Skip to main content
Select Source:

Mother Lode

Mother Lode, belt of gold-bearing quartz veins, central Calif., along the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada. The term is sometimes limited to a strip c.70 mi (110 km) long and from 1 to 61/2 mi (1.6–10.5 km) wide, running NW from Mariposa. Popularly it is used to mean the gold-bearing area E of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and W of the Sierra Nevada. The discovery of alluvial gold on the South Fork of the American River led to the 1848 gold rush. Mark Twain and Bret Harte helped make the Mother Lode famous.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Mother Lode." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Mother Lode." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mother-lode

"Mother Lode." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mother-lode

mother lode

moth·er lode • n. Mining a principal vein of an ore or mineral. ∎ fig. a rich source of something: your portfolio holds a mother lode of opportunities.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"mother lode." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"mother lode." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mother-lode

"mother lode." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mother-lode