BUFFALO HUMP DISTRICT
The Buffalo Hump district is between lat 45Â°30' and 45Â°40' N. and long 115Â°35' and 115Â°45' W., in the west-central part of Idaho County.
Gold was discovered in this remote district in 1898 at the Big Buffalo property which developed into its chief producer. The rush to this new area was more frantic than to most areas and the lawlessness and excesses, for which it became known, were perhaps intensified by its remoteness and primitiveness. Several towns were built, and despite almost impassable roads, machinery was brought in and mining flourished (Thomson and Ballard, 1924, p. 98, 103). But metallurgical problems, high costs, relatively small deposits, and transportation problems were obstacles too large to overcome, and the boom collapsed after a few years. Except for small-scale operations, the mines have been idle for many years.
According to Shenon and Reed (1934, p. 4) and Ross (1941, p. 52), the Buffalo Hump district produced ore valued at about $700,000, most of which was in gold, with undetermined amounts of silver and copper. From 1939 through 1941 the district produced 2,307 ounces of gold, but no activity has been reported since that time. Total gold production through 1959 was about 27,000 ounces.
The bedrock in the district consists of quartzite and schist of the Belt Series and quartz monzonite of the Idaho batholith. The metasedimentary rocks were folded into a northwest-trending overturned anticline and then invaded by the quartz monzonite. The veins, about 20 in all, occupy an area 5 miles long and .5 to 1.75 miles wide in a shear zone along the crest of the anticline (Shenon and Reed, 1934, p. 26). Individual veins usually are less than half a mile long and terminate by horsetailing and splitting into thin stringers. Pyrite, tetrahedrite, sphalerite, chalcpoyrite, galena, and native gold are the common ore minerals of the veins. Small amounts of arsenopyrite, stibnite, molybdenite, and tellurides may be present, and quartz is the dominant gangue mineral (Shenon and Reed, 1934, p. 27).
In the Dixie district, which is in Tps. 25 and 26 N., R. 8 E., about 20 miles south of Elk City, gold placers were discovered in 1861 and were extensively and successfully mined during the early years. Lode deposits were developed in 1891 (Thomson and Ballard, 1924, p. 73), but their exploitation was hampered by the remoteness of the area. There has been very little activity in the district in recent years.
Production data for this district are incomplete. Lorain and Metzger (1938, p. 50) noted that $270,500 (13,000 ounces) worth of placer gold was shipped from the district from 1861 to 1863 and that the total production of the placers was probably less than $1 million (48,500 ounces). Thomson and Ballard (1924, p. 13), however, estimated $1.5 million (72,800 ounces) in gold as the production of the district. Lode mines, according to Ross (1941, p. 55), produced gold worth about $50,000 (2,400 ounces). Total production for the district through 1959 was approximately 40,000 to 75,000 ounces.
The geology of the Dixie district is similar to that of the Elk City district. Quartz monzonite or granodiorite of the Idaho batholith is the dominant rock. Numerous inclusions of the older country rock - schist, gneiss, and quartzite - are incorporated in the igneous intrusion and are exposed locally (Thomson and Ballard, 1924, p. 73). The ore deposits are in quartz veins containing pyrite and gold.
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