Fresno FGMS

Fresno FGMS

Most months the club plans field trips to the coast, desert, and other interesting places where fascinating stones and minerals can be found, collected and or worked for tumbling, cutting and polishing. We offer day trips and overnighters for both the novice and experienced rockhound. Our field trips are great fun for the entire family.
Times and dates are posted in our monthly newsletter.


Saturday, March 12, 2011
Quartz Mountain, Coarsegold, Madera County

Come and join us for a day of Quartz Crystal collecting behind the Casino in Coarsegold.  Quartz Mountain is a small BLM area, featuring smoky to clear quartz crystals.  It’s also the site of the historic Narbo Mine, a late 18th century gold camp.  Unfortunately (for the investors and miners) there wasn’t enough gold found to keep the mine open for long.

The crystals found here aren’t as big or flashy as Arkansas quartz, but the collecting is relatively easy, with mine dump, surface & pocket digging.

If you attended one of our digs there last year, you will remember the “trudge” up the Mountain. It wasn’t bad, but FGMS member Paul has improved the road up the Mountain, and it’s now passenger car accessible.

Quartz Mountain

Quartz Mountain

We will meet at the Chevron Station at Hwy 41 & Picayune Road at 9:30, and proceed to the dig site at 10 am. Please be prompt, since we’re required to close the gate after entering and I prefer digging to running up and down the Mountain.

Be sure to bring lunch with you, so I don’t have to open the gate repeatedly. The Chevron MiniMart has plenty of deep fried junk food, burgers & chips!  Dogs are welcome as long as they’re friendly and able to stay on a leash if necessary.

This event involves requires only very minimal hiking from the hilltop destination point. We will assemble at the Chevron mini mart. If you’re running late, CALL ME so we know you’re coming.

Sorry, no early departures. Departure time from the site is approximately 3 pm at this point, so be prepared to relax if you have your fill of digging.

The amount of hiking you do is up to you. Once at the hilltop gathering area, you’ll be able to start collecting within a few yards of your car. Collecting ranges from surface scratching to hard rock, vein “pocket” mining. We will be doing some (semi) organized mining, and there are plenty of tailings for those who wish to screen for smaller points.

We�re look forward to having a great time! Feel free to contact Kris or Bob with any questions.

Click here for the Google Maps link.

Field Trip Co-Chairman – Kris Rowe – 559-250-5057   Bob Coates – 559-313-0440

Sheffield mine

Filed under: Rare Rocks!,Rockhound Travel,Video,rockhounding maps — Gary October 8, 2010 @ 10:07 pm

Sheffield Mine
385 Sheffield Farms Rd
Franklin, NC 28734
Ph. (828) 369-8383
Native star rubies at Sheffield mine in Franklin, NC. Novice and experienced rock hounds welcome! 488 carat ruby found in 2002! Look for native rubies or for gemstones from around the world. We supply all necessary tools Rock & gift shop open 10am daily, April thru October. Group rates available.

Ruby Video


How do I find Rubies &  Sapphires?

1-Pick out a bucket that has rubies in it!
I know – they all look the same!  So good luck!!!
2-Pour no more than 1/8th to 1/4 of a bucket of dirt into your tray at one time.  If you pour in more dirt, you will have so many rocks that you won’t be able to see anything but rocks and more rocks – your rubies will probably be playing hide and seek under the ton of gravel in your tray and the more you roll them around the sneakier at hiding they will become!
3-Immerse the tray into the water and moosh around the dirt and break up any mud-balls! This is the time to get your hands muddy – don’t be afraid!    You won’t melt in the water and the dirt is only temporary – you will someday be clean again – promise!
4-Bring your tray out of the water and rest it on the edges of the flume.  Now move the larger stones to one end of the tray and put the rest of the stones into a circle in the center of the tray and using one or both hands, roll them around. Don’t press hard – no need to hurt yourself!  The rocks will bang against each other and knock dirt off for you.  Let them do most of the work!
5-Put the tray back into the water and rinse off the mud that you just scrubbed off.
6-Bring the tray out of the water again and gather the smaller stones to the center and roll them around again.
7-Repeat Steps 5 thru 6 about 3 more times, or until you no longer see mud coming off of the stones and your hands don’t seem muddy any more either! Do not fail to complete this step!!!
8-Now it’s time to look for rubies and sapphires!  Oh, 1 hint – SUN LIGHT helps – a lot!!!!!! Spread the stones out in the tray so that there aren’t rocks sitting on top of other rocks.  Look for a Pink, Purple of Reddish hue.  Look for a glossy surface.  A ruby or sapphire will be heavier than an ordinary rock of the same size.  A ruby or sapphire will not fall apart or impart a pigment on the screen bottom when youn try to scratch the tray.  They will make a scratchy noise.  But so will quartz – quartz is orange, or brown, much like the dirt, but rubies and sapphires have a different look about them.  Our sapphires tend to be in the pink/white category, so you probably won’t find any blue ones – sorry – but the pink ones are beautiful too! You might be fortunate and find one that has the classic 6 sides. Any or all of the above can indicate that you have found a ruby or sapphire!  If you are sure of it, put it in your film canister, if you are unsure, put it in the tin can & we will help you to identify it!

