Other Northern Nevada

Placer Districts

There are a number of sites in Northern Nevada for nugget shooting with a metal detector. Maureen Johnson lists 115 districts in Nevada which have recorded placer production, most of which are located in the northern half of the State. Nevada is well known for its hard rock gold mine production. However, Nevada ranks 6th among the 50 states in placer gold production, with historic production of roughly 1.7 million ounces. Most of this placer production occurred before 1900, but sporadic mining and prospecting work has continued ever since. The crystallized gold-quartz specimen at right is from the Round Mountain District in Nye County, and shows the typical light tone of much Nevada gold, because of its high silver content.

In fact many of Nevada nuggets, if it were analyzed chemically would probably qualify as electrum, a high silver content gold.

round_mtn_nugg.jpg (35085 bytes)  
The lower nugget is from Pershing County and weighs about 4 grams. Both were recovered during 2002.
Many Nevada placer districts have the majority of their gold at or near bedrock, which can be a considerable depth. Research on the geology and history of the Districts can provide the information necessary to determine if the District is suitable for nugget shooting. Districts which are favorable for nugget shooting have shallow gold that can be found with a metal detector. Districts which have been productive for the detector in Nevada include the Rye Patch, Placerities, Sawtooth, Rabbit Hole and Rosebud districts. There are also many others across the state. The map below lists many of them.

Also, a number of Nevada placer districts do not have a well understood source for the placer gold. Further research may yield some interesting prospecting targets.

Pershing_co_nug.jpg (29194 bytes)
In addition to placer the Districts, many of the state's lode epithermal vein gold-Quartz districts offer opportunities to the prospector with a metal detector. At times, some very nice gold quartz specimens can be found around old hard rock gold mines. Unfortunately, the famous Carlin district and other sediment hosted deposits are not suitable for detecting as the gold particles are microscopic, far too small to be detected.
The key to finding new sites to detect for gold is research. The Nevada State Bureau of Mines has a considerable number of reports providing information on gold deposits within Nevada. Their website lists a number of publications that they have for sale.  Some of these reports are available at the Washoe County Library as well. Two of the best references are listed below.

Web Link to the Nevada State Bureau of Mines and Geology

Research References:

Johnson, Maureen, Placer Districts of Nevada, USGS Bulletin 1356, Published 1973.

Vanderburg, W. O. Placer Districts of Nevada, Nevada State Bureau of Mines and Geology Bulletin 27, published 1936.


Map of Major Placer Areas Within Nevada:
The map below shows many of the largest placer districts within Nevada. Rye Patch is shown as a special color, as it was not on the original 1936 map, since the Rye Patch placers were discovered in 1938.


Nevada Outback Gems

Find out more by checking out all of our links below:
Learn The Basics of Placer Mining for Gold Locations to Prospect for Gold for Free
Build Your Own Gold Mining Equipment Miner's Reference Guide: How its Done
Chris' Adventures Prospecting for Gold, Silver, and more Investing In Gold and Precious Metals
Metal Detecting with the MXT Metal Detector Prospecting In Nevada Prospecting In California
Nevada Outback Library and Bookstore - Learn more! Prospecting In Arizona Prospecting In Alaska
Natural Gold Nugget Photos: Big Nuggets, Crystal Gold Recovering Gold From Black Sand Metal Detecting For Gold Nuggets
The Rockhound's Corner for Gem Hunting Panning for Gold Nuggets Advice on Selling Your Gold
Take a virtual tour of our Nevada Turquoise mines Build Your Own Gold Dredge Dredging for Gold Nuggets
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