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How to dig a pocket? - (18)
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Jordi Fabre
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PostPosted: Dec 21, 2013 12:59    Post subject: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

In I found this in upstate South Carolina Justin297206913 wrote:
I understand what your saying. I'm very curious about it. Very cool looking but is it worth the trouble to find it and potentially extract it? Thanks.
and also there Justin297206913 wrote:
How would I go about extracting without damaging the specimen? I don't want to just randomly dig holes if I don't have to. All I have is a shovel. Lol


Is funny, but probably is not much written on line about what to do and how to dig a pocket when you find it, so why not start a topic with it and see what happens?
If the result is satisfactory I will move this thread to the Featured Columns of FMF in order to keep it as a reference.

So, my dear friends, many of you digged pockets on the past (and some even currently ;-) and you know quite well the way to do it. why you don't help people like Justin creating here a fine thread about pockets and the way to leave them empty? ;-)

Recommended readings: What is it? and Preparando una excursión (in Spanish language, use the Google translator located in the same page)



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Justin297206913




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PostPosted: Dec 21, 2013 13:21    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

I appreciate any input:) thanks guys for the newbie help.
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Mark Ost




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PostPosted: Dec 21, 2013 14:01    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket?  

Yes indeed; you should always wash your hands after grubbing in pockets! Or as my mother used to say " Get your hands out of your pockets!" I crack myself up!
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PostPosted: Dec 21, 2013 14:03    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

My favorite way to dig a pocket...


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vic rzonca




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PostPosted: Dec 21, 2013 14:16    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

Good idea Jordi.

1. Gather up your field guide, geologist pick, news paper to wrap your loot, water and a pack.

2. Choose a location. Having done your homework, you will have an idea of what might be found at your chosen location.

3. Go there.

4. Find a pocket. With a light pack and my antenna up, hiking in trackless, White Mountain wilderness, I looked down and thought to myself, " This looks like a good spot ". Scratching away an inch or less of detritus, I came upon a very course pegmatite and further digging with a pry bar and stout screwdriver eventually exposed a 3' diameter collapsed smokey quartz pocket. It was a chore lugging out the five gallon bucket of pocket contents. Poor me.

5. Did I mention, do your homework.

6. Always let the machine do the work when possible.



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Some combination of this works. It depends on what and where, the how is to move dirt and rock.
The why, I'll leave up to you.
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Inexpensive chisels.
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From the pocket. Quartz at 17 cm.
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PostPosted: Dec 21, 2013 16:08    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

Keep it coming. After digging how will I know when I discover said pocket? What will it look like? Will these crystals be inside rocks or exposed? Thanks
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PostPosted: Dec 21, 2013 16:31    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

Lets expand the definitions to help a bit. Homework is vital. If you want fish you have to go where the fish are, so just poking around at random does not help much or is a very inefficient way to work. So is there granite in the area? Now here is where a geological map may help. All those colors represent a type and/or age of rock. Look to see where the granite masses are and work the edges of it. As the magma, that will become granite, rises from deep in the earth, imagine it eating into the rock above it. It may also spread out arms into the existing rock. This may show on the map. Those arms are good hunting areas. Stay far from the center as much of that may be solid rock. You want to go where there is a lot of chemical action as the hot rock intrudes and interacts with the "country rock" (the rock the mass intruded into). All maps have a legend that will explain what type and age of rock you are in at least on the surface. The map also tells you much about the subsurface structure but that is a bit advanced for our use right now. Not only color but also there are symbols for different rock types. Look up pegmatite on google and start getting some terms under the belt. Try to find exposures as I said earlier and that will avoid or minimize the shovel and earth moving equipment! Your State department of Mineral resources may have publications you can get that will serve as a guide where you might find what you are looking for so do a document search of their publications on the internet. They are paid to produce these findings for everyone to use.
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PostPosted: Dec 21, 2013 16:48    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

Justin297206913 wrote:
Keep it coming. After digging how will I know when I discover said pocket? What will it look like? Will these crystals be inside rocks or exposed? Thanks

Try watching the Prospectors show on the Weather Channel. Particularly, the Amazonite digs by Joe Dorris. I think this will give you some idea of the kinds of dirt-filled pockets you may find (without the Amazonite).
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PostPosted: Dec 21, 2013 21:52    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

I guess from the information gathered, I will start by doing some research and then dig in so to speak :) lol
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PostPosted: Dec 22, 2013 07:47    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

When digging, always use the right tools for the job, chisels should always be used, never strike hammer against hammer. Once while collecting ammonites in South Dakota, I decided it was faster for my partner to use his geologist pick against my geologist pick to extract an ammonite, too lazy to take the pack off my shoulders and get the chisels.

End result, a trip to the emergency room at the hospital and a fragment of geologist hammer permanently imbedded in my wrist. I now affectionately refer to that particular ammonite as my $1000.00 ammonite (the price of the hospital visit).

