Gold deposits are widely distributed throughout this vast area in southeastern California. The Mojave Desert is a broad interior region of mountain ranges separated by expanses of desert plains. The western part of the province is wedge-shaped with the Sierra Nevada to the north and the Transverse Ranges to the south. The primary deposits consist of either mesothermal gold-quartz veins that occur in metamorphic and granitic rocks of Precambrian, Paleozoic, and Mesozoic ages or epithermal deposits in zones of silicification and brecciation in volcanic rocks of Tertiary age.
The largest sources of gold in this province have been the Rand and Mojave-Rosamond districts in Kern County. Other important gold sources have been the Dale and Stedman districts, San Bernardino County, and the Cargo Muchacho-Tumco and Picacho districts in Imperial County. Placer gold has been recovered in quantity in several of the districts, considerable amounts having come from dry desert placers. The most productive dry placers have been in the Rand, Cargo Muchacho, Chocolate Mountains, Picacho, and Potholes districts. By-product gold has been recovered from a number of silver, copper, lead, and zinc mines in this province.