We’re having
2010 Season!

Ruby Mining

Ruby Mining

As of 7-26-10
414 Honkers have been found along with
14 Super Honkers
& there’s lots more in the dirt still waiting to be found!!




Sheffield Mine map

Directions -
From Downtown Franklin – Take Hwy. 28 North.  Cross the river, pass the Cowee Baptist Church and right across from the BP Gas Station you’ll turn right onto Cowee Creek Rd., (the first asphalt road on the right past the church – you’ll see a sign for Perry’s Water Garden). Pass Cowee Elementary School and bear right at the first Y in the road and you’ll pass Rickman’s General Store. and then go left at the second Y in the road – which is Leatherman Gap Rd.  About 200 yards on the left is our entrance. Big Sign – Can’t miss it!  At this point you are only 1/2 mile from the parking lot!
From Asheville -
Take I-40 West and get off at Exit 27.This puts you going in the correct direction with no choices on your part until you get to Exit 81 (Atlanta, Franklin, Dillsboro exit). Take Exit 81 and you will be put onto Hwy 441 – no directional choices – you will be going SOUTH. At this point, you are approximately 30 to 40 minutes from us. At some point, you will start up a steep incline and eventually, you will start down a steep incline and when you start to see civilization again and when you stop riding the brakes (oh yeah, it is a steep incline!) then look to the RIGHT. You’ll see Mountain City Mobile Homes. Right there is a road named Sanderstown Rd. Turn Right there and stay on Sanderstown Rd until it ends! Turn Right again (now you are on Bryson City Rd aka Hwy 28). You are not in downtown Franklin, but now you need to Follow directions from Downtown Franklin.
From Cherokee -
Go South on US 441 and turn right onto Sanderstown Rd.  You’ll know that you are at Sanderstown Rd. because there is Showcase Mobile Homes on one corner and Burglens Rock Shop on the other.  Follow Sanderstown Rd. all the way to it’s end and turn right onto Hwy 28 North and follow directions as if coming from Franklin.  Don’t look for the river – you’re already past it.
From Atlanta – Follow US 441 North into Franklin, then turn right onto Main Street.  You’ll immediately turn left onto Hwy 28 North.  Now follow directions from Franklin.
From Chatanooga – Follow Hwy 64 East to US 441 North and turn left.  Follow directions as if coming from Atlanta.

From Nashville & Knoxville Take I-40 East to Exit #27 (the second Waynesville Exit also known as the Clyde Exit).  Now follow directions as if coming from Asheville.

UTAH U-Dig Fossils

Filed under: Rockhound Travel,Video,rockhounding maps — Gary August 29, 2010 @ 10:41 am
Utah Fossils

Utah Fossils

U-Dig Fossils

U-DIG Fossils offers the best Trilobite
collecting in the world.

No trilobite quarry can match the quality
of U-DIG Fossils’ trilobite layers!

U-Dig Fossils was featured
on the Travel Channel show
The Best Places to Find Cash & Treasures
in April 2008

We’re looking forward to the 2010 season,
opening on Friday March 26th

What is a trilobite?

A trilobite is form of invertebrate marine life that lived more than 500 million years ago, but are now extinct. These hard-shelled prehistoric critters roamed the sea floor and coral reefs in search of food. Because of their great diversity and often perfect preservation in fine-grained rock, they are one of the most popular fossils among collectors.

Are the fossils easy to collect?

The fossils are found in a limestone shale. This shale splits easily into flat sheets, revealing the trilobite fossils. Fossilized trilobites lay nearly flat along the splitting planes of the shale. U-DIG Fossils can provide a hammer or you can bring your own. If you desire to remove your own fresh rock, larger tools are available. There’s little need to do this, though. Fresh chunks of fossil-bearing rock are regularly extracted and exposed from the bedrock with heavy equipment by the U-DIG staff.

How many fossils will I find?

