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Mining California: An Ecological History

By: Andrew C Isenberg(Author)

242 pages, illustrations

Hill and Wang

Paperback | Jul 2006 | #211638 | ISBN: 0809069326
Availability: Usually dispatched within 7 days Details
NHBS Price: £22.50 $29/€26 approx

About this book

An environmental history of California during the Gold Rush.

Between 1849 and 1874 almost $1 billion in gold was mined in California. With little available capital or labor, here's how: high-pressure water cannons washed hillsides into sluices that used mercury to trap gold but let the soil wash away; eventually more than three times the amount of earth moved to make way for the Panama Canal entered California's rivers, leaving behind twenty tons of mercury every mile – rivers overflowed their banks and valleys were flooded, the land poisoned. In the rush to wealth, the same chain of foreseeable consequences reduced California's forests and grasslands.


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