At one time appreciable quantities of gold were recovered from the ocean beaches in western Santa Barbara County. The most productive year for which there is a record was 1889, when the county's gold output was valued at $41,000, much of which may have come from these beaches. Gold and very small amounts of platinum occur as fine grains in thin layers of black sands. These deposits are more or less continuous between Point Arguello on the south and the mouth of the Santa Maria River on the north, but the most productive ones have been at Surf and Point Sal. Much of this area now is part of Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Irelan, William, Jr., 1888, Santa Barbara County, gold: California Min. Bur. Rept. 8, p. 537.
Tucker, W. B., 1925, Santa Barbara County, gold: California Min. Bur. Rept. 21, pp. 541-542.