Vulture District

Publication Info:
Placer Gold Deposits of Arizona
Geological Survey Bulletin 1355 (1975)
Table of Contents

Related: Where to Find Gold in Arizona


Maricopa County

South flank of the Vulture Mountains in the vicinity of the Vulture mine, Tps. 5 and 6 N., Rs. 5 and 6 W.

Topographic Map

Vulture Mountains 15-minute quadrangle.

Geologic Map

Wilson, Moore, and Peirce, 1957, Geologic map of Maricopa County, scale 1:375,000.


From Wickenburg it is 14 miles south on Vulture mine road to mine and placers in the immediate vicinity.


The only description I have found of the placer deposits in this district is given by Wilson. The overshadowing importance of the Vulture mine is certainly the explanation for the lack of detail about the placer ground, which covers an area about 3 miles square in Red Top Basin (sees. 24 and 25, T. 6 N., R. 6 W.) and extends for a distance of 2 miles southeast of the Vulture mine in Vulture Wash (sees. 6 and 7, T. 5 N., R. 5 W.).

Red Top Basin is a pediment formed on Precambrian schist and mantled by gold-bearing gravels generally less than 10 feet thick. The gold is coarse and angular and is generally concentrated on bedrock.

Production History

The placers were apparently worked from the time of discovery of the Vulture mine. In the early days of the district (from 1867 to 1880), many large nuggets weighing about 1/% to 1 ounce were recovered, and reportedly, some weighing 5 ounces. Although most of the richest gravels were worked out by 1880, small-scale drywashing in the area continued from that time until 1948.


Small gold-bearing quartz veins in the immediate vicinity are thought to be the source of the placer gold in Red Top Basin. The origin of the gold in Vulture Wash is considered to be partly the Vulture vein and partly other small gold veins.


Wilson, 1961: Location; history; past production; character of placer gravels; size of nuggets; origin of placers.

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