The average visitor finds ten to twenty trilobites in a four-hour period. If you’re having trouble, friendly U-DIG personnel roam the Quarry area and would be glad to show you the richest veins of fossil-bearing rock. They can show you how to split the rock to find trilobites, and can identify what you find.

What does U-DIG provide?

Unlimited trilobites! U-DIG Fossils provides you with forty acres of the best trilobite collecting in the world. We expose fresh rock with an excavator on a regular basis. We can also provide hammers to split the shale, buckets to hold your collection and to carry your fossils to your vehicle in the parking area, digging instructions, assistance in finding and identifying fossils. We also provide toilet facilities.

Best of all, we always provide experienced, friendly staff. Gene Boardman or Bevan Hardy will assist you at the quarry.

When can I visit the U-DIG quarry?
The U-DIG Fossils quarry opens on Friday March 26, 2010.
Business hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The quarry is closed on Sundays.
However, the quarry is open on other holidays during the season. In fact, they can be our busiest days!
Please arrive at the quarry before 4 p.m., though. The quarry will close early if no one is present at 4 p.m.  Please do not attempt to enter the quarry when it is closed.

How do I get to the quarry?

The U-DIG Fossils Quarry is located approximately 52 miles west of Delta, Utah, near Antelope Springs. It is approximately 90 miles from Provo to Delta. It is approximately 130 miles from Salt Lake City to Delta.

Once in Delta, first travel 32 miles west on Highway 6 / 50. At the Long Ridge Reservoir sign between mile markers 56-57, turn right. There is a U-DIG Fossils sign at this intersection. Then travel 20 miles down a well-maintained gravel road to reach the U-DIG Quarry. Any type of vehicle can travel this gravel road. (To see this route in Google Maps, click here.)



Can we drive an RV to the quarry?

Yes, you can! When you arrive at the quarry, smaller RVs can turn into the Quarry and park in a small parking area to the left, before the “Open” sign. You will then need to walk about 300 yards over to the office for assistance. Larger RVs will need to pull over to the side of he main road just below the “Welcome to U-DIG” sign. Do not pull into the Quarry. Leave your RV there and walk to the Quarry office, about 500 yards. When you are ready to leave, you can continue up the main gravel road, about 1/8 mile, to another connecting road. You can turn around at this location. Examine the Google Maps Satellite view for an overview.

U-DIG Fossils is a family-run business. We’re anxious for you to have a unique and rewarding experience in our quarry. Please call or e-mail if you have any questions. We’d be glad to help. Here’s our office address. (Please note, this is not the location of the Quarry. See above for directions to the Quarry.)

U-DIG Fossils
P.O. Box 1113
350 East 300 South
Delta, Utah 84624
(435) 864-3638
(435) 864-4294 FAX

Sterling Hill Mining Museum

Filed under: Coming Events,Rockhound Travel,Video,rockhounding maps — Gary August 21, 2010 @ 9:15 pm

The Sterling Hill Mining Museum



An enduring geological mystery. A world-famous mineral deposit. And, it’s all right here in New Jersey, just an hour’s drive from midtown New York!

The industrial complex that was once the Sterling Hill zinc mine is now open to the public as the Sterling Hill Mining Museum. Join us for underground mine tours, fantastic displays of “glow-in-the-dark” fluorescent minerals, extensive outdoor displays of mining machinery, and exhibit halls packed with things you’ve probably never seen before!



Calendar of Events

August 29, 2010

Mineral collecting at Sterling Hill (daytime only)

Where: Sterling Hill
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Description: Collecting allowed on Mine Run dump and in the Fill quarry, Passaic pit, and “Saddle” area Open to the public.
Fees: $5 admission; plus $1.50 for each pound of material taken
Age Requirements: 7-years and up for Mine Run dump; 13 and up elsewhere
Contact:   973-209-7212

September 11, 2010

Fossil Discovery Center

Where: Sterling Hill Mining Museum, Ogdensburg, NJ
Time: 10:00a.m.-12:30p.m.

SHMM will have a paleontologist available for young people (of all ages) to go fossil hunting. The Fossil Discovery Center is still in a pilot stage, but is based on SHMM’s successful Rock Discovery Center. The “digs” will begin at 10:00 and take place every half hour thereafter; each dig will last a little less than 30 minutes.

Participation is limited to 25 people per session on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each fossil collector will get 6 fossils with a general ID chart.

(Groups of 15 people or more can make an appointment at the Museum Shop to participate in the FDC for other weekends or weekdays, pending availability of SHMM personnel.) Note: 12:30 time slot not recommended for people taking the 1:00 PM mine tour. Other time slots available by appointment for groups of 10 or more.
Fees: $4.50/person
Age Requirements: All Ages – recommended for students in grades 2 -12
Contact:   973-209-7212

September 25, 2010-September 26, 2010

Franklin Gem and Mineral Show and Outdoor Swap and Sell

Where: Franklin School – Franklin, NJ
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

This show is held the last full weekend in September and features both indoor and outdoor mineral, fossil, and gem dealers.

September 25 (Saturday)

54th Annual Franklin Sterling Gem and Mineral Show and Outdoor Swap/Sel
Franklin Middle School, Buckwheat Rd. at Washington St., Franklin, N.J.
9AM – 6PM (indoors); 7:30AM – 6PM (outdoor swap and sell).

Annual Show Banquet and Auction
Franklin Firehouse, Buckwheat Rd. at Parker St., Franklin, NJ.
Banquet begins 6:30PM; tickets $18.

Sterling Hill Garage Sale
Sterling Hill Mining Museum, Christiansen Pavilion, 10AM – 3PM.

September 26 (Sunday)

54th Annual Franklin Sterling Gem and Mineral Show and Outdoor Swap/Sell
Franklin Middle School, Buckwheat Rd. at Washington St., Franklin, NJ
10 AM – 5PM (indoors); 9AM – 5PM (outdoor swap and sell).

Sterling Hill Garage Sale
Sterling Hill Mining Museum, Christiansen Pavilion, 10AM – 3PM.

Mineral collecting at StHMM (daytime only)
Collecting allowed on Mine Run dump and in the Fill quarry, Passaic pit, and “Saddle” area. Open to the public.

Hours 9AM – 3PM. Fees: $5 admission plus $1.50 for each pound of material taken.
Fees: Open to the Public
Age Requirements: Seven years and up for Mine Run dump; 13 and up elsewhere.



Who would think that one of the most famous mines in the world lies right here in the Highlands of New Jersey, just an hour’s drive from midtown New York City?

The Sterling Hill zinc mine is world-class by any standard, and not just because of what was mined here: history was made here, too, lots of it. So too was much money. Moreover, much mining law was forged here, and over the span of two and one-half centuries, this mine and its twin in nearby Franklin dominated the lives of thousands of New Jersey residents. The economic, social, and scientific significance of our local zinc mines was felt not only in Sussex County, but in all of New Jersey and even far beyond.

Consider just these 14 facts:

  1. Sterling Hill is one of the oldest mines in the United States and was first worked sometime before 1739, more than 265 years ago.
  2. Sterling Hill produced more than 11 million tons of zinc ore. The ore was fabulously rich, averaging more than 20% zinc, and occurred in thick seams that were worked to a depth of more than 2,550 ft below the surface through tunnels totaling more than 35 miles in length.
  3. Sterling Hill is one of the world’s premiere mineral localities. Together with the nearby Franklin orebody, 2.5 miles to the north, more than 350 different mineral species have been found here — a world record for such a small area. More than two dozen of these have been found nowhere else on Earth. To view the mineral list click here.
  4. fluorescent minerals found at the mines at Sterling Hill, Ogdensburg, NJThe mine is equally famous for its fluorescent minerals. Together with nearby Franklin, almost 90 different mineral species have been documented as fluorescent (view the list here). Specimens from Franklin and Sterling Hill are widely regarded by collectors as the world’s finest.
  5. Sterling Hill constitutes a geological enigma — other than nearby Franklin, nothing else quite like it exists on Earth. The scientific literature on these deposits spans two centuries and totals more than 1,000 papers, yet scientists have yet to agree on how they formed.
  6. For more than two centuries the Franklin-Sterling Hill district attracted the attention of the most prominent scientists and naturalists of the day. One of the earliest mineralogical papers in U.S. scientific literature (1810) was devoted to zincite, one of the local ore minerals.
  7. Much U.S. mining law was forged in this area as a result of numerous courtroom battles during the 19th century, when mining was done by numerous small companies that often held conflicting titles to the mineral rights. Resolution of these conflicts established legal precedents that governed much of the mining industry nationwide from 1897 onwards.
  8. The town of Ogdensburg owes its very existence to the Sterling Hill mine. For many decades the mine provided employment to local residents and in many ways dominated their lives. Until the 1980s, most of the tax revenue of the Borough of Ogdensburg was linked either directly or indirectly to the Sterling Hill mine, the only large industrial complex in the Borough.
  9. Without the presence of the Sterling Hill mine, rail service to Ogdensburg would have been much delayed. The establishment of rail service in 1871 brought immediate and long-continuing prosperity to the Borough of Ogdensburg by transporting goods for its local merchants, delivering its mail, shuttling its residents on shopping trips and excursions, carrying its public school graduates to neighboring high schools, and providing a means of shipping the local zinc ore to the smelter in ever-increasing quantities.
  10. miner at shmmThe continual need for laborers in the mine brought wave after wave of immigrants to the area, including Russians, Hungarians, Poles, Scandinavians, Cornishmen, Mexicans, Irishmen, and others. Pick up an Ogdensburg phone book and look at the surnames, and you’ll see the legacy of those days.
  11. The wealth taken from the hills of Sussex County often had benefits elsewhere. At Princeton University, for example, one of the prime benefactors in the early 20th century was Edgar Palmer, second president of the New Jersey Zinc Company. His name lives on in Princeton in Palmer Square, Palmer Hall, and Palmer Stadium.
  12. Between Sterling Hill and Franklin, so much zinc ore had to be processed that a huge smelting and refining complex was built especially for this purpose in Pennsylvania. Why there? Because of the anthracite coal mines and the Lehigh Canal. The mines furnished the fuel necessary to smelt the ore, and the canal allowed bargeloads of coal to be transported to the smelter at low cost. Thus was born the town of Palmerton. [Think about that — a modern and still-thriving town in Pennsylvania was founded because of zinc mines in New Jersey!]
  13. The historical significance of Sterling Hill is a matter of public record. Sterling Hill was placed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places in July 1991 (ID #2621) and on the National Register of Historic Places in September 1991 (National Register Reference # 91001365).
  14. Sterling Hill mine was the last operating underground mine in New Jersey. It closed in 1986 after more than 138 years of almost continuous production.

