A Landing a Day

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Ohio City and Pitkin, Colorado

Posted by graywacke on January 12, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2319; A Landing A Day blog post number 750.

the-boxDan:  As opposed to my last two borderline landings, today’s lat/long (38o 37.319’N, 106o 37.438’W) puts me squarely in Colorado:


My local landing map shows that I landed close to two teeny towns (for reference, Ohio and Pitkin are only about 6 miles apart):


My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of an unnamed stream, on to Gold Creek, on to Quartz Creek, on to Tomichi Creek:


Zooming back, you can see that the Tomichi flows to the Gunnison River (6th hit); on to the Colorado (177th hit):


Here are a couple of shots of Tomichi Creek, from a real estate website (MirRanchGroup.com):



It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to Central Colorado.  Click HERE, enjoy the flight, and hit your back button.

Here’s an oblique GE view looking north past my landing up the valley of the unnamed stream towards the Sawatch Range:


I don’t have any kind of GE Street View coverage of my landing, but I can get a view of Quartz Creek (notice the GE SV Cam didn’t make it to Ohio City, let along Pitkin):


And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:


You might have noticed that my local landing map says “Ohio,” but GE says “Ohio City.”   A quick perusal of the internet confirms “Ohio City.”

From Wiki:

In 1879, a prospector, miner, and assayer named Jacob Hess discovered silver in Ohio Creek, now known as Gold Creek.  He moved his camp to Ohio Creek and named his settlement Eagle City.

So, Gold Creek used to be Ohio Creek, and Ohio City used to be Eagle City.  But why, if Jacob Hess discovered silver, was Ohio Creek renamed Gold Creek? 

Mystery solved.  From UncoverColorado.com/ghost-towns:

Ohio City was founded in the early 1860’s as a gold mining town.

[So now, the name “Gold Creek” makes sense!  Before it was a silver mining town, it was a gold mining town!]

After gold ran out, people left. The Colorado Silver Boom of 1879 brought miners back into the area. A large vein was found and Ohio City was reborn.

[They could’ve renamed Gold Creek to Silver Creek . . .]

After the Silver Boom collapse in 1893, folks left town once again.

[But guess what?]

Prospectors came back in 1896 and found the lode that was the source for the gold found in the ’60s. Mining continued until around 1916 when profits dried up.

Here are some Ohio City pics from the UncoverColorado website:



And then this shot, just coming into town:


Moving on to Pitkin.  There’s even less here than in Ohio City, although it’s a much bigger town, pop 66.  (OK, so I don’t know how many people live in Ohio City, but trust me, it’s way less than 66.)

From Wiki:

Pitkin was founded in 1879, and is said to be Colorado’s first mining camp west of the Continental Divide

[It must have beat Ohio City by a couple of weeks.]

Originally named Quartzville, it was renamed to honor Governor Frederick W. Pitkin.

So, Ohio City was on Ohio Creek (renamed Gold Creek), and Quartzville was on Quartz Creek (which remains Quartz Creek). 

I’m a geologist, and I’m generally aware that gold is often found associated with quartz.  I’d say by the names of the two creeks that meet at Ohio City, the old time miners were very aware of this connection. 

Before digging a little deeper (like the miners) into the quartz/gold connection, here are some Pitkin photos from UncoverColorado, starting with this “Welcome to Pitkin” shot, coming into town on a dirt road with a 15 mph speed limit:




(I think the architect of the above was also responsible for the town hall in Ohio City.)

So, it’s time for a little geology as to the quartz/gold connection. First, here’s a picture of gold in quartz from SpecimenGold.com:


And another, from GoldRushNuggets.com:


So why are the two minerals found together?  Well, I happened upon TreasureNet.com, which has a question and answer forum.  Cappy Z. had a question (here are some excerpts):

It is no secret that veins of white quartz have gold seams.  Since gold in quartz is so prevalent does the quartz have some ability to attract gold when molten?  Kind of like a magic wand attracting the iron filings in that kids game?

So, 3XFlyFisher had an answer (somewhat edited by yours truly):

The deposition of gold and gold bearing minerals are hydrothermal in nature. This means that the gold is carried in a molton solution associated with volcanic activity. As the solution and the surrounding host rock begin to cool the gold precipitates in the host rock.

There are temperature-pressure relationships that have been developed that show quartz and gold are deposited/precipitated at nearly the same temperatures and pressures.  Thus, as the solution cools, both quartz and gold come out of solution together.  Therefore, quartz does not “attract” gold, but generally this is how gold is deposited with quartz in volcanic host rocks.

What the heck – I’ll finish up this segment with a picture of a cool piece of natural quartz/gold jewelry (from AlaskaJewelry.com):


It’s time for some GE Pano shots (all within 5 miles of my landing). Here’s one by TexasFlyFisher, overlooking Quartz Creek:


And this, of a funky old miner’s shack door, by Tyson Woodul:


And this, by GregArizona of Fossil Ridge, just west of my landing:


I’ll close with another shot of the ridge, by Josh Laubhan:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day


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