CALGARY, Alberta – Winter across the country has been a force not seen in many years. Prohibitively cold weather and inordinate snowfall volumes month-over-month has brought most of the city’s budgets to the breaking point. Calgary was no exception, and with record snowfall came record gravel on the roads.
Estimates from city hall have put the amount of gravel distribution at more than double the amount typically used to keep the icy thoroughfares safe. As a result the city’s budget for street cleaning has been cut, and much of the gravel will remain on the streets until late summer or even into the fall.
Editors at 2P News received a tip yesterday informing us that trouble may only be beginning in Calgary, as over 50 downtown geologists took to the streets Monday afternoon after one claimed he saw gold and possibly silver ore in some gravel stuck in his shoe. Police were called, but were not prepared for the mumbling mob of earth scientists crawling the gutters and intersections on all fours with hand lenses and chemical test bottles.
We arrived at 4th and 8th to find several men, many of them in their sixties, sifting through the road gravel in the intersection and in the gutters. Some were just glancing, but a few of these guys were focused like a laser beam, examining each grain before tossing it into a special pile.
We arrested 3 of the men when an argument escalated after one man took another mans “claim.” We had reports at 17 intersections just after 1pm, and we called in help from Edmonton and Red Deer police services around 3pm when things got really crazy. – Constable Rick MaGyver, CPS
The geologists in the streets cannot be arrested as of yet, but if they begin to cause traffic flow problems or violence starts the police will have no choice but to jail the rock sniffers until they settle down.
They may be charged with Prospecting in a Public Place or Sluicing Without a License, both charges dating back to 1885, but are still technically in the city’s bylaws. Each of the charges comes with a mandatory 6-week incarceration at a Mental Therapy Center, along with lifetime memberships in both CSPG and APEGA, rewarding an individual’s raw dedication to the profession.
2P News reporter Rodecker Smith managed to talk to one man after his detention, and was surprised that he seemed truly surprised they got arrested.
We heard that James Foundler had a bit of gold stuck in his shoe. Must have been deposited in the same gravel bed the city gets their pickle mix from, and a few of us went to check out that intersection, but there were already 10 other geologists there.
We talked for awhile, and came to the conclusion that the deposition of this gravel was oriented northwest to southeast, with thicker deposits on streets that didn’t get cleared in time. Any fluvial action this spring as melt water hit gutters also focused the deposits in certain intersections with poor drainage. And then the claims started, unofficial of course, but it was getting ugly. Then the police showed up and put me in cuffs! What the heck?! I was only sitting on a curb looking at rocks! – Darbi O’Leary, Staff Geologist at Kantfind Energy
So far no formal charges have been laid, but streets in the core are shut down while police try to deal with this geological issue peacefully.
Reports are in this morning that several northwest neighborhoods are also being disrupted, predominantly in areas where gravel has moved to central deposits in parks and in cul-de-sacs.
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