* The Deep Blue Lead *


One of the richest of several side branches feeding the main Tertiary gravel channel of the Pacerville area is the "Deep Blue" lead. This ancient river channel first appears at Georgia Hill, northwest the Toombs Ranch. It then heads south, passing southwest of the ranch, before crossing White Rock Creek, and dipping under the cover of volcanic rocks near Lava Cap Winery. The gravels then emerge from beneath the lava cap and continue south to Three Mile House at Smith's Flat, about three miles from Placerville on the old Carson Valley Highway. Next, the Deep Blue crosses Hangtown Creek, swings southwest, passing north of Texas Hill, and ends near Spanish Hill about 1 miles southeast of Placerville, where it joins buried Tertiary gravels of the ancient American River, which follow beneath Webber Creek to the south of Placerville, and several miles south of the modern South Fork of the American River. The Deep Blue along much of its length follows the contact between metamorphic rocks of the Mariposa Slate, and the granitic intrusions that underlie White Rock Canyon. The richness of the Deep Blue channel is probably due to erosion of many small gold-bearing veins associated with this contact zone.


Map showing the "Deep Blue Lead" as it winds through the Placerville mining district.



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