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Hite Mine (Hite and Wynant; Hite Hite & Wynant Mine; Hite Central Mine; Hites Cove Mine; Arkell Mine; Priest and Coleman claim; Hite claim; Giltner claim; McConley claim; Old Dominion claim; Summit claim), Hite Cove, Hite Cove District, East Belt, Mariposa Co., California, USA

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A former Au-Ag mine located in secs. 22, 26 & 27, T3S, R19E, MDM, 1.0 km (3,400 feet) N of Hite Cove (approximately 13 miles NE of the town of Mariposa), on private (patented) land within a National Forest. Discovered in 1862. Property consists of 6 patented claims. Operated by Cyrus Bell. MRDS database stated accuracy for this location is 1,000 meters.

One of the most colorful and productive mines in the county. Worked by various operators from 1862 to 1938. Plans were made to reopen the mine in 1956.

Opened in 1862-1863, this mine was worked continuously to 1879 by Hite and Company, initially by hand methods and an arrastra, and later with a stamp mill. It is possible that most production came from the mine during this period as the mine was only sporadically active subsequently. From 1879 on, the mine passed through various changes in ownership and episodes of litigation. Records indicate that production was minor during this period, although there was still additional ore indicated at depth. Julihn and Horton (1940) reported exploration activity at this mine in the late 1930?s (no reported production from this activity). Bowen and Gray (1957) reported some road-building activity to the mine in 1953-54, but no additional information on activity at the mine since then was obtained during research for this deposit. Amalgamation and cyanide processes were used at this mine.

The deposit at the Hite Mine consists of a typical gold- and sulfide-bearing hydrothermal quartz veins within metamorphic wall rock. The principal (Hite) vein is reportedly in slate and other metamorphic rocks and is associated with a series of dikes. It strikes N50-70W and dips 75-80NE. Gold is present both in native form and in sulfides. The slate is soft and gouge-like near the vein.

Mineralization is a Au-Ag deposit (Deposit model: Model code 273; USGS model code 36a; Deposit model name: Low-sulfide Au-quartz vein; Mark3 model number 27), hosted in Mesozoic-Paleozoic slate and Mesozoic granite. The ore body is tabular. Sulfides reportedly averaged 1½% of the ore. No alteration reported. This deposit may be associated with the Calaveras-Shoo Fly Thrust, a regional feature. Local rocks include Paleozoic marine rocks, undivided, unit 4 (Western Sierra Nevada).

LOCAL GEOLOGY: The Hite Mine is situated in the East Belt of gold mineralization of the Sierra Nevada and is similar in its origin and setting to the nearby Ferguson-Original (Clearinghouse) Mine. The deposit consists of gold-bearing quartz veins in slate, which is part of a complex zone that Bateman and Krauskopf (1987) mapped as a "carbonaceous metapelite" unit of uncertain age. This narrow (about one mile wide), north-northwest-trending unit separates the phyllite and chert of the Hite Cove unit of Triassic age on the west from the quartzite of the Pilot Ridge unit of Paleozoic age on the east. The Hite Cove unit is likely equivalent to the Paleozoic-Mesozoic Calaveras Complex, while the Pilot Ridge unit is tentatively correlated with the Paleozoic Shoo Fly Complex as described by Schweickert and others (1999). Regionally, the Calaveras Complex includes slate, phyllite, metachert, schist, metavolcanic rock, and metacarbonate rock. The Shoo Fly Complex includes quartzite, schist, phyllite, and lesser amounts of metachert, metacarbonate rock, and metavolcanic rock. The intervening metapelite unit also locally contains small masses of metabasalt, metagabbro, limestone, and quartzite. Bateman and Krauskopf (1987) believed that this unit may be a tectonic rather than stratigraphic unit and could be a local segment of the Calaveras-Shoo Fly Thrust (Schweickert and others, 1999). The various lithologies present in the unit could represent the tectonic mixing of the two adjacent along the thrust zone. Besides slate, other reported wall rocks associated with the Hite deposit include graphitic schist, quartzite, metasandstone, and quartz-biotite hornfels. In addition, the wall rocks are cut by a variety of small dikes and sills of granitic rocks that range in character from white aplite to dark biotite-hornblende granodiorite. The main Hite vein generally strikes N50-70W and dips 75-80NE. Other subsidiary veins in the area have similar attitudes all of which conform approximately to the bedding and schistosity of the enclosing metamorphic rocks. At the surface and to a depth of 600 feet, the main Hite vein splits into two branches separated by a lenticular horse of slate and schist about 600 feet long and up to 50 feet thick. Width of the main vein in its two parts varies from a few feet to more than 12 feet; along the borders of the slate-schist horse the vein is reportedly 25 feet thick. Ore minerals are native gold and sulfides.

