Rockin the Rockies

Rockin the Rockies
Stowe Mtn

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fluorite at Lake George


As summer turns to fall the wildlife gets more active and my urgency to find crystals increases. I guess you could say I'm kind of squirrely by trying to gather up some crystals before the winter sets in and freezes the ground hahaha. We saw a pair of ptarmigan on the way into our site and a deer was cooling itself on the road on the way out. Here is a short clip of the quaking aspen at Lake George CO. My digging partner and I returned to Lake George to dig out some pegmatites we had found earlier in the month. Pegmatites are the geologic formation where crystals are found and there are plenty of both at Lake George. My first digging area produced little, there were many small microcline plates and a few small smoky crystals, but nothing to blog about so I moved up the hill to another area where I had some success in years past. I visited the dig I nicknamed the “waste of time” pocket and then moved laterally to some smaller digs where I had some success in the past. I noticed a few scattered pieces of pegmatite between two of my older digs so I decided to give the spot a try. I found a couple small microcline crystals, but no underlying pegmatite and decided to dig a little deeper and expand the hole. Soon I found a pegmatite only about a foot below the ground which seemed to run in a way that connected to the two other digs I had found previously. The quartz looked pretty good and soon I ran into some smoky quartz crystals. The smokys were damaged but it was encouraging. I dug a little deeper into the pegmatite and I started to note the dirt was changing from brown to red with a layer of diorite below the pegmatite. Soon I was finding lots of microcline plates, but no smokys or much in the way of quartz. I decided to expand the hole uphill and was rewarded with some fluorites near the top with a couple more quartz crystals. The quartz crystals were small but gemmy but the prize was the fluorite. 
Fluorite cube on matrix (bicolor green/purple)
The fluorite was resting just above the pegmatite and probably only about 8 inches below the surface. Upon field-cleaning the fluorite I noted some green and purple zoning, so that is a plus as well. I kept digging the site but found little more in the way of fluorite or smokys. Below the pegmatite I found numerous microcline plates in red clay, but not really collectible. I gave the day 2 stars out of 4 as the weather was great and at least I found some collectible fluorite crystals
Not as gemmy as I had hoped, but a nice specimen nevertheless

Friday, September 11, 2015

Smoky Quartz Crystals at Lake George CO

The Tarryalls

While this past summer has been a little tougher to find crystals for me, technique and persistence eventually paid off.  Walking across our Club claim is a little bit harder to prospect than other places due to the large areas of disturbed ground. Quartz fragments and pieces of pegmatite are seemingly scattered everywhere making the technique of prospecting next to impossible. As I was checking out one particular area of fairly undisturbed ground on our club claim I noticed a large rock flipped over with white quartz underneath it. I poked around the rock and found nothing so I decided to check out the ground down the hill from this area and saw pieces of white quartz on the ground as well. After scratching the ground with my pick axe I found a few faces on the quartz. I was about 10 feet down the hill from the overturned rock and since I found quartz faces with no apparent dig uphill I set myself down and began searching the topsoil for float (quartz crystals from a pocket). After about 5 minutes I began to be rewarded with some nice float. The float I was finding was nearly all double terminated and there were some larger smoky quartz chunks that look promising.
It was near the end of the day so I decided to call my digging partner on the radio and meet him at my truck and then drive back up to the site. By the time we got to the site I mentioned I wasn’t sure this was an old dig as there was a shallow depression up the hill, or something worth pursuing. After 15 minutes of digging Bob was convinced this was a new find due to the amount and quality of the material we were finding. We scratched the surface in an area about 10 square feet heading uphill till we ran out of sign (quartz).  Since it was now 4PM I smoothed out the surface of the dig as it was within only 20 feet of the road and planned to come back another day. I took about 20 crystals home and hoped there were more. The next visit to Lake George I went directly to the site and started digging into the earth where we had stopped finding the quartz float. I almost immediately hit pegmatite about 1 foot down along with a couple small crystals. I decided to back off and went about 3 feet down the hill and dug in again. This time I only found a few small shards of quartz and decided to continue the dig up hill. As I dug I ran into a fairly firm pegmatite to my left so I follow that up the hill until it veered to my right and continued nearly straight across the hill. As the pegmatite veered to the right it opened up and there was a small pocket of about 10 crystals. All the crystals were double terminated and less than 2 inches in length. I reasoned there must be another source of crystals along the pegmatite as some of the float we had found downhill exceeded 3 inches in length. I proceeded to dig along the pegmatite finding small crystals as I went.

I had been at this about 2 hours when suddenly I uncovered a large crystal and thought to myself so this is where the larger shards came from. The large crystal looked to be in good shape so I called Bob over as I thought he might like to see it. J  
5 Inch Smoky Revealing Itself in Pocket
I pulled out a couple of crystals and told Bob I needed a break so he commenced digging. Bob went straight into the pegmatite and found very little, so after a snack and some water I resumed the dig along the pegmatite. I was soon rewarded with another pocket or possibly an extension of the pocket. I was soon pulling out 3 and 4 inch crystals nearly all of which were doubly terminated. I finished the pocket, gathered up about 75 crystals and once again smoothed out the dirt around the pegmatite to keep away the curious. I’m guessing if there were two pockets there could easily be a third so no sense giving away the digging spot.
Best of the lot cleaned 5" Smoky  (Pictured in ground earlier)