By A. H. KOSCHMANN and M. H. BERGENDAHL - USGS 1968
Mining began in Humboldt County in the early 1860's and for many years there was sporadic production from several districts. The discovery of fabulously rich gold ores in the National district in 1907 probably was the most significant event in the mining history of the county. These rich ores were soon depleted, and mining activity declined until 1935, when it increased with the discovery of ore in the Jumbo mine in the Awakening district. The Getchell mine, in the Potosi district, became active in 1938, and for several years thereafter it was the largest gold producer in the State. Most of the gold mined in Humboldt County has come from lodes, but there has also been considerable placer gold produced from the Dutch Flat district.
Vanderburg (1938b, p. 13, 14) listed production data for gold as early as 1890 and for silver and gold as early as 1870. For the period 1870-90, a total of $4,975,372 in gold and silver was produced. From 1890 through 1903 about 31,830 ounces of lode and placer gold was mined. From 1905 through 1959, a total of 811,712 ounces of lode gold and 36,720 ounces of placer gold was produced.
Humboldt County contains several north-trending mountain ranges, separated by arid undrained valleys, many of which contain playa lakes.
The Awakening district is about 45 miles northwest of Winnemucca in the Slumbering Hills.
About 1910 mining began in this area, and there was a small production of gold and silver from 1912 to 1918. In 1935 the discovery of the Jumbo mine opened a new period of large-scale activity. The early production could not be determined, but from 1935 through 1959, a total of 25,648 ounces of gold was produced.
Metamorphosed muds and impure sandstones, now slates and schists of probable Mesozoic age, are exposed throughout most of the area (Calkins, 1938, p. 9-15). A body of quartz monzonite has intruded the Mesozoic rocks and produced zones of contact metamorphism. Aplite and pegmatite dikes are associated with the intrusive. Tertiary latite and andesite flows, underlain by lake beds, cap the higher parts of the area.
Most ore deposits are gold-bearing quartz veins in the slates (Calkins, 1938, p. 15-22). Most of the veins are less than 1 foot thick and have numerous branches. Their average strike is north and their dips are variable. The Jumbo deposit, however, is completely different from the other veins of the district. Its most characteristic feature is the abundant adularia and sparse quartz in the gangue. The veins are small and irregularly distributed, as in a stockwork (Calkins, 1938, p. 19-20).
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