gulch

In the western United States, gulch is a word for a small ravine. Deeper than a gully, generally narrow and steep sided, shallower than a canyon. Miners often found gold or other minerals concentrated in a gulch’s swash channel. The Blue Cloud Gulch and the Old Dominion Gulch in Montana each yielded gold, silver, and copper for many years. Dublin Gulch in the Yukon attracted a steady stream of miners during that gold rush. Artifacts of ancient civilizations are also sometimes exposed in a gulch. In Grand Gulch, Utah, for instance, the Anasazi left their mark in red sandstone. Dwelling places, pottery, and tools were eventually uncovered by centuries of moving water in that area. In the profusion of gifts offered by gulches, none was more spectacular than the one discovered by a miner in New Mexico in 1987. He saw the tip of tusk in a gulch; the remains were later identified as those of a Columbian mammoth. Public and scientific interest brought about a full excavation of this site, now known as the Dry Gulch Mammoth Site, exposing a grail of bones.

Elizabeth Cox