Square nails

Gerelateerde afbeelding

There were square nails in the timbers. An ore bucket was filled with square nails. “Good litter,” Deffe yes said, and we walked uphill past the mine and along a small stream into the cottonwoods. The stream was nearly dry. Under the cottonwoods were the outlines of cabins almost a century gone. Here at seven thousand feet in this narrow mountain draw had lived a hundred people, who had held their last election a hundred years earlier. They had a restaurant, a brewery, a bookstore. They had seven saloons. And now there was not so much as one dilapidated structure. There were only the old unhappy cottonwoods, looking alien and discontented over the moist bed of the creek. Sixteen stood there, twisted, surviving-most of them over four feet thick. “Those cottonwoods try an environmentalist’s soul,” Deffeyes said. “They transpire water like running fountains. If you were to cut them down, the creek would run. Cottonwoods drink the Humboldt. Some of the tension in this country is that miners need water. Getting rid of trees would preserve water. By the old brine-and-mercury method, it took zakelijke energie three tons of water to mill one ton of ore. There was nothing like that in this creek. They had to take the ore from here to a big enough stream, and that, as it happens, was a twelvemile journey using mules. They would have gone out of here with only the very best ore. There was probably a supergene enrichment here over a pretty good set of veins. They took what they took and were gone in six years.” We walked back down to the mine, below which the streamin flash flood once or twice a century over several million yearshad cut the deep sharp V of its remarkably plunging valley. A number of acres of one side had been used as a dump, and Deffeyes began to sample this unused ore. “They must have depended on what they could see in the rock,” he said. “If it was easy to see, they got it all. If it was complicated and gradational, they couldn’t differentiate as well, and I think they threw it here.” The material was crumbly, loose, weathered, unstable underfoot, a pyramid side of zakelijke energie vergelijken decomposing shards. Filling small canvas bags at intervals of six feet, he worked his way across it. With each step, he sank in above his ankles. He was about two hundred feet above the stream. Given the steepness of the ground and the proximity of all the loose material to the critical angle of repose, I had no trouble imagining that he was about to avalanche, and that he would end up in an algal pool of the trickling stream below us, buried under megatons of unextracted silver.