Diamond in the Rough
In California, United States
Size:  (not chosen)
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Cherokee is the site of arguably the world's greatest hydraulic gold mine with a twist.
In my book the Eocene epoch is the most important time in California’s Economic Geological history. From the auriferous (gold-bearing) gravels of ancestral rivers to the deltaic clay, specialty sands, lignin and coal of the Ione-Domengine formations, millions of dollars has been mined from these deposits since the Gold Rush.
The Spring Valley Mine, a consolidation of smaller claims comprised of 26,000 acres, 100 miles of tunnel and canal, 9 miles of sluice box, 11 reservoirs, 18 monitors, world-famous inverted flume, and the 40-mile "Cherokee Strip" to impound tailings. The mine employed over 300 men who worked day and night illuminated by brilliant arc lights. This may be partly explained in that Thomas Edison was once an investor.
The mine produced gold in excess of $15-million. According to Clark, the Tertiary placer deposits are associated with a west-trending channel. In this area the channel is in a trough about 700 feet wide. The sequence from bottom to top of the hydraulic pit is an irregular greenstone gravel 5-10 feet thick that is lean in gold and contains local black clay streaks and minor basalt blocks; a rich 20- to 30-foot layer of coarse fresh blue gravel with large greenstone blocks, coarse and fine gold, and minor platinum (this layer yielded as much as several dollars per yard); several feet of decomposed gravel; 50 feet of sand and quartzitic gravel, the lower part of which yielded 25 cents per yard; 200 feet of clayey sand; and 50 to 75 feet of massive basalt.
During its heyday of 1875, Cherokee boasted its own theatre, race track, and brewery; 2 churches, 3 lodges, 8 hotels, 17 saloons, and a population over 1,000. Today, Cherokee is a sleepy ghost town with about a dozen residents.
In order to claim the find for this Earthcache you will need to respond to the following:
1. What is Cherokee’s unique claim to fame?
2. What is the large mining implement in front of the yellow building across the road?
3. What is the rock on the monument to the left center edge of the bronze plaque and where did it come from?
4. Either photograph yourself/party with your GPSr in Cherokee OR identify the following two rocks:
a. What is the black and brown rock on the monument to the left top corner of the bronze plaque?
b. What is the elongated rock on the monument to the right top corner of the bronze plaque?
Note: All three rocks mentioned are on the front of the rock monument near the edges of the bronze plaque.
Please do not post your answers in your log or upload photographs that include spoilers to the questions. Logs not following these directions may be deleted without notice.
Clark, W.B, 1970, Excerpt from Gold Districts of California, California Department of Conservation, Division of Mines and Geology, Bulletin 193, 1970. (visit link)
Erwin, Diane, 2006, Paleobotany field trip to the Sierra Nevada, Day 1, Botanical Society of America. (visit link)
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 06/10/2016 19:17:26 Pacific Daylight Time (02:17 GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum