Phoenix, AZ- Goldfield Mountains- Calcite Druzy & Pink Lace Agate

Filed under: regular postings,rockhounding maps — Gary January 3, 2007 @ 10:42 pm

goldfield_map_profile goldfield_topo_mapWillow_Spring_valleygoldfield_map_2

This article was sent in by Shain-

This site I would consider a moderate hike, but its rather short and quite accessible to most people, the collecting area is loose ground and there’s lots
of the classic pointed plants everywhere, so be careful. YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ACCESS THIS AREA BY 4×4 IF YOU HAVE THE PERMIT TO DRIVE IN
THE GOLDFIELDS, contact the Tonto Ranger district to get the permit. Otherwise it will be a .6mile hike in one direction uphill. This is a wonderful
area to explore but be careful of wildlife, as there are many hidden areas to be found.
trekking out into the Arizona Deserts-

Arizona is not one big desert, in fact it holds the wettest desert in the entire world. The summer last only 4 months were one will find those hot dry temps. But, One can find wonderful hiking in the North central part of the state which rarely goes above 100 degrees during the hottest part of the summer. And during the winter months, 60-70 degree days hiking in the lower deserts which is very rewarding the just the immense scenery and canyon lands that above all over the state.

*Basic etiquette and ideals when outdoors;
As any rock hounding goes, one must respect not only the land in which you dig from, but the land owners, or access roads into and around your collecting sites. Always close any gate you come upon and go through if its already closed when you come to it. Never go onto 4×4 trails if you do not have the experience and know the trail somewhat. it never hurts to get out of your truck or car and scout to see if it possible to make it in.
*Always go with a friend and always let someone know were your going.
*Bring plenty of water as the biggest thing one must be careful of in Arizona is dehydration.

Always respect the wildlife and never shot animals unless for defense or if you have the proper permits to hunt. Remember that rattle snakes and scorpions will only hurt you if your not aware they are around and at foolishly. If you hear a rattle snake, always stop for a moment to find out which directions its coming from, if in brushy areas carry a walking stick with at least a 4 foot reach. So if you do come across one, you stick will let it know your there before your leg does.

When Rock hounding respect the land you dig from, cover up any holes you dig and always careful not to disturb to much ground when working. If you find something that seems like it may have market value, go through the proper channels in order the claim the rights of that area. then you can dig and be held accountable for the mess you make. Ideally Turing you into a respectful mining patron.

There are allot of areas in Arizona that are not accessible by 4×4, because of Wilderness land, Private land, Indian Reservation, or plain rugged areas. Please always plan out ahead were you are going using local maps and info from BLM or Forest Dept on road conditions and such.

This is by far one of the easiest sites to find and get to, and is the closest location to the Metro Phoenix area I have posted on this site. Your goal no matter were you are coming from, is to
*get to the Intersection of Highway 88, and Idaho Road in Apache Jct, AZ.
The main access freeway is the US 60/Suppersitition Freeway which spans the length of Mesa, AZ and is the main artery into the east Valley Metro Phoenix area. Idaho Rd is one the most eastern Exits on US 60, in Apache Jct.
Once you get to that intersection, proceed up highway 88, NE into the Superstition Wilderness. Drive roughly 8-10miles on the 88 until you see “Lookout Point” parking area. This area is on the east side of the 88 and can be used to park and access the eastern side of the 88, into the Superstition Wilderness. The West side parking, can be found another 300 feet down the road, over the hump. Its a good size parking area, but the curb is bad, so go slow and prepare for the turn off, it is not marked. But on weekends you may already see trucks parked there. Here is a photo of the parking area looking West into the Goldfields and the collecting area.
goldfield_parking_map goldfield_picture
What is the Hike like?
The hike I consider moderate becasue most folks cant access this area, except on foot. And the collecting area itself is rather loose and there are many depressed
and hidden areas in the rock formations, and lots of places one can easily fall. The hike itself is less than 1mile in, so in that regard its an easy hike, most of its
on a 4×4 road. So it really isn’t a problem unless you act careless while collecting and fall.

