The story of the explosion of the gold rush back in the mid-1800's is know to most Americans. Thousands upon thousands rushed to California to find their fortune.  Of course, many found only poverty and struggle.

Washington state has never been known as an area ripe with gold.  Yes, it can be found, but not even close to the abundance found in other western states. Though there was a short period of time in which Washington experienced its own pint-sized gold rush.

Back in 1897 and lasting until the late 1920's, Whatcom county (in the extreme northwest of the state) saw a gold rush, of sorts, with the discovery of the Lone Jack mine and a few others. The Mt. Baker gold rush, as it is referred to, never panned out like other gold rushes throughout the west.

Fast forward to present day, and a Canadian mining company called Calibre Mining Corporation has announced that they have found a substantial gold vein in the Republic/Eureka Mining District of Washington state. The size of the deposit, according to the company, is estimated at two million ounces.

An ounce of gold, as of the publishing of this article, stands at just under $1900. By today's value, the newly discovered deposit would fetch a healthy 3.78 billion dollars.  With experts saying the price of gold is only expected to rise as economic uncertainty continues to rule the day, that valuation is expected to only climb.

Aspiring gold hunters shouldn't get excited, though, as the mine is privately owned.  However, many would point to the fact that if there's a deposit of this size, there likely will be more nearby. This is believed to be the most substantial gold deposit discovery of its kind in the northeastern part of the state.

Soon, all of this (and discoveries of this kind) will be relatively the chagrin to many who are paying attention. Several upstart mining companies have set their sights on harvesting gold and many other precious metals from asteroids.

A mining company called AstroForge announced in late January of this year that it will launch a research satellite into low Earth orbit this coming April to test its refinery technologies. That will be closely followed in October with a larger spacecraft that will go by a near Earth asteroid in an attempt to collect data about its composition, including the presence of platinum and associated metals.

Economists expect that once the first successful attempt at mining a large asteroid bears fruit, the volumes brought back to Earth would be enough to completely collapse the market. The value of these metals would be more than enough to completely redefine the global economy.

Until that occurs, feel free to have some fun with precious metals.

LOOK: The states with the most UFO sightings

For each state, we’ve also included details of famous UFO sightings in that state. Of note is that almost three-quarters of all UFO sighting reports in the United States occur between 4 p.m. and midnight, and tend to peak between 9 and 10 p.m. Food for thought next time you're out scoping for alien life. Keep reading to see which states have had the most UFO sightings.

Gallery Credit: Nicole Caldwell & Matt Albasi

More From 610 KONA