Druze and Drusy

Filed under: Rockhound Dictionary,Video — Gary October 14, 2010 @ 9:57 am

Rockhound Terms

Drusy (sometimes referred to as: druse, druzy) is a layer of tiny quartz crystals that form on a host stone (A gemstone with natural surface textured similar to fine sugar crystals.). The cavity inside a geode is sometimes filled with drusy quartz crystals. Although the quartz crystals may be the source of the color (amethyst, citrine), usually it is the host stone’s color (chrysocolla, uvarovite garnet) that shows through the quartz and gives the stone its color. (pronounced: dru-zee).  Drusy is created by the phenomena of micro-crystalline facets forming on a gem and the surrounding rock, they were formed naturally millions of years ago.

Druze is a layer of crystals that form within a mineral crust, like the inner cavity of a geode. Amethyst crystals are often found in a druze. The inner cavity of agate geodes are often lined with a druze of sparkling quartz crystals.

Lets call the whole thing off?  :)

RockHound Term

Filed under: Rockhound Dictionary,Video — Gary October 13, 2010 @ 10:15 pm




In gemology, chatoyancy (pronounced shə-TOY-ən-see), or chatoyance, is an optical reflectance effect seen in certain gemstones. Coined from the French “œil de chat,” meaning “cat’s eye,” chatoyancy arises either from the fibrous structure of a material, as in tiger eye quartz, or from fibrous inclusions or cavities within the stone, as in cat’s eye chrysoberyl. The effect can be likened to the sheen off a spool of silk: The luminous streak of reflected light is always perpendicular to the direction of the fibres. For a gemstone to show this effect best it must be cut en cabochon, with the fibers or fibrous structures parallel to the base of the finished stone. Faceted stones are less likely to show the effect well.

Gem species known for this phenomenon include the aforementioned quartz, chrysoberyl, beryl (especially var. aquamarine), tourmaline, apatite, moonstone and scapolite. Glass optical cable can also display chatoyancy if properly cut, and has become a popular decorative material in a variety of vivid colors.

The term Cat’s Eye, when used by itself as the name of a gemstone, can only be used to refer to a Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl. Any other stone exhibiting this phenomenon must have the stone’s name after the Cat’s Eye identifier, i.e. Cat’s Eye Aquamarine.

Chatoyancy can also be used to refer to a similar effect in woodworking, where certain finishes will cause the wood grain to achieve a striking three-dimensional appearance. This effect is often highly sought after, and is sometimes referred to as “wet look”, since wetting wood with water often displays the chatoyancy, albeit only until the wood dries. Oil finishes and shellac can bring out the effect strongly.

Interesting video  – How light reacts with a gemstone

Utah Ice

Filed under: Mineral of the day,Video — Gary @ 8:38 pm

Someone asked me if I ever heard of the mineral “Utah Ice”.  Hmph I said…  After some digging (no pun intended) this is what I came up with.


This stuff looks almost like glass, specially when it gets into the water it looks alot like glass, but its not.
My warning is, that you shouldn’t buy it for the aquarium.
Well I bought a load of it for my 29gal, and guess what? Its all gone!
Yes, thats right.. it slowly dissolved away, over about 5 months some very large pieces are down to tiny little slivers.
Just a heads up, don’t buy it unless you want to have to KEEP buying it.

Selenite, a crystalline form of gypsum

Selenite, satin spar, desert rose, and gypsum flower are four varieties of gypsum; all four varieties show obvious crystalline structure. The four “crystalline” varieties of gypsum are sometimes grouped together and called selenite.

All varieties of gypsum, including selenite and alabaster, are composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate (meaning has two molecules of water), with the chemical formula CaSO4·2H2O.

Identification of gypsum

All varieties of gypsum are very soft minerals (hardness: 2 on Mohs Scale). This is the most important identifying characteristic of gypsum, as any variety of gypsum can be easily scratched with a fingernail. Also, because gypsum has natural insulating properties, all varieties feel warm to the touch.


Though sometimes grouped together as “selenite”, the four crystalline varieties have differences. General identifying descriptions of the related crystalline varieties are:




  • most often transparent and colorless: it is named after Greek σεληνη= “the moon”.
  • if selenite crystals show translucency, opacity, and/or color, it is caused by the presence of other minerals including druse (a coating of small crystal points)
  • druse is the crust of tiny, minute, or micro crystals that form or fuse either within or upon the surface of a rock vug, geode, or another crystal

Satin spar

  • most often silky, fibrous, and translucent (pearly, milky) – can exhibit some coloration
  • the satin spar name can also be applied to fibrous calcite (a related calcium mineral) – calcite is a harder mineral – and feels greasier, waxier, or oilier to the touch.

