Description: Gold is usually found in hydrothermal deposits where it forms at a wide range of temperatures and geological settings. Gold may form in exhalative deposits formed on the sea floor associated with Archean basaltic sequences known as greenstone belts. It may form in veins associated with large granite intrusions associated with mountain building. It may also form in veins formed along major fault zones. Gold in veins is associated with sulfides, quartz and calcite.
Gold is resistant to weathering, hence is often freed from the surrounding rock and redeposited as sediment. Because gold has a high density, it tends to settle out readily and be trapped with coarser sediments.Where current action is strong, less dense materials are preferentially washed away, concentrating the gold in placer deposits. In a submerged gold-bearing sediments, slight shaking of the sedimentary column will cause the gold to sift down toward the bottom of the deposit. These tendancies result in the gold accumulating along the contacts between sediment and underlying bedrock. Cracks and crevices in bedrock over which a river rushes or has rushed are good places to prospect. In placers, gold is associated with other dense or "heavy" minerals such as garnet, magnetite, ilmenite, and even diamonds. Gold is also found in conglomerates that are lithified placer deposits.
Gold has been reported from a number of localities in Wisconsin, but the known deposits are all small and sub-economic. In researching gold reports one has to realize that salting and fraudulent reports do occur and misidentification of materials such as pyrite and even bronzy-colored biotite for gold is common. It is also true that the locations of suspected gold mines may be vaguely located or deliberately mislocated in the literature.
Gold in small amounts can probably be found in placers in any county. Wisconsin glacial sediments contain small amounts of gold, and most of Wisconsin streams are reworking some glacial sediments. Week-end panning can be a fun recreational activity, as long as one's expectations for valuable finds are not too high. Wisconsin drift gold is generally in very small particles, constituting what is termed "flour gold", with true nuggets being exceedingly rare. As such, skill and practice are necessary in being a effective "panner". The associated sand-sized "heavy minerals" such as red garnet and black magnetite sand are interesting in their own right. Rarely, diamonds may also turned up during gold placer mining, as was the case along Plum Creek in Pierce County.
In Wisconsin, individuals may do recreational panning without a license, provided stream banks and bottoms are not unduly harmed and large amounts of sediments are not released in the water. Any gold found belongs to the holder of the mineral rights of that property. It is thus important to get permission to pan and to work out an agreement with the holder of the mineral rights before panning.
ASHLAND COUNTY: Old newspaper articles report a significant show of gold values at the Northern Belle Mine, W 1/2 SW Sec. 22 T.45N R.4W west of Penokee Gap. Exploration for gold has also occurred in sections 15, 22, 23 and 34 in T.45N R.4W (U.S.G.S., 1976).
BAYFIELD COUNTY: Exploration for gold was carried out in the SW Sec. 2 and the NW Sec. 11 (Davis Hill) in T.44N R.6W north of Namekagon Lake (U.S.G.S.,1976). At Davis Hill, the gold was found in a conglomerate that also showed some silver and copper values (Wisc. Geol. Nat. Hist. Surv. files).
CLARK COUNTY: A trace of gold was detected by assay of a quartz vein cutting a talc and chlorite bearing schist "from Clark County." Associated minerals were pyrite, magnetite and arsenopyrite (Irving, 1874b).
DANE COUNTY: Placer gold can reportedly be panned along Black Earth Creek near Cross Plains (Maslowski, 1985).
DOUGLAS COUNTY: Flakes of native gold were reported in fine-grained diabase found on the "Federal Copper Mining Property" in the south-west corner of Douglas County. The rock supposedly assayed at $9.00 per ton in 1902 (Thomas, 1902).
- Placer gold can reportedly be panned along the Poplar and Middle Rivers (Maslowski, 1985).
DUNN COUNTY: A shaft, possibly for the exploitation of allunial gold, is found near Knapp in Sec. 16 T.28N R.14W (Olcott, 1970).
EAU CLAIRE COUNTY: Recovery of gold from sediment collecting in crevices in bedrock at Big Falls (SW Sec. 13 T.27N R.8W) was rumored in the 1930's (Wis. Geol. Nat. Hist. Surv. files, 1985).
FOREST COUNTY: Gold is a minor component of the Crandon massive sulfide deposit in sec. 25 T.35N R.12E. It is here associated with sphalerite, chalcopyrite and galena (Wis. Geol. Nat. Hist. Surv. files, 1985).
LAFAYETTE COUNTY: A single grain of native gold was found in drill core taken from the "Nigger Jim" mine, south of Rewey at the NE SW Sec. 32 T.4N R.1E. The gold was associated with galena, barite and ptrite (Heyl et. al., 1959; Taylor, 1964).
MARATHON COUNTY: Gold was found as tiny grains 0.5 mm in maximum diameter in a pocket in a pegmatite dike along the east edge of the Wausau pluton. The gold apparently formed by the alteration of the gold telluride, calaverite (Falster, 1987).
