Tahoe historian Mark McLaughlin is a nationally published author and professional speaker.
TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — It took skill, brains, brawn and endurance to work underground in a Nevada Comstock mine day after day and survive.
Air temperatures at the deepest depths nearly 3,000 feet beneath the surface ranged from 100 degrees Fahrenheit to nearly 130 degrees due to heat emanating from volcanic rock. Contemporary geologists considered Nevada’s 19th century silver mines to be the hottest in the world.
A labyrinth of clay seams throughout the Comstock matrix sealed off the flow of geothermally heated groundwater that riddled the subterranean rock.
Much of this exceptionally hot water was under considerable pressure and would suddenly flood a mine if a clay seam was breached by a drill hole or cut by excavation. Continue Reading →