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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/656

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

light medium as water when it has been reduced to sufficiently minute particles or scalelike forms. It is little wonder that a general belief has gained currency with the more enthusiastic locators that the sand gold is a deposition or precipitate from the sea.

The gold itself occurs in an exceedingly fine state of subdivision, too fine in most cases to be caught without mercury or the best arrangement of "blanketings." Much of it is really in the condition of colors dissected nearly to their finest particles, and it is hardly surprising that it should have so long escaped detection. Occasionally pieces to the value of three to six cents are obtained in the pans, and I was witness to the finding of a scale with the value of perhaps nearly twenty cents. The usual magnetitic particles are associated with the gold, and their origin can clearly be traced to the magnetite which is so abundantly found in some of the schists (micaceous, chloritic, and talcose schists), which, judged by the fragments and bowlders that everywhere lie in the path of the streams of the tundra, must be closely similar to the series of schists of the Klondike region. The particles of fragmented garnet, which by their astonishing abundance give so distinctive a coloring to the layers which they compose or constitute, are of about the ordinary fineness of seashore sand, perhaps a trifle coarser, but occasionally much coarser particles or masses of particles are found; and in the placer deposits of Anvil Creek, as in the bunch of claims around "Discovery"—about five miles due north of Nome—fragments of the size of lentils are not uncommon. I have seen full garnets obtained from the wash here which were of the size of small peas. Nodules of manganese (manganite, pyrolusite) are at intervals found with them, and some stream-tin (cassiterite), as in the Klondike region, also appears to be present. Apart from the evidence that is brought down by the magnetite and garnet, it would naturally be assumed that the gold had its primal source in the mountains back of the coast. These, as has already been stated, have undergone exhaustive degradation, and the materials resulting from their destruction, in whatever way brought about, have been thrown into the sea, and there adjusted and readjusted—or, so far as the gold particles are concerned, one might say "concentrated." Latterly, and perhaps this is also true to-day, the land has undergone elevation, and exposed much that until recently properly belonged to the sea. The tundra is a part of this ocean floor, and it too doubtless contains much gold, perhaps even very much.

The length of the sea strip that was worked during the past summer, and so far in autumn as the clemency of the weather permitted, covered a nearly continuous thirty or thirty-five miles,