Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Canadian Placer Gold: Southern Quebec Province (Part 1)

(Placer gold from southern Quebec.)

100,000 Troy Ounces Minimum

Although the existence of placer gold in the southern part of Canada’s Quebec Province was probably known by the early 1800s, it wasn’t until 1875 that individual and small groups of miners began serious efforts to recover that gold. There are no hard figures for how much placer gold the old timers recovered from southern Quebec back then, but at the minimum it probably exceeded 100,000 troy ounces.



Placer Gold Mining Equipment

The most prolific gold areas are not all that far from the Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire in the U.S. Undoubtedly, a good deal of the glacial gold found in those states was derived from sources in southern Quebec Province.

Three Types of Placer Gold Deposits

Geologists pretty much agree that the placer gold in southern Quebec is derived from three main types of placer deposits:

1. Glacial tills (or “drifts”): This type of placer was deposited by glaciers that scoured the surrounding terrain (including numerous gold-bearing quartz veins) and carried the gold away. This sort of placer usually contains widely disseminated fine or “flour” gold, but sometimes rich concentrations were formed in localized areas. These richer placer till deposits often contained scattered nuggets as well.

(Glacial till in a moraine location.)



2. Secondary or “reworked” glacial tills: These placers were formed when the original till deposits were “reworked” or moved and concentrated again by subsequent glacial advances and retreats, or where modern streams cut their way through old glacial till. These deposits are mostly found in old glacial channels and gravel bars, including those present in existing stream courses.

Gold Concentrates
Gold Pans

3. Non-glacial stream deposits: Placers such as these were typically formed from geologically older gold-bearing streams that were covered up or buried by glacial activity. These placer deposits can be extremely rich but often are buried under tons of glacial overburden. However, where modern streams or rivers have cut through this glacial overburden exposing older channels and bench gravels, very good gold values can be recovered.

There’s more to come on placer gold in southern Quebec Province. Take care and good luck to one and all in the meantime.

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© Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2012

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

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