METALS: California Treasure Hunt

When Donald Bartlett, an oil-company worker, and six of his friends in Bakersfield, Calif. decided to hunt for uranium, they did it the easy way. They bought a $495 scintillator and drove along the country roads in Kern County around Bakersfield. One day last December, as they drove along the Walker Pass road through the southern Sierra Mountains, the needle of the scintillator began to "go crazy." Bartlett and his friends began to "go scrambled out, soon found the reason: a big granite outcropping studded with pockets of radioactive ore (autunite). When they...

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