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geologists, the rock stars of science

January 29, 2011

There’s a mine near our house that cranked out enough gold, silver and

copper to briefly sustain a community large enough to have a school,

post office, general store and hotel.  A two -mile-long rail line connected

the mine to the bay.  It was just about played out in the early 1900’s when

forest fires razed many of the buildings and much of the equipment.

There are remnants of some of the miners’ cabins at the turnoff to our

farm.  About all that’s left at the mine is two vertical shafts and this huge


The iron wheel was steam-powered.  It pumped water from the mine

and ran air drills.  In 2007 I was one of a nine-man crew of volunteers

who put gratings over the shafts so the province wouldn’t fill them in

and seal off some of our history.  I was also one of the four crew members

who had moved here from the states, including our regional director.

Here’s most of the guys.

Well, it was a dark and stormy day.  Miserable weather, in fact.

It helped to have a hearty lunch of Jude’s chili at the house.

Okay, it was not stormy though dark at the house, too.  I have a

crappy flash attachment on my camera.


Anyway, buoyed by the special gifts of a legume-based meal,

camaraderie carried the day.  Three days, in fact.  This is our

final work.

Historical preservation aside, Jude and I had a personal

interest in covering the shafts.  It was just a matter of

time until Slinkee, ever the explorer, would have found



Besides the occasional tourist, the mine also attracts faculty

and students from the geology department of a university

not far away.  They come up for field trips to take readings

and also to study karsts, topographical features created by

water drainage.  The stream that supplies our domestic water

and fuels our micro-hydro is part of  a system that likely starts

at the top of a nearby mountain.


We’ve hosted many of the students and become friends with

the faculty members.  I record conductivity and creek height

readings for them, as well as  the high and low temperatures

and precipitation amounts for the day.  I once stood in a stream

and caught oranges to help them measure the velocity of its



I thoroughly enjoy learning from them.  I’m a geology groupie

and I can prove it.  They’ve given me two T-shirts.

One Comment
  1. beanie permalink
    January 29, 2011 12:18 pm

    Open mine shafts are a hazard at best. I’m glad they were covered well!

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