At least the shrapnel is not large enough to set off the metal detectors in the airport, would hate to have to constantly explain my stupidity. ;-)

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PostPosted: Dec 22, 2013 09:03    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

So what do these pockets usually look like and how deep are they usually?
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PostPosted: Dec 22, 2013 10:08    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

Justin, every rock type has it's own story to tell. You might look at "Quartz collecting on the Little Falls Dolostone" on this site, to get an idea of what that formation yields and what has to be done to reveal it. If you are digging with hand tools, your explorations are limited by your fitness. If you are lucky enough to be running a track hoe, then your endeavor will progress more rapidly. The point is to aggressively, but carefully, remove overburden and barren rock to uncover productive ground.Then it's on your knees with trowel and scratcher. As Mark said, the contact between rock units is a good place to start. Follow the quartz veins, is good advice in granite. Also the occurrence of graphic granite is a good sign in granite. Any feature that stands out in the country rock is worth a look, like a color change or contortions in the strata. I think one major attribute needed by field collectors is heightened awareness of your surroundings in the field. I call it "having your antenna up", but it is less esoteric than that. Learn as much as you can and keep your eyes open. But sometimes it's just s--t luck.
One more thing, do you need someone to run your track hoe?
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PostPosted: Dec 22, 2013 11:15    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

I work at a machine shop that builds rock crushers and screens. We have a ton of equipment from excavators to track hoes. I just need to research first. Someone experienced would be a huge bonus. I'll take a few pictures of the area and post them.
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PostPosted: Dec 22, 2013 11:23    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

Jordi,

I wrote a post in this thread last evening in response to Vic's picture of his basic equipment which is now vanished. I was discussing useful tools for field collecting. Is it gone forever? It was in this thread not in the "What is it" one.

Cheers,
Mark
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PostPosted: Dec 22, 2013 12:20    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

Mark Randle wrote:
Jordi,

I wrote a post in this thread last evening in response to Vic's picture of his basic equipment which is now vanished. I was discussing useful tools for field collecting. Is it gone forever?...

So sorry Mark but I already checked all our backup files and is nothing there and all your published posts are listed here: http://www.mineral-forum.com/message-board/search.php?search_author=Mark+Randle

I'm afraid that for some reason (maybe bad net line) your message was not published and then, sorry again, is nothing to do.

We always suggest to write the long or complex posts in a Word or similar file, and when ready, then copy it to the "Message body" of FMF. In case that, as this time, something unexpected happens then you will have a kind of security copy in your Word file.
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PostPosted: Dec 22, 2013 14:10    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

Thanks Jordi. No great loss. Hopefully I still know the same things I thought I knew last night!
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PostPosted: Dec 22, 2013 16:31    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

One thing not shown in my photo of implements was a pair of safety glasses. Very, very important. This over-site occurred because I live in safety glasses and almost never give them a second thought. I'm sure Mark was going to point that out. Field collecting can be dangerous. Especially in the case where all we can see are your heels sticking out of a pocket 16' up the wall. And the light is failing. And it's starting to snow.
There are a few different kinds of pockets, or more precisely, conditions you will find your pockets in. Mud filled. Collapsed. Intact (best). Shattered. Easily dug. Surrounded by the hardest freaking rock imaginable. And found with their guts spilled as float.
I'm sure I missed a few, but again, situational awareness will allow you to see the in-obvious.
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PostPosted: Dec 22, 2013 17:14    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

What's the deepest pocket you guys have dug? Just curious for a worse case scenario meaning really deep and digging by hand. Thanks.
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PostPosted: Dec 22, 2013 17:33    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

By hand about 10-12 feet. With machinery and explosives about 110 feet in Hiddenite, 35 feet in SC (machinery only), 60 feet in GA using primarily machinery with some expansion clays to break rock bodies for excavator to then remove.

So.. probably about 12 feet by hand for me personally; I have seen old hand dug holes that went much, much deeper. It really depends on the rock type and the condition it is in and your willingness to persevere. In your specific case it appears that at least part of the pocket zone is at or near surface level so in many ways the hardest part is done <g>. Just need to find the source now!

Mark
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PostPosted: Dec 22, 2013 18:37    Post subject: Re: How to dig a pocket? - (18)  

There once was a location in CT., a long long time ago, that had a rail cut driven through it. It became abandoned and rediscovered as a quartz location by aggressive diggers, me coming late to the party. These guys had driven a tunnel into a rather compact gneiss, following a quartz vein that would bulge and pinch off to bulge again, each time opening up to give some outstanding milky quartz plates, if you like that kind of stuff. Which i did. When I got to the party, the hand dug vein had been explored to a horizontal length of at least 20 feet. Crawling on our bellies like a reptile in the hard rock tunnel, most of it narrowing to about 20" we reached it's widest, near the end of it's drive. It opened to a domed chamber that was 6' by 8' by 48" high, lined with thick mud covered ceiling, walls and floor composed of large quartz plates. Never had seen anything like it. In order to excavate the chamber and to remove the plates, we rigged up a trolley that was dragged in and out by scrap climbing ropes. One at a time, we had to dig carefully because the mud was so dense and sticky that it was hard to tell what you were looking at, not to mention it was all under head lamp and flashlight with our breaths condensing all around. I'm pretty sure it's been closed, but in it's day, it was pure adventure.


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Moosup, CT.
Personally collected.
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