Want to know more? Several fine publications on the history and mineralogy of the Franklin-Sterling Hill area are available; for details and ordering information click here. Two of the most important publications, together with much additional information and photographs, are available on a web site built and maintained by Herb Yeates, a museum associate.

Rockhound Geocaching

Filed under: Rockhound Travel,rockhounding maps — Gary June 25, 2010 @ 9:07 pm

Geocaching is fun, educational and can be enjoyed by the whole family!  What is geocaching you say???

What is Geocaching?
Geocaching is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. A geocacher can place a geocache in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology and then share the geocache’s existence and location online. Anyone with a GPS unit can then try to locate the geocache.
How do you pronounce Geocaching?
You pronounce it Geo-cashing, like cashing a check.
What is the meaning of the word Geocaching?
The word Geocaching refers to GEO for geography, and to CACHING, the process of hiding a cache. A cache in computer terms is information usually stored in memory to make it faster to retrieve, but the term is also used in hiking/camping as a hiding place for concealing and preserving provisions.

Only three rules:

1. If you take something from the cache, leave something of equal or greater value.
2. Write about your find in the cache logbook.
3. Log your experience at

There are finds all around the world that have rockhounding treasures just waiting to be found.  You can search the caches by “keywords”.  I have listed a couple below BUT there are many more out there.  If you make your own rockhound cache please send me an email so I can post for everyone.

Click here for list of mineral caches (below are a couple in detail)

Rocks/Minerals at Black Star Canyon

Black Star Canyon

Black Star Canyon

The Irvine Ranch Conservancy was established in 2005. It is a non-profit, non-advocacy organization, created to help care for the 50,000 acres of permanently protected wildlands and parks on the historic Irvine Ranch. The organization works with its partners to enhance the public’s appreciation, understanding and connection to the land, while helping other land owners and managers with all aspects of stewardship. The Conservancy contributes its resources, expertise and energy to achieve the best possible balance of preservation and public participation.Nearly 40,000 acres of the 50,000 acres indicated above of open space on the historic Irvine Ranch have been designated a Natural Landmark by both the State of California and the U.S. Department of Interior. This honor recognizes the exceptional value of these lands to California and the entire nation.

Beautiful geological formations – including “the Sinks”, “Dripping Springs” and the rock formations located at Black Star Canyon – plus a rich diversity of flora and fauna make the The Irvine Ranch a favorite among hikers, mountain bikers and naturalists.

This cache is placed with the permission from and in cooperation with the Irvine Ranch Conservancy. Access is limited; reservations for docent-led outings are required due to the area’s sensitive habitat. Pre-registration is required for all programs. No walk-up registration is allowed, no exceptions. Registration for weekday programs closes at 4 p.m. on the day prior to the event and registration for weekend programs closes at 4 p.m. on the Friday prior to the event. A calendar of scheduled hikes can be found at Additionally, they can be reached at (714) 508-4757 to coordinate small or large group hikes for these Earthcaches and other hikes within the Conservancy boundaries.

