Like most Midwestern state Kentucky is not particularly rich with gold. In fact, Kentucky could perhaps be considered one of the states in the U.S. with the poorest prospects of finding placer gold.
Usually gold is found in areas associated with Precambrian metamorphic and intrusive rocks or in places where metamorphic and igneous activities have taken place. However, most of the Kentucky geology doesn’t show any of this. Most of the near surface is made up sedimentary rocks devoid of any tectonic, igneous or metamorphic activity.
However, this should not discourage you if you are into gold prospecting as there are several places within the state where you can find gold. The location of the state is too far to the south and this means that the state only got a small fraction of the placer gold deposits carried by the glaciers all the way from Canada.
Kentucky Gold Locations
Gold is found in small quantities in several places in the northern parts of the state particularly in Kenton, Campbell and Boone counties. Records show that placer gold deposits have been found in areas along the Ohio River, although the quantities of gold in the places were quite limited. This is a true testimony to the presence of gold in the state. So far, there has never been commercial gold mining activity in the state due to the limited amount of gold found within the state.
The most likely places to prospect for gold in Kentucky is along borders with states that have recorded significant gold finds. This is because most of the geology of the areas neighboring gold states has shown presence of gold. For example the geology of the region along the border with Tennessee is similar to that of Coker Creek and could have traces of gold. There are also traces of gold in areas to the north of Kentucky as most of states in the region are covered by the Carolina Slate Belt that runs through North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia all of which are rich gold states in the United States of America.
Fool’s Gold and Other Minerals in Kentucky
You should be careful when prospecting for gold in Kentucky as there are several gemstones that can easily be mistaken for gold. One such gemstone is pyrite which is sometimes referred to as a fool’s gold although it is actually an iron sulfide. This materials when found may appear just like a gold nugget but it is not gold. Another material that is often confused for gold by amateur gold prospectors is white mica. This is a nonmetallic material with a shiny luster but when it weathers it may turn brownish gold. If not carefully examined you may end up believing that you have found gold.
Other than gold you may also want to look for other gemstones within the state. Some of the places to go gem hunting include the Columbia Mine that charges you a small fee to hunt for gems and you are allowed to bring your own bracket and shovel. The Columbia mine is one of the oldest gems mine in the state having been opened in 1835 and is located in the Illinois Kentucky Fluorspar district. For bookings and pricing you may contact the Ben E Clement Mineral Museum.
Tips for Capturing Fine Gold in Kentucky
You are not likely to find gold nuggets in Kentucky. In fact, even a good sized flake is unlikely here; expect to find very fine textured gold dust.
To capture fine textured gold like this, you will need to use specialized methods to separate fine gold from the river gravels. You can do this by careful gold panning, but equipment like the Gold Cube might be even better if you want to invest the money. Just don’t expect to make much money from gold mining in Kentucky. The odds of finding a paying quantity of gold are pretty low.