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Oregon Gold and Gems

Oregon Gold and Gems

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“It’s gold!”, a cry that was responsible for the development of many desolate areas of Oregon that were later to become ghosts of the past.  This collection of maps should prove valuable as a field guide.  These maps have been all been reproduced from authentic documents on file in various archival collections.  Great care has been taken when transferring the information to more recent maps of better quality.  This collection will enable the reader to locate sites where known deposits were reported as well as much current information.

Mining of placer gold began in southwestern Oregon in 1850 and in northeastern Oregon in 1862.  Gold was the primary reason for the settlement of these two regions.  Between 1850 and 1965, gold production was roughly 5.8 million fine ounces and silver was 5.4 million ounces.   60% of this reported production occurred prior to 1900.

Geologically distinct segments of mineralized regions are well displayed by the shaded areas on the USGS maps.  A wide variety of rocks, minerals and semi-precious gems is available for collecting on approximately 16 million acres of lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Oregon and Washington.  Although not every type of material has been included, this map collection depicts 24 different types of gems (not including gold or silver) such as agate, apache tears, bloodstone, carnelian, chalcedony, feldspar, fossils, garnet, geodes, jasper, obsidian, quartz, sunstones, thunder eggs and jade.  Most BLM lands are open to rock collecting, and some areas such as the Glass Buttes obsidian area in the Prineville District and a public sunstone area in the Lakeview District have been specifically set aside for this purpose.  It’s always a good idea to check with the local BLM office for more detailed information before starting out on your collecting excursion.

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