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Bajada Placers of the Arid Southwest

By Benjamin N. Weber  (New York Meeting, February, 1936)


Placer mining in Arizona and New Mexico was greatly handicapped by Indian trouble until about 1880. Practically the entire production from bajada placers was the result of the rudest sort of gambucino operations by the individual or small-group efforts of independent entrepreneurs utilizing such small-scale methods as the pan, rocker, hand-bellows dry washer, and in some instances sluicing during an ephemeral runoff in a favorable season. The factor that militates against operation to the greatest extent is lack of surface water. Water is not available for small-scale operations on most bajada placers except during extremely limited periods following infrequent rains. Attempts to work these placers on a large scale have been mostly promotional ventures that proceeded with a cheerful disregard of the geological and other natural phenomena involved and often with a complete lack of knowledge of the quantity and tenor of material available.


A gold mine is a hole in the ground with a liar standing on top of it” is a quotation of credited to Mark Twain, the pen name of author Samuel Langhorne Clemons (1835-1910). There is no evidence that Twain ever said it.  The saying was attributed to an unnamed Kansan in 1903:


“A man in Atchison, Kan., has given utterance of a heartfelt definition of a gold mine, which tells its own story. He says that a gold mine is ‘a hole in the ground owned by a liar.”




Arizona, our beautiful state, was built on mining.

Jan Brewer


My maternal grandma was a tough, tough lady and a stern woman, who lost her husband young and raised six kids by herself. She lived in a mining community in Upstate New York and ran a boarding house for miners. She took care of an entire family and miners who lived in the house as well.

Steve Carell


I was born in a mining village, and you either played football or played football. If you didn't play, there was something wrong with you.

Alan Hansen


Our job as a government is to start with the great underpinnings of our current economic growth - particularly defence and mining - and build on these.

Jay Weatherill


Mining asteroids is a well-oiled trope of science-fiction. But someday, actually doing it will make economic sense. Many of the essential metals of our society, such as platinum, copper and zinc, are rapidly becoming scarce. The asteroids might offer a replacement supply, providing the materials our descendants will need for a high quality life.

Seth Shostak