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CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia
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John Cornish




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PostPosted: Dec 16, 2012 22:58    Post subject: CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

Hi Everyone,

During October and November of 2012, it was my pleasure to visit the island of Tasmania, off of the Australian coast, to collect from the world famous Adelaide Mine. Adam Wright, mine owner, asked if I could help develop a monstrous crystal pocket they’d, Bruce Stark and Adam, had discovered.

The pocket was completely lined with spectacular, brilliant bright-orange crystals of the lead chromate mineral, CROCOITE. With my tickets, Visa and Passport in hand, I was soon on my way towards one of the most exciting mineral experiences I’ve ever had.

John
PS... This is just the beginning!
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bob kerr




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PostPosted: Dec 17, 2012 10:00    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

Adam has apparently retrieved a 1.4meter by 1 meter crocoite "wall" - you can see it at:
http://www.theadelaidemine.com/website/History/UndergroundImages/RedRiverFind/Lower/Specimens/LR100.html
(link normalized by FMF)

bob
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PostPosted: Dec 17, 2012 11:26    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

Hi Bob,

Thank you for sharing the link to the Big Specimen! This was the first major plate Bruce Stark and I removed as we began working the pocket. The dimensions you list are a bit off, it is actually 120 cm by 60 cm, or 4 x 2 feet and is the largest of those plates Bruce and I collected. It came out perfectly, complete and 100% undamaged. Sadly, it was on the last part of our drive out that the plate snapped in two. The break is clean and easily it could be re-attached, one side to the other, but darn, darn, darn-it anyway!!!
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PostPosted: Dec 17, 2012 14:50    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

john - i think i can safely speak for all of us mineral nuts on this site that we are all extremely jealous of your experience in tasmania! seeing that underground site of all those sparkling lead gems must be something that will stick in your mind forever.

lets now hope that adam's shipments all arrive in tact. you may recall that a year or so ago one of his crocoite containers was dropped in transit and destroyed the entire shipment. a travesty against nature!

see you at the tucson show.
bob
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PostPosted: Dec 17, 2012 14:56    Post subject: CROCOITE: A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

Please come along and share in the fun of this wonderful adventure. Sincerely I hope you enjoy!

John



1.JPG
 Description:
The Adelaide Mine is located within the Dundas Mineral Field and lies about one mile (1.6 km) SE of the old Dundas township. The first recording of a lease for the property occurred in 1890. Workings have been developed both as vertical shafts up to nearly 300 feet in depth, and as horizontal drifts, within an iron-manganese gossan.

The mine is privately held and is not open to collectors.
 Viewed:  33655 Time(s)

1.JPG


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PostPosted: Dec 17, 2012 15:04    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE: A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

...


2.JPG
 Description:
Adam Wright, who I owe the privilege of collecting to.
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2.JPG


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PostPosted: Dec 17, 2012 15:06    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE: A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

...


3.JPG
 Description:
Bruce Stark, an exceptional collecting partner.
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3.JPG


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PostPosted: Dec 17, 2012 15:11    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE: A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

...


3a.JPG
 Description:
Most every day, just like the miners of old, we traveled to the mine along the old tram lines. With its rails removed, decades later, the line still serves the mine and its neighboring leases.

I loved the drive into the mine. The way the scenery changed as we traveled through one type of little eco-system into another was fascinating and incredibly visual. Bruce’s trusty Toyota made the trip easily, always doing its best, with Bruce’s guidance of course, to miss the skajillions of pot-holes along the way!
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 Description:
A striking plant, the Tasmanian Tree Fern, Dicksonia Antarctica, dominates the scene amidst other varied ferns and trees in this densely vegetated scene.
 Viewed:  33696 Time(s)

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3c.JPG
 Description:
A closer view of the exotic Tasmanian Tree Fern, Dicksonia Antarctica.
 Viewed:  33666 Time(s)

3c.JPG


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PostPosted: Dec 17, 2012 15:20    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE: A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

...


3d.JPG
 Description:
A wild nature scene of dense browns, grays and greens encroaches and ever-threatens to take the road over…

… Soon, a bit later in this album, I’ll offer a further section of Nature Scenes as seen during my time at the mine.
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 Description:
We’re close now and are just entering into the Adelaide Mine Lease area…
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 Description:
As we do so, we cross over the tumbling waters of Comet Creek.
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 Description:
Our first real views of the Adelaide Mine and its outbuildings.
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 Description:
This tunnel accesses the lowest mine workings still dry above the flooded lower-most workings now inaccessible without extensive de-watering.
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8.JPG
 Description:
A closer view of the locked steel door guarding the lower workings.
 Viewed:  33645 Time(s)

8.JPG


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PostPosted: Dec 17, 2012 15:27    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE: A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

...


9.JPG
 Description:
The environs of the mine.
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 Description:
Looking towards where the road leads off into the woods, heading to the Red Lead Lease, one of the other local mines in the area.
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 Description:
It ain’t pretty, but we called ‘er home while working.

