RockHoundBlog

Reminder-check out the comments submitted by readers! treasure, Lapidary hunting

Filed under: regular postings — Gary September 22, 2006 @ 1:57 am

People are submitting comments (thats great) so check them out…

Calgary Alberta Lapidary, Gem, Rockhound article, thanks for the post!

Filed under: Rockhound stories — Gary @ 1:54 am

The next 2 articles have been submitted to me by Dick Hayes, an avid Rockhounder from Calgary Canada. Thanks for the story Dick Attention Rockhounds, please submit more articles/stories like this…. This makes for an interesting read for everyone!

dick's

Calgary Rocks

Now, I’m not an authority, but an amateur geologist/desperate rock hound – maybe. Yes, that would describe me and why I might want to tell my story of the nature of Calgary’s rocks. This is not a simple story, because Calgary is situated on the edge of a formerly cool battleground. About 18 thousand years ago the continental ice sheet and the cordilleran glacier met in battle; over which could have the privilege of scraping most of Calgary’s pre-glacial landscape into Montana. At times, each massive bulldozer of ice won and lost some ground and it explains the mixture of gravels that make up the blend within the local pits and quarries. There is a possibility that even Calgary’s sandstone bedrock would show the scars of battle as parts of mountains were dragged, scraped, tossed and tumbled, along the south flowing line of conflict.
If you were to try to follow the line of battle you might take an airplane north to Edmonton and pass over the battle-ground, which follows the Calgary –Edmonton Trail, at least as far as Red Deer. The continental glacier made some inroads into the foothills but for the most part was held off to the east of Calgary. The gravel pits around Beiseker contain more igneous and metamorphic rock, such as granite and gneiss, which was scraped off the Canadian Shield of North-eastern Alberta. These gravel deposits are a shallow, flat layer of poorly segregated pebbles left on a wide glacial basin as the continental ice sheet receded.
The Sharpe Hills near Balzac (almost Calgary) mark the line of contact between the two ice sheets. A north-south running battlefield of glacial debris, just east of the city limits, has left a line of barren, hummocky hills of sand, clay, unsegregated rock and rocky fields, all the way to Montana.
West of this line you can follow the trail of the retreating cordilleran ice sheet by an erratic train of Gog Lake quartzite, scraped from the Athabasca River valley near Jasper and dropped off in bits and boulders as the ice melted about 12 thousand years ago. The retreating ice left glacial lakes in the Bow River and Nose Creek valleys and the evidence is in the gravels, where you can find fossils of fresh water clams and snails in siltstone fragments mixed with the gravels southeast of Calgary.
The highlands around Calgary are capped with Tertiary gravel laid down before and after the Rocky Mountains stopped growing. They have a natural cement cap and contain segregated river worn pebbles of limestone, sandstone and quartzite, with limited igneous material. The top of the Nose Hill may have been covered briefly by glacial ice but it was not scraped bare like the valleys that surround it.
So, what we have now is every kind of rock mixed in the Calgary gravels. Upstream, in the northwest pits, we get quartzite, limestone, shale, sandstone and conglomerate predominating. Most of the igneous rock, found upstream of the Nose Creek Valley, eroded out of B.C., before the Rockies were even born. Below the Zoo and the irrigation weir, where the Bow River turns south, you will find the siltstone fragments from the former glacier lakeshores and more sandstone and ironstone from the erosion of the sedimentary Paskipoo bedrock. Downstream of Fish Creek Park, as the river bends to the east, you will begin to find more igneous material. This is evidence of the mixing of the Canadian Shield material with the mountain and valley gravels; which produces the final blend of rock found in the Bow River gravel pits, downstream of the limits.
I have found that the best place to get a look at the whole mix is to walk the edge of the Western Irrigation Ditch, between the diversion weir at Pierce Estate in East Calgary, all the way out to Chestermere Lake. Not all at once mind you, just a little bit at a time when I get the chance. The canal is lined with gravel taken from pits from the four compass points around town.
I started a few years back and initially I was looking for the Palaeozoic marine fossils and trying to get a little first hand knowledge of the variety of rock types to be found in local gravels. Over the years, while picking through this frequently washed layer of pit-run gravel, I have finally developed a picture in my mind of the sequence of events that allows me to find just about everything a rock hound wants in a little hike.
Somewhere it’s written “Seek and Ye shall find”. Well as a lowly Calgary rock hound I have found in local gravel: Palaeozoic coral and clam fossils in limestone as well as crinoids stems and busted shells in shale, Mesozoic fossil wood of all description and occasionally a dinosaur bone – all in limited quantities of course. I have found Cenozoic fossil bone or two plus the coquina of snails and freshwater clams from the shores of a glacial lake. Lust the other day I found an agate – as good as you can get – not the first but maybe the biggest Carnelian agate ever found in the local gravel
Mostly, I bring home an odd bit of every kind of rock, but my bag is getting smaller as I age. I don’t want to encourage too much competition for the rocks lining the canal banks but if you have strong ankles and you’re interested in an education in rock, I suggest you get along down to the canal and watch your step – to find rock treasures at your feet..

