The El Paso Mountains are in northeastern Kern County, some 10 miles northwest and north of Randsburg. A series of dry placer "diggings" lies between Redrock Canyon on the southwest and the Summit "diggings" to the northeast. The district includes the areas known as the Goler, Garlock and Searles districts.
Gold was discovered in Goler Canyon in 1893, and dry washing camps soon sprang up at Last Chance, Red Rock, Jawbone Canyon and Summit Diggings. Mining activity declined by 1900, but a number of operations were reactivated during the 1930s, and since World War II, there has been minor prospecting. In these dry placer districts, the easily recoverable gold was mined at one locality in a few months to a year or two, and the miners moved on to other areas.
Auriferous sands and gravels occur in benches above the present canyons and on bedrock in the washes and canyons themselves. Much of the gold is believed by Hulin (1934) to have been derived from the erosion and reworking of the basal conglomerate of the Ricardo Formation (lower Pliocene), which is extensive in this region. The gold particles are round and show evidence of considerable abrasion. The gold is mostly fine, although nuggets of up to several ounces have been recovered. Some narrow gold-quartz veins occur in granite and schist.
Dibblee, T. W., Jr., and Gay, T. E., Jr., 1952, Mi-noeral deposit of the Soltdale quadrangle: California Div. Mines Bull. 160, pp. 47-49.
Hen, F. l., 1909, Gold mining in the Randsburg quadrangle: U.S. Geol Survey Bull. 430, pp. 23-47.
Hulin, C. D., 1934, Geologic features of the dry placers of the northern Moiove Desert: California Div. Mines Rept. 30, pp. 417-426.
Troxel, B. W., and Morton, P. K., 1962, Kern County, El Paso Mountains district: California Div. Mines and Geology, County Rept. 1, pp. 29-31.
Tucker, W. B., and Sampson, R. J., 1933, Goler Canyon placer district: California Div. Mines Rept. 29, p. 281
Tucker, W. B., Sampson, R. J., and Oakeshott, G. B., 1949, Kern County, Goler Canyon placer and Janney group of placers: California Jour. Mines and Geology, vol. 45, pp. 223 and 225.