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Digital Subscriptions > Rock & Gem Magazine > January 2019 > RIVER GOLD

RIVER GOLD

Panning Along the Cosumnes
Cosumnes River gold.

The Cosumnes River in northern California has been a reliable gold producer for many years. Miners have been working in and around the Cosumnes since the early days of the California gold rush in the mid-1800s. Early on, miners worked with pan, cradle, and sluice to recover placer gold from the banks of the Cosumnes. As mining techniques became more sophisticated and better financed, larger operations moved in.

According to the California Division of Mines and Geology Bulletin 193, substantial amounts of mining took place on the lower Cosumnes in the Michigan Bar district. The area was hydraulicked extensively starting in the 1850s. Later, dredging operations were conducted and continued on into the 1940s.

Over a 90-year period, Bulletin 193 states, it’s estimated that at least 1,700,000 ounces of gold was recovered from the Michigan Bar district alone. According to Erwin Gudde’s publication, California Gold Camps, further upstream in the Omo ranch area near the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes, several hard rock mine operations started in the late 1800s. There is also a record in Gudde’s publication of early mining activity in the area of Pi Pi Valley near the Middle Fork.

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