Gold is reported as occurring at several localities around Mosinee and Wausau in Sec. 8 T.26N R.7E, Sec. 32 T.27N R.7E, Sec. 13 T.27N R.8E and Sec. 24 T.28N R.7E (Dutton and Bradley, 1970).
Gold in quartz veins occurs at the Reef property prospected by Niranda about 12 miles E. of Wausau. The explored reserves were estimated at between 120,000- 140,000 ounces. Some of the gold is as visible flakes and small crystals (Anonymous, 1991).
Gold associated with pyrite, chalcopyrite, sphalerite and malachite is found in chlorite schist near Eason just southwest of the center of Sec. 26 T.29N R.9E. A 200 foot deep shaft was sunk at this locality, but production, if any, was minor (LaBerge and Myers, 1983).
MARINETTE COUNTY: An exploration shaft was sunk in the NE SW Sec. 16 T.36N R.21E, finding gold running 0.01 oz/ton with silver values in a "porphyroblastic argillite" east of Beecher. This deposit, which is apparently small and has never been mined, is referred to both as the "Micauno exploration shaft" and the "old Victor Smeister prospect" (Wis. Geol. Nat. Hist. Surv. file, 1985). At the "Archie gold prospect", west of Beecher, minor gold values were found in 1937 in east-west trending quartz veins cutting greenstone, gabbro and quartz diorite. The location of the prospect is given as SW SW Sec. 8 and NE Sec. 17 T.36N R.20E (Wis. Geol. Nat. His. Sury. files, 1985).
ONEIDA COUNTY: Gold is a minor component of the Pelican River massive sulfide body in Sec. 29 T.36N R.10E south of Rhinelander .
Gold with silver and electrum occurs in the Lynn massive sulfide deposit (Kennedy et. al., 1991).
PIERCE COUNTY: Flour gold was worked in 1887-1890 by panning and sluicing placer deposits along Rock Elm Creek, Plum Creek and their tributaries south of the town of Rock Elm (T.26N R.15W). Over a dozen tiny diamonds were also recovered during the operations (Cannon and Mudrey, 1981). More recently, in 1985 exploration by the minerals division of the Superior Oil Company confirmed the existence of significant placer gold in the area but was unable to locate the bedrock source (W. S. Cordua field notes).
POLK COUNTY: Placer gold as small flakes was reported from a glacial drift deposit resting unconformably on Cambrian shales along the St. Croix Valley north of St. Croix Falls in the West 1/2 of sections 18, 19, and 30 T.34N R.18W (Thomas, 1902). Thomas also reported the finding of flakes and nuggets in sediment in crevices and joints in the basalt bedrock in the St. Croix Dalles in SW Sec. 30 T.34N R.18W. Residents would flock onto the outcrop in search of gold whenever the river level was low because of the closing of a logging dam upstream.
RUSK COUNTY: Gold occurs as flakes and masses in the massive sulfide ore body of the Flambeau deposit south of Ladysmith. It is found in the gossan as well as in quartz-rich pods and veins in the supergene zone where it is asociated with sphalerite, chalcopyrite and galena (LaBerge, 1995, Rosemeyer, 1997).
TAYLOR COUNTY: Tiny gold xls occur in quartz-rich gossan in the Bend deposit, NW sec. 2 T.32N. R.2W., northeast of Gilman. (DeMatties and Rowell, 1991).
TREASURES IN WISCONSIN:
This location is in the Apostle Island group, just north of Wisconsin. To substantiate the story, this clue to the treasure is in the British Army Archives. I quote: "The payroll is buried somewhere along the shoreline of an island in the Apostle group in Lake Superior, believed to be Hermit.
"A fact that is not commonly known is that up until the First World War, the British Army always carried a payroll of cash money for the men. In this manner, the soldiers were paid regularly, no matter where they were in the world. This payroll was always carried by an officer, and due to the character of some of the soldiers, the officer, while on a march, always walked off alone from the campsite and buried the money until the soldiers were ready to move on the next day. The money was always well-concealed but was usually buried only a few inches deep.
On a cold wintry evening in the 1760s, a contingent of British soldiers landed on Hermit Island. The men were told by their officers to walk and talk quietly and build no fires because there were hostile Indians on the island.
The soldiers ate a cold meal, stationed a guard, and the rest went to sleep. Early the next morning the British troops were awakened by Indian war-whoops. Most of the soldiers were still in their blankets, where they were slaughtered. Only very few managed to escape.
The Indians threw the dead soldiers into the lake or fire, then divided the loot and equipment among themselves and left the island. The surviving men came out of hiding and found that the officer who had buried the payroll was dead, so only a brief search was made for the money. Afraid that the Indians might return, the survivors moved out quickly to the fort on the mainland.
The fort's commander organized a party to search for the payroll. A week was spent in looking, but no trace of the money was found. This is a good location to spend a vacation with a metal detector. The coins would be worth a small fortune today.
More to come........