National Geographic : 1900 Jan
THE CAPE NOME GOLD DISTRICT 21 In many instances, where the supply of copper plate could not equal the demand, the bottom of the rocker was covered by United States silver coin, principally one-dollar pieces, and these coated with the mercury which caught the gold. During the latter part of summer and in the fall it is estimated that an average of 2,000 men were work ing along the beach, and that they took out an average of about $20 per day per man. In many cases the amount taken out was much greater. The tundra between the beach and the base of the mountains has also been prospected to some extent and has not infrequently yielded from 10 cents to 30 cents per pan. Capital, however, will doubtless be required to handle the tundra with profit; also the benches above referred to in the lower region of the mountains have been found to be auriferous and have largely been staked. The country about the head of Solomon and Bonanza rivers, 40 miles northwest of Nome, reports good prospects. In the Golofnin Bay country on Fish River and its tributaries coarse gold was taken out during the past summer. On Ophir Creek, one of the chief trib utaries, a single claim is said to have yielded $75,000. Prospects have also been reported on the western shore of Norton Bay. Late in the fall it was rumored that gold had been found at Cape York by a native employed in herding the Government reindeer. These rumors have since been more than verified by Captain Jarvis, who visited this region with the U. S. revenue cutter Bear, and by a recent number of The Alaskan Miner, issued at Juneau, which reports the coun try rich and that more than nine square miles of it were staked late in November and early in December. There seems good reason to infer that substantially the entire southern half of this large peninsula, covering more than 8,000 or 10,000 square miles, is gold-bearing and much of it very rich. It lies in the great Yukon gold belt, extending from the Klondike westward, and probably continues across Bering Sea into Siberia. It seems more than probable that the Siberian coast will be visited by enterprising American prospectors before another season has passed. There is no timber in the Nome district. The nearest approach to it is a scanty growth of very stunted willow or elm along some of the waterways, wholly inadequate for ordinary camping purposes. A growth of moss, which furnishes abundance of food for reindeer, covers the surface except in the upper slopes of the mountains. There is, however, a sufficient growth of grass to sustain horses and cattle dur ing the short summer months. Mr F. V. Coville attributes the ab sence of timber to the rigors of the Arctic climate.