically have a section that was, it was legend by multiple legends that some children found gold and stuck it in their blue bucket. So it is called the last blue bucket mine. This legend has it that the children picked up these shiny metallic rocks and put them in their bucket. Quite a few of them took them back to their parents and the parents kept them thinking, oh, those are pretty, but not really recognizing gold because remember, this was before the California gold rush and not too many people knew what gold looked like. they just thought it was an interesting rock. So they kept it. Years later they found these rocks and they were identified as being gold nuggets, solid gold, and they basically couldn’t recall exactly where the children had been when they found it. Now that part of the story seems to be consistent among the different tales. There are various tales, whether boys or girls found it, you know, the typical stuff.

But the fact is that there was apparently some gold that was found and lost. And so people have gone through this whole region, uh, looking and looking for, particularly in the area of Baker County, Grant County and Malhour County. The interesting part about this is that the area of Baker is where a lot of this focuses. And that’s right up in this region here, one of the things you have to keep in mind is, you know, anytime you can discover a pocket of gold and not realize you got it. The other thing to realize is, there are many of these mines that are still open and active, so you have to be careful when you’re in the region. A lot of this area up in here is full of lode gold, and so you want to keep your eyes open for those kinds of records.

And also for other things that might go along with it, this one is a low sulfide, gold quartz vein. It has antimony and gold, so antimony, zinc, tin. A lot of those metals go together with gold and so you want to keep your eyes out for the same kinds of metals including nickel, etc. Because any deposits of metallic material in quartz like this mentions can lead to a discovery of a gold lode, which can be quite valuable. It starts out though typically finding gold placer deposits where this stuff is eroded out and then you trace it back to the lode source. Another way of tracing back, of course, is to use the geologic history of the region and hunt it down that way.

So that brings us to the end of this corner of Oregon. I wanted to point out that along this backbone of the Cascades, you can see the cascade mountains, this dark region here, there’s tremendous numbers of gold prospects at follow volcanism and there’s no end to volcanism along crater lake, etc. The Crater lake volcanic caldera is right here in the mid southern part of Oregon.

And I think that’s enough for now.

Good Prospecting!
Prospector Jess