Desert rose

  • rosette shaped gypsum with outer druse of sand or with sand throughout – most often sand colored (in all the colors that sand can exhibit)
  • the desert rose name can also be applied to barite desert roses (another related sulfate mineral) – barite is a harder mineral with higher density

Gypsum flower

  • rosette shaped gypsum with spreading fibers – can include outer druse
  • the difference between desert roses and gypsum flowers is that desert roses look like roses, whereas gypsum flowers form a myriad of shapes

Use and history

Selenite mine

Selenite mine

Because of the long history of the commercial value and use of both gypsum and alabaster, the four crystalline varieties have been somewhat ignored, except as a curiosity or as rock collectibles.

Crystal habit and properties

Crystal habit refers to the shapes that crystals exhibit.

Selenite crystals commonly occur as tabular, reticular, and columnar crystals, often with no imperfections or inclusions, and thereby can appear water or glass-like. Many collectible selenite crystals have interesting inclusions such as, accompanying related minerals, interior druse, dendrites, and fossils. In some rare instances, water was encased as a fluid inclusion when the crystal formed.

Selenite mine


Selenite crystals sometimes form in thin tabular or mica-like sheets and have been used as glass panes.

Selenite crystals sometimes will also exhibit bladed rosette habit (usually transparent and like desert roses) often with accompanying transparent, columnar crystals. Selenite crystals can be found both attached to a matrix or base rock, but can commonly be found as entire free-floating crystals, often in clay beds (and as can desert roses).


ThunderEgg Cutting

Filed under: Video,how to? — Gary October 12, 2010 @ 8:54 pm

Cool video I found of someone cutting a ThunderEgg.

As well  did a story on a while ago.  Here is a video they put together.  Pretty interesting!

Thunderegg Hunting in Oregon

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.

Moose Lake Agate and Geological Center and Rock Dump

Filed under: Rockhound Travel,Rockhound stories,Video — Gary September 26, 2010 @ 9:12 pm

Be sure to stop in the Agate and Geological Interpretive Center when you visit Moose Lake State Park. The 4,500 square foot building, located at the entrance to the park, opened in 2003 and includes a multi-purpose classroom, nature store gift shop, park offices, a resource workroom, restrooms, and an exhibition hall that showcases Minnesota’s gemstone, the Lake Superior Agate. Interpretive displays focus on rocks, minerals and geology of Minnesota.


Memorial Day through Labor Day: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Office closed Wednesday and Sundays Oct-April. If you call ahead to the park, special arrangements may be made to make sure the building is open for your visit.

Year-round Camping

Camping is available at this park year-round! Self-registration information for camping is located on the park bulletin board/kiosk just past the front doorway to the park office/visitor center.


Best time to contact the park: September-April Office hours will vary, Park office phone message answering system out of order, Please call to talk to park staff as available. September office hours variable 9a.m.-3p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., seven days a week and until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Office closed Wednesday and Sundays Oct-April


4252 County Road 137
Moose Lake, MN 55767

tel: 218-485-5420

Getting There

Located 1/4 miles east of I-35 at the Moose Lake exit #214. The park entrance is off County Road 137. Take the Moose Lake exit off I-35. Then go east on County Road 137 until you see the park signs about 1/2 mile down the road.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 2010. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Web Site (online). Accessed 2010-9-26 at

Moose Lake Agate Days Rock Dump



Carlton County Gem and Mineral Club
and the Moose Lake Chamber of Commerce present…
Moose Lake Agate Days

Minnesota’s Moose Lake High School Gymnasium and Parking Lot

Agate Stampede  (Saturday only) (350 Pounds of Agates & $ 300.00 Dollars in quarters)
Sunday 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

And there you have it! A great days event! Moose Lake, Minnesota is the Agate capitol of the world. Stop by and check this one out! This event is usually held on the 3rd Saturday in July.

Other sites to check out……………………

Lake Superior agate

Filed under: Mineral of the day,Video — Gary @ 8:49 pm
Lake Superior agate -  R.Weller/Cochise College

Lake Superior agate - R.Weller/Cochise College

The Lake Superior agate is a type of agate stained by iron and found on the shores of Lake Superior. Its wide distribution and iron-rich bands of color reflect the gemstone’s geologic history in Minnesota. In 1969 the Lake Superior agate was designated by the Minnesota Legislature as the official state gemstone.

The Lake Superior agate was selected because the agate reflects many aspects of Minnesota. It was formed during lava eruptions that occurred in Minnesota about a billion years ago. The stone’s predominant red color comes from iron, a major Minnesota industrial mineral found extensively throughout the Iron Range region. Finally, the Lake Superior agate can be found in many regions of Minnesota as it was distributed by glacial movement across Minnesota 10,000 to 15,000 years ago.

