The Treasure State
Courtesy: American Coin Treasures And Hoards
Gold was first discovered in Montana streams in 1852, but the gold rush was sparked in 1863 when rich placer deposits were found near Virginia City. Some of the richest gold deposits were discovered in Broadwater County on the east slopes of the Elkhorn Mountains.
Other counties where gold has been found in substantial quantities are Beaverhead, Carbon, Cascade, Deer Lodge, Fergus, Flathead, Gallatin, Granite, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Madison, Meagher, Mineral, Missoula, Park, Phillips, Powell, Revalli, Sanders, Silver Bow, Sweet Grass, and Toole County.
A placer deposit is a concentration of a natural material that has accumulated in unconsolidated sediments of a stream bed, beach, or residual deposit. Gold derived by weathering or other process from lode deposits is likely to accumulate in placer deposits because of its weight and resistance to corrosion. In addition, its characteristically sun-yellow color makes it easily and quickly recognizable even in very small quantities.