Monday, November 07, 2011

panning for gold

We learned how to pan for gold from Curly.

The pans, if you look closely, have ridges at one end. You put some dirt in your pan, and add just enough water to cover. You then shake it, which should cause the gold (which is denser than everything else) to sink.

Then you tip the pan toward the ridges, and shake to remove the dirt, adding water and repeating until you have removed all the dirt. If you're lucky, there will be some gold at the bottom.

Alternatively, you can pan for rocks, which does not require as much care.

Mitch took the panning quite seriously.

He did not, however, strike it rich.

Nor did JoAnne. I guess we'll all need to continue working for a living.

Wait, did Dorian just find a bunch of gold?


Alas, no.

At the museum, we learned that the water needed for panning for gold is seasonal in Columbia. About a year after the Gold Rush came to Columbia, the Tuolumne County Water Authority brought water to Columbia year round. If you panned for gold, you could expect to bring in about $8 of gold per day. You paid the Water Authority about $6 for the water you needed. So, in a sense, water was worth more than gold.

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