Rockin the Rockies

Rockin the Rockies
Stowe Mtn

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Hunt for Amazonite at Lake George CO

Fall Shows Up Right on Schedule... 22 September
I recently got permission from a claim owner to prospect his claim. He always has the caveat that if I find something really good I must show him the specimen. So far what I’ve thought was fairly good hasn’t measured up to his definition of really good so I've been able to keep past specimens. My digging partner Bob and I decided to give his location a try and see if we could have some luck. Bob investigated older dig areas while I looked for undug areas. I figured I could find float or discards or maybe something missed at the old digs but I would have a better chance of finding a bonanza if I could find an undiscovered area/pocket. Even in the remoter areas of the claim I could see that others had been there before me by the signs of disturbed surface quartz and shallow depressions. Lake George is noted for its amazonite and I haven’t found much in the way of amazonite this year so I concentrated on looking for blue sign. I found chips of amazonite in different areas but they all lead to previous digs. I walked ridgelines and checked rock outcrops looking for a potential spot. I finally located a downed tree on the side of a hill which had some quartz around the rotted exposed root-ball. On closer examination I noted some blue flecks of amazonite. I dug in and found a few larger pieces of amazonite and quartz but no pegmatite. I reasoned the old tree roots may have collected float around it's roots. There were no digs on this hill so I liked that aspect of the area very much... nobody had dug the area and thrown quartz all over the hill. I’ve seen people throw quartz 20 feet down the hill not realizing this will create a prospecting nightmare for those who follow trying to find a pocket based on quartz float. About 6 feet up the hill from the tree I noticed some more flakes of amazonite in the scree so I decided to probe this spot and dig in a bit. I soon found larger pieces of amazonite and quartz which quickly led me to a pegmatite. The digging was slow as only a few collectible crystals were mixed in with the shards… about a 25:1 ratio of leaverites to keepers.  I kept a lot of the amazonite leaverites due to their nice blue color (perhaps traderites) as I may be able to trade them for something else more desirable.
It was near the end of our digging day so I called Bob on our radios and then showed him the spot I was digging. Bob agreed that the area has plenty of potential and suggested we return again another day.
Only a few complete crystals of amazonite but the color is above average

Day 2: Well I was back at it again today and continued to find nice colored broken amazonite. I'm afraid that's all this pocket has to offer. I spent about another 2 hours making sure I got most of it and then moved on.
I'm guessing kids will get a kick out of having some amazonite, so I saved this broken stuff for grab bags at our Club's next show. Approximately 20 feet away was another burned out tree with pieces of amazonite in the dirt around it's base. This amazonite was paler than the other spot but I'm guessing its on the same pegmatite. I decided to give this spot a try as well. I dug it for about 2 hours with similar results to the first dig. The amazonite was locked into quartz and was often incomplete or subhedral. Since this amazonite was paler and smaller than the other pocket I decided it was time to give it up and check on my digging partner Bob and see what he had gotten himself into.
Uncleaned and quite fractured pale amazonite 2nd dig
As I went in search of Bob I noticed only about 10 feet away from my second dig there was some more pale amazonite and quartz shards on the surface in exactly the same line as the other two pockets along with a dead tree. I decided I had enough of this junk for awhile and continued my search for Bob. Bob was digging through debris or float and pulling out a few nice pieces of amazonite. Most of the pieces were damaged but they, like my first dig had good color and some size. I sat down near him and pulled out a couple pieces of damaged amazonite and we decided to call it a day. I'll probably return to both sites in the near future and try my luck again.
Visit#3: The weather has been fantastic with a lot of sun and cooler temperatures so we decided to take another trip up to Lake George, CO and try our luck. Saw a young coyote again today, he didn’t seem as fearful of us as I thought he should be but he eventually wandered up the hill away from our parking area. I decided to check out the site Bob had found and dug about 20 feet down the hill from him on a shallow sloping hill. Bob said for the most part he was just digging out the first 8 inches or so of the ground and finding float amazonite crystals. This suggests to me either this area has already been dug or there is an old decayed pegmatite underlying the surface shedding crystals. I picked a spot based on the fact there was a rather large root nested on the top of the ground and suspected there might be a pegmatite underneath propping up the root. I also noted some “rice rock” on the surface (see pic) which is a really good sign of crystal formation. The combination of small pieces of quartz and feldspar makes the surface rock look like it's coated with rice.
Old-timers called this rice rock

Underneath rice rock shows crystalization
Bob was busy up the hill finding shards of crystals and so I settled down along the decayed root and immediately starting finding good crystal sign. Bob’s area played out rather quickly and when he got a look at some of the crystals I was finding he found a nearby spot and tried his luck.
Nice float amazonite (sorry a bit out of focus)
Soon we were both pulling out amazonite crystal shards with the occasional collectible crystal. To mea crystal must be terminated in order for it to be collectible, though I know folks seek out amazonite for tumbling and jewelry making as well. Bob’s amazonite began to turn brownish and lean more towards plain microcline while my spot continued to produce albeit much less than it had earlier. I decided to give my back a break and went for a walk exploring the hillside. There is plenty of undug quartz in the area and I have a pass to prospect this claim until the end of the year so I’m sure I’ll return to this area again to try my luck
Bob had the find of the day with this large well-formed crystal

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