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      Today Normal Record 3/15/2016
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    CBS12 Chico

    There's more gold to find in them 'thar hills now, says miner

    TUOLUMNE COUNTY, Calif. - Heavy winter rains in California have caused a lot of damage through flooding. But in the aftermath, those searching for gold are happy.

    Due to abnormally high runoff from the mountains, gold has been shaken from the hills, as reporter Joe Vasquez from KPIX5 reports.

    Gold in a gold pan

    Vasquez watched "Miner Gary" Thomas sifting through the rocks and soil, looking out for a certain glistening element. The miner said there's more gold to find especially now, following this winter's heavy rains.

    Miner Gary says, "After the storms, the water came up this high. We couldn't even be standing here. In '97 it was double. It was way up there," he continued.

    Thomas says he always finds at least a little gold here on his property near Jamestown in Tuolumne County, smack in the middle of the Mother Lode. But this year there's just so much more runoff than normal, shaking the gold from these hills. That could provide a Eureka moment for those inclined to come up and look for it.

    Officials from the Bureau of Land Management say the erosion "concentrates" the gold by removing the lighter rock and soil.

    Miner Gary Thomas says you could walk and maybe even see a gold vein now because it's peeling back so much. He runs tour groups through his property and he says now is the optimum time for gold hunting because the storms have just finished churning the landscape.

    You may be wondering if we found any  gold. They found some fine flakes of what is called "flour gold" and a baby nugget.  Miner Gary says they found it more quickly than normal, after just a couple of panning sessions.

    Eureka ... that's hard to do, the reporter commented. But, he said, it's not as hard this year, now that Mother Nature has shaken up the Mother Lode.

    More

    DWR says erosion at main spillway of Oroville Dam has not worsened over the past week More

    Oroville's Canyon Road damage repairs to start as early as Tuesday More