Friday, July 15, 2011
While in Chicken we toured a gold dredge. This huge machine would dig up tons of stream bed and the earth around it using huge buckets on a convayer belt, dump it in a round tumbler wash the rock and silt leaving the fine silt and gold on mats ( they use astor turf now) and the rock is dumped out the back, these are called tailings. They take the gold laiden silt and pan it and they are rich. The ground in the North country is frozen (permafrost) so it has to be thawed to bedrock where the good stuff is. They would rip the top layer of soil, black spruce trees, and any shurbs and plants out. This layer is quit thin. The trees that grow in this area do not put down a tap root, their roots all go out laterally. It was like rolling up a huge carpet. Then they would have to thaw out the ground using rods and tubes to carry water that were pounded into the ground inches at a time and it would take them days to do this. Then they would force water to thaw the ground. This processes would take around 100 men and many months to years to do before you even begin to get the gold.