Gold Occurrences in Massachusetts

Most of the gold that is found in the state of Massachusetts lies to the west of the Connecticut River on the east slopes of the Berkshires. Although many people think that the gold in Massachusetts was brought down by the glacier from Canada that is not necessarily so although some of it may be of Canadian origin. The eastern flank of the Berkshires east of the contact between Hoosac formation and the Rowe schist is included in the Iapetus suture zone that also includes the rest of the Northern Appalachian gold belt. Although it is rather sparse lode gold has been found in Massachusetts in several places, but for the average gold seeker placer gold is far more common. Just about any stream draining the East Flank of the Berkshire Mountains contains placer gold.

This is a view of the Berkshire Mountains in the wintertime.

Way back in the 1970s one of our clients for environmental consulting was a large vacation community that is located in Otis, Massachusetts. One afternoon the developer of this community called me on the phone and asked me if I could identify gold. I told him I would have to see the sample, so he said come on up and have a look. When we arrived at his office one of his excavating contractors was there with a piece of quartz with plates of gold literally hanging out of the thing. A simple test for gold was performed with the end of the needle to see if the gold was flexible because any other mineral resembling gold isn't.

The contractor told me he had been working on a construction project further north in Beckett, Massachusetts, and had buried about 20 tons of this gold bearing quartz under several feet of fill because he thought it was fools gold. By the looks of the sample he showed me it would appear he buried several hundred dollars worth of gold under that pile of fill.

This is the famous Bridge of Flowers spanning the Deerfield River at Shelburn Falls Massachusetts.

Although finding lode gold is usually beyond the capabilities of the Small-scale miner because it often takes millions of dollars to develop a hard rock gold mine. Placer gold is well within the reach of the small-scale miner. There are plenty of opportunities to be had in the Berkshires for the recovery of gold in virtually every stream that is east of the contact between Hoosac formation and the Rowe schist.

Some of the more notable gold panning streams that are found in the Berkshires are the Deerfield River, Mill River and the Westfield River. During the period of time in the 1970s and 80s we panned these streams and did find some gold, You won't get rich panning for gold in Massachusetts, but at least you'll find enough to know what it looks like.