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September 26, 1861: Clayton

September 26, 2011

Caution: Awesomeness Within

Black Diamond Mines Regional Park; by Ken-ichi, on Flickr

Camp 57

[Today] Averill and I visited the hills to the north and ran a line of barometrical observations across a number of hills and valleys in order to get an accurate section across from the mountain through the coal mines that are just now attracting much attention here. It was a laborious day’s work, making many miles of hot walking and climbing.

Coal on the Pacific Coast is a great desideratum, where anthracite coal for ocean steamers has sometimes sold for fifty dollars per ton, and often for over thirty dollars, and is now, I think (not sure), over twenty dollars. Bituminous coal is cheaper, of course, but brings ten to twelve dollars per ton, if good. The true “coal measures” do not exist, in any probability, west of the Rocky Mountains. But in various places a kind of soft coal known as “brown coal” and “Tertiary coal” is found, especially up in Russian America. It is now being discovered in this state, the most valuable deposits thus far found being near Mount Diablo. I will reserve a description of the mines until I pay them another visit.

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