'Bering Sea Gold' Returns With Most Dangerous and Unpredictable Season Yet, Catch an Exclusive Sneak Peek

Bering Sea Gold is back with its most high-stakes season yet as the miners put their lives on the line, diving well into winter for the first time in years, to strike it rich in the "biggest gold rush" the Bering Sea has ever seen. Ahead of the Friday, May 15 season premiere of the hit Discovery show, PopCulture.com has an exclusive sneak peek of the danger that's to come as the miners' world gets turned upside down by record ice melt.

In Nome, Alaska, where 20 degrees below zero is typically considered a warm day, a record-breaking heat wave has stirred the sediment of the ocean floor, putting the miners' known claims at risk but uncovering new spots that are a veritable honey pot for the first crew to find them. It's a dangerous playing field for the miners, who have their own reputations to defend (or recover) in a season filled with such potential.

"Change is in the air in Nome, Alaska, home to the richest offshore gold mining on Earth where each year, millions of dollars in gold is pulled from the Bering Sea," narrator Mike Rowe explains in PopCulture's preview. "But this summer, an extraordinary sea change could make those numbers skyrocket.A record-breaking heat wave has blasted the mining grounds. The fast ice melt kicked up sediment on the ocean floor burying some tried and true honey holes but also uncovering new deposits of rich, untapped gold."

For Shawn Pomrenke, that means reclaiming his title as ‘Mr. Gold,’ after being knocked off his throne by Ken Kerr, who left him stuck on shore with a bad business deal. He warns in the PopCulture sneak peek, "I lost my crown and all my dredges, but I'm gonna fight to get 'em all back. Everybody better watch out."

Eroica captain Emily Riedel is also looking to come out on top, breaking out her secret weapon, diver Daryl Galipeau,in hopes of exploring previously-untouched areas and outworking her competitors. Kris Kelly, meanwhile, is ready to compete this season with hopes of expanding his empire with a "go big or go broke" attitude that he hopes will allow him to finally join the ranks of the mega-miners. Also returning for the record season is Vernon Adkison, who is bringing daughter Elaine along with him this season to learn from one of the best.

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It's stakes like these that push the miners to dive under a solid sheet of Bering Sea ice to stay on the trail of gold for the first time in years, sometimes straying into areas where the ice is less than 2 feet thick. As Pomrenke puts it, "Soon as you think you got the Bering Sea all figured out, it throws you a big curve ball."

Will the miners be able to walk away from this season with their fortune in gold and their lives? Bering Sea Gold returns to Discovery for an all-new season on Friday, May 15 at 8 p.m. ET. For more from PopCulture on all the Discovery Channel's latest shows, click here.