A California man recently dug a spectacular gold nugget weighing 5.17
ounces in the mother lode region of Mariposa County, California. The
gentleman who found it made his discovery while using a metal detector to
look for gold nuggets in an area previously worked by the 49ers.
The finder valued his amazing chunk of gold at approximately $10,000
because of its beautiful specimen quality. The nugget was resting beneath
about one foot of soil, and was recovered in late April of 2007. Several friends
have been working this area with excellent results, and a good number of
valuable finds have been made.
Only a few weeks before this most recent stunning find, another nugget, over
three ounces in weight, was recovered only about 50 feet away from the spot
the five-ounce nugget was found.
The location is on private property, and is not open to the public. Locations
containing concentrations of large nuggets like this one are known to
prospectors as "nugget patches", and finding them is the goal of prospectors
Modern metal detectors are proving to be quite a boon in recovering large
gold nuggets, as the old time prospectors had no tool in their arsenal that was
anything close to it.
Although there is work and special skills required to find this type of big gold,
experienced prospectors in the western US and Australia are having some
considerable success finding rich nugget patches missed by the old time
miners of the 1800s.
The recent increases in the price of gold, now standing at nearly $700 per
ounce, has spurred the interest of many in pursuing the recreational art of
prospecting for gold, and many are still heading to the hills to see what they
Mariposa County is a historic location in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada
mountain range at the southern end of California's Mother Lode region. The
town of Mariposa is a popular tourist attraction, touted as the "gateway to
There are a number of other popular family oriented tourist attractions in the
area as well, including California's State Mining and Mineral Museum. The
collection contains mining artifacts, rare specimens of crystalline gold in its
many forms, as well as beautiful gem and mineral specimens from California
and around the world.
This includes the Fricot nugget, a 200-ounce crystalline gold specimen from
California, thought to be one of the most beautiful pieces of natural gold in the
world. The town also allows gold panning in Mariposa Creek, which runs
through the town.
A photo of the five ounce nugget can be viewed at:
Basic information on Prospecting for gold, including how to get started, can
be found at:
About the author:
Chris Ralph writes on small scale mining and prospecting for the ICMJ Mining
Journal. He has a degree in Mining Engineering from the Mackay School of
Mines in Reno. He has continued his interest in mining as an individual
prospector. His information page on prospecting for gold can be viewed at:
Spectacular Gold Nugget Found
in Mariposa County, California
Author: Chris Ralph
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