Friday, September 4, 2009

Gold in the Midwest: Illinois


Gold from Glacial Deposits

As in the case of its neighbor Indiana, placer gold in small amounts can be mined and recovered in Illinois. And like Indiana, the placer gold in the "Land of Lincoln" has its origins in glacial deposits that drifted south from Canada during the Pleistocene epoch.

Gold Prospecting Books
Gold Pans
Gold Concentrators

Although no commercial gold mining per se has been conducted in the state, incidental quantities of glacial placer gold have been recovered in Illinois from sand and gravel operations as well as in mining operations for lead, zinc, and fluorite.

The presence of placer gold in Illinois goes as far back as the late 1800s when reliable reports stated that gold had been recovered as a byproduct from a dolomite shaft in Stephenson County. Another report around the same time stated that small amounts of glacial gold were recovered from the Bald Knob area of Hill County.

Try These Locations


If you are a resident of Illinois or just passing through and want to try your hand at recovering some glacial placer gold there, the following locations have been documented as having produced small amounts of gold for panners and sluicers:

Fulton County: streams and tributaries in the Spoon River Valley area and in and along the Illinois River.


Macon County: major streams and tributaries in the Sangamon River Valley area.

Henderson County: ditto for the Mississippi River Valley and a few small (unnamed) streams in the area.

McHenry County: here small amounts of gold have been recovered some distance away from current streams in what are termed "outwash plains" consisting of compacted gravels resting above bedrock.

A Good Starting Point

As in the case of regular gold placers elsewhere, your best bet for recovering decent Illinois glacial gold values will be just above or directly on bedrock. However, having spent some time in Illinois myself, I suspect that any overburden covering bedrock will be fairly extensive and quite deep.

So if you can locate any exposed or shallow bedrock in one or more of the locations listed above, that may prove a good starting point for your panning or sampling activities. Also remember that bedrock is not a must and that particles of glacial gold in Illinois can be found at any depth or level providing the gravels are glacial in nature (Note: As far as I can determine most of the glacial gold recovered in Illinois comes in the form of "fines" and very small flakes. But who knows? A decent nugget or two may be lurking somewhere. J.R.)

Respect Private Lands and Get Permits

I suspect that a good deal of the property that contains glacial placers in Illinois is probably private. So please respect private lands and ask permission before you try panning or mining on someone else's land.

Additionally, check with the appropriate local, state, or Federal authorities before you attempt to set up and operate motorized mining equipment like suction dredges or highbankers. I tend to think some sort of permit will be required for their employment and use (if they are allowed at all).

Gold Panning in the Shawnee National Forest

Lastly, the State of Illinois does not allow panning, sluicing, or any other aspect of gold mining in state parks (and perhaps regional parks as well). The only Federal area open to panning is the Shawnee National Forest, where you can only use a hand trowel and a gold pan to recover gold (Note: Have you ever tried to dig deep or effectively using a hand trowel? Sucks, to put it bluntly. So have fun my friends. J.R.)

Mr. Rebates - Cash-Back Shopping at over 1000 Stores!

At any rate, those of you in Illinois with "gold fever" can try alleviating that condition by trying your hand at recovering some of the state's glacial gold.

Good luck out there!

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "2 Basic Rules for Recovering Fine Gold from Concentrates"

(c) J.R. 2009

Questions? E-mail me at jr872vt90@yahoo.com

24 comments:

  1. Just my luck I move to a state with no gold. what does this state have> no money, bad roads, no jobs, any rocks at all>

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. theres gold in illinois just not in many places.There is a place in will county named hickory creek that you can find gold.About 5 months ago me and my grandfather got about 2.7 grams in one day

      Delete
    2. also many people i know who pan for gold go many parts of the region

      Delete
  2. I hear you...No, Illinois would not be on the top of my "states with gold" list either. That said, good luck to you just the same. J.R.

    ReplyDelete
  3. hey j.r.what if you live in Illinois,and love hunting for gold.i live only five miles from the Shawnee national forest.could you tell me what part of that would you try.thank you very much,,

    ReplyDelete
  4. William: I am out here in the West in New Mexico so not in your neck of the woods. Some of the best info you seek could probably be had by contacting Midwest Prospector....there's a link to his site in my "Recommended Links" section just to the right of this comment. Good luck! J.R.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nice article. I got into gold panning this winter (buying paydirt from ebay). Sadly, I live in IL but that's not going to stop me from panning everywhere this spring. There is this little creek with a little waterfall right off the Kankakee river in Bourbonnais.

    The creek winds through this 20 foot high canyon type of thing and ends in a little waterfall into a small pool.

    I was thinking about digging down a few feet at the base of the little waterfall and panning that. Is this a good plan? There are a lot of small to head size rocks and dirt/sand under I'm assuming.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for commenting and your support. I'm not much for waterfalls unless they are small and not too turbulent. Otherwise, much of the gold willb e washed downstream to a better deposition point. However, right below small "drop offs" can be a very good spot to recover gold. Best of luck out there! J.R.

    ReplyDelete
  7. hey anonymous, i grew up there and i always wondered about rock creek.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well wonder no more my friend! Jim

    ReplyDelete
  9. ive have found some gold nuggets in bedrock sure looks like gold ,,i need to find a place to take it to see if it is gold im in northwest indiana .can any one help me

    ReplyDelete
  10. Do some basic tests first yourself...hardness for example. If your "nuggets" flatten and don't shatter could be gold. Otherwise any jeweler or coin dealer could tell you. Jim

    ReplyDelete
  11. yes there is gold in illinois,i found small specks in e. central il. in a creek.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for providing this info. Best to you, J.R.

      Delete
    2. i live in central illinois near illinois river,with many small creeks leading into it....where should i try panning...at the entrance to big river or go up stream where there are large cliffs? and small pools

      Delete
  12. Your best bet is probably going to be the feeder streams or creeks into the Illinois or near it, not the Illinois itself. You'll need to study up a bit on where the glacial tills moved through that area. Look for any exposed bedrock or bench gravels, especially those of glacial origin. Good luck. J.R.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I live in henderson co illinois near the river and would like to try panning gold any ideas on what creek to try?

    ReplyDelete
  14. my name isnt anonymous its Dan im just not good at this comment thing yet .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No worries Dan. It's the way this thing is set up.

      Delete
  15. Your best beet is check out Midwest Prospector (http://www.midwestprospector.com/). I'm in New Mexico and can't tell you more than what's in the post. Best of luck, J.R.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dan says thanks JR

    ReplyDelete
  17. You're welcome my friend! J.R.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hey. I live in jersey county Illinois. My grandson and I prospect creeks here and have very good luck. And a lotta fun

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hey. I live in jersey county Illinois. My grandson and I prospect creeks here and have very good luck. And a lotta fun

    ReplyDelete