Gold Occurrences in Tennessee

A piece of gold bearing copper ore from the mines at Ducktown Tennessee
Photo by Brian Stansberry

Most of the gold in Tennessee occurs in a narrow belt found in Monroe and Polk counties where they come into contact with the North Carolina border. For a distance of about fifty miles in the streams draining down from the Smoky Mountains placer gold deposits are formed.  According to reports placer gold has been discovered in the Caney Fork River around five miles below the Center Hill Dam.  Most of the gold recovered is found as small particles that are dust sized.  However, there are reports of larges sized nuggets as large as 2 or 3 ounces.

According to reports there have been a few nuggets recovered around Knoxville and further north in the area around Bristol, Tennessee.  Recent communications report that there is also gold found in the central Smokey Mountains to the northeast of Knoxville.  The author has seen some photographs of microscopic gold deposited in quartzite from this area.  Gold has also been recovered from the copper sulfide ores mined around the Ducktown area as a byproduct of copper and zinc mining.  

The bedrock map of Tennessee shows that the far eastern border of the state is in the Blue Hills province, a known gold producer that abuts the Valley and Ridge province immediately to the west.  The map indicates that the whole Smokey Mountain National Forest probably contains gold the problem is really one of the idea the place has never been properly prospected.

Bedrock Geological Map of Tennessee.  Most of the gold is found close to the North Carolina in the rock shown as brown. USGs

It was from the Valley and Ridge province where the author saw the photographs of gold in quartzite.  This is a perfect place to find gold as the quartzite and quartz pebble was eroded from mountains that were further east in the Piedmont province of North Carolina.  The Piedmont is peppered with gold mines, and it stands to reason some of this gold would have reached the Valley and Ridge province by the processes of erosion.

Gold has also been found at the Tellico plains as small grains eroded from bedrock of the nearby Unika Mountain on the border with North Carolina.  The Unika Mountains is where the gemstone Unikite is found.  This is a variety of granite with pink feldspar and green pisticite that is cut into cabochons.  The gold is found mixed with the soil from near the summit of the mountain in a stratum of soil that is from 10 to 12 inches deep.

Most of the Gold in Tennessee is found along the eastern edge of the state and rocks that are of Cambrian or pre-Cambrian age. Or also called on the western flank of the great Smoky Mountains as well as in the creeks a few miles east of not those Springs. Another place where it is found is in back of Chilhowee Mountain medicine bottle County. Gold is also found in Polk County on Citico Creek, Cane Creek, Coker Creek and the headwaters of Tellico River. Coker Creek in their own County produced nearly all the gold that has ever been found in Tennessee that according to some authorities about into a little less than $200,000 worth of gold.

Some of the best areas to prospect for gold in Tennessee are a narrow belt of stream gravels that are about 50 miles long in the southern part of Blount, Monroe and pull counties where they are alongside the North Carolina border. According to some authorities some of the best prospect in and be found in the rivers and creeks of Monroe County. Goals also found associated with the many copper mines of Polk County around the Copperhill-Ducktown Square is produced as a byproduct from the copper mines.