I use the winter months to clean minerals and get ready to attend a few mineral shows. As I cleaned a number of crystals, I found some microscopic topaz on some pegmatite plates. I guess these plates may be collectible to a mineralogist, but are not really of interest to me as you almost need a microscope to see the topaz.
|Small topaz at base of fluorite|
It’s been a slow start to the rock hounding season. First the late season cold and then some heavy wet snows. Words like snow bombs, snowmageddon and Canada's revenge were bandied about to describe the spring storms. The biggest snow of the season came in mid May with 10 inches of very wet snow and a lot of damage to budding tree limbs. One month later it still looks like a tornado went through some parts of my neighborhood. Some seasons we
|10" of heavy snow in May damaged many trees|
Back to prospecting… so we revisited some old and new areas so far this year. We hit one area that we had found a lot of goethite in the past and decided to give our luck another go in that area. This spot is fairly remote and we were surprised that somebody redug out a number of the holes we had previously dug and filled. We noted in each dig the high-graders never dug down far enough to hit the bottom of the old pocket, but just made a mess digging large holes that we had previously filled with junk tailings. The claim is clearly marked and gated. Folks who mineral trespass have been and are prosecuted. We dutifully filled their holes and remediated the sites once again. I selected an area downhill of where my digging partner Bob had found some nice goethite. There was a large tree stump in the process of decay on the claim and I thought this might provide a backstop for goethite eroding down the hill. I found a couple of amazonite crystals right at the base of the stump so I dug down and uphill from the stump.
I soon started hitting some goethite specimens near the bottom of a sandy area above some scree. I found about 10 specimens near the stump before the dig played out. The goethite needles were somewhat worn (too be expected as they traveled down the hill), but large and intricate enough to get my attention. I took home the specimens and cleaned them up. I noted one goethite specimen had a lot of quartz on it which turned out to be onegite (quartz with goethite inclusions). A fairly nice find.
The next trip out Austin and I went digging together. It was cold and windy with a little ice mixed in along with a biting rain. We outlasted the weather but wondered when summer would arrive. I dug in another’s previously dug hole. I dug down all the way to the bottom of the pocket and found a few straggler smoky quartz crystals. Another area seemed to be a rather new dig and it was quite shallow. The excavation looked like a two person dig with pits on both sides of some untouched ground in between. There was a bit of grass growing in the dig debris so I’m guessing someone dug there a year ago or so. I dropped my pick axe into the undisturbed area in between the digs and crystals rolled out of the side of the dig. I think whoever dug there got to within an inch or two of this pocket. A sure sign of a pocket is usually red clay/dirt and there was plenty of red dirt leaching out of the island between the two holes. I got a few collectible crystals out of this pocket. Most of the smoky quartz crystals had milky white overgrowth on the terminations which makes them somewhat different and more desirable to me. I prospected another area where someone else had stopped digging bull quartz running up the hill. I found a lot of quartz fragments and one crystal. Austin found a couple microcline crystals in the same area. The icy rain began to fall in earnest and the wind kicked up, we decided we’d had enough for that day. I’ll have to return to this spot another time and continue prospecting it.
Trip 3&4. I visited a site I hadn’t dug for nearly 2 years. The dig site was grown over with weeds. I recalled I wanted to revisit this site as I had found some nice small amazonite crystals there a couple years ago. I previously quit the dig as I had run out of pegmatite, but float crystals above my dig brought me back to this area. I continued digging up the hill and went about 6 feet up the hill digging down about 2 feet as I went. Suddenly the scree started to firm up into a weak pegmatite and I noted the color of the dirt was changing to a reddish color (good sign). As I dug I hit a sheet of thin quartz nearly vertical in the ground. I pulled out the quartz and there were amazonite crystals imbedded in the back of the quartz. I found a few single amazonite crystals here. Unfortunately almost all the amazonite was frozen/encased in the quartz so that no plates were found. As I dug out the quartz, it
|Amazonite Baveno Twin, found, cleaned, displayed|
|Pocket material from trip 5|
Trip 6. It was a fairly windy day, which stirred up quite a bit of dirt. I went with Austin this day and once again did a lot of prospecting. I found some nice specimens but no pockets. Austin kept busy most of the day chasing a quartz seam with an occasional crystal tease. It looked good but produced little. Of most interest to me were a couple large smoky quartz crystals, some ugly microcline crystals tending towards amazonite color and a few fluorite crystals. The most promising area was where I found the fluorites at the end of the day.
|Some 1.5 inch fluorites (nice for L George)|
Looks like trip 7 will qualify for it's own post. Went back and found so much goethite I can probably start an iron mine. The smoky quartz crystals were fairly plentiful as well.