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Before the gold


 
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Title: Before the gold: Early mining history of the Carlin Trend, 1874–1961

Author: Dean G. Heitt
Year: 2019
Series: published by Southern Nevada Conservancy
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ISBN: 978-0-9707179-8-6

Since 1961, the Carlin Trend in northern Nevada has become famous as one of the most prolific and longest-running gold mining districts on the planet. It was the first district in which we understood and made profitable "invisible" gold-gold that exists in microscopic form, bound by sulfide minerals and generally immune to recovery by early processing techniques. As famous as the Carlin Trend has become for producing more than 90 million ounces of gold and being a large part of the northern Nevada economy for over a generation, what may be the most interesting part of the story is what came before 1961. In fact, the first record of gold discovery at Carlin goes all the way back to 1874.

In Before the Gold, Dean Heitt, a geologist with over 30 years of experience working on the Carlin Trend, presents the detailed story of the mines, companies and people of those first 90 years. Heitt has meticulously researched newspapers, claim records and other archives to piece this story together and offers a glimpse of the early landscape indelibly changed by modern mining.

Before the Gold fills an important gap in mining and western history previously unexplored by earlier publications. For those interested in further study and exploration, Before the Gold provides the tables, maps and figures to be an important reference. For curious minds, you'll learn about a mineral besides gold which was likely the most profitable in those early years, read about Carlin's connection to Nevada's youngest ever death-row inmate and discover some of the geology jargon of the 1800s, which Heitt has kindly interpreted for us. There is at least one question left unanswered however, and we'll leave that with you:

Despite limited success, what is it about gold that kept the early miners at it for so long?

Copyright 2019, Dean G. Heitt


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