Stan, Shoshone, Sierra, Silver Canyon Districts

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

Shon District


Other Names: Shaw

County: Humboldt

Discovered: 1877

Commodities: silver, tungsten


Situated in the southern Santa Rosa Range west of Paradise Valley, about 27 miles north of Winnemucca. The Shaw district, mentioned in Territorial Enterprise (1878), was probably this district.


Territorial Enterprise, September 22, 1878; Whitehill, 1879, p. 65; Lincoln, 1923, p. 102; Stoddard, 1932, p. 47; Willden, 1964, tables 22, 23; Stager and Tingley, 1988, p. 92

Shoshone District


Other Names: Minerva, Lexington, Tungsten

County: White Pine

Discovered: 1869

Organized: 1869

Commodities: tungsten, lead, silver, gold


Located between Swallow and Minerva Canyons on the western slope of the southern Snake Range, south of Wheeler Peak. The district adjoins the Lincoln district on the south. The eastern section of the original district later was organized as the Lexington district. Following development of the Minerva tungsten mine in early 1900s, the district was sometimes known as the Minerva or Tungsten district.


White, 1871, p. 96; Whitehill, 1875, p. 77; Angel, 1881, p. 656; Lincoln, 1923, p. 254; Stoddard, 1932, p. 89; Hose and others, 1976, p. 76; Bonham, 1980; Stager and Tingley, 1988, p. 226

Sierra District


Other Names: Dun Glen, Chafey, Chaffee, Oro Fino, Sunshine

County: Pershing

Discovered: 1863

Organized: 1863

Commodities: gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, tungsten, arsenic


The original Sierra district was located at the northern end of the East Range. The Oro Fino district was to the south of the Sierra district and included the Natchez and Yo Semite mines on east slope of range; Oro Fino was annexed to the Sierra district in 1869. The town of Dun Glen, renamed Chafey about 1908, served the Sierra district.


General Land Office, 1866; Stretch, 1867, p. 53; White, 1869, p. 39; Whitehill, 1873, p. 55; Angel, 1881, p. 451, 452; Lincoln, 1923, p. 217; Stoddard, 1932, p. 80; Vanderburg, 1936b, p. 39; Johnson, 1977, p. 89; Stager and Tingley, 1988, p.192

Sierra (Chafey, Dun Glen) Placer District Description


orthern part of the East Range. Tps. 31-33 N., Rs. 36 and 37 E.

Topographic Maps

Dun Glen and Rose Creek 15-minute quadrangles.

Geologic Maps

Ferguson, Muller, and Roberts, 1951b, Geologic map of the Winnemucca quadrangle, Nevada, scale 1:125,000.


From Lovelock, 46 miles north on Interstate 80 to Mill City; from there, dirt roads lead northeast 8 miles to Dun Glen flat and placers along the west flank of the East Range.


Extensive placer deposits have been worked in Auburn and Wright Canyons (unlocated) and Barber Canyon, and Rockhill Canyon on the west flank of the East Range. Less extensive placers have been worked in Spaulding Canyon on the east flank of the range and in Dun Glen Canyon at the north end of the district. Willow Creek, lies between Spaulding Canyon and Rockhill Canyon but is considered to be a different district, more because of mining history than because of location.

The placers were discovered in the 1860's, and most of the mining was done during the period 1870-90 in Auburn and Barber Canyons, and during the period 1880-90 in Rockhill Canyon by Chinese miners. Little is known of the depth and value of the gravels mined at that time.

In the 1930's most of the placer-mining activity was concentrated in Dun Glen, Barber, and Spaulding Canyons. The gravels in these canyons are deep, ranging from 18 to 40 feet in Dun Glen Canyon and averaging 30 feet in Barber Canyon. The gold is generally found concentrated on bedrock and in some benches on the canyon sides.

Production History

The placers in the Sierra district are among the most productive in the State, the production being estimated at $4 million before 1900. This estimate represents the amount of gold thought to have been recovered by Chinese miners, who between 1870 and 1890 reportedly recovered $2 million from Auburn and Barber Canyons and between 1880 and 1895 recovered $2 million or more from Rockhill Canyon. As for many mining districts that were large producers before accurate records of mining activity were kept, there is some doubt that the actual production was as high as the estimated.

Placer mining during the 20th century was small scale and intermit- tent. So far as I know, no large-scale operations were successful, although a dryland dredge worked a short time in Dun Glen Canyon in 1931 and bulldozers and carryalls were used in Spaulding Gulch in 1940. Most of the placer gold was recovered by small-scale methods, such as sluicing, hydraulicking, and drywashing after drifting or stripping to the richer gravels near bedrock.


The lode mines in the district are quartz veins carrying gold, silver, and sulfide minerals. Most are in the northern part of the district near the headwaters of Dun Glen and Barber Canyons (T. 33 N., Rs. 36 and 37 E.). Erosion of these veins, which locally contain high concentrations of gold, is the most likely source of the placer gold in the canyons. The veins appear to be post-Triassic and pre- or early Tertiary. Similar, but less conspicuous, veins probably supplied the placer gold in canyons south of the main lode-mining area.


Ferguson and others, 1951 : Briefly describes lode and placer deposits.

Lincoln, 1923: Early production of Chinese placer miners.

Mining Journal, 1940b: Reports beginning of production from placer operations in Spaulding Gulch; bulldozers and carryalls are used to move 2,000 yards of gravel per shift.

Vanderburg, 1936a: History of placer mining; names placer gulches, estimate of early production; placer-mining activity in Dun Glen, Barber, and Spaulding Canyons during the period 1931-34; depth and value of gravels in these canyons. 1936b: Repeats placer description of earlier paper. Describes lode mines in district.

Silver Canyon District


Other Names: Aurum

County: White Pine

Discovered: 1879

Organized: 1880

Commodities: lead, silver, copper, gold


Located at the head of Silver Canyon, west of the site of old Aurum. Silver Canyon is the third district from north of the five small districts sometimes grouped into the large Aurum district, covering all of the northern Schell Creek Range.


Angel, 1881, p. 656; Hill, 1912, p. 226; Hill, 1916, p. 193; Lincoln, 1923, p. 241; Stoddard, 1932, p. 85; Hose and others, 1976, p. 44

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