JAMESTOWN, Tuolumne County (KPIX 5) -- Weeks of rainy weather across Northern California and the storm runoff through the hills of gold country have triggered a new gold rush.
"Miner Gary" Thomas said he always finds at least a little gold here on his property near Jamestown in Tuolumne County, but this year, there's so much more runoff than normal and it's shaking the gold from these hills.
Thomas said it could provide a "Eureka" moment for those inclined to come up here and look for it. "(The runoff) kind of 'etch-a-sketches' everything," said Thomas. "Eveything I had dug up and now my dig spots are all gone."
The known gold digs were washed out, trees uprooted, and landscape eroded. The runoffs have also removed gold out of the old abandoned mines and sent it down the river.
"It's going to bring down more gold," said Thomas. "It's going to bring up new areas that I never got to."
Thomas runs tour groups through his property and said now is the optimum time for gold hunting because the storms have just finished churning the landscape.
Officials from the Bureau of Land Management say the erosion "concentrates" the gold by removing the lighter rock and soil.
You may be wondering if this reporter found any during our time here. We did find some fine flakes of what they call "flour gold" and it was found more quickly than normal in just a couple of panning sessions.
"Eureka!" said Thomas."That's hard to do."
But not as hard this year, now that Mother Nature has shaken up the motherlode.
Thomas said one hot spot this year will be below the Oroville Dam, because the huge water releases from the spillway could reveal some new pockets of gold.
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