Friday, July 11, 2008

Gold in the Midwest: Indiana


Gold in the Midwest? In Indiana? No way.

Indiana's Glacial Placers

Yes way. Although gold does not occur naturally in the state, when the glaciers that once covered Indiana retreated northward they left behind detrital deposits of placer gold whose origins were in Canadian bedrock deposits. These glacial deposits descended from the northeast and do not extend much beyond an east-to-west line through the communities of Helmsburg and Beanblossom in Brown County, so your best bet for finding gold is probably in streams or tributaries entering the county from the north.

According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, would-be gold prospectors would be well served by purchasing the Morgantown and Beanblossom US Geological Survey (USGS) 7.5 Minute Quadrangle maps, since these can help you narrow down your search for likely panning or prospecting areas. Here are the areas in Indiana where placer gold has been recovered:

Beanblossom Creek and tributaries entering Beanblossom Creek from the north

North Fork of Beanblossom Creek

Lick Creek and tributaries

Brier Creek and tributaries

Big Pine Creek

If you live in Indiana and are interested in doing a bit of recreational gold mining there, these locations are good starting points. You may also want to take a look at the following You Tube video that shows an Indiana placer miner running a dredge on Big Pine Creek:

Get Permission First

It is probably a good idea to get permission from the Indiana Department of Transportation or county highway department to pan or mine along road right-of-ways. As always, do not trespass onto private land and note that gold panning or mining activities are not allowed ("strictly prohibited" is the term the State uses...) in Indiana State Parks. I suspect that operating a suction dredge in Indiana will require a permit, just as it does in most states, so research that issue before operating a dredge or highbanker in Indiana.

Fines, Flakes, and Nuggets

From what I can determine the placer gold in Indiana is usually in the form of fines and small flakes, although small nuggets and coarser pieces are probably not out of the question. Remember, this gold was left behind by glacial action so deposits will probably not be uniform in terms of quantity or location. Increase your chances of finding gold in Indiana by doing some up-front research, visiting the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website, and by contacting local placer miners or possible mining clubs in the state.

Good luck finding some Indiana gold!

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2008

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