Sawtooth Mining District

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The Sawtooth Mining District is located south of Antelope in the Antelope Range, near Sawtooth Knob.

Also known as the Mandalay Spring.[1]

Vanderburg (1938) wrote:

"Sawtooth district is on the Pershing-Humboldt county boundary line about 20 miles a little south of west from Jungo, a station on the Western Pacific Railroad. Intermittent prospecting for lode deposits has been done for a number of years, but the results have been discouraging."

"Placer gold was discovered in this area in 1931 by Rufus Stevens as a result of prospecting stimulated by the discovery of gold veins in the Scossa district, 12 miles to the southeast. Shortly after this discovery a number of claims were located, and before the end of the summer of I931 as many as 35 men were dry-washing in this area with variable results."

"Several of the more fortunate individual placer miners recovered as much as $35 Per day for short periods. In 1932, Oregon Nevada Mining Co. acquired about 300 acres and attempted to work the gravels on a large scale, but this venture was unsuccessful and the ground was taken over by. A. A. Goehring of Sawtooth, and associates. According to John G. Huntington of Sawtooth, the production of placer gold has boon about $12,000. In recent years the ground has been leased to individuals on a rental basis of 25 cents per day for aach hand driven dry washer and 50 cents per day for each power dry washer employed. Very little water is available in the immediate vicinity."

"Placer gold has been found over a fairly level area of about 6 square miles. An unusual feature of the placer is that the best values are found at shallow depths. Much of the gold has been found above a false clay bedrock at depths of 2 inches to 2 feet. No shafts have been sunk in the district to prospect the true bedrock. The gravel is rough and angular, with a small percentage of boulders. A considerable amount of clay is present in places, and the clayey material has to be dried and pulverized before a satisfactory saving of gold can be made with dry washers. The gold is coarse and rough and averages about 880 fine. Small nuggets worth up to $4.50 have been found."[2].

Maureen Johnson (1973) wrote:


"Location: Northwest end of the Antelope Range, Tps. 34 and 35 N., Rs. 30 and 31 E. (unsurveyed)."

"Topographic map: Lovelock 2-degree sheet, Army Map Service."

"Geologic maps: Willden, 1964, Geologic map of Humboldt County, Nevada (pi. 1), scale 1:250,000.

"Tatlock, 1969, Geologic map of Pershing County, Nevada, scale 1:200,000. "

"Access: From Lovelock, 37 miles north on Interstate 80 to Imlay; from there, a light-duty road leads 28 miles northwest to Sawtooth Knob and placer area at the Humboldt County-Pershing County border."

"Extent: The placer deposits in the Sawtooth district are in a nearly level area of approximately 6 square miles near the west side of Sawtooth Knob, a small prominence at the northern end of the Antelope Range. The gold is found in gravels composed of angular pebbles and few boulders. The gravels rest on a false bedrock of clay at depths of 8 inches to 2 feet; the clay in the gravels is said to be considerable and must be dried before drywashing the gravels. The gold recovered was coarse and rough and said to be 880 fine."

"Production history: The placers were discovered in 1931 and were worked continually, although largely on a small scale, until 1942 and intermittently since that time. Some of the placer miners reportedly recovered $35 per day for short periods of time, but most of the miners were not so successful. Because there is little water in the area available for placer mining, dry concentration methods are used to recover the gold. Various attempts at large-scale placer mining were not successful."

"Most of the production (810 oz.) was attributed to Humboldt County, where the major area of placer concentration is located, only 131 ounces of the total production being attributed to Pershing County. Placer production credited to the Sulphur district (located 6 miles west of Sawtooth Knob and noted for sulfur deposits) is included here in the Sawtooth district."

"Source: Unknown."


"Smith and Vanderburg, 1932: Discovery of placer gold; placer-mining activity and production per day in 1931; character of placer gravel; distribution of gold in gravels; thickness of gravels; values recovered per cubic yard in 1932 from drywash operation; size of nuggets recovered."

"Vanderburg, 1936a: Discovery and resulting placer-mining operations in 1931; extent of placer area; distribution of gold in gravels; size and fineness of gold; operations of Oregon-Nevada Mining Co."

"1936b: Discovery of placer gold; placer-mining operations; production; distribution of gold in gravels; size and fineness of placer gold."

"1938b[2]: Discovery; production per day per man; extent of placer area; distribution of gold in gravel; size and fineness of placer gold."[3]


  1. Alfred Merritt Smith, Wm. O. Vanderburg, "Placer Mining in Nevada," Nevada Bureau of Mines, Vol. 26, No. 8, 1932.
  2. 2.0 2.1 W. O. Vanderburg, "Reconnaissance of mining districts in Humboldt county, Nevada," U. S. Bureau of Mines 6995, p. 20, 1938.
  3. Maureen Johnson, "Placer Gold Deposits of Nevada," p. 28, USGS 1356, 1973.


  • GNIS
    • Citation: "Willden, Ronald. Geology and Mineral Deposits of Humboldt County, Nevada. Reno: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, Bulletin 59, 1964, 154 pp. A description of geology and mines and mining districts of Humboldt County, with location maps. Table 17"