Chatanika Gold Dredge

        The pictures on this page are from a trip I took to Poker Flat Rocket Range with my best friend up here, Kim Nielsen.

This is Chatanika Lodge. The gold dredge is across the road from the lodge. My car is the grey Subaru in the parking lot.


Here's a mosaiked panorama of the beast, which is the size of a small ship. When working, the boom to the right supported a long belt of scoop buckets that dug through the ground like a chainsaw cuts through wood. The gravel and dirt are scooped into the dredge (from as deep as 30 meters underground) where the gold is extracted; then it is dumped out the back thru the swing-able chute, seen at left. In the process the dredge digs its' own moving pond, which it floats around in (when operating). The gravel coming out the back is dumped so as to form a dam, further deepening the pond. In this way the thing works its' way up a small creek, which feeds the pond, leaving an artificial, gravel-banked valley behind it. This of course totally strips the land: at right you can see what the land used to look like.
    Here the dam has been removed, the pond is drawn down, and the dredge is resting on the ground. A ladder of sorts that has been leaned against it so people can get to the deck from the ground is visible just forward of the superstructure.


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<>Here is a picture of me for scale. For reference, I am about 195cm (6'4") tall. The door I am standing in is the same one that is visible in the images above and below, and is about 2.5m (8'3") high.


This picture was taken from near the foot of the ladder.


These two pictures (above and below) show some of the machinery inside the dredge.


 
 


Here is a picture of me at the foot of the boom, with the pond in the background. I wanted to get out to the end of the boom, but the wood decking started cracking under me.