PA Glacial Map
Yes, gold can be found in Pennsylvania if you know where to look.
Remember: Always get permission and clean-up when you leave.
Hints on Gold Recovery in Glacier Drift Areas
Where To Find Gold
NORTHERN YORK COUNTY: In my experience, one of the most "profitable" gold regions is in northern York County. Using the municipalities of Dillsburg, Grantham, Wellsvile and Rossville, basically any stream within this rectangle will yield gold. Several of the streams include Stony Run, Fisher's Run, Beaver Creek-North Branch and Wolf Run. This would also include Yellow Breeches Creek which would mark the northern boundary of this geographic area. The gold here is up to 0.50 inch in size. This area is located in the Gettysburg-Newark Section of the Piedmont. The gold is washing out of the diabase ( an intrusive igneous rock), which composes the higher elevations and rounded hills in the area (including Ski Roundtop, if you are a skier). Find yourself a geologic map of the area and search for any streams cutting through the diabase and get it a try!! Black sand (magnetite) is found associated here also and often, you can find andradite garnet mixed in the heavy minerals after panning.
SOUTHERN YORK COUNTY: Working south, the next area is located in southern York County, say in the vicinity of Glen Rock, Shrewsbury and Winterstown. This area is located both east and west of Exits 1 and 2 off of Interstate 83. Inspecting a geologic map, one would notice that metabasalts are found with the Wissahickon Formation metamorphic rocks within the Uplands Section of the Piedmont. As in diabase above, the metabasalts were originally volcanic lavas and now changed mineralogically due to at least several episodes of heat and pressure within the crust. In any case, again, consult a geologic map in the area and examine where streams cut through the metabasalts. The flakes are up to about 0.25 inch in size. Several of the streams in this area include, the East Branch of the Codorus Creek, Centerville Creek, Trout Run and Seaks Run. The East Branch of the Codorus Creek flows through Spring Valley County Park, east of Exit 2 of Interstate 83. Gold panning is not permitted within the park, except for the York County Parks' annual "Gold Panning Seminar", held the last Saturday of July from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm.
DELTA AREA: Located in the southeastern corner of York County is a small community known as Delta. This municipality is world-known for its historic slate resources, in fact, in 1850, the Peach Bottom slate was judged as the best slate in the world. Between 1847 and 1937, approximately 12 quarries operated on what is locally known as "Slate Ridge", northeast and southwest of Delta. Today, most of these quarries are visible on the landscape, usually associated with large spoil piles of slate.
QUESTIONABLE AREAS: Two areas of York County containing volcanic rocks but apparently no gold are found in the east-central and west-central regions. Accomac, located about 2 miles north of Wrightsville along the Susquehanna River, contains numerous exposures of metabasalt and metarhyolite, both volcanic rocks. The region is part of the Hellam Hills, a highlands area that runs from northeast of York to the Susquehanna River. Although the presence of volcanic rocks appears to be one of the common denominators in the occurrence of gold, no gold has been found here. The second locality is locally known as the Pigeon Hills, located between the York Airport near Thomasville, west of York to north of Hanover. The geology of the Pigeon Hills is almost identical to the Hellam Hills, but the metarhyolite is not present here. Several spring-fed seasonal streams have been panned, with no luck of finding gold. Recent studies of the volcanic rocks by Dr. Robert Smith, of the Pennsylvania Geologic Survey, might indicate that these rocks may be older than the metabasalts located in the Uplands Section described above from the Glen Rock area, this MAYBE explaining the difference why gold is not present here.
ADAMS COUNTY: With political borders not terminating the geology, one can trace these above-mentioned occurrences across to neighboring counties, if the geology is similar. For example, tracing the diabase exposures southward into Adams County in the Gettysburg-Newark Section of the Piedmont, one would notice that locations like Hunterstown, (north of Gettysburg) and along Route 15 south of York Springs would be good places to pan. Of course, the classic exposure of diabase in southern Pennsylvania is Devil's Den, on the Gettysburg National Battlefield (although panning is not allowed here).
LANCASTER COUNTY: Into Lancaster County on the east side of the river, again, similar geology extends from several of the regions described above in York County. The Peach Bottom Slate and Peters Creek Formation both extend from the Susquehanna River eastward into Lancaster County for at least 8 miles. Slate was also removed from various quarries similar to that at Delta. Gold has also been recovered from Muddy Run Park, south of the Holtwood Dam and Normanwood Bridge.