Kolmanskop – Namibia: the remains of diamond fever taken over by the desert.

We are in Namibia: people flocked to the area that later became known as Kolmanskop after the discovery of diamonds, in 1908. Here, Zacharias Lewala, a regular railway worker, picked up what he thought was an unusually shiny stone, and showed it to his supervisor, August Stauch, who immediately applied for a prospector’s license. Verification confirmed that the first diamond in the region had been found. The diamonds were in such supply that they could be picked off the ground by bare hands, and soon the area was flooded with…

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Tonopah Mining Park: over a century of mining…

The story goes that prospector Jim Butler was camping around Tonopah Springs, the spring of 1900. He was angrily chasing a runaway burro (a donkey) that had wandered off during the night and sought shelter near a rock outcropping. When he discovered it the next morning, he picked up a rock to throw at the animal, found it surprisingly heavy, and realized he had stumbled upon a wealth of untapped silver ore. He had discovered the second-richest silver strike in Nevada history! He continued his journey and showed the samples…

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