Santiago Canyon embodies the romance and lore of Orange County’s colorful history: The canyon’s past is punctuated by coal-mining operations, grizzly bear hunts, manhunts and homesteaders. The canyon was a major thoroughfare for early settlers who settled in its scenic side canyons-Baker, Black Star, Silverado and Modjeska. Traces of Orange County’s earliest residents were discovered at Black Star Canyon. Arrowheads and rocks pockmarked with grinder holes (signs that the Indians ground acorns to produce an edible gruel) have been found on the plateau high above the canyon, where a large Indian village once existed. Black Star Canyon got its name in the 1870′s, when Black Star Mining Company began mining for coal that recently had been discovered there. The mining operation was short-lived, though, because the quality of the coal was so poor.

This cache is designed for kids, but can be enjoyed by all cachers.

Color can be used to help determine specific minerals in a rock. While this has been determined to be one of the least effective methods in identifying rock/mineral content, it does provide a starting place when including or eliminating mineral content from rock formations. The below are some examples of mineral and rock colors and related minerals/rocks:

Light Grey or Tan–Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-size mineral or rock grains. Sand and the sandstone it creates can be an color (the sandstone would be reflective of the color of the base sand in its formation. Since sandstone beds often form highly visible cliffs and other topographic features, certain colors of sandstone have been strongly identified with certain regions. Colors will usually be light grey or tan. Sandstone has been a main building material dating back into most of history.

Red – Iron Oxide: When air touches iron materials over a long period of time the process will “rust” (oxidize) the iron minerals in the sediment to give a reddish color to the rocks. Based upon the type of base rock, and the amount of iron materials in the formation, the color of red will vary from very dark as seen below, to lighter pinks. Iron Oxide has historically been used as the basis for several paint colors including Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Chestnut, Sienna, Venetian Red and Mummy Brown.

Dark Grey – Siltstone: Silt is a size term used for material that is smaller than sand but larger than clay. Siltstone is defined as having twice as much silt as clay.

Blue – Azurite: Azurite is a soft, deep blue copper mineral produced by weathering of copper ore deposits.

Yellow – Sulfur: Sulfur in its native form is a yellow crystal. Common uses are primarily found in fertilizers, matches, insecticides and fungicides.

Green – Epidote: The color is green, grey, brown or nearly black, but usually a characteristic shade of yellowish-green or pistachio-green.

Metallic Gold – Pyrite: Its metallic luster and pale-to-normal gold-yellow hue have earned it the nickname fool’s gold, but ironically enough, small quantities of actual gold can sometimes be found in pyrite. This is primarily sold in retail shops as it appears to be gold, but also had been used in old-time radios.

Metallic Grey – Mica: Mica is a flaky grey mineral that provides for a metallic look when seen with several layers together. Mica is used in stoves and lanterns as it is somewhat clear, but is heat resistant. Mica can also be found in paint, wallpaper, roof paper, cosmetics and insulators, as well as other common applications.
In order to log this cache, from the coordinates, you will need to identify three rock/mineral types provided above. Please face west and look both at the formations at approximately 315 degrees and then at approximately 225 degrees.

1. At 315 degrees, you should see two different and distinct colors in the rock formations. Email me (logs that provide the answer will be deleted) both colors, and based upon the above what type of rock or mineral content you think both individually contain.
2. At 225 degrees, about 1/3 up from the bottom of the formation, there is a different color of rocks compared to the rock and/or mineral identified in #1 above. Email me (logs that provide the answer will be deleted) what color this formation is, and based upon the above what type of rock you think it is.
3. Based upon the colors discovered, email me (logs that provide the answer will be deleted) which mineral do you see the most of.
4. Also, post a picture with you, your group and your GPS from the coordinates with the formation in background.

(actual webpage of this info- click here-)


Mining, minerals, & marshes in the Duddon Estuary

quartz vein

quartz vein

The Duddon Estuary is a landscape shaped by geological forces, glaciers, then finally, man, here at Hodbarrow you will see evidence of both, rock formations dating back millions of years and a 19th century unusual lagoon formed for heamatite iron mining.
With the Lakeland fells behind, the Duddon estuary presents an ever changing view, the bedrock was laid odwn millions of years ago, when the Holcene glaciers retreated, melting 10,000 years ago, they left behind thick layers of sediment, powerful ocean tides have then sculpted a scene of mudflats,dunes, water and salt marshes which run right along the coast towards Broughton in Furness, the salt marsh landscape is thought to look as it would have 10,000 years ago.
limestone pavement

limestone pavement

At the coordinates given for the cache, you will find your self on a small remote beach looking out into the bay, the rock that you will be standing on and that is all around you is Carboniferous limestone, but what is that exactly ?

