The high-definition feature-length film follows maverick geophysicist Jonathan Goold as he hunts for rich veins of gold where no Alaskan prospector has ever set foot: on ground newly exposed by global warming.
Growing up in Valdez and working there as a geophysicist and government surveyor, Goold
noticed that the area's many glaciers are receding at an alarming rate, exposing gravel, soil and cliff faces never seen by human eyes.It struck him that Valdez's rich history of gold mining ended with World War II only because the land had already been explored.Why not, he
figured, search where previous generations couldn't , namely, under the glaciers? Goold
idea secret until the spring of 2007, when he
invited three local friends on an expedition: Ryan Compehos, a Native American who works as an engineer for the Alaska Oil Pipeline; Tim Hale, a younger geological surveyor who has looked up to Goold
since high school; and Dan Gilson, a professional watch-dog environmentalist whose family has been influential in Valdez since the days of the Yukon Gold Rush, when his
great grandfather started a prosperous mine next to Valdez Glacier.
Shooting began in April of 2007 and will continue this August, when snow and ice have melted, floods have cleared and acres of virgin earth and rock have been exposed.Goold
team will explore dozens of valleys at the foot of the Chugach Mountain Range, scouring cliffs and glacial moraine for gold-bearing quartz veins.When they find "color" -- a high density of the gold flakes that can be found all over the hills near Valdez -- they will stake a claim and begin excavation: with rock hammers, gold pans and a gas-powered sluice box.
Will Jonathan Goold
find gold?The question is not whether he
will find gold -- local hobbyists find gold every weekend -- but whether he
will find a rich vein like the ones that produced literally tons of gold ore in the years following the Yukon Gold Rush.Valdezians say that if anyone would find such a vein, it would be Jonathan Goold