1787 Brasher Doubloon with Unique EB on Breast Gold Rush Gallery, Inc.
1787 Brasher Doubloon with Unique EB on Breast Unique, "EB on Breast"
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Common Mining Terms


A process using mercury to collect fine particles of gold or silver from pulverized ore. Both precious metals dissolve in the silvery liquid, while rock does not; they can later be released by applying heat or pressure to the mercury.


The discovery of an exceptionally rich vein of gold or silver.


An unproductive mine or claim; the opposite of a bonanza.


A parcel of land in a gold field that a person was legally entitled to mine because he had staked it out and recorded his title. The dimensions varied according to local custom.

Claim jumping

Stealing someone else's mining property - usually after it had been staked out but before it had been officially recorded.


The particles of gold gleaming amid the residue in a prospector's pan after washing.


A method used by miners to reach gold deposits resting on bedrock without excavating all of the overlying soil. After a vertical shaft was sunk, tunnels radiating like wheel spokes were dug along the bedrock.


Removing gold from the cracks and crannies of rocks by prying it out with a knife.


A mine tunnel going across an ore vein, used for ventilation and communication between work areas.


A mine tunnel following the direction or drift of a vein; opposite of a cross-cut.


An inclined channel, usually of wood and often supported by a trestle, for conveying water from a distance to be utilized for various purposes including placer mining.

Gallows frame

The wooden or steel scaffold at the top of a mine shaft carrying the hoisting rope.


Worthless minerals mixed in with valuable ore.

Giant powder

A miner's expression for dynamite.

Grub Staking

Supplying a prospector with food and gear in return for a share of his findings.


The bane of the miner's existence - sticky wet clay.

Hard rock

Ore that could be removed only by blasting as opposed to ore that could be worked with hand tools.

High grading

The theft of chunks of ore by miners, who usually took only the valuable high-grade pieces.


Barren rock interrupting a vein of ore.

Hydraulic mining

A method of mining by washing the ore out of the ground with a powerful jet of water as from a hose.


A clearly defined vein of rich ore. The principal vein in a region was called the "mother lode."

Long tom

An inclined trough in which gold-bearing earth is crudely washed; usually called long tom because it is longer than a rocker.


The debris left after blasting hard rock. The miner who shoveled this ore-bearing material into a car or chute was known as a mucker.


A native lump of precious metal like gold.


Washing sand or gravel in a pan to separate heavy metal from it, especially gold.


A deposit of sand, dirt or clay, often in an active or ancient stream bed, containing fine particles of gold or silver, which could be mined by washing. The word is the Spanish for submarine plain, and rhymes with "passer."


A glacial or alluvial deposit of sand or gravel where gold is obtained by washing the deposit; the place where such deposits are found.


Fool's gold: a mineral composed of silicon and oxygen that is often mistaken for real gold.

Quarter eagle

A $2.50 gold piece.


A crystalline mineral, often transparent, in which gold and silver veins were most commonly found.


To reduce to a fine, unmixed, or pure state; to free from impurities, as to refine gold or silver.


A vessel with a bent shape in which substances are subjected to distillation or decomposition by heat.


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