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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Ammonoosuc Gold Belt in New Hampshire:

The Ammonoosuc Gold Belt in New Hampshire is only a part of a much larger gold bearing district that extends out of southeastern Vermont and up the Connecticut River to New Hampshire and Qu├ębec even further north. In New Hampshire this belt contains the highest potential in the entire state where important discoveries of gold and other metals may be found.

This gold bearing district is closely associated with the Iapetus Suture Zone caused by the closing of the Iapetus Ocean hundreds of millions of years ago. This suture zone is traceable all away from Staten Island New York across the Atlantic Ocean to the mountains of northern Norway. Although this is one of the major suture zones on earth it has been little explored by miners.

Rocks found in this belt are metamorphic in origin for many of them were originally deposited as volcanics that could be endowed with gold. This zone is now the host of the most intense placer gold recovery in the state that in recent years has taken place in the sand and gravel deposits throughout the district.
The Ammonoosuc River at the Littleton Grist Mill during the Winter
Photo by Captain Tucker

The rocks found in the White Mountains and other genetically associated rocks to the South like those within the Patuckaway Mountains are also considered to be favorable for gold prospecting. Throughout the state the potential for gold being found along faults is high especially in those that have been acted upon by hydrothermal waters were quartz has been deposited in veins as so-called bull quartz. Bull quartz is a particular milky variety of crystalline quartz in veins that often has gold deposited on the interfaces of its crystals.

Gold has been found in many of the streams of northern and western New Hampshire included in this partial list:

Town Stream
Benton Tunnel Brook
Lincoln Notch Brook
Lisbon Salmon hole Brook
Wild Ammonoosuc River
Ammonoosuc River below the town of Bath

Northern Coos County

Indian Stream
Perry Stream
Dead Diamond River
Swift diamond River

Because of the potential damage that they can cause all gold panners should try to keep the disturbance of the stream beds of the low level of disturbance.

A great deal of information about gold found in New Hampshire is available from the geological survey of the state that is located in Concord. Another source of information is often to be found in old town histories.


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