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Science of the Comstock

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Science of the Comstock

The Comstock Lode is a famous ore deposit of silver and gold in the Virginia Range of Storey County, Nevada. The most famous town on the Comstock is Virginia City. The biggest mining booms in the area were from 1859 to about 1890, although mining has occurred on a smaller scale up to the present.

Mining of the Comstock Lode was made possible by numerous innovations. Some inventions were made specifically to solve problems encountered in these mines, but others merely fortuitously occurred. The mining and milling techniques and their developments were based on scientific principles.

Science of the Comstock provides content, activities, and lesson plans related to the fields of study of science of Physics, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Environmental Science applied to the historically and industrially important mining on the Comstock. The materials provided here can be used as a part of a traditional science course by selecting the relevant field of science, as part of an integrated science course in which a topic is chosen and the science involved is addressed, or even as a part of an multidisciplinary integrated course in which the relevance of a topic to society is studied through various academic disciplines such as science, social studies, and language arts.

We also hope the materials in Science of the Comstock will be of interest to others who are curious about the natural and human history of the Comstock.

Tour: A look into the area and processes of the Comstock.

Physics: The physics of the siphon that brings water to Virginia City is examined.

Chemistry: The chemistry of ore processing and assaying is examined.

Earth Science: Mapping as a tool is explored using the Virginia City area as a focus.

Environment: The influence of mining on the area is presented as an introduction into consideration of the effects of mining.

Scams: Some hints on avoiding mining scams are presented.

Lesson Plans: Lesson plans for the subject areas that link to the articles are presented.


Science of the Comstock prepared by Team 50041 for the 1999 ThinkQuest for Tomorrow's Teachers