Carboniferous limestone is a sedimentary rock made of calcium carbonate. It is usually light-grey in colour, and is hard, gripy when dry but slippery when wet. It was formed in warm, shallow tropical seas teeming with life. The rock is made up of the shells and hard parts of millions of sea creatures, encased in carbonate mud. Fossil corals, brachiopods and crinoids are very much in evidence as components of Carboniferous limestone.

This limestone area of the beach that leads into the sea has charachteristics of a limestone pavement hoever is has been eroded by the sea and now has many unusual shapes which now form rock pools whereas more inland these ‘grikes’ more than likely would house a habitat of their own, which encourages the growth of shade-loving ferns and other fauna.

Interestingly the limestone here also contains quartz, it can be seen as veins running through the rock and also clusters of it protruding through the limestone on various parts of the beach, Quartz is an essential constituent of granite and other felsic igneous rocks. It is very common in sedimentary rocks such as sandstone and shale and is also present in variable amounts as an accessory mineral in most carbonate rocks. Quartz wasn’t the only thing to have been discovered in Hodbarrow though… in the 18th century high grade Haematite ores with an iron content on 40% – 62% were discovered and that led to Hodbarrow going from a quiet area to a mining giant

The Hodbarrow Iron mine
The Hodbarrow mine evolved to become one the most productive and important haematite mines in the world, iron ore mining began in 1880 and with it came the start of an epic battle with the sea, after 2 unsucessful attempts to sheild the mines from the sea by using barriers a huge engineering project was started to build what is now known as the ‘Hobarrow outer wall’ this wall creating the ‘lagoon’ you see here today cost £600,000, took five years to build and when it was finished in 1905 it was considered to be a work of unusual and exceptional kind.
The mines closed in 1968 but the barrier still stands as a poignant reminder of the industrial past, the are has now been reclaimed by nature and is now a reserve for wildlife including the increasingly rare Natterjack toad

You will have to visit three locations to complete the tasks, all showing you different things relating to this cache, the locations are close together and you can pick up some traditional caches en route

To claim this Earthcache please complete the following tasks:

1. At the given coordinates for the cache take a photo of you or your GPS on the Limestone beach.

2. At the same place identify and take a photo of an example of quartz coming through the limestone, please describe the colour of the quartz you discover

3. At 54.11.571 003.15.382 you will see an information board, what is being tipped at Millom in the picture on the left ?

4.At 54.11.417 003.16.039 you will be stood on the sea barrier by the large lighthouse, there is an information board, what happened in 1924?

Please post your photo’s in your log and email the answers to me directly, any logs without this information may be deleted

Have fun exploring this fantastic area

actual website location- click here-

Graves Mountain, Lincolnton, GA- Rutile, Lazulite, and Pyrophyllite, Iridescent Hematite

Filed under: Coming Events,regular postings,rockhounding maps — Gary March 8, 2007 @ 10:42 pm
Graves Mountain, Lincolnton, GA
Graves Mountain “Rock Swap and Dig”:

Collecting Rutile, Kyanite, Lazulite, Iridescent Hematite,
Pyrophyllite, Pyrite, Ilmenite, Fuchsite, Barite, Sulfur, Variscite
blue quartz and quartz crystals.

8 am to 6 pm, Friday, April 27, 2007
8 am to 6 pm, Saturday, April 28, 2007
8 am to 6 pm, Sunday, April 29, 2007

“You are invited to field collect minerals at Georgia’s premiere mineral location!”

-Graves Mountain is technically not a commercial mineral location,
but a donation is requested for the caretaker.


Colombia emeralds – Deposits and Mining Production- maps

Filed under: regular postings,rockhounding maps — Gary February 23, 2007 @ 5:29 am

colombia_emerald_map Gachala_EmeraldThe Gachala Emerald is one of the largest gem emeralds in the world at 858 carats. This stone was found in 1967 at La Vega de San Juan mine in Gachalá, Colombia.

Gemstones are found in many parts of the world, singly or grouped together. Groups that are quite large are called deposits. Places with a single find are called the location of discovery, place of discovery, or point of discovery. The word occurrence refers to any four of these terms.

For the past 50 years Colombia has been the leader in the largest emerald production in the world. Colombia’s mining towns supply about 60% of the world’s output and 80% of the highest quality emerald available on the market today.