Franklin and Sterling Hill, New Jersey, USA – table of longwave fluorescent minerals

Filed under: regular postings,rockhounding maps — Gary December 18, 2006 @ 6:09 pm

alleghanyiteAlleghanyite is an exceptionally rare member of the humite group, and this specimen is unusually rich with gemmy brown microcrystals to 2 mm flatlaying along an approximately 3-cm vertical axis on this specimen . The matrix is a typical mix of franklinite/calcite/willemite and is highly fluorescent.

The mines of Franklin and the Sterling Hill Mine at Ogdensburg, Sussex County in northwestern New Jersey are world famous and deservingly so. No other site can boast the same assortment of rare and interesting minerals. Over three hundred different minerals were found at these mines and most are listed in The Minerals of Franklin and Sterling Hill Table.


Hauser Geode Beds(The Potato Patch)- Thundereggs/Nodules, Jasper, Pastelite, Rhyolite, and Agate

Filed under: Great Finds-specimens,Rockhound stories,regular postings,rockhounding maps — Gary December 16, 2006 @ 4:09 am

The Hauser Geode Beds

By Delmer G. Ross

Professor of History, La Sierra University

delmer_ross The dull thud of picks, the crunch-swish of shovels, the tink-plink of rock hammers, and the occasional delighted, “I found a nice one!” all help to mark the location of the Hauser Geode Beds on an early spring weekend. Hundreds of holes dug into light-greenish colored volcanic ash under a nearly cloudless blue sky confirm it. Sometimes dozens of rockhounds may be found digging for geodes at this desolate appearing region of northeastern Imperial County, in southern California.
The geode beds are named for Joel F. Hauser, who discovered them with the help of his very observant father in the early 1930s. Twenty-five years earlier, the elder Hauser, George, had been a partner in Hauser & Giddings, a Colorado Desert freight line operating mainly between the Southern Pacific Railroad at Glamis, and the Palo Verde Valley town of Blythe. As he slowly drove heavy, freight-laden wagons across the desert, he followed two basic routes.
The preferred route led through Palo Verde Canyon. It was the shorter, more direct route. It was also subject to flooding and washouts, especially during the usual late summer monsoons.
The alternate route, used mainly when flooding in the canyon closed the canyon road, led from the little community of Palo Verde, near the Colorado River, west to the southern stretch of the Mule Mountains. After crossing over a low pass in the Mules located only a mile or so east of the present-day Coon Hollow Campground, it continued west, through what today is known as Ashley Flats, to another low pass some eight road miles away, near today’s Potato Patch. Then, turning southward for a mile or two, then southeastward, it eventually rejoined the main Blythe-Glamis road.



Wiley’s Well Trip Report 2006 Part 2 of 2 , Thanks Eva! Rockhounding, Geology

Filed under: Rockhound stories,regular postings,rockhounding maps — Gary December 13, 2006 @ 3:36 am

By now, I was getting tired and some people had already headed back to camp. With no
other dogs around and few people, I let Sesame Pooch off the leash and she raced over the
crusty rhyolite hills with glee. If only I could have stolen some of her energy! The biggest
diggings area was across a deep wash and we had to move laterally to find an easier path
down through the wash and then back up to the diggings. The white ashy dirt had been
well churned and many pieces of agate encrusted rhyolite littered the ground. Some agate
had nice colorations and fortification patterns and I spent some time surface hunting
before heading over the hill and across a large plain to investigate some ashy looking
areas further away.

In my travels, I found several whitish areas and also found some geodes that were actually
bubbly and round looking instead of just being large cavities in rhyolite. Inside, they had
somewhat thin lines of clear agate. On my way back, I crossed paths with other hounders
at a large ashy area and we discovered some thin veins of crusty common opal. Some
parts were colored a nice red but the material was so crusty that it would not come out in
decent sized pieces. I was tempted to say that the opal in that vein had not spent enough
time in the oven. It seemed undercooked and not fully formed into useable opal. Soon,
the sun grew heavy in the sky and our packs grew heavy on our backs, and it was time to
head back to camp.