This is a striking, easily-recalled scene, which I looked forward to seeing each day as we traveled to the mine…
 Viewed:  33637 Time(s)

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 Description:
With its chimney throwing smoke, I know it’ll be warm and cozy inside, especially after working underground, all clammy and sweaty and chilled!
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 Description:
Still, we’ll need some wood. No, not the wet stuff…
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 Description:
Note the long line of bottles, all of spirits, long drained markers honoring the previous mine owner Frank Mihajlowits: The Crocoite King of Tasmania.
 Viewed:  33627 Time(s)

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15.JPG
 Description:
… Ya, that’s it, the dry wood, all freshly gathered, cut and split by Bruce and I!
 Viewed:  33649 Time(s)

15.JPG


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PostPosted: Dec 17, 2012 15:36    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE: A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

...


16.JPG
 Description:
Ah, the HEART of the building! This stove was my friend!

But enough of this, how’d you like to take a quick tour into the mine for a quick glimpse of the big crocoite crystal pocket?

Interested?

You are, cool! Grab up some gloves then, rights on the right, lefts on the left and slip into that-there fancy green mine gear and we’ll get to it and we’ll do just that!
 Viewed:  33632 Time(s)

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 Description:
Let me grab-up my gear too…
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 Description:
And here we go…
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Up the stairs…
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 Description:
And over the bridge…
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 Description:
Through the shored-up area before the massive, locked steel-door protecting the mines inner workings…
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 Description:
Unlock and open the door and walk through and into the actual underground workings of the Australia’s, Adelaide Mine.
 Viewed:  33637 Time(s)

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 Description:
Once through the door, the wet nature of the mine becomes immediately apparent as does the need for good lighting to see the workings ahead…

At this point, narrow mine car rails still occupy the floor of the drift. Electrical wiring can be seen high up, along the right wall of the tunnel, as well as a solid steel ladder down on the tunnels left-hand side, one used to access the mines upper workings as exposed further in along the drift.
 Viewed:  33642 Time(s)

24.JPG


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PostPosted: Dec 17, 2012 15:43    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE: A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

...


25.JPG
 Description:
Continuing in, note the timber stretched along the floor of the tunnel stock-piled for later use.
 Viewed:  33631 Time(s)

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26.JPG
 Description:
Further in yet, tools, mainly shovels and picks, begin to make an appearance along the floor of the drift as we press and get ever closer to the nearing pocket-zone.
 Viewed:  33606 Time(s)

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27.JPG
 Description:
Another ladder, and more importantly, no more rails. In fact, if you look closely at the floor, you’ll see it now comprised entirely of timbers…
 Viewed:  33629 Time(s)

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 Description:
We’re in about 75 to 100 feet now and are pressing on, ever deeper, into the darkness, into the mine…
 Viewed:  33615 Time(s)

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 Description:
A shovel lies ahead as obvious as the wooden nature of the floor beneath our feet…
 Viewed:  33612 Time(s)

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30.JPG
 Description:
This wooden floor lies above a 30 foot void, hollowed-out workings all created in the pursuit of crocoite crystalline perfection. They are all that prevent us from a life-taking fall into a Hell of pitch-black pain and darkness.
 Viewed:  33604 Time(s)

30.JPG


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PostPosted: Dec 17, 2012 15:49    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE: A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

...


31.JPG
 Description:
Above us, high above, other workings squirrel into the guts of the mountain. These are the areas accessed by the ladders we’ve passed getting to this point.
 Viewed:  33612 Time(s)

31.JPG



32.JPG
 Description:
We’re getting close now. The rubble from recent work begins to clutter and clog the floor of the tunnel…
 Viewed:  33628 Time(s)

32.JPG


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PostPosted: Dec 18, 2012 18:18    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

...


33.JPG
 Description:
And then, there it is, the monstrous crystal pocket I’ve traveled half a world to see!

It is a spectacular thing! It stretches from the floor of the tunnel right to the top of the drift, about 6 feet high at this point. It’s very presence forces the wind from my lungs, makes my eyes water and causes my brain to reel!

This is it.

This is where I’ll settle in. To work. To play. To collect. To smile and to laugh (sometimes a bit too insanely) until the memories of the experience sink in so deep that they’ll be a part of me forever.

This is where the adventure begins!
 Viewed:  33236 Time(s)

33.JPG



34.JPG
 Description:
A close-up of the lower-most void within the pocket. The plastic bags are covering a fresh crystal-lined space just opened in the floor and going down an arm’s length!
 Viewed:  33238 Time(s)

34.JPG



35.JPG
 Description:
The middle opening offers the best glimpse into the pocket beyond…
 Viewed:  33237 Time(s)

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36.JPG
 Description:
Glorious open space stretching back and beyond whose edges are all a’ glow with crocoite crystalline happiness!
 Viewed:  33250 Time(s)

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37.JPG
 Description:
Above that, a third open space yawns all a’ bristle with bright orange-colored crystals…
 Viewed:  33243 Time(s)

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 Description:
And finally, above that even, crystals stretch beyond sight above me.
 Viewed:  33231 Time(s)

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39.JPG
 Description:
The first order of the day after the fascination has dulled a bit, the work begins! Mucking is the “art” of removing the rock and rubble one’s created. This all too often repeated, physically draining and demanding process, is just part and parcel to the job at hand.