Crater of Diamonds- Murfreesboro, Arkansas- only diamond mine in world open to public

Filed under: regular postings,rockhounding maps — Gary February 18, 2007 @ 2:09 pm


The Crater of Diamonds is an Arkansas State Park located in Murfreesboro in Pike County, Arkansas, USA containing the only diamond mine in the world that is open to the public.


The Crater of Diamonds State Park is an 888 acre (3.6 km2) Arkansas State Park situated over an eroded volcanic pipe. The park is open to the public and, for a small fee, rockhounds and tourists can dig for diamonds and other gemstones. Park visitors find more than 600 diamonds each year of all colors and grades. Over 24,000 diamonds have been found in the crater since it became a state park. Visitors may keep any gemstone they find regardless of its value (and some, as listed below, have been quite valuable).

In addition to diamonds, visitors may find semi-precious gems such as amethyst, agate, and jasper or approximately 40 other minerals such as garnet, phlogopite, quartz, barite, and calcite.

The crater itself is a 35 acre (142,000 m2) gravelly open field that is periodically plowed to bring the diamonds and other gemstones to the surface. The remainder of the park consists of a visitor’s center, interpretive center, campground, and picnic area. A 1.3 mile (2 km) walking trail along the Little Missouri River is available for hikers.

Murfreesboro is located just south of Hot Springs, Arkansas, the location of Hot Springs National Park. The park is open year round but experienced diamond hunters prefer hunting in the spring when rains wash dirt off of the gemstones and make them easier to spot.



reader tells about her trip to the Royal Peacock Mine in the Virgin Valley

Filed under: Rockhound stories,regular postings,rockhounding maps — Gary February 11, 2007 @ 11:19 pm
Royal-Peacock-Mine Royal-Peacock-Mine_2Royal-Peacock-Mine-4Royal-Peacock-opal
The opals were dug at the Royal Peacock Mine in the Virgin Valley. The vacation was planned after watching a show on the Travel Channel about where to find treasure in America. We didn’t pump ourselves up about really finding anything. It just looked like fun. I’m not the kind of person to want to go lay at a beach all day sipping fruity drinks, borrrring. Luckily my husband feels the same way. Plan on camping out at the campgrounds right there in the Valley, or plan on at least a 45 minute drive each day if you can get a room at the Denio Junction Hotel. There isn’t much else in the way of accomodations way out there. The Royal Peacock does have their own camp sites and they also have 3 furnished campers for rent (hint, call early, they go quickly!).
Our first day of digging proved us right in not expecting to hit an opal, except towards the very end of the day. I found a piece of potch that had some non-precious opal with it. That whetted the apetite. We moved to a different part of the bank the next morning and it wasn’t too long before we hit a ‘hot spot’. We staked our 5 feet (per person) on the bank and dug the same area for 4 more days. I consider us lucky as 85% or better of the people who came to dig did not find anything. They also were only digging for just one day. It takes a lot of hard work and moving a lot of dirt in hot windy weather (in August, anyway). It is a hit or miss situation. You could be just inches away from finding an opal, or feet away. We didn’t really get a chance to speak with Harry Wilson, one co-owner of the mine. He had a friend who was the guide to the dig and he had some good advice, don’t come expecting to leave paying for your vacation, those are the people who won’t find anything. We didn’t and had some terrific luck.

Rockhounding Opals from Ethiopia

Filed under: regular postings,rockhounding maps — Gary January 18, 2007 @ 11:56 am


Opal has been a gemstone that lots of people love and some adore with a passion. I fit into the second category, probably because opal is about the only gemstone that can have such a diverse brilliance of colour that encompasses the whole of the colour spectrum. Because of this I find it such an uplifting and beautiful stone.

In the past most opal has come from either Australia or Mexico, as opal mainly comes from two types of deposits; volcanic and sedimentary. Australia provides the largest sedimentary deposit, whilst Mexico the largest siliceous volcanic deposit. Smaller deposits can also be found at opal Butte, Oregon, although this mainly is not commercially exploited for jewellery.

However, as late as 1939 the famous anthropologist Dr. L. Leakey reported that early man used opal to fashion tools based on a discovery of artifacts in a cave in Kenya that were dated from around 4,000 years B.C. and so believed that opal mines must exist in Africa. In was not until much later in 1994 that actual proof of these opals came to light with a Dr. N. Barot who reported in an article in the ICA Gazette that opals from Ethiopia had been seen at a Nairobi gem market in 1993. In the same year a minerals engineer by the name of Telahun Yohannes learned about these opals whilst on holiday and started investigating its location along with a lease to explore and mine the area. And that begins the start of a new and stunningly beautiful opal onto the market.