Geology/Rockhounding Maine, Bemis Stream/Brimstone Mountain-Green tourmaline,Blue Beryl and more

Filed under: regular postings,rockhounding maps — Gary December 10, 2006 @ 5:24 am

Brimstone Mountain, summit, Houghton, 2365 feet, 44.797ºN, 70.684ºW

Bemis Stream, Stream, Houghton, elavation not known, 44.849ºN, 70.727ºW

bemis_stream bemis_stream_picturebemis_stream_picture2

Bemmis Stream

Mineral List: {from State Bulletin 41} albite (var. clevelandite),bertrandite, beryl, cassiterite, columbite, magnocolumbite,damourite, elbaite (green,blue), fluoroapatite (blue and purple),microlite, montebrasite, montmorillonite, muscovite, pollucite, quartz (crystals), spessarite (garnet), sphalerite, spodumene (crystals), tapiolite, wodginite.

Directions: from the junction of route 2 and 17 in mexico drive north 17.1 miles on route 17 to the settlement of “HOUGHTON”. There is a dirt road on the left that goes through a field and you can see a small bridge and gate. Turn left just past the feild onto that dirt road.Cross over the swift river and procede generally NW.That means not to go right into the town of houghton.Go about 6.3 miles to the bridge over Bemis stream.Park just after bridge and road cut. WALK down along the stream about .25 miles to steep ledge and small gorge. This is the pegmatite. NOTE THAT THE PEGMATITE IS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE RIVER.

green_tourmaline_maine Green tourmaline crystals on pegmatite rock



Filed under: regular postings,rockhounding maps — Gary @ 3:32 am

garnet_emeraldcreek_garnets STAR GARNET – THE IDAHO STATE GEM STONE
Idaho and India are the two places in the world where star garnets are found. The 12-sided (dodecahedron) crystals range in size from sand particles to golf-ball or larger size and are often found with four or six-ray stars. Gem quality faceting material is also found.



From St. Maries, Idaho, follow Highway 3 south 24 miles to Road 447. Proceed southwest 8 miles on Road 447 to the parking area. Permits, information, and the sluice area are a 1/2 mile hike up 281 Gulch.


Wiley’s Well Trip Report 2006 Submitted By Eva & Pooch (From The San Diego Club:)-geodes

Filed under: Rockhound stories,regular postings,rockhounding maps — Gary December 5, 2006 @ 3:33 am

Yup, you can post it.  I'll probably post the second
half of the story tomorrow night. 
-Sesame Pooch and Eva

Wiley’s Well Geodes 2006
Surprisingly smooth flowing traffic marked my Thanksgiving escape from the city towards
the Wiley’s Well, CA district geode hunting area. Apparently, all accidents were either
cleared before I arrived or happened right behind me, but I promise I wasn’t responsible
for any of them. Honest! I arrived at the freeway exit at about 2PM and took about 30
minutes to drive the 12.5 miles down the long desert road to camp. There, I spent a lot of
timing talking with others and then finally got around to pitching my tent before dark.
That night at the campfire, looking up, we saw numerous meteors streaking across the
dark clear sky as the tail end of the annual Leonid meteor shower put on a display for us.

The next morning, I awoke at dawn to the sound of rustling camp noises and prepared
myself to be ready by 8AM for our first trip to pebble terrace. Hitching a ride with another
rockhounder, we traveled only a short distance before our first mishap of the trip. An
antique jeep had sudden transmission trouble and would go no further. Its occupants
were quickly loaded into the only vehicle that still had room and that was ours! Now we
had two people in front, three in the middle seats, 2 sitting in the pickup bed, and two
dogs stuffed into the crannies! Good thing we were all friends!


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.


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.

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

Filed under: Rockhound stories,regular postings,rockhounding maps — Gary November 25, 2006 @ 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!