On the Land Matters Website, we provide many tools that can help you locate good places to prospect.
The library is full of historic prospecting information and our interactive maps can help you locate old mines, diggings and tailing piles. I want to tell you about a few special Land Matters tools available that were created just for the prospector.

The Claims Advantage Program and California Treasures

Let me show you an example.



Using the Claims Advantage Special Report - Unclaimed Historical Placers
This report lists placer claims that were held more than 20 years that were located in areas that are now unclaimed. By reviewing this report, I found several claims in Monterey County California that looked interesting. Each placer claim was held continuously for almost 100 years, from the 1890s though the 1990s and is now on ground that is unclaimed.

I used the show map link to find out basic information on the area where the old claims were located. This link takes you to an interactive Land Matters custom map of the area. On this map I found out that:

  • The area is part of the Los Padres National Forest
  • There are current placer claims nearby indicating that the land is probably open to prospecting and entry.
  • From the topo map, I located the names of some nearby historic mines. The Melville Mine and the Bucumo Mine.

With this information, I can now research the mining history of the area to determine if this would be a good place to take a look.


Using the California Treasures Research DVD
California Treasures is an exclusive Land Matters Research DVD that contains over 40,000 pages of searchable, historic mining reports and maps. Using the research dvd, I can search all documents at once for information on the area. I start with a search for the Melville Mine because it is within a mile of the area I am researching.

The search returns 6 specific references to this mine. A review of the first of these references tells me that the area I am looking at is in the Los Burros Mining District, a gold and silver district only three miles from the Pacific Ocean. I have a full review of active mines from 1888 and a great summary of the mineral character of the area.

From the 8th Annual Report of the State Mineralogist of California (1888)
"There are three characteristics that cannot escape the attention of an observer in the Los Burros Mining District: Firstly, the placer gold is mostly coarse gold, rough and angular, often adhering to fragments of quartz. Therefore the gold cannot have traveled very far. It must have come from the disintegration of rocks in the immediate vicinity. Secondly, the numerous small irregular veins which traverse the various formations, from the erosion of which much of the placer gold has probably been derived. The gold in the bottom of the ravine is a concentration from the whole mountain side, not necessarily coming from one original source."

Browsing the Monterey County Report (1966) that is included on the DVD gives me an historic Geologic Map and the names and locations of more Gold mines to research.



One thing leads to another and with these tools, you can head out to the Monterey County Goldfields with the advantage of knowing where to go, and what to look for.

Get the Land Matters Claims Advantage and

California Treasures today and find a new place to prospect tomorrow!


by Leigh
Monday, November 27, 2017, 05:58 PM

Oroville, CA - Historic Dredge Operation
Location: On the Feather River, Oroville, CA
Size: 1-2 Miles wide, 9 miles long.
Depth: 30 - 40 ft.
First Bucket Line Dredge in California: 1898
Status: Historic
Production Total Estimated 1,964,000 oz Gold

See our Custom Map.

Use the Custom Map link above and see an interactive map of the historic dredge works. Look upstream to find the Oroville Dam. CLICK HERE to view the original, detailed map with a legend of dredge activities.

Oroville, California became a topic of interest earlier this year when the Oroville Dam spillway was washed away. Just downriver from the dam is one of the largest historic gold dredging operations in the country. In 1908 there were 35 dredges operated simultaneously on the Feather River at Oroville. Dredging operations were active as late as 1952.

Read all the details of all of the historic dredge operations in California Bulletin no 57. Gold Dredging in California. Download it from the Land Matters Library.



Dredge at Oroville
by Leigh
Monday, July 24, 2017, 05:08 PM

When I was a child, we spent many summer weekends visiting National Battlefields. I learned the history of battles that had happened all around the places where we lived. I am still discovering new things about the places most familiar to me. As Land Matters grows, we hope to help you discover some of the interesting things in your own neighborhood.

In the Land Matters library you can seek out your own park adventure. Find nearby National Parks and Park Units (including National Battlefields) for an interesting day trip. There are several ways to do this. You can search by park name, state or keyword to find what you are looking for.

Choose one of these TABS in the Land Matters Library:

Resources: Get links to park websites for ALL the details.

Collections: Search the Map Collection to Download a MAP of where you are going.

Quick Search: Find documents on the geology, maps and other information about your favorite park simply by typing in the park name.


Go to the Land Matters Library
by Leigh
Saturday, June 24, 2017, 09:44 PM

Bingham Canyon Mine - Rio Tinto Kennecott

Location: 25 miles SW of Salt Lake City, Utah
Depth: About 4,000 ft
Width: 2.75 miles across
Start of Production: 1906
Status: Active

Annual Production
Copper(Cu) - 275,000 tons refined
Gold (Au) - 400,000 oz
Silver (Ag) - 4,000,000 oz
Molybdenum (Mo) - 25,000,000 lbs

Bingham Canyon Mine is the second-largest copper production site in the United States and provides nearly 25% of the countrys copper. It is also the largest man-made excavation in the world and is considered to have produced more copper than any mine in history - more than 19 million tons.

See our Custom Map of the mine.

Use the Show Map link above to wander around the mine with aerial imagery. I found the image at right of mine trucks in action on my own tour of the the great pit. Click for a larger image in context.

Bingham Canyon Mine has a vistors center for the public. However. it may still be closed due to the major mine landslide back in 2013. Check the Kennecott website for details. It’s certainly on my list wondrous places to visit.


by Leigh
Thursday, June 22, 2017, 02:49 PM

Land Matters
New Features
You may have noticed that posts to our New & Views section have been light over the last few months. The lack of content is due in part to the reduction in land actions being proposed since our new president took office. At the end of last year there were proposed withdrawals being published each week. Many of these are now under review by the new administration. We will keep you updated on any changes that occur.

Only a few very small withdrawals have been recently proposed. Because our time won't be spent mapping land withdrawals, we will be able to add a few other features to New & Views that I think you will enjoy.

I recently had visitors from the East Coast who were fascinated by the sheer size of the active mines they saw on their explorations around Arizona (and that was what could be seen from the road!) Those unfamiliar with western lands are generally unexposed to the mining industry and have a limited understanding of the actual size of these mines and the importance of their production.

I will be doing a series of posts on some of the more interesting mines in the United States with basic facts and a custom map to take you around the mine site. First up is Bingham Canyon in Utah. Wander around and take a look at one of the largest active mines in the country.
by Leigh
Thursday, June 22, 2017, 01:34 PM

The BLM is proposing a lease of about 1,046 acres of public land in Maricopa County, Arizona. The area is split into two parcels. One that borders the famous Vulture Mine, and a second that covers a commonly used parking and camping area in the Vulture Mountains.

Maricopa County proposes to use the land for a variety of recreation facilities to be associated with the Vulture Mountains Cooperative Recreation Management Area. This is to be a cooperatively managed area between the BLM and Maricopa County. Related improvements for the proposed lease include picnic and camping facilities, restrooms, trailheads, developed day use facilities, and parking.

This is a highly mineralized area and has been prospected throughout the regions history. The land specified will be withdrawn from the General Mining Laws.

by Leigh
Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 07:57 PM


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