By A. H. KOSCHMANN and M. H. BERGENDAHL - USGS 1968
Prospectors attracted by the silver strikes at Reese River used the town of Austin as a supply point and headquarters from which they explored most of eastern Nevada. Rich silver ore soon was discovered at Battle Mountain, Egan Canyon, White Pine, and Pioche. Indeed, it was probably the rich silver strike at White Pine that influenced the formation of White Pine County from part of Lander County in 1869.
The mines of the county have been noted chiefly for their high-grade silver, copper, and lead ores, but considerable quantities of gold have been produced from the Cherry Creek, Ely, and Osceola districts. Gold production of the county from 1903 through 1959 was 2,049,895 ounces.
CHERRY CREEK DISTRICT
The Cherry Creek (Egan Canyon, Gold Canyon) district is in the Egan Range, 50 miles north of Ely.
Gold was discovered here in 1861 by a group of soldiers, and the district was organized in 1863 (Lincoln, 1923, p. 243). Ores rich in silver, gold, and lead were mined on a fairly large scale from 1872 to 1883. The principal mines during this early period were the Teacup, Star, Exchequer, and Cherry Creek. In the late 1880's a decline began, culminating in a virtual shutdown in 1893. By 1895, however, the district had revived and the mines continued to produce on a small scale (Schrader, 1931, p. 29). Estimates of the early production range from $6 to $20 million in combined metals, but the amount of gold has not been determined. From 1902 through 1959 the district produced 36,197 ounces of gold. From 1952 through 1959 it produced considerable tungsten from scheelite deposits.
The rocks exposed in the Cherry Creek district are chiefly quartzite, shale, and limestone of Cambrian age intruded by small masses of quartz monzonite and diabase (Hill, 1916, p. 160-163). The ore deposits are veins in the quartzite. Ore minerals are galena, sphalerite, pyrite, stromeyerite, copper carbonates, scheelite, and gold (R. M. Smith, written commun., 1962).
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