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The Butte Nugget

The Butte Nugget
The “Butte Nugget” was recovered sometime in the summer of 2014 by an unnamed prospector in California using a metal detector. He was expecting to dig up a piece of iron rubbish, but unearthed the find of a lifetime when he unearthed this monster nugget.

It is a spectacular nugget, weighing over 5 pounds of solid gold. It is believed to be one of the largest gold discoveries in California in the past century.

The confirmed weight was 75 troy ounces. The nugget itself has no quartz inclusions and gold from this area is generally very high purity.

Although the exact location of the discovery was not revealed, it was found somewhere in Butte County, which has always been a major producer of gold in the state. Many millions of ounces in gold have been found here since the early days of the gold rush.

Both placer and lode deposits account for the production, but placers account for the largest production records.

Some of the primary mining districts in Butte County when it comes to producing gold are Magalia (Tertiary placers), Yankee Hill (mostly lode, some tertiary placers) and Oroville (Quaternary Placers).

A brief description of these major districts in Butte County are described below:

Yankee Hill District

The Yankee Hill district had the largest lode production in Butte County. Between the period of 1929 and 1959 it is believed that roughly 30,000 ounces of gold were produced from mines in lode while placers were responsible for producing just 5,154 ounces of gold. Gold production in Yankee Hill district before the year 1959 was 57,000 ounces, with the Hearst mine being responsible for the largest production. Significant production took place during the 1800’s but very poor production records exist during that time.

Oroville District

In the southern part of Butte County along the Feather River is the Oroville district. During the period from 1903 and 1959, production records indicate a total of 1,964,130 ounces of gold were mined from the gravels of the Feather River near Oroville. This impressive amount of gold that was found within the Oroville district made it the largest producer of gold in Butte County. These large productions were primarily obtained because of bucket line dredge operations that worked the river gravels.



Magalia District

In the north-central area of Butte County near the town of Magalia is where the Magalia district is found. Underground methods were being used to mine tertiary gravels of the Magalia channel which were considered as minor tertiary streams. This area produced some very large gold nuggets historically.

All of these districts will still produce gold today, and there is a good likelihood that the Butte Nugget came from one of these areas. Of course, it may have been found somewhere away from the well-known mining districts in Butte County.

California still has excellent potential for gold prospecting, and the Butte Nugget is proof that there are still some spectacular gold nuggets waiting to be unearthed. Not long after its discovery was announced, it was sold to an anonymous buyer for $400,000.

Learn more about Where to Find Gold in California

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