Aug 20, 2012, 12:38 AM
Panning in Pennsylvania
Looking for good places to pan near central pa. Drove to York area this weekend and couldn't find any places that were not posted or private.
Aug 20, 2012, 02:48 AM
Info From the Internet
York County Gold
Yes, indeed, gold is found in York County as well as throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. If you would search historic geologic writings from as early as 1820, you will read that gold was reported from Chickies Rock in Lancaster County and several of the iron mines located on the southern slope of the Hellam Hills in Hellam Township.
In his classic report “Mineralogy of Pennsylvania” in 1920, Samuel Gordon mentions gold in York County, but does not disclose any specific location.
Gold is found in areas associated with igneous rocks and/or found in quartz veins in rocks with magmatic origin or association. With the largest exposures of volcanic rocks found in South Mountain in Adams, Franklin and Cumberland counties, the group searched long and hard for gold there. They came up basically empty handed and puzzled. Based on historical documentation and geology, they searched near Hunterstown, Adams County, and did find small flakes of gold. The first find in this 1970’s gold rush.
Peters Creek in southwestern Lancaster County became another target to search for the elusive mineral and yes, again, success was struck. In fact, today, I consider Peters Creek the best gold panning stream in southeastern Pennsylvania.
The next move came into York County north of Delta where gold was found on the property of the Delta Fish and Game Club. Their three tributaries flow into Muddy Creek which also hosts some gold toward the Susquehanna River. Gold fever struck the members of the group and expanded their search area into other areas of York County. Also, word began to reach the “rockhounding” world and other people learned the art of panning and made their own discoveries.
Today, recreational panners can be found in area streams, hoping to win the lottery with a large flake or nugget. The largest piece of gold I have personally seen was 0.75 inches. This specimen came from a unnamed tributary to Muddy Creek near Castle Fin. I regard this stream as the best gold-producing waterway in York County. It was nicknamed “Lucky Creek” because of the results found by prospectors. The stream may not contain the most gold, but this stream offers a natural setting for gold to accumulate. Gold is the heaviest mineral known and will settle to the bottom of a stream over time. In “Lucky Creek” the bedrock tilts into the Earth upstream. This forms a natural ledge for heavy mineral to settle and prospecting is made slightly more simpler with the help of “Mother Nature.”
Other areas in York County include northern York County. The very dense igneous rock known as diabase occupies much of this area. It is known from other researchers work, that some Pennsylvania diabase contains gold. My wife hates when I do this but I will bet my next paycheck that if you pan any stream in a quadrant bordered by Rossville and Wellsville on the south and Dillsburg and Grantham to the north, you will find a small flake of gold. This even includes the popular winter hangout of Ski Roundtop in Warrington Township that is totally underlain with diabase. Ask any unfortunate skier who has hit a rock coming down the slope just how hard the rock is.
Mentioned earlier in this blog was the mention of searching gold in South Mountain. The same volcanic rock found in South mountain is also found in the Pigeon Hills near Abbottstown and the Hellam Hills in eastern York County. Several streams pass through these rocks, but just like South Mountain, the streams appear to be void of gold.
Spring Valley County Park hosts the annual “Gold Panning” outing the last Saturday of July in Spring Valley Park. The East Branch of the Codorus Creek contains gold that is washing out of the meta-igneous rocks in the area. Although the flakes are barely large enough to be seen by our eyes, about 200 people attend the outing to learn the art of panning and maybe, just maybe, find a flake of gold. Remember, being a county park, panning is not permitted other than the day of the event in July.
Was there ever any gold production taking place in York County? As you may tell from the above description of gold in area streams, there appears not to be any “mother load” in York County. However, there has been a story that has been passed up through generations in a family that a father and his two sons were making a profit prospecting for gold in the Airville area. As the story goes, the one son thought he was being cheated out of his percentages and killed his father and brother, spending the remainder of his life in York County Prison.
It is a known fact that during the Great Depression of the 1930’s, gold miners who became unemployed from the mines along the Potomac River near Washington actually came into southern York County prospecting to have a small income.
In York County, gold has never been found in place (in bedrock). All of the gold has been found in placer deposits in the streams. The closest that gold has been found in place was from one of the slate quarries in Peach Bottom Township. Here prospectors lifted up the bedrock, placed the loose rock in a gold pan and panned it, finding small flakes.
More locations in Pennsylvania
Listed are many other sites in the state, most contain, a short description on what has been found, or a description of the event.
1. Wind Gap, Pa. If you get to see this place, It sticks out like a sore thumb, Its just so much rock and water in the area. Also lots of public land and access to the water area. This has been know to have reported Gold Occurrences since 1828-1829 Pennsylvania Geologic survey, and Gold was removed by many prospectors back then (Water flow is slow most of the time, bring a gas or electric pump)
2. Knuckle Town, Pa. Gold was first found here in a Paint Ore Mine around the time of the Civil War. Today one can still find it along the Appalachian trail plenty of public land both state and federal.