Geologic history

More than a billion years ago, the North American continent began to split apart along plate boundaries. Molten magma upwelled into iron-rich lava flows throughout the Midcontinent Rift System, including what is now the Minnesota Iron Range region. These flows are now exposed along the north and south shores of Lake Superior. The tectonic forces that attempted to pull the continent apart, and which left behind the lava flows, also created the Superior trough, a depressed region that became the basin of Lake Superior.

Lake Superior agate

Lake Superior agate

The lava flows formed the conditions for creation of Lake Superior agates. As the lava solidified, water vapor and carbon dioxide trapped within the solidified flows formed a vesicular texture (literally millions of small bubbles). Later, groundwater transported ferric iron, silica, and other dissolved minerals passed through the trapped gas vesicles. These quartz-rich groundwater solutions deposited concentric bands of fine-grained quartz called chalcedony, or embedded agates.

Over the next billion years, erosion exposed a number of the quartz-filled, banded vesicles—agates—were freed by running water and chemical disintegration of the lavas, since these vesicles were now harder than the lava rocks that contained them. The vast majority, however, remained lodged in the lava flows until the next major geologic event that changed them and Minnesota.

During the ensuing ice ages a lobe of glacial ice, the Superior lobe, moved into Minnesota through the agate-filled Superior trough. The glacier picked up surface agates and transported them south. Its crushing action and cycle of freezing and thawing at its base also freed many agates from within the lava flows and transported them, too. The advancing glacier acted like an enormous rock tumbler, abrading, fracturing, and rough-polishing the agates.


The Lake Superior agate is noted for its rich red, orange, and yellow coloring. This color scheme is caused by the oxidation of iron. Iron leached from rocks provided the pigment that gives the gemstone its beautiful array of color. The concentration of iron and the amount of oxidation determine the color within or between an agate’s bands.

The gemstone comes in various sizes. The gas pockets in which the agates formed were primarily small, about 1 cm in diameter. A few Lake Superior agates have been found that are 22 cm in diameter with a mass exceeding 10 kilograms. Very large agates are extremely rare.

The most common type of Lake Superior agate is the fortification agate with its eye-catching banding patterns. Each band, when traced around an exposed pattern or “face,” connects with itself like the walls of a fort, hence the name fortification agate.

A common subtype of the fortification agate is the parallel-banded, onyx-fortification or water-level agate. Perfectly straight, parallel bands occur over all or part of these stones. The straight bands were produced by puddles of quartz-rich solutions that crystallized inside the gas pocket under very low fluid pressure. The parallel nature of the bands also indicates the agate’s position inside the lava flow.

Probably the most popular Lake Superior agate is also one of the rarest. The highly treasured eye agate has perfectly round bands or “eyes” dotting the surface of the stone.

Occasionally, collectors find a gemstone with an almost perfectly smooth natural surface. These rare agates are believed to have spent a long time tumbling back and forth in the waves along some long-vanished, wave-battered rocky beach. They are called, appropriately enough, “water-washed” agates.

Cutting and polishing

A gemstone can be used as a jewel when cut and polished. Only a fraction of the Lake Superior agate are of the quality needed for lapidary. Three lapidary techniques are used on Lake Superior agates:

  • Tumbling—Small gemstones are rotated in drums with progressively finer polishing grit for several days until they are smooth and reflective.
  • Saw-cut and polish—Stones up to 1/2 kg are cut with diamond saws into thin slabs, which then are cut into various shapes. One side of the shaped slab is polished producing fine jewelry pieces and collectible gems called cabochons.
  • Face polishing—Polishing a curved surface on a portion of the stone and leaving the major portion in its natural state is called face polishing.

Distribution of Lake Superior agate

One of the most appealing reasons for naming the Lake Superior agate as the Minnesota state gemstone is its general availability. Glacial activity spread agates throughout northeastern and central Minnesota, extreme northwestern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the United States and the area around Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario, Canada.

Finding the gem

Typically the richly colored banding pattern is not well exposed and prospectors must look for other clues to the presence of agates.

The following characteristics are used to identify agates in the field.

  • Band planes along which the agate has broken are sometimes visible, giving the rock a peeled texture. It appears as though the bands were partially peeled off like a banana skin.
  • Iron-oxide staining is found on nearly all agates to some degree, and generally covers much of the rock. Such staining can be many different colors, but the most common are shades of rust-red and yellow.
  • Translucence is an optical feature produced by chalcedony quartz, the principal constituent of agates. The quartz allows light to penetrate, producing a glow. Sunny days are best for observing translucence.
  • A glossy, waxy appearance, especially on a chipped or broken surface, is another clue.
  • A pitted texture often covers the rock surface. The pits are the result of knobs or projections from an initial layer of softer mineral matter deposited on the wall of the cavity in which the agate formed. Later, when the quartz that formed the agate was deposited in the cavity, these projections left impressions on the exterior.

