Our California Mother Lode Trip

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If you ever find yourself near the southern tip of the mother lode be sure to stop and see the largest nugget in the world.
The Ironstone Museum and winery is only a few miles south of Murphys and is free to the public unless you decide to pan in their trough.


It's called the largest nugget in the world but technically it is the
largest mass of gold in the world weighing in at 195 pounds.
They keep it secure in a safe which, I'm sure, is sealed every night



It is almost mind boggling how much gold was pulled from the ground at some locations.
This plaque states that over 8 million dollars in gold came from the Sheep Ranch Mine.

Gold comes in two forms: hard rock or lode and placer.(Placer means pleasure in Spanish).
We learned much in our week long visit as we tried to determine where we could find gold.

Quartz veins were surprisingly abundant. They were almost everywhere we looked.
And yes we looked long and hard at some of them but didn't see any gold.



This is the north fork of the Stanislaus River. We tried our luck here too but found very little gold.


Here is an example of the mother lode vein structure.
And below is a picture of the exposed bedrock near Columbia where millions were extracted.



A highlight for me was discovering an ancient tertiary channel.
It's right where the maps and literature said it would be but this was the first time I had ever seen it for myself.


Ken and I spent one day panning and cleaning bedrock cracks at Jamestown in Woods Creek.
We ended up with a small wedge shaped picker and a fair amount of fines.


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(Pictures taken May 23-31, 2009)

(Page created June 4, 2009)