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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Gold Occurrences in Oklahoma

The early Spaniards led by the famous explorer, Coronado thought that Oklahoma was the home of the Seven Cities of Cibola that were legendary places that were made from gold.  It was these rumors that caused another Spanish explorer, Desoto to discover the Mississippi River.  Some of this legend is true since there are two areas on opposite ends of the state where gold is actually found.

The first of these areas is located in the southeastern part of the state in the Ouachita Mountains that are geologically part of the Appalachians that emerge from the surrounding sediments as an extension of those mountains.  Several localities in these mountains have even launched gold rushes in the past.  The gold is found in a continuation of the Southern Gold Belt. These mountains are also related to the Boston Mountains that have generated their own gold rushes.

A painting by Fredric Remington showing Coronado in his search for the Seven Cities of Cibola in  Oklahoma
In the western part of Oklahoma more gold is found in the Wichita Mountains in sandstone that was deposited in the late Precambrian and early Cambrian ages.  Later these mountains became involved in the mid-continental rift that caused the sandstone to become heavily intruded with gabbro.  Even later in their history they were intruded with granite.  And last they were intruded with other volcanic rocks.  These intrusions left behind a legacy of gold. 

Although there is some gold to be found in the Wichita’s there is not much according to reports, but even though there was a gold rush in the late 1800s. This gold rush was stoked by some unscrupulous assayers that kept pumping up the value of the ore that was found. All that is left today are some ghost towns like the Town of Wildman.

If you prospect in either of these districts the best place to look for gold is in the placer deposits of the rivers and creeks that drain down out of the highlands. Modern exploration techniques are apt to discover buried deposits here.

It is more then probable that further exploration of the Wichita Mountains using modern methods of exploration is apt to discover considerable amounts of various metals including gold.
It was the intrusions of gabbro that created the copper-silver deposits of the Keweenah Peninsula far to the north in Upper Michigan that were America’s first large-scale mineral rush.

A similar situation exists in Portugal where Triassic sandstone is heavily intruded by gabbro associated with the break-up of the super continent known as Pangaea. There are gold mines in Portugal operating today that were producing gold and other metals since the days of the Roman Empire.

Rocks associated with the mid-continent rift are especially rich in metal deposits as seen by the copper-silver deposits Michigan. The peninsula was the site of the first mining rush in the US that started in the early 1840s and continued until the mid 1940s it lasted more then a century. Exploration still goes on in rocks of the mid-continental rift. The most notable is occurring in the Arrowhead of Minnesota where they have uncovered massive amounts of copper, silver, gold and platinum group metals in the vicinity of Ely, MN in the Duluth Gabbro.

It is more then probable that further exploration of the Wichita Mountains using modern methods of exploration is apt to discover considerable amounts of various metals including gold.

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