Rockin the Rockies

Rockin the Rockies
Stowe Mtn

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Amazonite and Smokys at Lake George -- A summers worth of fun! (Updated 26 Jul)

Bob and I had been having some luck in a fairly remote area so we headed back there this day. It takes about 40 minutes to walk to our spot but a hillside along the way seemed unexplored. Each time I approach an area I try to do it from a slightly different angle, that way I can prospect some new territory on my way to my planned destination. This particular day I prospected up some hills on a rather circuitous path to our site. Bob stayed in the valley on a more direct line to our destination. I never got to the destination that day.
As I was walking along a hillside I noted a little blue poking out of the ground. I carefully looked the area over and determined the blue amazonite fragment was in a slight water run… who knows where that could have come from? Of course the most obvious choice is right there despite the water run. Maybe the water run just uncovered the tip of the pocket. I poked around a little bit and hit more pegmatite and some plates with amazonite and smoky quartz crystals.
Fresh out of the ground, first piece I found at the site
The water run was slight enough to uncover some scree and expose the pegmatite and crystals but not significant enough to wash much material down the hill. After digging a couple of hours I felt guilty and went in search of Bob at our initial destination. Bob was busy digging and finding some noteworthy crystals on his own, so he wished me luck and I went back to my dig. Best dig of the year and best find I had made thus far. I cleaned out several small plates, a few solo smoky crystals and a number of single amazonite crystals. The amazonite was very difficult to remove as it was coated in pocket mud and was very fragile.
Fresh out of the ground combo

Specimen above cleaned up a bit

Nicest combination plate of the lot 12+ complete crystals!

Ready for display!!!

I spent that day and the next working the pocket. I managed to get a little over 2 flats of crystals from this pocket so it was a very nice find!

After finishing up the pocket I prospected below the site hoping to find a few float crystals. I found some nice float crystals as well and decided to come back another day. If there is one pocket there, maybe there are more. I went back home and examined my finds. I noted that the roll-down crystals or float were different than the smokys I had found in the pocket. Most of the float crystals below the pocket grew out of white quartz and went from white to smoky, while the smokys in the pocket were all just black all the way to their growth points out of the pegmatite. I deduced there must be at least one other pocket on that hill. How right I was! While first pocket was the only nice combination smoky/amazonite pocket I found on this hillside.  
Digging through some float we found another pocket with smokys
Bob and I extracted crystals from well over a half dozen more pockets on that hill. While none of the crystals were large (> 6”), they were gemmy and lustrous.
Nice size to these, between 3-6"
The next pocket we found was split between us and consisted of smoky quartz crystals. I had followed quartz float about 40ft up the hill and determined it stopped nearly 50ft below the original pocket (above). Both Bob and I dug in where we found the last surface float and had to dig nearly another 10 feet to find the pocket. Of course there was float under the soil leading us to that pocket.
We probably pulled out 500+ crystals from this area.
Nicest smoky quartz cluster in the pocket and hillside for that matter 4x4x5"
We also found quartz with goethite inclusions (onegite), amazonite, green fluorite, goethite and smokys.
Onegite with a purplish hue (Amethyst)
Onegite with a yellowish hue (Citrine)

It was very rewarding to find an area undiscovered by anyone else and pull out beautiful crystals from billion year old undisturbed pockets. Hurrah, what a rock hounder's paradise!

Update1: I continue to find a lot of pegmatites and associated minerals on this hill. Goethite and associated "onegites" continues to be quite plentiful. The amazonite has dwindled off, but we are still finding pockets with smoky quartz crystals although they are smaller than some of our initial finds... the fun goes on
A nice cleaned flat of smoky quartz crystals, excellent luster (mostly 1-3")

Many onegites here (quartz with goethite inclusions)

Some of my favorite smokys, lustrous, gemmy and slender (2.5")