3. Reading,Pa. Gold has also been found out and around the reading area in the lower part of the state being the gold was associated with the iron.
4. Stony Brook Creek (Tunkhannock Area) finds being reported
5. Messhoppen Creek (Tunkhannock Area) finds being reported
6. The old lead mine behind Lake Carey, Check this out on the courthouse map in Tunkhannock bring your Camera, map is 6foot by 10 foot
7. Wyalusing,Pa. Nugget found behind Wyalusing Hotel, reported by motel owner, nugget found by a new-york fisherman.(name on request)
8. Noxen,Pa. A man called and stated small forms of gold was found on his farm in that area and was asking me, what should he do with it!!!!
9. Cordus State Park, A gold prospector reported to me that he found Gold dust and Pin head gold nuggets in and also outside the park in a creek.
10 The Kress Gold Mine, near Sweden Valley off of route6 one of three commercial gold mines in the state, needs no explanation.
11. Swarata Creek, Near Harrisburg,Pa Well known for gold deposits for many years
12. The New Albany Gold Mine (located outside of New Albany, Pa.) on route 220 heading south less than 3 miles outside this village. On 6/20/96 Miss Judy Drake and myself did some prospecting, one mile north of town, near the school bus turn around and the old railroad bridge, we exactly didn't get rich but fine gold did show up in the pan. This place has easy access, being its either railroad property or township property. If you get a chance, its worth a days outing.
13 The Three Brothers Gold Mine(True name, was never picked by these brothers) It is located across highway 220 some distance from the New Albany Gold Mine <in the same area as mentioned in 12>
White Haven, Pa. - A Mike Jarnutowski, reported that he had some luck panning gold in a creek in this area. White Haven is known as a glacier drift area and the proof in the pudding is the "The Field of Boulders" which is a state tourist trap.
Wyoming County - Miss Judy Drake did very well a year ago while prospecting with this writer and pulled 9 small nuggets in a 6hour day.
I recently joined the GPAA. They are a good resource.
I was panning the Sinemahonning last month with Zero Surge and Amos. We found some color and black sand but nothing to really speak of; just specks in our sampling. Dug over 3 feet down; Never did get to the bedrock though. You can see us panning at the PA Ghost Town Group site in the album. Most streams will produce some color. It's all placer gold in PA. Get the geologic maps of the glacial periods and look for the streams that run through the glacial till areas. If you have any luck; flakes or nuggets, I'd appreciate a message on where you were. I try to keep track of all of this stuff for everyone.
Where have you tried in Central Pa?
Doverturtle is from York. I've hunted the ghost town of Gardeau with him. He may know of a place to get access in York.
Last edited by TreasureWriter; Aug 20, 2012 at 03:01 AM.
Aug 20, 2012, 08:12 AM
I have tried in Blair county. The little juniata flows behind my house. More or less just messing around getting the feel for the pan. A friend of mine found a picker some where near center county. He had it checked out. Thats about it. Really just started getting into it.
Sep 09, 2012, 08:17 PM
Im going to test a few spots on stony creek. I used to trout fish there.
Sep 09, 2012, 08:28 PM
Do you know which stream your friend found the picker in Centre County?
My belief is that if the streams of York and Lancaster have gold; then it had to come from placer deposits that are either working their way out from gravel or coming from even further North. Most PA streams will give you some color, but it's so fine and so little that it doesn't amount to anything. Get the geologic maps that show the glaciation in Pa and look for streams that cut through the glacial areas; these are candidates to check out. If there are pickers in the lower counties they probably exist further North as well. For years we've all been told that there is no gold in Pa. so nobody is out looking.
Sep 13, 2012, 12:42 PM
Question for Pennsylvania experts. A friend and I were panning in a small creek on his land. We took a bucket full of screened material out to pan later. We screened it down to 18 mesh and started panning. When we got to the end and swirled, we got white sand. Very fine powdery like and a lot heavier than everything else. It looked kind of metallic but we couldnt tell for sure. Anyone know what it might be? Soil was blood red with lots of quartz and other gravel
Jan 23, 2013, 11:10 PM
Not sure what you found Mikesl but I did get some color on the Sinemahonning this last Fall. Very fine flour gold.
Jan 27, 2013, 12:20 PM
Does anyone know of places near Phoenixville or that surrounding area to do a little gold panning? directions?
Dec 09, 2016, 12:18 PM
Hello, I live near Wind Gap, can you give more clarity on a specific area? I've always been interested in panning and what not, so I'd like to give it a shot in my local area.
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