Mining Culture

What is a mining culture?
The Gold Rush brought to this golden state a new culture that has changed the overall demographic, mining. Even though the mining industry altered the environment of California, it also added to the diversity and overall culture of it. Viewing mining as a culture not only allows study and investigation of the environmental effects it had on the landscape, but also the study of the change of culture, ethnicity and cultural drawbacks and attributes that this brought to this golden state.

Sutter's Mill

Sutters Mill Coloma, CA
This is where gold was first discovered in 1848 by John Sutter and James Marshall on the bank of the American River in Coloma, Ca. Sutter and Marshall tried to keep the discovery secret, but eventually the word got out. During the next seven years, approximately 300,000 people came to California (half by land and half by sea) to seek their fortunes mining for gold or selling supplies like picks and shovels to the gold prospectors.

Diversity Boom as a result of the Gold Rush and Mining

The Chinese were the first of many Asians to come to California, first as gold miners and then to provide the labor for construction of the western branch of the transcontinental railroad. Miners from all over came to California with a common dream: to strike it rich. Most left with their dreams shattered, or at least, unfulfilled. However, the Gold-Rush experiences were worse for miners from different parts of the globe. Many foreign miners suffered discrimination, particularly the Chinese and Mexicans who made up the two largest groups.

Different Types of Mining
Hydraulic, Placer, Hardrock and Open Pit
1. Hydraulic-High water pressure. The water is sprayed at an area of rock/gravel and that high pressure water breaks up the rock and releases the sediments below it. Ex at the North Bloomfield Mine we learned about in class.
2. Placer-where raw minerals are depostied in sand or gravel or on the surface and are picked up without having to drive, use dynamite or any other means.Specific types of placer mining are panning, dredging, sluicing, using a Rocker, or just picking up what lies on the ground.
3. Hardrock- digging into solid rock to fine minerals usually in their ore form (the metal plus oxygen).Miners use picks, shovels, rock drills dynamite and more.
4. Open Pit- Open pit mines involve digging large open holes in the ground as opposed to a small shaft in hard rock mining.
After Mining

Before Mining

Effects of Mining
The effects of Mining in California has altered the landscape is ways that cannot be changed.Environmental issues can include erosion formation of sinkholes, loss of biodiversity, and contamination of soil, groundwater and surface water by chemicals from mining processes. In some cases, additional forest logging is done in the vicinity of mines to increase the available room for the storage of the created debris and soil. Besides creating environmental damage the contamination resulting from leakage of chemicals also affect the health of the local population.

Even thought this has been a huge part of California's History, this culture is one that has left an impact on our state and these impacts will always be seen and experienced by those who come and visit the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California

Link to California Geological Survey-Gold
California Geological Survey-Gold