I will post this comment every couple stories to remind people about the contest.

Filed under: regular postings — Gary September 21, 2006 @ 7:38 pm

Post a comment or submit a story and you are entered to win a $20 Ebay GC to use towards lapidary items or the DVD donated in a below post. When you post or comment your name is entered (one entry per person) into the draw. In a months time or when 50 posts or comments are submitted, I will draw. Good luck to everyone! I am doing this to get people use to commenting or submitting stories for me to post. The more posts from different people the more fun and interesting this blog will be!

thanks to everyone checking out this blog…gary-

New Mineral Discovered In Okanagan BC? Read On…

Filed under: regular postings — Gary September 20, 2006 @ 1:34 pm

I was at our local seafood store and was telling the gentleman behind the counter about my blog. He smiled and handed me a rock for me to checkout. He said it had been given to him by a very avid rockhounder “Dr Bill” and to go talk to him about his find. I went to see Dr Bill that afternoon and asked about what I had seen earlier. He said it found it in the Okanagan BC, and that a major universtiy was doing tests on several of his pieces to determine its makeup. Now I bothered him at work and he could only talk for a few minutes but here is the specimen and what he told me-

newminnewmin2

He said the university had thought it was a mixture of quartz and titanium and it must have been made in the vent of a volcano. I gave Dr Bill my blog address so I will be in touch with him this week I hope, and more to come on this interesting topic.

My Friday trip in the Okanagan

Filed under: rockhounding maps — Gary September 18, 2006 @ 11:59 pm

Friday was a great day for rockhounding! It had rained heavy the day before and where I was going was easy access in and out. I have been close to the spot before on one of my posts but this was in a different location.

robbins range Right at the top where Barthartvale road meets Robbins Range, turn onto Robbins Range and drive to the 1KM marker.

The great thing about rockhounding after a rain I find is that all the rocks are not a dull dusty gray and its easy to spot certain colous. Thats what made my outing so good I believe. We started to dig in the edge of a cliff on the side of the road and had some success, but then we started to just walk along the road and the agates were just exploding with colour and pleading with us to pick them up :) I thought we would play name that mineral with the specimens I found to get everyone involved in commenting, and remember if you comment or post, you get entered into the monthly contest, so comment away!

I will just label them a,b,c etc so when commenting on the specimen just refer to the letter…
73a

67b

66c

65d

kaiMy partner in crime, my 2 1/2 year old son.

Well thats my fav’s that I found on Friday, remember to comment on my finds and when you comment you are entered for the Ebay prize :)

Our first prize, donated by lapidary seller on Ebay- Dr. Gerald Wykoff

Filed under: Rockhound stories — Gary @ 8:24 pm

Please keep those comments/stories coming in, I have a game I am going to play, name that mineral to keep the comments coming starting tomorrow. Below is about the gentleman that has donated an “Advanced wire Artistry courses on DVD” to the winner or I will give out $20 in Ebay cash if you like. You can check out his website also, link at bottom of story.

dr wykoff

Who is Gerald Wykoff . . .

Who is the author of all these software programs, mechanical inventions, kits, tutorials – and what are his credentials?

Dr. Gerald Wykoff holds graduate degrees from Temple University and DePaul along with other degrees and professional titles from various technical and business organizations including a Graduate Gemology (GG) degree from the Gemological Institute of American and an Interntional Registered Gemologist (IRG) and Certified Supreme Master Gemcutter (CSM) from the American Society of Gemcutters. During his successful business career, he also attended Harvard, University of Pennsylvania and Notre Dame and survived successful executive roles with the General Electric Company, the National Dairy Products Corporation as well as a number of national trade associations.

