The Massachusetts Hill Mine is a gold mine located in Nevada county, California at an elevation of 2,451 feet.
About the MRDS Data:
All mine locations were obtained from the USGS Mineral Resources Data System. The locations and other information in this database have not been verified for accuracy. It should be assumed that all mines are on private property.
Elevation: 2,451 Feet (747 Meters)
Primary Mineral: Gold
Lat, Long: 39.2064, -121.06940
Map: View on Google Maps
Massachusetts Hill Mine MRDS details
Primary: Massachusetts Hill Mine
Secondary: Rocky Bar
District: Grass Valley
Land ownership: Private
Note: the land ownership field only identifies whether the area the mine is in is generally on public lands like Forest Service or BLM land or if it is in an area that is generally private property. It does not indicate a claim status and does not necessarily indicate an area is open to prospecting.
Administrative Organization: Nevada County Planning Dept. and City of Grass Valley
Record Type: Site
Operation Category: Past Producer
Deposit Type: Hydrothermal vein
Operation Type: Underground
Discovery Year: 1850
Years of Production:
Mineral Deposit Model
Model Name: Low-sulfide Au-quartz vein
Description: Wolf Creek Fault Zone, Gillis Hill Fault, Melones Fault Zone
Alteration Type: L
Alteration Text: Ankeritic, sericitic, and pyritic replacement of wall rocks adjacent to veins
Age Type: Host Rock
Age Young: Mesozoic
Age Old: Paleozoic
Age Type: Host Rock
Age Young: Early Cretaceous
Comment (Economic Factors): The Massachusetts Hill Mine has reportedly produced $4,078,075 in gold.
Comment (Commodity): Gangue Materials: Quartz, calcite, chalcopyrite, sphalerite
Comment (Geology): REGIONAL GEOLOGY The Massachusetts Hill mine is within the Grass Valley District, home to California's two largest underground gold mines, the Empire and the Idaho-Maryland. The district is located in the northern portion of the Sierra Nevada Foothills Gold Belt. This belt averages 50 miles wide and extends for about 150 miles in a north-northwest orientation along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada range. The Foothills Gold Belt roughly coincides with the Foothills Metamorphic Belt, which can be subdivided into four major lithotectonic belts: Western Belt, Central Metamorphic Belt, Feather River Peridotite Belt, and Eastern Belt. The Grass Valley District lies within the Central Belt, where in the Grass Valley area it is marked by an 8-mile-wide north-trending assemblage of two accreted terranes that range from Late Triassic to Late Jurassic in age. The Central Belt is bounded on the east and west by regional-scale tectonic suture zones; the Wolf Creek Fault Zone on the west and the Gills Hill Fault/Melones Fault Zone on the east. The oldest rocks in the area are those of the Carboniferous-Triassic metasedimentary Calaveras Complex. Originally clastics, these rocks were converted to schistose or slaty rocks during the Late Paleozoic orogeny and locally into a contact-metamorphic biotite gneiss by intruded granodiorite during Late Mesozoic time. The slates of the Jurassic Mariposa Formation, which outcrop in a small part of the area, are relatively unaltered. Igneous rocks in the district include granodiorite, diabase, porphyrite, amphibolite schist, serpentinite, gabbro, diorite, quartz porphyry, and various dike rocks (Johnston, 1940). The veins of the Grass Valley and neighboring Nevada City districts are not connected with or continuations of the famous Mother Lode vein system to the south. The last veins of the Mother Lode end about 20 miles to the south. Also, the Grass Valley veins differ in general character from those of the Mother Lode. Generally, the Grass Valley veins are narrower and produce a higher-grade ore than those of the Mother Lode. The veins trend in two primary directions. One set trends N-S (dipping E or W), and the other trends E-W (dipping N or S). The major feature of the Grass Valley District is a body of Lower Cretaceous granodiorite and diabase five miles long from north to south and half a mile to two miles wide (probably the apex of a larger batholitic mass). It which is intruded into older sedimentary and igneous rocks, including diabase of the Mesozoic-Paleozoic Lake Combie Complex, and is itself cut by various dike rocks. Gold-quartz veins cut the granodiorite and diabase (and in some cases, serpentinite) throughout the district. Most of the veins strike generally north, parallel to the intrusive body, and display gentle dips averaging 35?. Others strike northwest, parallel to a diabase contact with the granodiorite. The veins fill minor thrust faults that occur within fracture zones of various width and degree of fracturing. The maximum measured reverse displacement is 20 feet (Johnston, 1940). In all veins, quartz is the principal vein material and occurs in four textural types: 1) Comb quartz that forms crustifications and lines vugs, 2) massive milky quartz with a granular texture that displays many sharp crystal faces and has not undergone deformation, 3) sheared quartz developed with little or no dilation of the vein fracture and commonly showing ribbon or shear-banding structures, and 4) brecciated quartz formed where vein movement dilated the interwall space (Johnston, 1940). Gold occurs in quartz and in sulfides, principally pyrite. Although specimen ore has been found, most ore from the district occurs as fine and coarse free-milling gold in ores averaging between 0.25 to 0.5 ounces per ton.
