- from Gold Rush
By 1850, it was increasingly difficult to find placer gold, the gold found in rivers and near the ground’s surface.
That’s why placer mining fell out of fashion, and lode mining took over. Lode mining, which penetrates deep into rock and minerals, requires digging up mountains or drilling deep into the ground. The time of the placer miner had ended. The era of industrial mining by big companies had begun.
Hydraulic mining was the most effective of the industrial mining methods, but it resulted in many ill effects on the environment. Some of those effects are still visible today in California’s mountains, rivers, farms, and forests.