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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gold Occurrences in New Jersey

The first mention of gold in New Jersey dates back to 1829 when gold was reported from the general area around Franklin. The report failed to mention whether this was lode or placer gold, but from the geological history of that area it could have been either. One of the features in New Jersey shares in common with all the other states of the northeastern United States is the possibility of placer gold being brought down from the Abitibi Gold Belt in Canada.
An adit in the Sterling Hill Museum at Sterling Hill, NJ

Gold has been reported in the ancient rocks of Grenvellian age from Sussex County associated with the iron deposits.  It has also been reported from the Schwangunk conglomerate from extreme western Sussex County in the vicinity of High Point, New Jersey.  The stone here is a conglomerate composed of quartz pebbles that is identical to the conglomerates of the Schwangunk Mountains of New York State.

Sussex County is also the home to some very rich zinc deposits at Franklin and Sterling Hill.  Although no gold was apparently found at these localities gold is often associated with zinc as a byproduct of the smelting process.  These zinc ores are contained in Precambrian marble with iron and manganese ores at times creating minerals containing both iron, manganese and zinc.  There have even been reports of corundum crystals being found in the same marble.

There have been reports of so-called gold mines in the past one notable example was in the Schuler Mine that showed some gold in quartz.  Many of the reported gold mines in Bergin County during the 19th century were actually scams. 

Southern New Jersey is covered with outwash composed of sand & gravel from the last glacier that came as far south as Staten Island where terminal moraines can be observed half way down the island.  There is a possibility that a small amount of gold may be present in the gravel topping the hills of Ocean County that was brought down from Canada by the glacier..

Although gold appears to be sparse in New Jersey there is otherwise a very rich history of mining for several other commodities including copper and silver in the Newark Basin basalts and sandstone. In the mid-19th century there were several mines producing copper and byproduct silver in this area of New Jersey

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