Rockhounding for Arizona Fire Agate, Burro Creek, and the Colorado River-Western Arizona

Filed under: Great Finds-specimens,Rockhound stories,regular postings,rockhounding maps — Gary November 30, 2006 @ 7:07 pm

This VERY interesting rockhound story was written by Don Kasper (thanks for letting me post it for all my readers!). He tells me he doesn’t belong to any rock clubs but does associate with the Culver City rock club now and then. Again thanks to Don for the post and looking to hearing more of his rockhounding trips in the future!

Colorado River and Western Arizona Outing Notes:


Had the opportunity to meet up with Tony and Friends with the Needles
rock club last weekend. I thought I would document some of the photos
Tony took and maybe add a few cents on identifications of what we
found. We spent some effort to assemble collections in the photos
list for others to compare to our identifications. First I would
offer a few definitions that I use when I rockhound in the Mojave.
They would be:

Opalite: Opalized volcanic tuff. Opalite can come in a variety of
colors and can be associated with common opal and agate. Common
colors are whites, tans, and browns. Often has a wet appearance when
freshly fractured. Can be dendritic, if so, it’s a fine, hard
dendritic pattern occurring within the rock that can take a polish.
This material is very hard, forming prominent ridges and outcrops in
the Mojave Desert. This is not colored common opal, which is much
softer, fractures readily, and forms rolling hills upon weathering.

Pastelite: Pastel colored Chert occurring in volcanic tuff and in
decomposed volcanic tuff and ash, that is, in Bentonite clay. This is
a highly expansive clay that looks like popcorn when dry, being
readily crushed when you walk on it. Common colors of Pastelite are
whites, tans, greys, browns, and blacks. The prized colors are blues
and violets. Can be solid, banded, and brecciated in appearance. Can
be concentrically banded to look like Wonderstone.


Rock/Mineral Of The Day “Snowflake” Obsidian. Tis the season…

Filed under: Mineral of the day,regular postings — Gary November 29, 2006 @ 4:45 am

Snow, harsh cold grips Western Canada.

On Tuesday, Western Canada had to endure temperatures dipping below -41 C with the wind chill.

bbrrrrrrrr… SO in honour of winter hitting parts of the US and Canada so strongly, I give you “Snowflake” Obsidian- (Inclusions of small, white, radially clustered crystals of cristobalite in the black glass produce a blotchy or snowflake pattern producing Snowflake Obsidian….)

Cristobalite nodules in obsidian. This combination is called “snowflake” obsidian.Snowflake_Obsidian



is the result of volcanic lava coming in contact with water. Often the lava pours into a lake or ocean and is cooled quickly. This process produces a glassy texture in the resulting rock. Iron and magnesium give the obsidian a dark green to black color.


THE ANDAMOOKA OPAL FIELD – Southern Australia.Rockhounding, Lapidary.

Filed under: Great Finds-specimens,Rockhound stories,regular postings,rockhounding maps — Gary November 27, 2006 @ 3:36 pm

This was written by Allan Shultz and Jessica Dow for Many thanks to the both of them! Jessica was on a great adventure searching for opals in Australia last month and when I heard about her trek I had to ask her for an update. She has greatfully written a few articles about her journey and her finds and I will be posting them this week. Here is her first article about one of the places she visited and rockhounded. Again thanks Jessica for your time and your interesting stories!


Andamooka is about 400 miles north of Adelaide, South Australia’s capitol by road. The country surrounding the township consists mainly of small hills with rocky outcrops, sandhills and flat dry claypans. The hills are covered with a sparse growth of acacias, small eucalypts and low scrub and fodder plants such as saltbush. Some 15 km east of the township is the northern part of Lake Torrens, a large, usually dry, salt lake bed which is up to 50 km in width and extends nearly 200 km from north to south; it is a featureless and uniformly flat area Andamooka township has grown haphazardly along the dry sandy river bed now called Opal Creek, which winds its way between the low hills which have been formed by the weathering of the flat lying sediments of the area. In the earliest days of the field, wells dug in the creek bed were the main, if sparse, supply of water for the miners. As in the Lightning Ridge area, the scarcity of water apparently was aggravated by the competition between the miners and the graziers. Opals were first discovered at Andamooka by two stockmen in the late 1920′s, whom were caught in a thunderstorm, they were sheltering from the torrential rain sitting under a tree, when by accident one picked up a pretty looking stone later identified as opal, then knowing the value of their find they tried to keep things quiet, but the word did get out and a rush of miners then headed for Andamooka in the 1930′s.

Kitchener-Waterloo Rockhound/ Lapidary Club Auction

Filed under: Coming Events,regular postings — Gary @ 3:29 pm


While it’s not exactly a show, readers of this list might be interested
in our Kitchener-Waterloo Club Live Auction:

On WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6, at 7:30 PM, our club will have its monthly
meeting, at the Waterloo Community Arts Centre (aka “The Button
Factory”), 25 Regina Street S., Waterloo, right near the downtown.

You don’t have to be a member to attend (but memberships are only $20
for a family, so why not join?)

