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Mother lode is a principal vein or zone of veins of gold or silver ore The term is also used colloquially to refer to the origin of something valuable or in great abundance
- 1 Term
- 2 California Mother Lode
- 3 See also
- 4 References
The term probably came from a literal translation of the Spanish veta madre, a term common in old Mexican mining Veta madre, for instance, is the name given to an 11-kilometre-long 68 mi silver vein discovered in 1548 in Guanajuato, New Spain modern-day Mexico1
California Mother Lodeedit
In the United States, Mother Lode is most famously the name given to a long alignment of hard-rock gold deposits stretching northwest to southeast in the Sierra Nevada of California It was discovered in the early 1850s, during the California gold rush The California Mother Lode is a zone from 15 to 6 kilometres 093 to 373 mi wide and 190 kilometres 120 mi long, extending from Georgetown in El Dorado County on the north, through Amador, Calaveras, and Tuolumne counties, south to Mormon Bar in Mariposa County
Following the elucidation of the theory of plate tectonics, the Mother Lode was found to coincide with the suture line of a terrane, the Smartville Block The zone contains hundreds of mines and prospects, including some of the best-known historic mines of the gold-rush era Individual gold deposits within the Mother Lode are gold-bearing quartz veins up to 15 metres 49 ft thick and a few thousand feet long The California Mother Lode was one of the most productive gold-producing districts in the United States Now it is known as a destination for tourism and vineyards2
The California gold rush, as with most gold rushes, started with the discovery of placer gold in sands and gravels of streambeds, where the gold had eroded from the hard-rock vein deposits Placer miners followed the gold-bearing sands upstream to discover the source in the bedrock This source was the "mother" of the gold in the river and so was dubbed the "mother lode"
- Alaska Gold Rush
- California Gold Rush
- Gold Country
- Placer mining
- ^ Alan M Bateman 1942 Economic Mineral Deposits New York: Wiley, p465-466
- ^ AH Koschman and MH Bergendahl 1968 Principal Gold-Producing Districts of the United States US Geological Survey, Professional Paper 610, p55
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