The author of 40 published books (a printed copy of his opus, Master Faceting, sells for over $700 on Amazon.com), over 30 multi-media CD-ROM/DVD learning programs, some 300 commercial computer programs (to see some of his math and business management work you can visit his other website The Math Connector, and more than 40,000 magazine features, articles, essays and treatises, he also launched seven successful magazine ventures, organized two national association organizations, operated his own gem cutting equipment manufacturing corporation and holds several patents and trademarks for various inventions in lapidary, jewelry making and construction. He is also a Key holder from the American Society of Association Executives, Washington DC, which named him in 1997 as the top association executive in the world and in 1996 was honored as the best editorial writer in America by the American Association of Industrial Editors. At age 70, he came to the indisputable conclusion that it was time to write his third novel, and this year he finished writing “Fallen Fortress,” which is, as usual, a writing experiment, this time consisting of a full-length “action-teaching” novel which also seeks to impart gemological expertise to the reader. “By including solid, applicable gemological information into the story line,” he explains, “readers get a good, fun dose of sin-sex-stealing sensationalism along with a worthwhile learning experience that can be put to good use for the rest of their lives. It’s a notion I felt was worth exploring and doing.”

A former newspaper reporter in Philadelphia, PA, and Wilmington, DE, he’s an accomplished oil painter and sculptor, computer programmer, former professional musician who once played lead trumpet for the late Louis Prima in New Orleans, championship middleweight boxer, and martial arts instructor. Nowadays his health is somewhat of a disaster but he keeps pushing his envelope, even in retirement, in Port Charlotte, FL, where the direct hurricane hit of 2004 wiped him out completely. Most of his workshop, tools, computer equipment and inventory ended up buried in a vacant lot next door. At age 76, unhandicapped with 8 heart attacks to his credit, his house and internet business were up and running again in 60 days.

visit his site here: http://www.thegemconnection.com/about.htm

Phoenix AZ rockhound lapidary secret spot- sent in by DAWK

Filed under: rockhounding maps — Gary September 17, 2006 @ 11:56 pm

AS AN AVID 12 YEAR- OLD ROCKHOUND, IN PHOENIX AZ. I OFTEN WENT AGATE HUNTING WITH AN ELDERLY,BUT VERY ‘FIT’ SENIOR(ANN AND GALEN ) COUPLE,WHO COULD HIKE AS FAR AS I CARED TO VENTURE. THIS WAS NEAR LAKE PLEASANT,30 MILES NORTH FROM PHOENIX,AND THERE’S EXTENSIVE AGATE-JASPER-DESERT ROSE DEPOSITS TO COLLECT,BUT THAT WAS IN THE 60S.
NOW,THERE IS A HUGE MARINA-PARK SURRONDING THE LAKE AND IT COSTS FIVE BUCKS TO JUST ENTER THE LAKE SHORE AREA.
IN THOSE DAYS,WE THREE OFTEN WENT BY SMALL BOAT TO OUR SHORE-SIDE COLLECTING AREA,WHICH I HAD FORMERLY DISCOVERED VIA SEVERAL MILES OF HIKING.THIS FAVORITE “SUPER” DEPOSIT WAS OVERLOOKING THE LAKE,BUT WE USUALLY FOUND SO MUCH (THE SMALL BOAT ALMOST SUNK ON ONE WINDY DAY)MATERIAL,THAT I DECIDED TO DO A ‘CACHE’ OR BURIED TREASURE ,FOR RETURN TRIPS.ODDLY,WE NEVER GOT BACK-AGAIN TO THAT LOCATION.
AS OF THE PRESENT, I HAVE NEVER GONE BACK(BY BOAT) TO SEE IF I COULD FIND THIS ‘CACHE’ OF GEODES AND AGATE NODULES,AND AM NOT SURE THE PARK RANGERS WOULD ALLOW THE DIGGING OF AGATES ON THE PARK LANDS.
AS OF THIS TIME,I KNOW THE LAKE LEVLE HAS BEEN ‘RAISED’ BY BUILDING A HIGHER DAM,SO THESE AGATES WOULD MOST LIKLEY BE RIGHT AT THE LAKE’S EDGE,BY NOW,AND PRESUMABLY STILL BURIED WHERE I LEFT THEM.
ANY ONE WHO WANTS TO GIVE THIS A ‘GO’ ,ARE WELCOME, IF THEY ARE HERE FOR THE WINTER,TO TRY AND RECOVER THE ‘CACHE’ OF MOSTLY GEODES AND SOME AGATES,BUT I CANNOT GIVE THE PRECISE
BEARINGS,AS THE ENTIRE LAKE LOOKS A LOT DIFFERENT. REGARDLESS,THE TREASURE PROBABLY STILL REMAINS,AND I ALSO KNOW WHERE( AT THE SAME LOCATION) TO DIG FOR EXCELLENT BANDED AGATE NODULES WITH PINK CENTERS.
LET ME KNOW IF ANY FOLKS WANT A TREASURE MAP OF LAKE PLEASANT AND I CAN ‘ROUGH’ ONE OUT FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO GIVE IT A TRY.YOU WILL NEED A BOAT THAT CAN CARRY ROCKHOUNDS AND ROCKS,SO ACT ACCORDINGLY.I MIGHT GO ALONG ON A GOOD BOAT AND HELP POINT OUT THE LANDING AREA-ETC.,BUT NO LONGER NEED TO COLLECT,AND JUST WANT TO SHARE THE ADVENTURE FOR THE KIDS,THAT BEING ANYONE YOUNGER THAN ME,HA! CHEERZ FROM DAWK- I have asked Dawk to send in a map and I will post it—
Keep on commenting for the contest, this was submitted as a comment. Of all the comments I will put all names in a hat and select one. So comment away!!!

