ELK CITY DISTRICT
The Elk City district is in parts of Tps. 29 and 30 N., R. 8 E., near Elk City.
The first gold discovery in Idaho County was at Elk City in 1861. Here rich placers attracted 2,000 people the first year, but by 1872 the best ground was worked out, and the Chinese took over the operations. In 1870 gold-quartz veins were found at the Buster property, but very little gold was mined until 1902. The Buster mine became the largest lode producer in the district and produced about $300,000 in gold between 1907 and 1909 (Lorain, 1938, p. 28). The mines produced fairly steadily from the early 1900's through the 1930's, but since World War II they have been inactive. Placers, on the other hand, were active through 1957.
The early gold production of the district was estimated at $5 to $10 million by Lindgren (1904, p. 84) and at $18% million by Thomson and Ballard (1924, p. 13). From 1902 to 1939 the lodes produced more than $725,000 in gold (Ross, 1941, p. 55) from 1933 to 1959 lodes and placers produced 75,575 ounces. Total production, including the early estimates, was about 550,000 to 800,000 ounces.
Bedrock in the Elk City district consists of granite gneiss, a kind of gneissic shell formed along the contact of the Idaho batholith with metasedimentary rocks of the Belt Series (Thomson and Ballard, 1924, p. 22-23, 60). Small patches of the quartz monzonite of the batholith are exposed at various localities near Elk City, and Tertiary sediments underlie the valley at Elk City.
The veins are quartz lenses as much as 20 feet thick and 300 feet long. They are arranged in a radial pattern in the gneiss, near the quartz monzonite contact (Shenon and Reed, 1934, p. 24-26), and most of them trend at right angles to the foliation in the gneiss. The ore minerals of the veins are native gold, pyrite, tetrahedrite, sphalerite, chalcopyrite, and galena.
The placers of the district are in so-called high-level gravels of Tertiary age (Reed, 1934, p. 8-16).
FRENCH CREEK-FLORENCE DISTRICT
The French Creek-Florence district is in T. 25 N., Rs. 3 and 4 E., about 42 miles from Grangeville, the nearest supply point.
In the 1860's this area was one of the most productive in the State; the gulches and stream beds swarmed with miners working the rich gravels. The gravels were only 4 to 10 feet thick, and the richer parts soon were exhausted, after which the Chinese took over and reworked the tailings. The total output of the district, most of which was produced in the 1860's, was valued between $15 and $30 million (Lindgren, 1900, p. 233). By the 1880's, production had dropped to between $30,000 and $45,000 worth of gold per year (Lindgren, 1900, p. 233). A few small lode properties were developed in later years but the district has been deserted for a long time except for a brief revival in the late 1930's. Total production through 1959 was about 1 million ounces; nearly all production was from the early placers.
Bedrock in the district consists of soft, decomposed quartz monzonite which is cut by numerous small, but rich, gold-quartz veins (Lorain and Metz-ger, 1938, p. 47). These veins were the source of the gold in the stream gravels.
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