These were the deposits, richer than an Aztec dream, that were known to geologists as supergene enrichments. Miners called them surface bonanzas. In the eighteen-sixties, and particularly in the eighteen-seventies, they were discovered in range after range. A big supergene enrichment might be tens of yards wide and a mile long, lying at or near the surface. Instant cities appeared beside them, with false-front saloons and tent ghettos, houses of sod, shanties made of barrels. The records of these communities suggest uneven success in the settling of disputes between partners over zakelijke energie claims: “Davison shot Butler through the left elbow, breaking the bone, and in turn had one of his toes cut off with an axe.” They were places with names like Hardscrabble, Gouge Eye, Battle Mountain, Treasure Hill. By the eighteen-nineties, the boom was largely over and gone. During those thirty years, there were more communities in Nevada than there are now. “Silver is our most depleted resource, because it gave itself away,” said Deffeyes, looking mournful. “You didn’t need a Ph.D. in geology to find a supergene enrichment.”
All you needed was Silver Jim. Silver Jim was a Paiute, and he, or a facsimile, took you up some valley or range and showed you grayish rock with touches of green that had a dull waxy lustre like the shine on the horn of a cow. Hom silver. It was just lying there, difficult to lift. Silver Jim could show you horn silver worth twentyseven thousand dollars a ton. Those were eighteen-sixties dollars and an uninflatable ton. You could fill a wheelbarrow and go down the hill with five thousand dollars’ worth of silver. Three or four years ago, a miner friend of Deffeyes who lives in Tombstone, Arizona, happened to find on his own property an overlooked fragment of a supergene enrichment, a narrow band no more than a few inches thick, six feet below the zakelijke energie vergelijken cactus. Knocking off some volcanic overburden with a front-end loader, the miner went after this nineteenth-century antique and fondly dug it out by hand. He said to his children, “Pay attention to what I’m doing here. Look closely at the rock. We will never see this stuff again.” In a couple of hours of a weekend afternoon, he took twenty thousand dollars from the ground.