"Stevens' Hydraulic Mines near Oro City," Colorado, 1877.
PRINCETON SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION, 1877
"Stevens' Hydraulic Mines near Oro City," Colorado, 1877.

Albumen print. Princeton Scientific Expeditions Collection, Princeton University Archives.

Students were responsible for planning the College of New Jersey's first geological survey to the American West in 1877. The highly organized affair led to many discoveries and publications in the fields of paleontology and topography. The students themselves were the expedition's photographers, and their mostly amateurish landscape views were self-consciously modeled on the photographs of the major government surveys. The photograph here, for example, documents hydraulic mining methods with little of the artistic merit witnessed in the mining photography of Carleton E. Watkins. It simply shows how water diverted into ditches or wooden flumes at high elevations was carried by gravity to nozzles that blasted apart mountainsides and allowed miners to separate gold from rock.