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Wonderstone – Vernon Hills, Tooele County, Utah. Rockhounding Map, directions

Filed under: regular postings — Gary October 16, 2006 @ 4:22 am

Utah Wonderstone- 40.129ºN112.378ºW

vernonhillsutah_map utah_wonderstone

Rhyolite is volcanic.  This particular variety was once a very fine volcanic ash.  Through pressure and time this ash became rock hard as the colorful chemicals such as iron in the earth seeped through and swirled into a glorious design producing a smooth texture for a soft, desireable cutting material.  This wonderstone is only found in the fishlake mountains of Utah .

A striking feature of Vernon Hills wonderstone is its intricately folded bands that create colorful designs in cream, yellow-brown, and multiple shades of maroon.

Geologic information: The Vernon Hills wonderstone is a welded-vitric tuff (vitric means glassy) of rhyolitic composition. It is a volcanic rock composed predominantly of volcanic glass particles which have been welded or stuck together by heat and compacted by the weight of overlying material. Alteration of the rock by circulating ground water produced the colorful banding. The maroon and yellow-brown colors are due to the presence of iron oxides.

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Driving Directions:

1.  In Logan, take Main Street (US-89/91) south; keep right and follow US-91 north up Sardine Canyon.
2.  Merge onto the I-15 (Ogden/SLC exit) via the ramp of the LHS.
3.  Follow the I-15 to exit 316 – exit onto the I-215 (belt route).
4.  Take the I-215 to exit 22A (Reno exit) and merge onto the I-80 at this exit.
5.  Continue on the I-80 to exit 99 (Tooele exit) and merge onto UT-36 at this point.
6.  Follow the UT-36 through Tooele, Stockton, and Vernon.  Once you pass Vernon, you will continue around a bend and up a hill.  As you descend this hill, you will cross a single set of railway tracks.
7.  Immediately after crossing these tracks – turn left (milepost 17) onto a dirt road.
8.  Follow this dirt road for ~ 2.5 miles.  You will approach a fence line and as you approach you will turn off the dirt road (turn right) and follow a trail into the actual site.
NOTE:  At this point – you will be able to see the actual site itself – so it should be quite easy to distinguish.

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Where to collect: Piles of wonderstone are located near the end of the road. A private mining claim is in this area so do not collect on any marked claims or rock piles showing signs of recent mining activity.

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