This meeting is our ANNUAL HOLIDAY LIVE AUCTION. About 40 lots of
minerals, gems, fossils, meteorites, and other hobby-related items will
be auctioned off, and there will also be 10 silent auction items.

Items include a new 2007 mineral wall calendar, an ultraviolet light, a
meteorite, and many minerals, such as a beautiful Elmwood fluorite on

You can see the auction catalogue here:

There will also be free pizza and pop. And there will be a holiday
gift exchange: bring a rock-related gift, wrapped, and drop it at the
table, and pick one up.

Jeffrey Shallit

Graves Mountain, Lincolnton, GA – Rockhounding Georgia

Filed under: regular postings — Gary November 26, 2006 @ 9:30 pm

graves_mountain_fuchite graves_mountaingraves_rutilegraves_mountain2

You should not miss any opportunity to collect here because the rutile, lazulite, and pyrophyllite are said to be some of the finest in the world. The collecting area at Graves is huge! There are three main rock types here: quartz-sericite schist, sericite-kyanite-quartz rock (quartzite) and quartz conglomerate. You may still be able to collect rutile, kyanite, lazulite, iridescent hematite, pyrophyllite, pyrite, ilmenite, muscovite, fuchsite, barite, sulfur, blue quartz and quartz crystals with a hematite coating. Don’t forget the micro phosphate and phosphosulfate minerals that can be collected here. Woodhouseite, variscite, strengite, phosphosiderite, cacoxenite, crandallite along with accessory quartz, pyrite, pyrophylite, dickite, jarosite and sulfur crystals.


Canadian mineral sites open to collectors on a fee basis- rockhounding Lapidary

Filed under: regular postings — Gary @ 8:21 pm



Okanagan Opal Inc. (E)
Precious opal
P.O. Box 298
Vernon, BC V1T 6M2
Tel.: (250) 542-1103
Fax: (250) 542-7115
Web site:


Souris Agate Pit (E)
Agate, jasper, petrified wood
Souris River Gem Ltd.
P.O. Box 1060
Souris, MB R0K 2C0
Tel.: (204) 483-2561
Fax: (204) 483-2991
Web site:


Prospect Park Philadelphia Kyanite Deposit also called disthene, munkrudite and cyanite


Kyanite, whose name derives from the Greek word kyanos, meaning blue, is a typically blue silicate mineral, commonly found in aluminium-rich metamorphic pegmatites and/or sedimentary rock. Kyanite is a diagnostic mineral of the Blueschist Facies of metamorphic rocks.

Kyanite is a member of the aluminosilicate series, which includes the polymorph andalusite and the polymorph sillimanite. Kyanite is strongly anisotropic, in that its hardness varies depending on its crystallographic direction. While this is a feature of almost all minerals, in kyanite this anisotropism can be considered an identifying characteristic.



Filed under: regular postings — Gary November 25, 2006 @ 4:25 am

treasure_mountain_diamonds little_falls_nytreasure_mountain

Submitted story:

Opening a pocket full of Herkimer Diamonds is one of the greatest thrills any rock collector can experience. You are the first person to ever see the contents, and as you pull out and examine the perfect, sparkling, gemmy crystals you experience a joyful feeling that is truly indescribable. Here’s a report on my recent 4-day dig at Treasure Mountain, a fee-digging area in Little Falls, NY.


Bear Lake Diggings is located near Bancroft, Ontario, Canada. Rockhounding

Filed under: regular postings — Gary @ 4:07 am

Bear Lake Diggings is located near Bancroft, Ontario, Canada. The collecting area is operated by the Bancroft Chamber of Commerce. We dug here in August 1999 and were lucky enough to hit a major pocket, which produced many fabulous, large green apatite crystals, plus some enormous hornblende crystals, and a few titanite crystals to boot. There were books of biotite mica almost sixteen inches across, too.

civic_holiday_pocket civic_holiday_pocket

The apatite (fluorapatite, actually) from Bear Lake occurs in rotted calcite veins that snake through a woodsy landscape that’s pockmarked with trenches and eight-foot deep holes. With luck, you can pick up right where someone left off and begin finding great material right off. This is one of the most exciting and productive localities we’ve ever collected in. If you have the chance to collect here, don’t miss it!


The Crystal Tunnel of Diamond Ledge – West Stafford Springs, CT

Filed under: Rockhound stories,regular postings,rockhounding maps — Gary @ 4:01 am


From the article-

“this pocket was only about 6″ deep and 15″ long, and nearly totally filled with small ½” diameter crystals 1-2″ long.”

floater_plate “a rare floater plate, with crystals on both sides. This was the first time we had seen anything like this from this area.”

We had enough to fill six 5-gallon buckets with crystals, including 4 large plates too big to fit into a bucket! “

Located in north central Connecticut, Diamond Ledge has a great reputation amongst New England mineral collectors for several reasons. First, it is still an open location, which unfortuantely has become incresingly rare as urban sprawl gobbles up the countryside. Second, it is a place where, with hard work and determination, you are almost certain to find something worthwhile. Finally, if you do hit a pocket, chances are good that you’ll be hauling out several buckets full of crystal plates. In short, this is one of those localities that are destined for “in the good old days” status!