How has the deposition of gold in California shaped it's rich history? Why is California known as the "Golden State"? Who found the first gold nugget? What were the living conditions like for the 49ers?
This is a guideline for a writing assignment for students to write a history of the gold rush paper. Students use either library books or the Internet to research the difference between quartz vein gold and placer gold. They also learn how miners got the gold out of the lode rocks through the stamp mill process and through heap leaching.
I use this assignment as a spring board into plate tectonics. My main idea is that the miners had limited knowledge about physical geology to find the gold deposits so the students should have limited knowledge, too. Students start thinking about where gold could be forming in the world today.