Thanks Wikipedia

Bornite – Peacock Ore / Peacock Copper

Filed under: Mineral of the day,Reader submissions- Rockhound stores,Video — Gary September 21, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

Bornite is a sulfide mineral with chemical composition Cu5FeS4 that crystallizes in the orthorhombic system.  Also called ‘the stone of happiness‘.

Peacock Ore

Peacock Ore


Bornite has a brown to copper-red color on fresh surfaces that tarnishes to various iridescent shades of blue to purple in places. Its striking iridescence gives it the nickname peacock copper or peacock ore. As this appearance can not always be naturally found, many sellers of peacock ore dip the mineral in acid to accentuate the colors.


Bornite is an important copper ore mineral and occurs widely in porphyry copper deposits along with the more common chalcopyrite. Chalcopyrite and bornite are both typically replaced by chalcocite and covellite in the supergene enrichment zone of copper deposits. Bornite is also found as disseminations in mafic igneous rocks, in contact metamorphic skarn deposits, in pegmatites and in sedimentary cupriferous shales. It is important as an ore for its copper content of about 63 percent by mass.


Bornite / Peacock Copper


It occurs globally in copper ores with notable crystal localities in Butte, Montana and at Bristol, Connecticut in the U. S. It is also collected from the Carn Brea mine, Illogan, and elsewhere in Cornwall, England. Large crystals are found from the Frossnitz Alps, eastern Tirol, Austria; the Mangula mine, Lomagundi district, Zimbabwe; from the N’ouva mine, Talate, Morocco and in Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

History and etymology

It was first described in 1725 for an occurrence in the Krušné Hory Mountains (Erzgebirge), Karlovy Vary Region, Bohemia in what is now the Czech Republic. It was named in 1845 for Austrian mineralogist Ignaz von Born (1742–1791).

Interesting Video about Bornite-

A reader submitted a question to me and this was the first thing that came to mind (Peacock Ore).  Anyone want to try and answer (story and question below)-

So I live in Utah and spend much time in the mountains and also work on a mountain range.
I came across an old miners bouillon. It looked out of place so I exposed the rest of it. The outside appeared to be shaped like a bowl ( I later found out it was a cauldron) so of course, ya keep it.
It sparked an interest, I had heard of stories of an old sheepherder from Spain that spent his summers there on the hill.
The man was rich back in Spain.
Sparked an interest….what was he doin in Utah herding sheep for 20 years.
So I was on a mission.
I came across a spot on the mountain with rock that was a rhyolite that I had not seen before, so I looked around. Turns out there is a vein of rhyolit that was inside some quartzite rocks that someone has been chipping and taking the vein, replacing the outcropping rocks with the rocks that were around the vein to make it look as if noone was there.
By the look of things someone had been doing this for some time.
I happened to grab some of this vein and it is beautiful multi colored and heavy as hell.
I need info on how to identify the already cooked bouillon that I found. Any help!!

Topaz Mountain, Utah

Filed under: Rockhound Travel,Video — Gary September 8, 2010 @ 8:46 pm

Rockhounding UTAH…

Topaz Mountain is the Southern most portion of Thomas Range. It is characterized by light gray to white rhyolite. The south eastern most point is Topaz Mountain Amphitheater (also know as Topaz Valley or the cove). This is the main and easiest accessible collecting area of the range. Topaz Valley was set aside by the B.L.M. Department of the Interior as a rockhound area. Despite the rumors of it being completely picked over, with hard work and a lot of patience you are often rewarded with some fine clear or sherry colored topaz.

The topaz of topaz mountain fades to colorless when exposed to heat and radiation (the Sun). So, to find the prized sherry colored topaz you have to resort to hard labor. I suggest for the casual collector to bring a 1/4″ screen, rock hammer, and screwdriver. Screen any dirt in washes and around any vegetation. You could easily screen hundreds of clear topaz and some sherry in a days work. Also find any clear topaz on the surface and pry them out with a screwdriver or rock hammer.

If your an avid collector that likes to break up rock and get down to business, I suggest that you bring the following: a heavy hammer (3 lbs +), rock hammer, large chisels (3/4″+),screwdriver, and rock bag.. Attack the mountain by finding soft spots in the rock and hoping to find any cavities. Be aware of signs that may help you. Such as Vegetation in Rhyolite, fracture seams, or open cavities are all good signs you are in a promising area. Be sure to follow the fracture seam, usually sparked off by brownish colored altered hematite. Plugs and frothy rock (both very mineralized Rhyolite) are very good signs your in a cavity. If you follow the signs and be very patient you should be rewarded with many fine sherry colored topaz, and other beautiful minerals.

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