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Free Book - The Upper Reaches Of The Sierra Nevada Auriferous Gold Channels, California and Nevada


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This is some recent information about the ancient tertiary stream channels of California. It updates ideas about where the gold in the channels came from and theorizes about upper extensions of the channels all the way into Nevada.

"Speculative upstream continuations of various branches of the Tertiary Yuba and American Rivers enter Nevada near the Fort Sage Mountains, Hallelujah Junction, Reno(?), Little Valley, and Hope Valley (via Echo Pass). One branch of the Little Valley channel can be speculatively traced to the vicinity of Yerington."

There are also a few very good maps included that alone make the article worthwhile.

Garside, Larry J., Henry, Christopher D., Faulds, James E., and Hinz, Nicholas H., 2005, The Upper Reaches of the Sierra Nevada Auriferous Gold Channels, California and Nevada, in Rhoden, H.N., Steininger, R.C., and Vikre, P. G., eds., Geological Society of Nevada Symposium 2005: Window to the World, Reno, Nevada, May 2005, p. 209-236

Download as a pdf at http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/science/profiles/garside_paper.pdf

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Steve, the 'Little Valley' channel crosses the southern end of Wahoe Lake towards Virginia City. And Trinity au supposedly has found gold with a detector on the south south east side of Peavine. I have hunted there but only found bullets.

 

In 2005 I made several forays into Little Valley looking for a placer that Jim Straight found when he was going to Mackay School of Mines. Never did find the placer or the ancient channel. I think it may be a little more to the south towards the Kings Grade.

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I respect those guys, but have to say, I totally disagree with a lot of their conclusions, especially concerning the source of the volcanic ash flows that clogged the streams. Many of the mud flow formations that cap the top of the tertiary Rivers (like the Merten formation) have blocks of rock 1 to 5 feet in diameter. No, I dont think those rocks flew 200+ miles to land there from Caulderas in central Nevada.The trajectory of a rock flying that kind of distance would darn near put it in orbit, and the impact would have shattered them to bits. No, sorry, I will side with the old timers on this one. We have a chain of volcanoes north of the Sierra and the to the north, the Sierra disappears underneath those volcanics. The chain, known as the Cascades is the effect of the Juan Del Fuca plate sliding under the North American continent. The differential melting of the rocks is what formed the great batholith that is the core of the Sierra. The Cascades are known to erupt with violent burial of the areas around them for miles. Not hundreds of miles, but maybe 10 to 20 or more (remember Mt. St. Helens in the early 1980s?). Mt St. Helens buried the area around it with ash and rock flows that look exactly like what buried the Sierra. 20 million years ago the Cascades extended much farther south, and much more of the Juan Del Fuca plate still had not yet slid under the North American plate. The most southerly of the Cascade Volcanoes - Sutter Buttes - is no longer active and in a few hundred thousand years, it will be fully erroded away. The ones further south are already eroded away. Though he did not have the plate tectonics portion of the explanation, Lindgren had it right.

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 I have read bits and pieces of the book and I tend to agree with CR. I have my own theories that explain some of the nature of the channels in Plumas county but these theories are best debated where there is an available campfire and a bottle of beer.

   WARNING! This debate may involve brief discussions of theology.

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I also agree with Reno Chris.  My masters work has focused on volcanic ash, and one of the aspects is grain size and distance certain sized particles can travel.  To make a grain a single mm in diameter travel a distance of 200+ miles is a feat that is not commonly seen.  In other words to have boulders be airborne that long is just physically not plausible.  I find that the path of the eocene rivers is up for debate as I have come across some branches that are not in literature, but the source of the volcaniclastic material certainly must have come from the southern extension of the Cascades (now the crest of the sierra).  A great place to look at the ash flows (also with a great view) is at Castle peak on Donner Pass.  Looking at the size of the clasts in the breccia is pretty spectacular and makes it clear these have not traveled very far.  

 

I really wish there would be more funding into nailing down more details with the Tertiary Channels.  Such an incredible project that nobody really seems interested in tackling. 

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In looking at the volcanic fields of the southern Cascades north of the Sierra, there are many smaller volcanoes and some really big ones. I figure when the Sierra was buried by volcanic rocks, the situation was similar, many small sources and some big ones.

Raise the price of gold to $2000+ and you'll get your funding!

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