calling all lapidary / rockhounds to post a comment -contest!!!!

Filed under: regular postings — Gary September 16, 2006 @ 6:20 pm

Hi everyone, first off I will be posting my trip from Friday on Sunday or Monday (lots of great stuff found but washing it all this wknd) so check back then…

The contest- I was thinking of a motivator and well cash is king and usually motivates people so I thought I would either give a nice (with value) specimen or give you $15 to $20 towards you choice of rocks/minerals on Ebay. I am asking top Ebay sellers to donate a prize(s) so hopefully they will come through for us. In the meantime while I figure out the prize, heres how it will go. Comment and you get an entry to the contest. We have to have some type of rules I guess, so wether you post 1 or 10, you will still get just 1 entry to make it fair for everyone. So comment away (just want to get some discussion going on in here and give it more of a community feel) and good luck! This will go for 1 month or if I get 50 comments it will be done right away. And if it is a success (lots of people start commenting) I will do this all the time (I hope ebay sellers will be donating lots :) )

thanks for checking out my blog, Gary.

ps- my traffic number are in and Im getting about 50-100 people checking out this blog per day!!!! Thats a great way to start!!!  Kepp checking back and commenting!!!  Please submit pictures or stories to gary@bockhoundblog.com

Our rockhound club’s workshop- Vernon BC

Filed under: Club Rollcall (hello's) — Gary September 15, 2006 @ 2:16 am

Went downstairs after our meeting and took a couple pics of our workshop. Here is our little wall of specimens-

workshop specimens

Our lapidary equipment-

lapidary equipment

Check out our site www.vernonrockhounds.com

Vernon BC RockHounds bring their mineral specimens found over summer.

Filed under: Great Finds-specimens — Gary @ 2:09 am

We had our monthly meeting yesterday and I thought how can I ask you readers about your rock club when I havn’t wrote about mine!

I was busy printing up a letter to read to the club about my new blog and making sure I brought my camera (WITH MY MEMORY CARD-brought the cam last meeting and no card lol) and forgot my rocks I was going to bring, then we decided each month we would bring our best find to show. It was a good meeting, someone brought up about the “GMFC Scholarship Fund” and asked everyone to pay their $1 dues to become a part of it. Every year 3-4 people get a scholarship for post secondary through this program, and what a great program that is!

I have so much info from yesterday I think I will do a couple posts, then I am off Friday to check out a couple new locations I heard about at the meeting, so more secret BC maps coming with pictures. And I was nervous about not having stuff to post…. Oh and a lot of Flickr people are offering their great Lapidary pics for me to show off on this blog, many thanks to them!!!

Ward brought in a lot of rocks, this one was a really cool looking specimen! I am going on Friday to the same place that this was found.
wades geode

Here is a box of his other rocks he found
wades box

This box of specimens was found in the same place I posted earlier “douglas lake road” but these were found in the stream. Some very nice and interesting ones.

pail of minerals

blue agate and opalthe blue agate was found at Buse Lake and the opal was found on Adelphi Forest Service Road in the town of Westwold BC. I will post a map soon on this location.

silent auctionOur silent auction going on for club expenses.

All in all it was a fun night, and heres to finding some great stuff on Friday!