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Photos: Nome's underwater gold rush

A historical park in Nome commemerating the gold rush of a century ago. Nome is in the midst of another gold rush, this time with underwater dredgers.
Courtesy Peter Law
A gold dredge in Nome.
Courtesy Peter Law
A gold dredger's shack on the beach in Nome.
Courtesy Peter Law
A gold dredger's shack on the beach in Nome.
Courtesy Peter Law
Gold dredger shacks on the beach in Nome.
Courtesy Peter Law
A sign welcomes visitors to Nome.
Courtesy Peter Law
Peter Law

With gold fetching more than $1,700 an ounce in October 2012, the reality TV show "Bering Sea Gold'' fuels the idea it's possible for anyone with basic diving skills and a boat to vacuum a fortune from the floor of the ocean not far from Nome, Alaska, a community of 3,695 some 540 miles northwest of Anchorage. There's no doubt the City of the Golden Beaches is witnessing a modern-day gold rush.

Alaskan Peter Law, who snapped the photos in this slideshow, visited Nome in October, where he saw today's gold rush unfolding on the beaches.

"The place is full of gold miners now," he said in an email to friends. "There were a couple when I was here years ago, but now the place is packed with them."

Law added:

Some of them have built shanties on the beach, sort of like 'Mad Max'. One guy I spoke to is planning to stay in his for his third winter. He is the only one staying on the beach. The ones that stay on, they hack holes in the ice and jump in wearing dry suits to suction up the sand. Sounds crazy. None of the (miners) I met had made much money, although one guy did find a five-ounce nugget a couple weeks ago.

RELATED: Some 'Bering Sea Gold' miners pulling in more than $10,000 a week