Comstock District

Publication Info:
Nevada Mining Districts (Compiled Reports)
The Districts Described in This Section are from the following publications:

Mining Districts of Nevada - Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Report 47 (updated 1998); Placer Gold Deposits of Nevada - USGS Bulletin 1356 (1973)

Table of Contents

Comstock District


Other Names: Columbia, Washoe, Virginia, Virginia City, Gold Hill, Silver Star, Brunswick, Flowery, Rogers, Summit Lake, Comstock Lode, Occidental Lode, American Flat, Silver City

County: Storey

Discovered: 1858

Organized: 1859

Commodities: silver, gold, lead, copper, mercury


Commonly, the Comstock district includes all of the mining areas on the east slope of the Virginia Range lying generally between Gold Canyon and Six Mile Canyon. The three original districts organized on the Comstock lode were American Flat, Gold Hill, and Virginia. Virginia was the first, the Silver Star portion lies east of Virginia, in the range of mountains between Virginia [City] and the valley of the Carson River.

The principal lodes are the Brunswick and the Occidental. The Flowery portion, also known as Rogers or Summit Lake, is located in the Flowery Range, to the east. The Columbia district, organized in 1858, included both Comstock and Silver City and extended west to the Carson Range. Schilling (1976) included Silver City in the Comstock district.


Gold Hill News, April 12, 1864; Stretch, 1867, p. 68-69; Hill, 1912, p. 225; Lincoln, 1923, p. 222; Stoddard, 1932, p. 48, 82; Stoddard and Carpenter, 1950, p. 13; Bonham, 1969, p. 102; Carlson, 1974, p. 239; Schilling, 1976; Wong, 1982, table 1; Ansari, 1986, p. 1, 5, 11, 22

Comstock Placer District Description


In the Virginia Range, northwest of the Carson River, T. 17 N., R. 21 E.

Topographic Maps

Virginia City 15-minute quadrangle.

Geologic Maps

Thompson, 1956, Geologic map and sections of the Virginia City quadrangle, Nevada, scale 1 : 62,500.


From Reno, about 9 miles southeast on U.S. Highway 395 to junction with State Highway 17; from there, about 12 miles southeast on State Highway 17 to Virginia City and Comstock district.


Placer gold occurs in Gold and Six Mile Canyons in the Comstock district. The placer gold credited to this district may have been recovered from gravels in these drainages or from old tailings found throughout the mining area. No information has been found to indicate the location or character of the deposits, mined since 1900.

Production History

Placer gold was recovered from the Comstock district during the initial prospecting stage (about 1857-59) in this famous lode-mining area. The discovery of the Ophir mine (sec. 29) is attributed to placer miners working the gravels of Six Mile Canyon to its head. Decomposed ores of the Sierra Nevada mine (sec. 20), near Seven Mile Canyon, tributary to Six Mile Canyon, were mined by placer methods during the 1860's. Placering during the 20th century is reported for the period 1934-47, but, except for the year 1934, when 354 ounces of gold was recovered by two operators, yearly production was very small.


The source of the placer gold is certainly the ores of the Comstock lode; it is not known whether the gold was truly erosional material from the lode or from particles contained in old tailings.


Bonham, 1969: Summarizes earlier work on geology of the Comstock lode; dates mineralization of lode.

De Quille, 1891: Describes placer mining in Six Mile Canyon; dis- covery of other lodes.

Paher, 1970: History of early placer mining in Six Mile Canyon; production per day by O'Reiley and McLaughlin in gravels in Ophir Lode.

Stoddard and Carpenter, 1950: Describes ore deposits of Comstock lode.

Thompson, 1956: Notes extent of placers; describes lode mines.

White, 1871: Describes gold-bearing gravel at Sierra Nevada mine.

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