Comment (Development): In 1850, gold was first discovered in the Grass Valley Mining District in quartz veins of Gold Hill immediately north of the Massachusetts Hill Mine within present-day Grass Valley. Almost immediately, the towns of Grass Valley and Nevada City were founded and went on to become permanent communities. Quartz mining was well established by 1857 and continued without interruption until the 1940s. The discovery at Gold Hill was followed by discoveries of veins at nearby Ophir Hill, Rich Hill, and Massachusetts Hill. By 1867, most of the major mines of the district had been located. The Massachusetts Hill vein was worked from 1850 to 1866 with few interruptions. During this period about $3,000,000 is said to have been produced. The Massachusetts Hill Mine was worked through the old Rocky Bar deep shaft. The mine was acquired by the North Star Mining Co. in 1894 and between 1894 and 1901 produced $1,078,075 from 68,222 tons of ore, an average of $15.80 a ton. In 1901 the mine was closed.
Comment (Geology): An important structural feature in the district is a group of "crossing" vertical or steeply dipping fractures that strike northeast, about normal to the long axis of the granodiorite body. In places they are simple fractures; elsewhere they form sheeted fracture zones several feet wide. Some are tight, some are open and form watercourses, and few contain any quartz. Two main stages of primary or hypogene mineralization are recognized - 1) a hypothermal stage represented by one vein and one mineralized crossing, in which magnetite, pyrrhotite, pyrite, and specularite were deposited, and 2) a mesothermal stage, in which the gold quartz veins were formed. The mesothermal stage is further divided into two sub-stages - an older one, in which quartz is the principal gangue mineral, and a younger one, marked by the deposition of carbonates. Pyrite and arsenopyrite, deposited in the quartz stage, are the earliest sulfides of the gold-quartz veins. Sphalerite, chalcopyrite, and galena are somewhat later. No secondary or supergene minerals have been noted except limonite, calcite, and gypsum, which are being deposited in the oxidized zone. The distribution of gold in the ore shoots is extremely erratic and assays of adjacent vein samples commonly differ widely. Some ore shoots have a pitch length of several thousand feet, but most are much smaller. Adjacent to veins and crossing fractures, the wall rocks are generally highly altered. Ankerite, sericite, and pyrite have replaced the original rock-forming minerals. Lesser amounts of chlorite and epidote have been found. The wall rock has not been replaced by quartz. LOCAL GEOLOGY The Gold Hill and neighboring Massachusetts Hill (also called Rocky Bar) veins were among the earliest worked in the district. They are in general characterized by small width, but the ore was rich and gold was commonly coarse. Veins strike generally to the north and dip 20? to 40 ? east or west. The veins lie either in granodiorite, porphyrite, or diabase. Both veins were known for heavy masses of gold extracted from their veins (much more than the generally disseminated fine to coarse gold of the other veins). Gold produced from the Massachusetts Hill Mine averaged 850 fineness.
Comment (Location): The location point selected for latitude and longitude represents the Massachusetts Hill Mine dumps symbol on Lindgren?s 1896 1:14,400-scale Grass Valley Special Map (contained in Lindgren?s 1896 Nevada City Special Folio) and transcribed onto the USGS Grass Valley 7.5-minute quadrangle
Comment (Workings): The underground workings of the Massachusetts Hill Mine are shown in Figure 44 of U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 194 (Johnson, 1940).
Comment (Commodity): Ore Materials: Free-milling coarse and fine gold in quartz (850 fine). Auriferous pyrite and galena
Reference (Deposit): Clark, W.B., 1970, Gold districts of California: California Division of Mines and Geology Bulletin 191, p. 53.
Reference (Deposit): Johnston, W.G., Jr., 1940, The gold quartz veins of Grass Valley, California: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 194, 101 p.
Reference (Deposit): Koschmann, A.H., and Bergendahl, M.H., 1968, Gold-producing districts of the United States: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 610, 283 p.
Reference (Deposit): Lindgren, W., 1896a, Geologic atlas of the United States - Nevada City Special Folio: U.S. Geological Survey Folio 29.
Reference (Deposit): Lindgren, W., 1896b, Gold-quartz veins of Nevada City and Grass Valley: Seventeenth Annual Report of the U.S. Geological Survey, Part 2, p. 1-262
Reference (Deposit): MacBoyle, E.M., 1919, Mines and mineral resources of Nevada County: Sixteenth Annual Report of the State Mineralogist, California State Mining Bureau, p. 1-270.
Reference (Deposit): Additional information on the Massachusetts Hill Mine is contained in File No. 339-6274 (CGS Mineral Resources Files, Sacramento)