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Hydraulic Gold Mining in California
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Hydraulic Gold-mining in
by Taliesin Evans.
By the 1870s and1880s in the California gold country, the gold that had been easy to
pick up already had been. But there was lots more, buried in the earth. A massive plumbing
system was built to harness water as a tool to wash the earth away and leave a residue of
heavy metals, especially gold. Meanwhile, though, mud and gravel released in the process
washed downstream to inundate farms and homes. Dwellers there objected, and in court they
effectively stopped the hydraulic mining--one of the earliest environmental court actions.
But when our author was there, his interest was describing a vital western industry. And
the mines can still be seen--Interstate Highway 80 runs right through one at Gold Run, and
another is the Malakoff Diggings State Historical Park, where you can not only see the
washed banks but also some of the nozzles and mining equipment used to get the gold out.
Reprinted from 1883. Illustrations are from the original article and other period sources.
16 pages. Order #: VIST0052 paper $3.95
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