Also, note the incredibly cramped conditions of the area where the pocket had been breached. While open on the left, the right hand side needs to be opened up, to my way of thinking… EXTENSIVELY!

This will be a main focus for me in the weeks ahead!
 Viewed:  33250 Time(s)

39.JPG



40.JPG
 Description:
After much work, the area before the pocket is cleared of rubble. The demolition hammer is our prime tool for working the rock and is 100% vital to this operation. On the other hand, the hand-pulled bin used to remove the muck has got to go! To accomplish this, hours and hours and hours of work was required to widen the tunnel enough for us to get a wheelbarrow all the way in, right to the end of the drift, and into the pocket zone.
 Viewed:  33257 Time(s)

40.JPG



41.JPG
 Description:
Ready to go!

My work area is spotless. I’ve removed all of the excess muck surrounding the pocket, enough to spectacularly see the job ahead. I’ve also removed my first flats of specimens… No Longer A Crocoite Virgin!... YAY!!!

More fun lies just ahead…
 Viewed:  33245 Time(s)

41.JPG


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PostPosted: Dec 18, 2012 18:28    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

...


42.JPG
 Description:
The glory within!

As can be seen when comparing the first pocket photograph, the three original openings into what mine owner Adam Wright later named the Lower Red River Pocket, quickly changed as the two lowest pockets merged into a single cavernous crocoite crystal chamber.

This photo shows the open pocket at over 3 feet (1 meter) tall and looking back, the view goes in about 9 feet (3 meters) here!
 Viewed:  33239 Time(s)

42.JPG



43.JPG
 Description:
Fantasy-like orange crocoite forests cover a rich landscape, a view from up near the top of the pocket opening.
 Viewed:  33255 Time(s)

43.JPG



44.JPG
 Description:
Above the expansive opening, the proverbial wrench-in-the-gears loomed in the form of a spanning, wall to wall, double-sided crocoite bridge which demanded my attentions.

How to move forward, the question just got a lot trickier!
 Viewed:  33225 Time(s)

44.JPG



45.JPG
 Description:
Looking head-on to the end of a loose foot wide (30 cm) crocoite-cemented cobble resting a’ top of the crystal bridge waiting…
 Viewed:  33253 Time(s)

45.JPG



46.JPG
 Description:
In this panned-back view of the pocket, the right hand wall’s close proximity is immediately apparent. My next move is obvious. If I’m going to actually “work open” the pocket as compared to just jamming my hands into the void, the wall has got to go!

And that’s exactly what I set to accomplishing. Using the demolition hammer, over a several day period, I whispered sweet nothings to the wall and coerced the rock to give way before punching a very big hole into this area, essentially stoping out a room large enough to work within, to lower matrix plates into, and to drive the drift forward.

Progress was slow and the work extreme, but as each day progressed one into the other, something very special began to develop. Question is, would I have the nerve, vision and courage to not just pursue it, but to bring it home…
 Viewed:  33226 Time(s)

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 Description:
Pursuing the dream, as one day slipped into the next, the cycle of mining continued and endlessly, my muck pile grew...
 Viewed:  33235 Time(s)

47.JPG



48.JPG
 Description:
… And grew as new rock was brought down and yet, the drift remained too tight to access the area with the wheelbarrow. This left us, still, using the bin to remove the muck.

If I worked hard to develop the pocket area, Bruce was a madman as he worked to clear the last remaining stubborn meters of rock holding us back from accomplishing this major goal.
 Viewed:  33239 Time(s)

48.JPG



49.JPG
 Description:
The BIG PLATE!

This is the first photo I took which records the development and eventual collection of the largest matrix crocoite specimen anyone has ever seen and or documented in the one hundred plus years long history of the Adelaide Mine.

Using the hammer, hours drifted past as I worked the rock back on both my right, above me and behind until finally, some wiggle room was gained. After, I began working, advancing my way forward alongside the pocket.

Days of development work followed punctuated by endless rounds of mucking…

The water dripped upon us as it coursed through the rock above while within our mine suits, we sweated as we strained at the hammers, the shovels, hauling the bin and loading the barrow, advancing-ever-advancing one precious foot forward by the next.
 Viewed:  33237 Time(s)

49.JPG


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PostPosted: Dec 22, 2012 02:43    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

This is unbelievable!!! Such a discovery would be too much for my heart! Thanks for sharing this amazing story.
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PostPosted: Dec 25, 2012 07:44    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

Incredible Crocoites!!!
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Chris Foltz




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PostPosted: Dec 27, 2012 07:25    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

You lucky dog, with trout fishing to boot ! lol :)
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PostPosted: Feb 13, 2013 15:23    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

Incredible!
A big thanks to share this reportage with us!
It's always a pleasure to know how the mineral species are find in them natural environments!
Morreover when we realise the conditions needed to extract one specimens, it's increase the personal value that we can give to ours own species!

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Roger Warin




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PostPosted: Feb 13, 2013 17:20    Post subject: Re: CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia  

I will use the same Nico78’s words to express my admiration.
Mine very impressive, with a reward at the end. Many thanks.
Roger.
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