Small deposits of native gold are present along an anastomosing system of quartz veins and shear zones just east of Great Falls, Montgomery County, Md. The deposits were discovered in 1861 and were worked sporadically until 1951, yielding more than 5,000 ounces of gold.
The vein system and the principal veins within it strike a few degrees west of north, at an appreciable angle to foliation and fold axial planes in enclosing rocks of the Wissahickon Formation of late Precambrian (?) age. The veins cut granitic rocks of Devonian or pre-Devonian age and may be as young as Triassic.
Further development of the deposits is unlikely under present economic conditions because of their generally low gold content and because much of the vein system lies on park property, but study of the Great Falls vein system may be useful in the search for similar deposits elsewhere in the Appalachian Piedmont.
Last Updated: 28-Mar-2006