Historical Mining Methods
May 2004 by Frank Lorey IIIThe discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in 1848 started the great gold rush to California. The account that drew national and worldwide notice was a small, two-inch item at the bottom of the front page of the March 15, 1848 issue of the “Californian,” published in San Francisco. The article was attributed to B.R. Buckelew, and mentioned quantities of gold just being “gathered.”
A quartz piece was rolled over and there it was, staring right at us—beautiful, coarse gold coming right out of the quartz rock. It was almost the size of a softball, and it looked like over one quarter of it had gold throughout!
• Southern Era
• X-Cal Resources
• Placer Dome Inc.
• Pan American Silver Corp.
• Vista Gold Corp.
I got a signal but knew it was small. Still, I was very happy to find something. I continued and got another signal. Yes! A bigger nugget! Then I got another signal.
What it takes to move gold is turbulent, fast-moving water. Normally the water is heavy with clay and all sorts of sentiments that have been ripped up from the bed of the river or carried down from the tributaries above.
We have to remember that the earliest miners were not geologists, but came from a variety of backgrounds. Their survival depended on finding enough gold so they worked hard and adapted to whatever challenges these new areas presented.
…my intent is to distribute this information in layman’s language so that even the “backyard/shade tree/mom & pop” fire assayers can benefit.
…some miners are doing exceptionally well… with a few obtaining amounts estimated in the millions of dollars.
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