Friday, June 17, 2016

Three Pockets of Crystals at Lake George

While I found 3 pockets of crystals in one day, another visitor to Lake George did not fare as well as me. For some reason a driver with 4-wheel drive capability and nearly bald tires decided he could go off road and use his vehicle to dig up crystals(probably not). Personally I use a pick and shovel to find crystals and not my $20K vehicle ;-). The owner of this vehicle won’t be going anywhere until he gets a tow out of the mess he dug himself into. There is always something new to see at Lake George and it’s not always minerals.
Glad this wasn't me, dude will probably have to drop $400 to a tow truck to get himself out of this remote predicament

Back to prospecting… I had a bit of a dry spell the last few times out but made up for it with a 3 pocket day. The first pocket was near the top of a hill down the slope from someone else’s dig. I was pretty sure the float I was finding was from the previous dig but when I dug down I hit red dirt/clay and surmised there was a second pocket down the hill from the prior discovery. The pocket contained some nice specimens of smoky quartz crystals. The second pocket branched off the first and formed within the same pegmatite as the first pocket, I thought the second pocket would be better than the first as there was a lot of well-formed quartz with the second pocket but not a lot materialized into collectible crystals with the second pocket. The third pocket was some distance from the other pockets and was more interesting with smoky crystal plates, double terminated smokys some goethite, fluorite and some baveno twinned microcline. The goethite was quite massive with some blading but also showed some minor occurrences of attaching itself to the smoky plates. The smoky plates had some nice size and were quite numerous.
Fresh out of the ground after a 1 billion year wait for me to dig em up
Well I ran out of time to finish the third pocket but I will get after it on my next visit to Lake George.

Day 2: Got back to Lake George just as our latest heatwave is beginning. Just means an extra 32oz of fluids and a little more sleep for me. Anyway back at the dig I continued to dig up small plates and goethite. Many of the plates turned out to be combinations of specimens with fluorite and goethite clinging to the quartz crystals or matrix. This should be quite a time consuming cleaning project, but I'm definitely up for the challenge.
My wife said this looked like a dead fish

Fluorite front, goethite behind, iron stained smokys and microcline makes for a very busy mineral plate

Hopefully in a couple of months I will post some after cleaning pictures.
Examining the "dead fish" (pic above) in some detail gave me pause to think about how all these mineral deposits took place on the quartz crystal. After examining the specimen with my microscope it appears that after the quartz crystal was formed it broke, rehealed a little and then some fluorites were deposited on the quartz. Subsequent to that occurence a layer of iron was deposited on the quartz to include the goethite which coated just about everything including the initial fluorites. After the goethite formed there was a secondary hydrothermal infusion of fluids which formed the yellowish fluorites and then I dug it all up :-). I better be careful or I will transform my interests into micromounts or paragenetic mineral analysis or worse yet learn some geology terms.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Higgledy Piggledy Goethite at Lake George

After nearly a full week of poor weather I set off again for the spot at Lake George that I’ve been working with my digging partner Bob. We have been having a bit of luck in this area of the claim, but we’ve found nothing extraordinary. I started to work a small seam that drifted off a massive pegmatite and found a few 1” crystals but none of them were noteworthy. After finishing that spot I checked in on Bob to see how he was doing. Bob found a highly mineralized pegmatite with broken crystals below the surface at only inches to as much as 3 feet underground. Some of the smoky quartz plates Bob found would have 3 or 4 major crystals (6”) on them but all would be broken off. Bob did find a few collectible solo crystals. We both remarked about what could have been for this pocket had it not been busted up by nature long ago. I settled down near Bob on what was part of a general pegmatite structure running up the hill. I found a few small plates of smokys and microcline as well as some goethite. It seem that all the crystal producing plates were next to decaying tree roots. Evidently the tree sent its roots in vugs or seams within the pegmatite that produced the crystals. I’ve often found tree roots in conjunction with crystals at Lake George. Bob also found some goethite sprays which seem to be dispersed higgledy-piggledy within the scree at this site(always wanted to use higgledy-piggledy) These goethite sprays will be a nice addition to Bob’s collection. Unfortunately most of the larger quartz material was damaged by nature.