The Murphys district is in south-central Calaveras County about seven miles northeast of Angels Camp. It extends west to include the Esmeralda and Fricot Ranch areas.
The streams were first mined during the gold rush. Murphys was established in 1848 or 1849 and named for John M. Murphy, a member of Captain Weber's Stockton Mining Company. Lode mining probably began shortly afterward and continued almost steadily until around World War 1. Some of the mines have been prospected in recent years. The old town of Murphys, one of the best-preserved mining towns in the Sierra Nevada, is a popular tourist attraction.
The eastern part of the district is underlain by graphite schist, slate, and a large limestone lens of the Calaveras Formation (Carboniferous to Permian). The western part is underlain by slate, schist, green schist and numerous lenses of talcose rock derived from serpentine. A number of patches of auriferous Tertiary gravels overlie the bedrock.
Quartz, occurring in a great many west-trending veins-mostly in schist and slate-is glassy and white, rose, or occasionally black. Rose-colored quartz is characteristic of this district. The ore bodies usually are small and shallow, but often they are rich. The ore contains free gold and often abundant sulfides. Although there are no large mines, the district was quite productive because of the large number of vems.
Basco, Beatrice, Bence $200,000, Bonehard, Buckeye, Buckhorn, Crown Point, Cowbell, Dora Cons., Dragone, Economic, Esmeralda $300,000, Eureka, Fairplay, Falcon, Fricot Group, Great Divide, Gumboot, Hidden Treasure, K and J, Last Chance, Malteson, Manhatten, Miralda, Oro y Plata, Piety Hill, Rocky Bar, Total Wreck.
Clark, L.D., 1954, Geology and mineral deposib of the Calaveritas quadrangle: California Div. Mines Spec. Rept. 40, 23 pp.
Clark, W.B., and Lydon, P.A., 1962, Calaveras County, gold: California Div. Mines and Geology County Report 2. pp. 32-93.
Logan, C. A., 1936. Calaveras County, gold quartz mines: California Div. Mines Rept. 32, pp. 235-323.
Turner, H.W., 1894, Jackson folio: U.S. Geol. Survey Geol. Atlas of the U. S., folio 11, 6 pp.
Tucker, W. B., 1916, Calaveras County, gold quartz mines: California Min. Bur. Rept. 14, pp. 66-114.
Turner, H. W., and Ransome, F.L., 1898, Big Trees folio: U.S. Geol. Survey Geol. Atlas of the U.S. folio 51, 8 pp.