Look Beyond the Present

We all have our favorite placer gold-bearing streams and washes. You know, those locations we consistently prospect or work for color. But I suspect very few of us realize that those favorite gold locations of ours are fairly new (geologically speaking) in terms of configuration and layout. Therein lies the heart of this post.

Do the Leg Work

I know most of you are at least passingly familiar with Tertiary Channels and other ancient gold-bearing rivers. There's a ton of hype out there these days about Tertiaries and the gold they contain. There are even some dream merchants out there there trying to hustle the folding green out of your sweaty palms by selling so-called treasure maps outlining the locations of these ancient riverbeds and the prolific gold their gravels contain. As an aside, don't give these hucksters your hard-earned money for information you can get for free. There are numerous publications online that you can access without spending a dime that will give you the same information (or even better info) that these sleight-of hand "experts" are trying to foist off to you for cash. Want to learn more about Tertiary Channels? Read Waldemar Lindgren's classic, The Tertiary Gravels of the Sierra Nevada of California. Want maps of the Tertiaries? Get online and do a bit of research. Quit throwing your money away simply because you're unwilling to a little leg work, OK?

 (Stop buying snake oil from hucksters.)

What Am I Saying?

Moving on, I'm not here to talk about Tertiary Channels per se. I've done that in the past and that info, just like an auriferous Tertiary Channel, now lies buried deep within the Bedrock Dreams Archives. But I will tell you this. Any single miner or prospector looking to tap into the wealth of the Tertiaries is pretty much barking up the wrong tree. Most of these ancient or "dead" rivers are buried under tons of overburden or rhyolite flows, or alternately buried within or atop steep hills or mountainsides that require extensive tunneling, shoring, and so on. The old timers working Tertiaries in the California Motherlode Region did so using large companies of men employing massive hydraulicking equipment. So what am I saying here? That, by and large, Tertiary Channels are not suitable to small-scale mining. However, if you have the capacity to look beyond present appearances, perhaps your favorite gold location can provide its own form of an ancient gold-bearing stream.

Nature Isn't Static

You see, that stream or wash you're working these days was NOT in the same location millenia ago nor was its configuration the same even decades ago. Like life itself, nature is all about change. It doesn't lie static year after year even though you may not be able to discern the subtle changes within it. In certain contexts, that stream or wash you're currently working isn't the original gold-bearing stream or wash in that area. The original stream or wash may now be sitting hundreds of yards away or even a few feet away. It may be partially visible or presenting clues like rounded rocks or cobble, or it may lie hidden just below the surface or buried deeper down. The inside bends and low-pressure areas you're targeting now are not the same ones where gold was deposited eons ago in a nearby ancient stream or wash, nor is the bedrock configuration the same. Even in more recent times that stream or wash you're digging into has shifted, changed, or been altered by natural forces...including flooding and flash flooding. So what I'm suggesting here is that you, again, look beyond the present. Look for clues and signs that, just maybe, signal there's an older variation of the stream or wash you're currently working.

Look Beyond

This sort of task isn't easy but mining and prospecting never is. You have to use your combined knowledge and experience to sort these things out. You have to be patient and thorough and take the time necessary for a real search of better gold nearby. You gotta work at it. There's no fast track to success in this regard nor is there a "magic pill" to make it all come together for you. I know we live in a society these days where most people just expect things to happen for them without exerting any real time or effort. They want it all but don't want to lift a finger to get it. A miner's miner, on the other hand, is always willing to look beyond and do the hard work necessary to make things happen. If it takes time, then so be it. If it takes some thought and effort, then so be it. If you're tired of the same old thin vials of gold in your poke, why not search for something better close by to where you're presently standing? You have nothing to lose really and absolutely everything to gain.
Just think on this for a bit.

It just might pan out well for you. It's worth a try right?

(c) Jim Rocha 2018

Questions? E-mail me at jr872vt90@yahoo.com


  1. A really good article and advice Jim. Thank you!
    Is that your gold in the pans?
    It looks coarse like possibly from New Mexico diggings.
    Take care out there!

    1. Thanks my friend. I wish that was my gold...I'd be out there digging like a madman!


    2. Ha ha..that's funny Jim! I hear you!
      There are some people that appear to have access to that kind of gold.
      Last year a younger guy posted some photos on detector prospector website. He had over 50 ounces of gold spread out on a kitchen table. I think the biggest nug was over 2 ounces.
      He said he found that in 31 days using a Minelab detector. He was working a private claim in Arizona, and earned a small share of the gold.
      That is one heck of a private claim and I wish I had access to it!
      Veryy impressive, and I really didn't think nugs that large could still be found in Arizona. He said no more than 18" to 2' deep if I remember correctly.
      He was using the GPZ, top of the line detector. I think that they run about 9 thousand dollars.
      Wouldn't take that long to pay for itself in the right location.

    3. Those top of the line Minelabs are something else. I think they were initially developed for the iron rich soils of Australia and have detected some excellent gold...and lots of it!

  2. This is the stuff that fuels golden dreams!


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