Our old friend Pauline Weaver discovered these placers in 1862 when he panned for gold in El Arollo de la Tenaja in the Dome Mountains. He returned to Yuma and told about his discovery. Upon his return he brought other prospectors with him, discovering good gold areas. One man Jose Redondo recovered a nugget weighing more then two ounces and the rest is history. About a million dollars in gold was recovered the first year. The LaPaz district is known for the large nuggets it has produced. The largest nugget recovered from the LaPaz placers was 65 ounces. The gold found in the placers is attributed to erosion of the metamorphic rocks in the area.
The prospectors settled the original town of LaPaz which grew to a population of 1500 and was an Overland Trail stage stop between Ft Whipple (Prescott) and San Bernardino. This land was later included in the CRIT (Colorado River Indian Tribe lands and restricted greatly the prospecting. In later years this land was excluded from the Indians. The Dome Rock Mountains in this area consist largely of metamorphic rock and granite. For a short distance at the base of the range, the bedrock is exposed. The thinking is that the gold particles came from erosion of the gold bearing veins in the Dome Rock Mountains.
One must be careful when in the Quartzsite area not to trespass on the Marine Proving Grounds extensive land operations along Highway 95 which are totally off limits, the Indian Reservation which requires written permission from the Chief and the KOFA Wildlife Range through which you can hike but cannot prospect.