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History & Geology

Fabulous Florence—The Golden Town of Idaho

In September 1861, on a round-about prospecting journey homeward, five California gold miners discovered gold in the area now called Florence. While watering the horses, one of the men noticed a golden color on a piece of slate bedrock in the stream...

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Q: Is this gold or some other metal?

The Golden Days of Julian, California


Some scattered reports say that gold may have been washed from streams here as early as the 1840s, but the undisputed major discovery came in 1870.

Alluvial Paystreaks


The gravels in contact with the bedrock or false bedrock base are often the richest. The same facts apply to the alluvial paystreaks that are formed on gravel bars; the lowest level of the gold-bearing gravel is normally the richest.

Colorado Uranium Mining in the 1950s Boom


You can learn a lot from a small mining operation because you have to become proficient in every job. Soon I was preparing fuses, placing powder (dynamite) and learning the ins and outs of drilling and blasting.

The Struggle to Reopen Alaska's Largest Gold Mine


The historical AJ mine, located east of Juneau, Alaska, was considered the largest gold mine in the state at one time. Joe Juneau and Richard Harris struck gold there in 1880, and it has been more recently known as a tourist destination.

The Amazing Mineral Tourmaline


It is a gemstone, and yet it is also closely associated with many types of metal ores. It's valuable itself but often points toward other valuable minerals—that is certainly something prospectors want to know more about!

Natural Gold Alloys


Natural gold is never 100% pure; all natural nuggets contain at least some impurities. We're going to take a look at just what some of those impurities might be.

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