Island Mountain District
Other Names: Gold Creek, Bruno, Bruneau, Wyoming, Penrod
Commodities: silver, lead, zinc, antimony, copper, gold, tungsten, uranium, barite, arsenic
Organized in 1869 as the Wyoming district which included what is presently known as Martin Creek (Crystal Creek), Penrod Creek, west of Cornwall Mountain, and the town of Bruno, on “Crystal Creek.” The present district extends northeast and southwest from Island Mountain to include most of the drainage basin of Penrod Creek. The district occupies the southeastern flank of Tennessee Mountain and the area to the south, including Cornwall Mountain, Cornwall Basin, and Rosebud Mountain.
White, 1871, p. 58-59; Whitehill, 1873, p. 23; Whitehill, 1877, p. 22-23; Angel, 1881, p. 392, 394, 396; Lincoln, 1923, p. 47; Stoddard, 1932, p. 31; Gianella, 1945, p. 42; Granger and others, 1957, p. 75; La Heist, 1964, p. 66; Stager and Tingley, 1988, p. 58; LaPointe and others, 1991, p. 124
Island Mountain Placer District Description
Alluvial basin north of Island Mountain in the unnamed mountains between the Owyhee River and the Bruneau River, T. 44 N., Rs. 55 and 56 E.
Mount Velma 15-minute quadrangle.
Goash, 1967, Geologic map of the Mount Velma quadrangle, Elko County, Nevada, (pi. 1), scale 1:62,500.
From Elko, 66 miles north on State Highways 11 and 43 to the Wild Horse Reservoir; from there, a dirt road leads east paralleling Penrod Creek for about 4 miles to Island Mountain and vicinity.
Placers occur in the alluvial basin on the north side of Island Mountain (N/2 sec. 18, T. 44 N., R. 56 E.), and along Gold Creek, Hammond Canyon, and Coleman Canyon, which drain south into the basin (N/a T. 44 N., Rs. 55 and 56 E.) . Most of the placer mining was in the shallow gravels of the alluvial basin, which extends about 1 1/2 miles east-west and 1 mile north-south. The gravels were worked to an average depth of 7 feet, and much coarse gold, including nuggets valued at $50, was recovered.
The Island Mountain placers were discovered in 1873 by Emanuel Penrod, C. Rouselle, and W. Newton. Penrod and a few other miners worked the gravels by primitive methods for about 20 years before others became interested in the area. Penrod's claims occupied most of the alluvial basin. The early production is estimated at about $800,000, and those who worked the area reportedly recovered in gold as much as $1 per hour of labor on the gravels.
Ambitious plans were made in 1897 to construct a ditch from the Sunflower Reservoir (built to store water for placer mining) to the placer deposits; but the ditch was not completed, and the boom placer-mining days of Island Mountain ended.
Placer mining was sporadic during the 20th century until 1934, when small-scale placer mining again became common. This activity lasted until the late 1950's.
The placer gold is thought to have been derived from small vein and replacement lode-gold deposits in pre-Cenozoic rocks north of the alluvial basin and to have been transported south along Gold Creek and the creeks in Hammond Canyon and Coleman Canyon. The replacement deposits are associated with a small intrusive of probable Cretaceous age that is situated between Hammond Canyon and Coleman Canyon. The placer gold may have been derived from this area. Coash (1967, p. 19) states that much of the material in the placer, gravels is similar to older prevolcanic gravels, and that the placer gravels, though postvolcanic (late Tertiary), may have been partly derived from re- working of the prevolcanic (early Tertiary) gravels.
Burchard, 1883: Placer-mining operations; production in 1882.
Coash, 1967: Source and age of placer gravels; history and early production.
Engineering and Mining Journal, 1896a: Placer-mining developments by Gold Creek Mining Co.; high value of placer ground; average value. 1897b: Test pit on Gold Creek near the mouth of Hope Gulch yielded $7.35 in gold from 5 cubic yards of gravel. 1897c: Reports failure of Gold Creek Mining Co. to pay employees and states amount of attachments placed on the property. 1898: Discusses reasons for failure of Gold Creek Mining Co.; reports resale of the property.
Lincoln, 1923: History.
Murbarger, 1957: Early history of discovery, production, and mining at Island Mountain.
Paher, 1970: History of the development of Gold Creek (Island Mountain); photographs of town, miners, and hydraulic mining.
Smith and Vanderburg, 1932: History of early placer-mining operations; early production per day per man; problems in placer mining; (name of placer creek erroneously given as Gold Run Creek instead of Gold Creek).
Vanderburg, 1936a: Early history; placer-mining operations during the period 1934-35; distribution of gold in gravels; size of gold recovered; source.
Whitehill : History of placer discovery and early operations; production.
Other Names: Battle Mountain
Commodities: mercury, gold
The Ivanhoe district is located in the Battle Creek Range north of Battle Mountain, and includes the drainage basins of Ivanhoe and Little Antelope Creeks. Ivanhoe is historically a mercury district, but recent gold production has overshadowed mercury.
Lincoln, 1923, p. 47; Stoddard, 1932, p. 32; Gianella, 1945, p. 42; Granger and others, 1957, p. 76; Smith, 1976, p. 90; LaPointe and others, 1991, p. 129
Located on the western side of the Sheep Creek Range 25 miles north of Battle Mountain, mainly confined to the south half of T36N, R45E.
Vanderburg, 1939, p. 54; Stewart and others, 1977, p. 82