Monday, April 1, 2013

Things You Find in the Field: Melted Claim Posts

Once upon a time in Nevada, 4-inch diameter, perforated or unperforated PVC pipe could be used as claim posts. Prior to some time in the late 1970s or early 1980s, claim posts in Nevada consisted of 4" by 4" by 4' or 5' wooden posts, which even when wormy with holes, were quite heavy to carry on the long claim traverses we sometimes made when staking claims.

By 1993 (possibly as early as 1991) all such PVC posts had to be unperforated and capped to prevent birds from trying to nest in the pipes, then dying when they couldn't get out. In late 2011, removal of PVC posts was mandated in Nevada. Apparently, anyone can pull the old PVC posts out of the ground, but you are required to leave them lying on the ground "immediately adjacent to to the location from which it is removed" (it is otherwise a crime to remove or disturb claim markers and filing papers on public lands).

Most claims in Nevada are now staked with a wooden post "at least 1 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 inches by 4 feet" set 1 foot into the ground. Small posts like these were not allowed in the 1970s and 1980s.
A closer, side view of the melted pipe, showing its originally perforated character.
A brush fire went through this area in July, 2007 (a few photos here). I've seen other melted claim posts from other fires here and there, but this one shows the most extreme melting I've seen so far; the fire must have been relatively hot or slow-moving.

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