If you’ve ever watched Gold Rush and thought, “Why don’t they just blow up the permafrost?” – we’ve got several answers for you right here.
For untold generations of humans, digging a hole was the only way to create one. Nowadays we have fancy machinery to do so. But long before that, even, humanity has gotten a huge kick out of exploding giant holes into things. Mountains, bedrock, cliffs, you name it.
So when Gold Rush fans see countless hours spent digging into thick, hard permafrost in the Yukon, we can’t help have the thought: “Why not just blow the s*** to kingdom come?”
In our quest for answers, a Reddit thread on this exact topic provides the best answers. In the discussion began by u/-nuf-, experienced prospectors and fans alike answer the question: “Could anyone enlighten me why they don’t use explosives to break up permafrost ground? Is it a cost thing or regulations or would the drilling take too long?”
As you’d expect, there’s several really good reasons why Tony, Parker, and all the Gold Rush prospectors don’t.
Reason #1: Blasting is Too Expensive, Even for ‘Gold Rush’
Redditor UnfilteredGarbage answers with what is quite possibly the strongest answer, so we’ll start there. UG says plainly: “It’s expensive as f***. I used to work a blasting job. You’d work all day drilling and filling holes to blast a few thousand yards. Probably a days worth of dirt for them.”
As Tony Beets has said himself on the show, most prospecting outfits would be happy with a 10% profit, and blasting would “suck that down fast,” pinpoints u/PineWind108. “Then, even after they’d broken up the frozen ground, if that was their pay-dirt, they’d still have to thaw it,” they clarify.
More specifically, bringing in explosives is a massive cost for them for the amount of dirt that would then have to be moved with a dozer, adds Redditor ckalt11. “Also, in season 7/8 when the Hoffman’s were in Colorado, we saw them do it once without permits and they got in trouble,” the Gold Rush fan remembers.
Blasting permits also tend to take far too long to clear, which has put off the show’s prospectors in the past.
Reason #2: The ‘Gold Rush’ Yukon Isn’t Zoned for Explosives
While cost seems to be the biggest detractor within the show, zoning seems to be another no-go. Or, as u/Jay-Zigg states plainly: “The mine sites aren’t zoned for explosives.”
Redditor TankCue seems to hold the proper knowledge, explaining that “Explosives are only for open pit mining where the gold concentrate is 0.25 per ton.
The Yukon concentrates, however, “are like couple ounces per ton,” TankCue cites.
And if Gold Rush needs another reason, it’s definitely:
Reason #3: Don’t Mix Your Pay-dirt with the Overburden
We’re over-simplifying here, but blowing a possible payload sky-high seems like a bad idea. Keeping pay-dirt and overburden separate is crucial, and we’re willing to bet it’s a strong enough reason the Gold Rush teams aren’t blasting away, too.
Seems like a pretty strong, 3-part case against explosives, yes? Major thanks to fellow Gold Rush fans on the show’s Reddit board for their answers.