Thursday, August 9, 2012

What You Really Need to Know About Tertiary Channels (Part 2)

 (This beautiful specimen nugget was recovered from a paystreak in a N. California Tertiary "drift" mine.)"

Getting the Goods

In my previous post on this topic I reintroduced you to some basics concerning Tertiary river channels and the man of the hour, geologist Waldemar Lindgren. I also briefly touched on how the dream merchants try to sell you downriver (pun intended) when it comes to getting the goods from these "ancient rivers of gold."

Devoid of Gold

Right off the get go, you should understand that not all Tertiary Period gravels are (or were) gold bearing. Just like many rivers and streams today, many Tertiary streambeds were completely devoid of gold.

For example, I could give you directions right now to a number of ancient Tertiary stream gravels in Kansas and bless your little heart, you could dig away at those suckers for weeks and never find a single speck of gold. Hmmmm......Anyone interested in buying a placer gold claim in the Sunflower State? (Yes? Check with the mining companies listed in the "Rogue's Gallery.")

Mining Equipment 
Gold Concentrates
Gold Concentrators

This is one fact that the dream merchants hustling Tertiaries to the unwary seem to conveniently forget. After all brothers and sisters, they've already set the hook on you with all the possibilities these "ancient rivers of gold" offer for striking it rich and soon, very soon, you'll end up kicking back on your yacht firing up your smokes with 100-dollar bills.

Not All That Easy to Locate

Here's the truth of the matter. Unless you're a highly skilled geologist (a Waldemar Lindgren, that is),  gold-bearing Tertiary Channels are not all that easy to locate or trace in terms of their extent, depth, or direction (although the latter is generally east-to-west or north-to-south trending).

 (Simplified map of Tertiary river channels in California's N. Motherlode Region.)

Yet BSers like Mr. Adventure (remember him?) will gladly give you (did I actually say "give?")...ooops, I mean SELL you (at a very pretty penny, by the way) maps "detailing" not only where these super-rich ancient rivers are, but their purported length, width, and what highways they lie adjacent to! I shit you not friends and neighbors...

Selling Free Material

Perhaps I'm not being very fair to Mr. Adventure here because there are quite a few geologic maps outlining Tertiary Channels in the U.S and elsewhere that were researched and created by REAL geologists and mining engineers. Undoubtedly, it was from sources like these that Mr. Adventure "gleaned" much of his Tertiary hustle material.

All that remained was some "sprucing up" by removing the scientific core of the material and transforming things in a way that made Mr. Adventure seem as if he, and he alone, was privy to this secret of golden wealth and only he, again, could point the way to it.

Difficult and Dangerous

The upshot? Why fork over your hard-earned money to this n'er-do-well when you could research this material for free? Or ask me about it? I rest my case yet again...

One thing the dream merchants avoid like the black plague when it comes to Tertiary Channels is how difficult they are to work and just how dangerous that work can be. I'll address this in detail in my next post on this topic.

Be safe out there...

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Mining 'Newbies' at the 'Potholes' (Part 1)"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2012

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. Jim, the way I understand it these are mosty dried up old river beds, is that right? If they are,has the gold had time enough to break up fine, or are bigger pieces more likely (as a general rule). What would be the best way to "go for the gold"? Gary

  2. Gary these are points I'll be addressing,so hang in there for a bit, OK? Best, J.R.