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Effects of Hydraulic Mining 3

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Tornado, flood, earthquake and volcano combined could hardly make greater havoc, spread wider ruin and wreck, than are to be seen everywhere in the track of the larger gold-washing operations. None of the interior streams of California, though naturally pure as crystal, escape the change to a thick yellow mud from this cause, early in their progress from the hillsÂ….Thousands of acres of fine land along their banks are ruined forever by deposits of this character. A farmer may have his whole estate turned into a barren waste by a flood of sand and gravel from some hydraulic mining up stream; more, if a fine orchard or garden stands in the way of the working of a rich gulch or bank, orchard or garden must go. Then the tornout, dugout, washed to pieces and then washed over sidehills, masses that have been or are being subjected to hydraulics of the miners, are the very devilÂ’s chaos indeed. The country is full of them among the mining districts of the Sierra Nevada, and they are truly the terrible blot upon the face of Nature. (Samuel Bowles, 1868)

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