Hydraulic Mining, Oregon

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
Gold is found in two forms. Free gold is the gold nuggets or particles that are not combined with other elements. Gold is also found combined with many elements, particularly quartz. It is the free gold that has led miners in all parts of the world to make great "rushes" for the gold fields. Anybody can mine free gold along the banks and streams. The success of the miner depends on finding the nuggets. Quartz mining, however, requires great mills and much machinery to release the gold from other minerals. The simplest way of securing free gold is by "panning," or placer mining. The pan is only a sieve into which gravel and water are dipped. The miner shakes the sieve back and forth in his hand and examines each particle in the hope that it may be a piece of gold. The other way of mining free gold is here shown. This is hydraulic (h-drô´ lk) mining. Gravel containing gold particles is washed from the hillsides by streams of water. As the water pours down the sluices are little crossbars beside which mercury has been placed. Gravel is lighter than gold, and is washed along by the force of the water. The gold sinks to the bottom, is caught on the strips, and combines with the mercury. When the flow of water is stopped, the gold, combined with the mercury, is gathered up. It is heated. The mercury evaporates, and the free gold is left. The first requirement for hydraulic mining is plenty of water power. When once this is secured, the construction consists largely of pipes and sluices. Great hillsides in our western states have been washed down in an effort to find gold. Much damage has been done to the land in various parts of the country by this method of mining. Some states have passed laws to limit the extent of hydraulic mining Keystone ID: 13796 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.