They are still mining for gold on the shores of Nome!
One of my favorite gold rush mining stories out of Alaska has always been how the miners flooded to Nome only to find that all the claims had been staked. One miner sitting on the beach waiting for a ship to take him out of here, was feeling a little bored. So he did a little panning right on the beach and lo and behold he came up with a pan full of gold!
That started a stampede, as you can imagine, and pretty soon the beach was full of people literally getting gold right of the beach! You were allowed an area as wide as your shovel, so there were all of these miner working in circle shaped areas. One right next to the other. And if you left your area, it would be immediately taken over by someone else.
I kind of assumed that was all in the past, but a visit to the Nome Visitor’s Center proved me wrong. They are still mining for gold right off the coast of Nome. Only now they are dredging and working UNDER the water. There is even a reality TV show about it, Bering Sea Gold.
It sounds like a really complicated process and the men themselves are under the water for an hour at a time. Essentially they have a giant vacuum and they suck it off the sea floor. They are kept warm by a suit that continuously floods with hot water.
I’ve been told that the estimate is that there are still 10,000 ounces of gold in the area to be claimed. The current price for gold is about $1,400 an ounce! Here’s your problem of the day: How much is all the gold still out there worth? Enough to tempt you to go underwater off the coast of Nome to dredge it?