Workings include underground openings comprised of 2 long adits at 720 and 1,400 feet long, respectively, with levels, a winze, shafts and several mill sites.

Principal workings at this mine consist of two crosscut adits, several shafts, and at least nine drift levels along the vein. The vein was developed mainly through a 1,400-foot crosscut adit that intersected it at a vertical depth of 725 feet below the outcrop; at the end of this adit is a winze 330 feet deep with three levels. Due north of the portal of this adit and 600 feet above it is another adit 720 feet long. Most of the ore in the footwall branch of the vein above the lower adit probably has been stoped. The soft, gouge-like nature of the slate wall rock near the vein made the ground so difficult to support that considerable timbering was required. Bowen and Gray (1957) provide a planar diagram of the mine workings.

The lowest grade of ore mined was during the period 1904 to 1909, when 4,625 tons of ore yielded 788.85 ounces of Au and 849 ounces of Ag. In 1912, a small tonnage yielded nearly 3.5 ounces of Au per ton.

Mineral List

1 entry listed. 1 valid mineral.

The above list contains all mineral locality references listed on mindat.org. This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in mindat.org without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.


Aubury, Lewis E. (1904), Register of Mines and Minerals, Mariposa County, California, California State Mining Bureau: 11.

Castello, W.O. (1921), Mariposa County: California State Mining Bureau, 17th Annual Report of the State Mineralogist (Report 17): 17: 86-143.

Knopf, Adolf (1929), The Mother Lode system of California: USGS Professional Paper 157, 88 pp.; […(abstract): Engineering & Mining Journal: 128: 24 (1929); […Geol. Zentralbl., Band 41: 364-367 (1930)].

Logan, Clarence August (1934), Mother Lode Gold Belt of California: California Division Mines Bulletin 108, 221 pp.

Julihn, C.E. and F.W. Horton (1940), Mines of the Southern Mother Lode Region, Part II - Tuolumne and Mariposa Counties; in: Mineral Industried Survey of the United States, California. U.S. Bureau of Mines, Bulletin 424: 164-168.

Bowen, O.E., Jr. & C.H. Gray, Jr. (1957), Mines and mineral deposits of Mariposa County, California: California Journal of Mines and Geology (Report 53): 53(1&2): 108-112, 269, 276.

California Division of Mines (1962): Mineral Information Service: 15(3): 1.

Clark, Wm. B. & P.A. Lydon (1962), Mines and mineral resources of Calaveras County, California: California Division of Mines & Geology County Report 2; [… Geological Society of America Proceedings, 1933: 312-313, 1934]: 72-73.

Strand, R. G. (1967), Mariposa Sheet: California Division of Mines and Geology Geologic Map of California, scale 1:250,000.

Koschman, A.H. and Bergendahl, M.H. (1968) Principal gold-producing districts of the United Sattes. USGS Professional Paper 610, 283 pp.

Clark, Wm. B. (1970a) Gold districts of California: California Division Mines & Geology Bulletin 193: 64.

Bateman, P.C. and Krauskopf, K.B. (1987), Geologic map of the El Portal Quadrangle, west-central Sierra Nevada, California: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-1998, scale 1:62,500.

Earhart, R. L. (1988), Geologic setting of gold occurrences in the Big Canyon area, El Dorado County, California: USGS Professional Paper 1576, 13 p.

Wagner, D.L., Bortugno, E.J., and McJunkin, R.D. (1990), Geologic map of the San Francisco-San Jose Quadrangle, California: California Department of Conservation, Division of Mines and Geology Regional Geologic Map Series, Map No. 5A, scale 1:250,000.

Schweickert, R. A., Hanson, R.E., and Girty, G.H. (1999), Accretionary tectonics of the Western Sierra Nevada Metamorphic Belt, in Wagner, D.L. and Graham, S.A., editors, Geologic field trips in northern California: California Division of Mines and Geology Special Publication 119: 33-79.

USGS (2005), Mineral Resources Data System (MRDS): U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, loc. file ID #10031225, 10261423 & 10310629.

U.S. Bureau of Mines, Minerals Availability System (MAS) file ID #0060430591.

USGS Mineral Investigative Resources Map file MR-34.

Zimmerman, J.E., 1983, The geology and structural evolution of a portion of the Mother Lode Belt, Amador County, California: Unpublished M.S. thesis, University of Arizona, 138 p.

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