The Mojave nugget is a huge chunk of gold discovered by Ty Paulsen in 1977. It was said to have been discovered using a metal detector in the area of Randsburg, California in Kern County.
As part of the Stringer Mining District, the Mojave nugget is not the only large nugget to have come from this area, but it is believed to be the largest from the district.
Many publications credit it as the largest gold nugget to ever be found in California, but this is a bit of an exaggeration. Weighing in at a massive 156 troy ounce, the Mojave Nugget is undoubtedly a huge piece of gold, but it does not come close to being the largest nugget found in California. There were several pieces that were found in the Mother Lode region of California during the early gold rush days that were much larger, sadly most of these specimens were sent off to the refinery, and no longer exist today.
The Mojave Nugget is now a part of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Donated by Robert E. Petersen, the entire collection includes over 130 gold nuggets valued at several million dollars.
Southern California Mining Areas
The Stringer Mining District is an interesting area that still holds a lot of potential for gold prospectors. It has produced gold, silver, tungsten, and a variety of other valuable minerals. Due to its dry climate and limited water supply, most prospectors in this area use metal detectors and dry washers to search for gold.
Much of the gold found in the area is quite rough, and believe to have originated from the numerous quartz outcroppings and stringers that are present throughout the area.
This area has certainly been searched hard over the past century, but it is quite likely that more large nuggets are yet to be found within the district. With a history of producing huge gold nuggets like the Mojave Nugget, it is quite likely that there are a few others that are still buried in the ground waiting to be unearthed.
With the modern metal detector technologies that we have today, it is likely that many huge gold nuggets are still going to be found near Randsburg along with other nearby gold districts in Southern California.