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The 156-Troy Ounce Mojave Nugget

One of the most impressive gold nuggets mined in California was a monster piece that was found near Randsburg, California in Kern County. It became known as the Mojave Nugget, since it was found in the Mojave Desert region of southern California.

It was found in 1977 by a prospector named Ty Paulsen. He used a metal detector to unearth this amazing nugget. Although other nice sized nuggets have been mined within the Stringer District near Atolia, Rand Mining District at Randsburg, and within the El Paso Range northwest of Randsburg, this is by far the largest nugget known to have ever been found in this area.


The Rand or Randsburg district lies across the Kern-San Bernardino County line very near to the town of Randsburg. This is about 40 miles to the northeast of Mojave and 30 miles to the north of Kramer.

This part of the Kern County has been a highly productive region in terms of its placer gold deposits. Earliest discoveries date back to 1893 which led to a gold rush and resulted in the numerous settlements springing up in the region. Large scale gold mining was conducted in the region till the 1940s. After that there have been intermittent discoveries in the region.

This is still a very popular area for prospectors in southern California. Primary equipment to use here are metal detectors and drywashers due to the extremely arid climate.

The largest mine in the area is the Yellow Aster Mine. It has lode deposits which still hold tremendous potential. The Mine has produced many millions in gold, and there are many areas around here that still hold potential from prospectors.

Other well-known mines in the area in terms of their yield are found all throughout the Rand Mountains around Randsburg and Red Mountain. There has been an amazing amount of mining activity in this area, both in Kern County and across the border in San Bernardino County as well.

This area has been prospected hard over the past century, but nice nuggets are still recovered from the desert of southern California every season, so you never know what may still be hidden. The desert still holds golden treasure if you go out and search for it!

Learn More about Mining in Southern California

In fact, metal detectors are still being used to find gold nuggets every year, and they are opening up prospecting opportunities in many different parts of the world where water makes efficient gold recovery nearly impossible by other methods. They have become a preferred method of many experienced gold prospectors to search for gold nuggets.

Interested in BIG gold nuggets? Then check out these articles about other amazing gold nuggets and specimens that have been discovered!

Article: The 294-Ounce Alaska Centennial Nugget

Article: The Holtermann Gold Specimen


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