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Glossary F ~ J

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Fandango Halls
- Halls that sprang up in camps with a high population of Mexican miners, such as Hornitos. Named after the senoritas who performed the famous "Fandango", a popular and rather wild dance using castanets.

Filigree - Lacelike ornamental work of intertwined gold or silver wire.

Flat - A level area or basin, often applied to mining camps, i.e., Missouri Flat, Smith Flat, China Flat.

Flume - An inclined channel of wood or stone used to convey water for long distances. A narrow gorge or ravine can also be used for the same purpose and is sometimes referred to as a flume. Many miles of flumes were built at great expense to bring in water to a hydraulic mining site.

Fool's Gold - Iron pyrite, a flaky and brittle mineral that seldom fools a real miner. Real gold is soft and malleable.


Fossicker - An Australian prospector.

Foundry - A place where metal is melted and poured into molds.


Gallows Frame -
(See Headframe below)

Gangue
- Unwanted rock found during gold mining.

Giant - See Monitor.

Gilding - A means of achieving a glittering golden expanse with a minimum of gold. In South America, this was done by chemically removing the other metals, like silver and copper, from the surface of a gold alloy, leaving an exterior layer of almost pure gold. This can also be achieved by coating or overlaying with a thin sheet of gold. (See Gold Leaf)

Glory Hole - A hole that produced an unusually rich deposit of gold-bearing ore.

Going to See the Elephant - An expression of soon-to-be miners as they traveled to the goldfields. It reportedly sprang from what a miner said when he wanted to see the circus because he'd never seen an elephant. As the miner was heading down the road one day, he met the circus procession entering town, lead by the elephant. As he approached, his horses became spooked, his wagon turned over, and his cargo spilled out. But he didn't care because "he had seen the elephant."


Gold - A heavy yellow metallic chemical element; a precious metal used in coins, jewelry, etc.; symbol, Au. Thought to be a pestilence in the 1800's because it caused widespread fever in people around the world, bringing some to ruin.

Gold Leaf
- Gold that has been pounded and hammered into thin sheets, used to overlay items.

Gold Paint - A mixture of fine gold dust and eggwhite, applied with exquisite care to a book's vellum pages with a one-hair brush. This technique was used in the eighth century to illuminate book illustrations.

Gravels - A loose mixture of small pebbles and rock fragments like coarse sand that contain gold particles; also called placer deposits.

Grubstake - Food and supplies to keep a prospector in business. Investors could grubstake a miner for a percentage of the gold he found.

Grubstaking - To advance money or supplies to a prospector as an investment.

Gulch - Deep, narrow valley or ravine carved by a stream. Because of their location, many mining camps contained the word "gulch". A gulch or ravine could be used to convey water to mining sites.



Hand Mucker
- A man who shovels ore and gangue in a mine.

Hardrock (Quartz) Mining - The underground method of mining accomplished by sinking a shaft deep into ground containing a vein or ore pocket, with drifts (tunnels) radiating out on various levels. An expensive but profitable method of mining used when placer deposits were exhausted.

Headframe - The tall framework above a vertical mineshaft, used for lowering men and equipment and for bringing out the ore. Also called a gallows frame.

Homestake Mine - The largest mine in the United States, located at Lead, South Dakota. It is 7,000 feet deep, has been in operation for over 100 years, and produced 300,000 ounces of gold in 1977.

Hydraulic Mining (Hydraulicking) - An effective but destructive method of mining. Water under pressure was directed at hillsides of soft gravels through a hose with a nozzle called a monitor or giant, causing mud to run down into long lines of sluice boxes and causing banks to disintegrate. The incoming water often ran for many miles from the higher mountains in flumes that were costly to build, but water reached the mining site with enough force to shoot 400 feet into the air after it was dropped from hundreds of feet almost vertically down to the mining site. The by-product of hydraulic mining, thick mud and silt called slickens, ruined farm land downstream and caused navigation hazards in major rivers and San Francisco Bay, which led to its prohibition.



Inlay
- To set gold in a surface to form a decoration.

I.O.O.F. - International Order of Odd Fellows, a fraternity that many miners belonged to. Remains of their buildings are common throughout California's Gold Country.

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