Rockin the Rockies

Rockin the Rockies
Stowe Mtn

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Club Field Trips

Our club, the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society is a great way to get access to otherwise claimed sites and work with others who are more knowledgeable about the minerals on the claim. I enjoy field trips to places I have never been, especially when they are normally inaccessible. In the fall of 2012 our club with the owners permission went to two claims near Salida CO. The Sedalia and Calumet Mines. I'm usually up for any crystal hunting especially when I'm told the crystals could be big. Below are some pictures of various crystals/minerals I collected. Both claims were former mines that took out copper and iron. The mines began operation in the late 19th century and have been mainly closed as viable mining operations since WWII. Below are some pictures of some of the minerals I found. First are pictures from the Sedalia copper mine and then pictures from the Calumet iron mine. You can google these mines and find more historical information on each site or read a little more about them in Voynick's book "Colorado Rockhounding".
Nice goose egg size Almandine Garnet. I found a couple almost the size of 12" softballs.

I think the one just above this caption was about softball size

Fairly large grouping of magnetite

Copper minerals, maybe some Chrysocolla

Actinolite, maybe some magnetite as well.

What follows are some pictures of crystals from the Calumet Mine

Clear quartz on gray background. Epidote inclusions near quartz base

Epidote in Matrix

Nice epidote perched on matrix

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Rockhounding 2013 A New Season Ahead

Well, I hope we have better weather this year than we have had so far. Having completed tax season where I work, I've been patiently waiting for a decent break in the weather to get back to prospecting. I finally ventured forth yesterday with my rock hounding buddy, but the weather chased us off the mountains. We knew it would be touch and go because of the weather forecast and I had hoped we could squeeze in 4 or 5 hours. It was 45F when we started, but periods of light snow and wind finally were enough to make us call it quits. While my digging buddy Bob prospected a nearby hill at Lake George, I decided to redig an area I left off late last fall. There was a seam of quartz and a little yellow mud to follow. Finally the quartz became more prevalent, a seam of clay turned from yellow to reddish brown. Changing colors of clay is always a good sign. Actually any time you find clay with quartz you must dig slowly and with care. After getting through some quartz shards a small pocket opened up with a few collectible crystals. I told Bob afterwards that I can't recall a smaller pocket with 3 inch crystals. I took home only about 5 crystals (1-3inch) crystals and left the rest. It was good to get out, a one mile hike with back pack at 8500 ft was a good first effort for the season. While neither of us found much and the snow and wind made us quit early, it was still good to get out for a few hours.
Mother Nature covered last years dig with water crystals of her own
This is the same crystal below cleaned up some, nice and gemmy with a little character to it. It's always nice to have a little pegmatite with the crystal

Looks promising

Three 2-3 inches crystals ready for cleaning
I look a little ornery this day.... too cold not enough crystals, had to take off 2.5ft of overburden before I got to the crystal containing pegmatite