Rockin the Rockies

Rockin the Rockies
Stowe Mtn

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pegmatites at Lake George CO

We checked out a new area last week at Lake George, but didn't believe we would find many crystals as the area was quite dug up. First thing we did was examine the debris from the older digs, since the diggings looked promising we gave it a try. We prospected the area and found many of the older digs were extremely shallow. Bob dug into a quartzy area that had been dug by others while I hit an area down the hill. The older dig I focused on went straight up the hill, while the dig Bob investigated was shallow and circular. I expanded the old trench-like dig in a SE direction while Bob dug his quartz dig deeper. Almost immediately after digging into my dig I found crystal pieces and mud. Note the changing color of the dirt around the crystal below (sign of a pocket). Things looked very promising so I called Bob over to take a look at a fairly large crystal nestled in the pocket. I kept my fingers crossed as I hoped the point would not be damaged.
Fingers crossed in hope of a good crystal (the termination/point makes the crystal
Much to my dismay as I pulled the crystal out of the pocket I noted it was damaged :-(  The crystal never properly terminated but its crown was filled with what appears to be manganese. I wasn't sure this specimen was worth taking home, but the crystal might prove interesting and it would certainly be a challenge to clean.  I took home a few crystals from this dig, but most were broken. Bob continued to dig deeper into the quartz. Our mentor always told us if at first you don't succeed dig deeper!  Well, Bob kept digging and after 4 feet down he started to find some real smoky gems
Bob's got a nice 5" smoky quartz crystal (among others in background)
Bob found a lot of calcite overgrowth on his crystals, but a little muratic acid will take care of that.
We returned to this area a few days later and again checked out some surface quartz that upon further examination only appeared to be scratched through. Bob again started digging a 4 foot hole and sure enough there were prized smoky crystals at the bottom. I started lining up the digs and noticed they followed a northwest  to southeast line confirming an underlying pegmatite. I decided to dig my own 4 foot hole along that nw-se line and was soon pulling out my own crystals albeit small fry. We'll probably trench this entire underlying pegmatite which appears to run for about 75 feet (We shall see). I found some surface amazonite fragments, so that will also help further the hunt. Later in the day I was scratching around on the surface and found a pocket near the surface as well. This pocket only yielded a couple of keepers but the area continues to yield crystals and certainly merits a return visit.
Crystal shards in the pocket... not much else unfortunately
I too found crystals, but mine were only 1 inch in length while Bob dug out some 4 inch beauties

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Two pockets of Crystals at Lake George

Snow still on the Tarryall Mountains about 10km north of Lake George
Snows continue to fall in the mountains but at least the ground is now thawed out. Many of the southern and western slopes are snow free, so its time to hunt crystals! Spring in the Rockies is fickle with snow one day and flowers bursting forth the next day.
Pink cactus flowers popping out in the April sunshine
So my rockhounding partner and I set forth to see what we could find. I followed some quartz float up a hill and as I pursued it, I noted it thinned out to almost nothing six feet up the slope. I dug my pick axe in and soon was pulling out quartz crystals. I called Bob over and he helped me move a rather large rock and I continued to dig out the pocket for another hour.
You can see some of the smoky quartz appearing in the crystal pocket
Unfortunately most of the crystals were damaged. Bob was digging nearby. He suspected a shallow dig was not very aggressively dug, so he went down the hill and redug the surface and ran into a pocket that someone else had missed. Bob found several crystals as well but many of his were damaged too. Still a very good day as we kept busy finding crystals.
Bob's had enough of this pocket and is leaving a rather large pile of fractured crystals behind. Bob's pocket also yielded some interesting calcite conglomerations which I took home and will try and clean. So far I've applied Super Iron Out and will continue for a week or so to see how they're cleaning up. Hopefully some pictures on that later.