Finding Gold in Connecticut
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Finding Gold in Connecticut

Connecticut holds gold and many other minerals in its fields, forests, rivers, streams and lakes. Connecticut has over 600 abandoned mines and prospects.

Finding Gold in Connecticut isn’t really that hard except you have to look. A lot of the areas holding gold in Connecticut are now off limits for gold prospectors, either because they are on state property although sometimes you can get group permits from DEP to explore in state forests, or they are on private property.

There may be some exceptions to this when it comes to rivers and streams because they are considered to be part of the Waters of the United States as well as Connecticut, so as long as you are not on the bank of the stream you are in the Waters of the United States.

Connecticut has a very rich history as a mining state, 150 years ago my name was a very active industry in Connecticut that could make a well entitled to bear the name the birthplace of the modern mining industry. Something that is now lost to most people as they that wasn't 150 years ago is what mineral deposit lay in their town. If you asked this question today there would be very few people except some Rockhounds would have the foggiest idea what minerals lie under their feet.

Just about any river or stream in the state of Connecticut does have some gold bearing gravel in its bed. Because gold is heavier than any of the other materials that are found in the stream it will migrate down through the gravel to either a layer of clay or bedrock. For the same reason gold is not migrate very far from the banks of the stream so it is rather rare to find much Gold in the middle of the stream.

The best places to look for gold in a stream are along the inside curves, a place where the velocity of the water suddenly slows down such as behind a rock or in the plunge pool beneath a waterfall. Gold is also found where the stream flows over exposed bedrock in cracks that act as a natural riffle. Gold can be extracted from these cracks in the bedrock by using anything that will get the contents of the crack.

There are any number of tools you can use to get gold out of streams; the simplest is gold pan that is nothing other than a shallow pan with wide swooping edges making it look almost like a pie pan. This basic tool will allow a man to process about 1 yd.³ of gravel per day. Man's ingenuity is allowed to devise several different devices for the recovery of gold including rocker boxes, sluice boxes in what are called High Bankers that if designed properly can be used by more than one man processing more than 15 yd.³ of gravel per day.

Although to the author's knowledge there have been very few hard rock gold mines in Connecticut what comes immediately to mind is in the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown.

Even though hard rock gold is pretty scarce in Connecticut there were several other minds that have operated in hard rock probably the most famous one is Ore Hill in Salisbury. This might operated for almost 200 years S. lifetime produced over 7 million tons of iron ore. It was this mine that produced the cast iron for Canon used by George Washington to win the Revolutionary War giving Connecticut the nickname of the Arsenal of the Revolution.

There are several different rock formations in the state a Connecticut that are considered to be metal bearing that could well produce gold. They are scattered all across the state but one of the most likely is just to the west of New Haven called the Maltby Lake Volcanics. This is a Greenstone Belt similar to that found in the Abitibi Gold Province of Canada in Ontario and Quebec.

You can find the Maltby Lake Volcanics and other rock formations on the Internet by

Goggling, “The Bedrock Geological Map of Connecticut.” This map was produced by the Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut in 1984. The DEP Store at 79 Elm St. in Hartford also has several other maps and publications that you will find useful in the search for gold or other minerals. One of the handiest maps aside from the bedrock map is the Bedrock Mines of Connecticut by Robert Altamura. Other publications you will find useful are the Aero-Magnetic Maps of Connecticut that are laid out in one large sheet that covers the whole state, or as smaller sheets that only cover one quadrangle each.

As with any hard rock mining ore mineral deposit the easiest ones to find it already been found, but there are still plenty to be found. The other thing you have to remember is less than one mine is developed out of every 300 prospects. An old book on evaluating mineral deposits was titled “Gambler's Ruin,” for very good reasons.

Using a Metal Detector to Find Gold

There are other ways to find gold other than using a pan and panning for gold, even though panning for gold is sure a lot of fun. There are metal detectors that are great for finding all types of metals, like coins and rings. These metal detectors can find anything though and are a lot of fun finding old coins.


There are metal detectors that are specifically made to find gold. If you are going to use these in water, make sure you get one that is made for use in water and on the ground. Some of the better metal detectors for finding gold include the following:

  • Fisher Gold Bug Pro: 19 kHz VLF, best for beginners.
  • White’s TDI SL.
  • Garrett AT Gold: 18 kHz VLF, runner-up best for beginners.
  • Fisher Gold Bug 2: 71 kHz VLF, best intermediate.
  • Garrett ATX: 730 PPS pulse induction, runner-up best intermediate. This metal detector is rated for use in 10 feet of water. This is one of the highest rated metal detectors for finding gold.

Some metal detectors made to find gold can go even deeper than normal; these are the more advanced gold detectors.

For more information about gold mining go here!


Bedrock Mines of Connecticut, Robert Altamura, DEP Store, Hartford CT

Bedrock Geological Map of Connecticut, John Rodgers, Editor, DEP Store,

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Comments (5)
randolph steinen

Where can I find information on the gold mine at Sandy Hook...the one that immediately came to mind?

Thank you.

On the map of abandoned mines by Robert Altamura. The map and the accompanying text is for sale at the DEP Bookstore, 79 Elm St., Hartford CT. You can order it online at:

randolph steinen

Thank you. What my question is, I think, is what information do you know about the gold mine at Sandy Hook that brings that site immediately to mind? I would think that the cobalt rediscovery and assay would make a much more compelling "immediately brought to mind". The Altamura reference is not well located (he could not find it) and used references that present neither data nor references to the data. What minerals are found there, what concentrations were reported. I am just trying to find credible information and Altamura's information for that site is not credible. Maybe no credible information exists. We know there was a tunnel driven into the side of the hill; it has partially collapsed near the entrance and now is evidenced by a "natural bridge". Ir was driven into a mineralized zone with thin quartz veins and molds of former minerals, perhaps pyrite. But gold and silver? I presume there are historical reports of the activity in news papers of the time (1700-1800's) least the Newtown Historical Society seems to think because there is a plaque. But was there anything of substance or was it all a scam to extract money from investers rather than meineral wealth from the ground?

Interesting read from an expert....thanks

Read somewhere that on Rt.34 in West Haven,before you get to Yale Bowl(traveling eastbound),that in the area of that large reservoir,supposedly,silver can be found.