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Placer Gold Deposits of Arizona by Maureen Johnson


Geological Survey Bulletin 1355, Placer Gold Deposits of Arizona by Maureen G. Johnson is a classic tome of great worth which belongs on the shelves of all those who would hunt for the elusive yellow metal in the state of Arizona. While it is far from being the end all when it comes to placer gold location, it does tend to be one of the first books that an aspiring gold researcher might come into contact with and is certainly one that a prospector might come back to again and again, especially when visiting new areas in the state.

Without much preamble (the beginning of the book contains a short abstract and history of placer mining in Arizona), the book quickly dives into 87 separate placer districts distributed around the state in 11 counties. Each county section has detailed descriptions of the major placer areas. Each district section includes a location description along with the township, section and range as well as the USGS topo map where the district can be found, published geological maps which apply to the placer district, a rough description of roads to access the areas, a very detailed description of the extent of the placers in the district, production history, known or probable source of the placer and a list of primary literature from which the report was derived. Also included at the end of each county section are details regarding much smaller districts or even lost districts which were not readily locatable by the author for whatever reason. These small sections often provide small clues for further research. For example, at the end of the Maricopa county section we find district 22, Dad's creek. Johnson says, " Placer gold was recovered in 1935 and reported to the U.S. Bureau of Mines. The location of this creek is unknown. The placer gold production table at the end of the book reveals that 3 ounces of placer gold was recovered from Dad's creek. It's a small amount of information but as with all books of this nature, further research can sometimes lead to something big. I know I would love to find a creek that had 3 ounces taken out of it 70 years ago but had never been touched since. Some of the other descriptions of smaller placers yield more information.

The end of the book has a comprehensive table of placer gold production for all the placer districts covered in the book through 1968. These figures are of course official data gathered by the U.S. Bureau of Mines and don't account for anything that was not reported so adjust accordingly. Tables and figures for lode gold production and the timeline of production for Arizona placering are also included, along with a bibliography of source material used by Maureen Johnson in compiling the book. A fold out map of Arizona with all the placer districts highlighted is also included. Suitable for framing!

Placer Gold Deposits of Arizona is a worthwhile read for anyone prospecting for placer gold in Arizona and will remain a solid reference book on the subject of Arizona gold placers for a long time to come.

Read more about Arizona Gold Placers here:  Arizona Placer Gold