New Gold Rush as Floods Shake Loose Old California Deposits

Panning for gold (patti / Flickr / CC)
patti / Flickr / CC

California’s unusually wet winter may trigger a new gold rush, as floodwaters shake loose old mineral deposits from mines, riverbeds and dams.

CBS News’ San Francisco affiliate, KPIX 5, reports that at least one prospector is seeing more interest — and more success — on his property:

“Miner Gary” Thomas said he always finds at least a little gold here on his property near Jamestown in Tuolumne County, but this year, there’s so much more runoff than normal and it’s shaking the gold from these hills.

Thomas said it could provide a “Eureka” moment for those inclined to come up here and look for it. “(The runoff) kind of ‘etch-a-sketches’ everything,” said Thomas. “Eveything I had dug up and now my dig spots are all gone.”

The known gold digs were washed out, trees uprooted, and landscape eroded. The runoffs have also removed gold out of the old abandoned mines and sent it down the river.

“It’s going to bring down more gold,” said Thomas. “It’s going to bring up new areas that I never got to.”

As Bloomberg News reported earlier in February, many of the towns near the troubled Oroville Dam date back to the state’s original Gold Rush in the mid-nineteenth century.

Those town have struggled to regain their economic heft. But new rains have coursed through old mines — and the sudden release of water from the dam is may carry mineral deposits downstream that include gold.

However, the amounts of gold found are likely to be small.

In a similar case in Thailand earlier this year, farmers whose fields were flooded turned to panning for gold to make up for their economic losses.

Photo: file

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.