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How to find a pocket? - (22)
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PostPosted: Mar 10, 2015 14:07    Post subject: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

In Quartz collecting outings in South Africa Pierre Joubert wrote:
Reinhardt van Vuuren wrote:
Hi, you have clearly mastered the skill of finding these quartz crystals and it has been amazing to see your adventures. would you be willing to share your knowledge as to how you go about finding these crystals, what are tell tale signs where to dig ect? this is would be most interesting as i live in Port Elizabeth and would be keen to apply those same steps locally to see what one can come up with.

Kind regards

I have been eying Jordi's post 'How to dig a pocket' to contribute to it (but have not had the time), but I see that it is now locked. Yes, I have years of experience and have developed a good eye for finding a pocket. I will approach Jordi and see where the best place is to share my experiences. Regards.

Pierre,

Please start here the proposed topic "How to find a pocket"
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PostPosted: Mar 10, 2015 16:24    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

Looking forward!


GneissWare wrote:
Try watching the Prospectors show on the Weather Channel. Particularly, the Amazonite digs by Joe Dorris.

I have to say - it was said a lot about digging, but watch also "Leave no trace" epizode. ;)



DSCN0607.JPG
 Description:
Krasejovka, Czech Republic.
Destroyed woods near Krasejovka, Czech Republic, one of the richest deposits of moldavite in South Bohemia. Digging moldavites now forbidden by law.
 Viewed:  14799 Time(s)

DSCN0607.JPG



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PostPosted: Mar 11, 2015 03:43    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

I have been sidestepping this topic for a good while now and the only reason is a lack of time. I want to make a contribution as good as I can, to enable others to effectively look for, in particular, quartz pockets. It is such an interesting yet 'broad' topic, that I will attempt to tackle it over time.

Initially, you have to spend a LOT of time and walk MANY km to find what you are looking for. Once that is achieved, you may have places that you can keep re-visiting for as long as your body allows.

Most properties where one search for quartz, are privately owned, so you will have to convince the proprietor that you will respect his property. Most, if not all proprietors are interested to know what is on their properties and will welcome someone that can tell them more about their property's geology. I treat farm owners like kings as they keep the doors open to my sanity:-) Your relationship with proprietors will have to be a sensitive and respectful one as they do not just allow anyone on their properties.

I will suggest that, instead of walking the thousand miles, rather try to befriend someone who has already done so. This attempt to friendship will have to be one of respect; confidentiality and sticking to the 'rules'. This is usually not attained in a few days!

Mines are a good place to search, but it is a far more complicated affair because of safety laws and measures. It is best to visit mines with clubs or organized parties. The only problem is that there will be a number of people searching for the same thing, making it much more difficult for you to find a pocket.

I suppose the issue of access to properties can be a thread on it's own, but I will move on to the next step, finding a pocket. After that, I will share my experience on removing the pocket and exploring the area for more pockets.

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PostPosted: Mar 12, 2015 06:27    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

I grew up in Somerset West on a plant nursery next to a trout stream and as far as I can remember, I was always looking for interesting rocks. I spent a lot of time looking at the rocks transported down by the river (that will tell you a lot about the geology of the source and course of the river). I did not find much except a few pieces of granite with bits of green mica, quartz and schorl. As I am a keen fly fisherman, I always kept my eyes open for quartz crystals when I hiked up in mountains. I learned the hard way, by walking and searching, mostly not really knowing whether I was searching at the right places. Today I know much more, but am still learning.

Here are a few guidelines to start your search for quartz crystals: Dams are excellent places to start your search. Go when they are low, for obvious reasons. Road cuts are also very good places to search. Whenever I drive, I try to keep an eye open for interesting road cuts. Be careful, as this can distract you while driving! Rather do so while someone else is driving. The problem with road cuts is that they are often next to busy roads and stopping can be dangerous. Should you find a pocket there, it could also be illegal to dig there. Quiet roads are far better and hopefully will not attract so much attention. Other good places are quarries, but permission will only be granted when the quarry is not in operation. To me, any hole, furrow, new road, or removing of top soil calls my interest. Soil erosion places can also be rewarding places to search. I use Google Earth a lot to look for interesting places and often use it when I plan a trip. Next up is what to look for.



100_2839.JPG
 Description:
Dams are large areas that have been cleared and exposed and can be excellent places to search for crystals.
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100_9191.JPG
 Description:
New furrows or anything similar is worth a visit.
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100_1284.JPG
 Description:
A friend, Charles Hartlieb, stands on a section where topsoil has been removed.
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100_1284.JPG



100_2622.JPG
 Description:
Contours on farms is a good place to search. If any digging is done here, it will have to be filled thoroughly. I have found some of my best pockets in these.
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100_2622.JPG



100_9195.JPG
 Description:
Small manmade canal. This has also exposed a good pocket.
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Struisbaai 277.JPG
 Description:
Walking, climbing and searching! Hard work.
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Struisbaai 277.JPG



Struisbaai 280.JPG
 Description:
Difficult and dangerous places. Not recommended for those not familiar with such outings.
 Viewed:  14540 Time(s)

Struisbaai 280.JPG



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PostPosted: Mar 14, 2015 11:45    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

Hi Pierre, this is a great thread and looking forward to more! Like the photo's, especially the last two (Struisbaai), which looks like it would make for an entertaining rockhounding trip.

Regards, Mike

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PostPosted: Mar 15, 2015 07:54    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

Hi Psax, thank you for the very interesting photo. Later on I plan to get to the topic of 'filling holes'; not always so simple as it may seem.

Hi Mike, good to hear from you. A man with your experience and ropes would come in handy with some pockets:-)

I want to continue with the main part of this thread, 'how to find a pocket'. In most cases, I look for one thing when searching for quartz crystals, white pieces of quartz. This is what quartz crystals are made of. The only difference between the snow white rock quartz and the crystals is favorable conditions. The former has cooled off much quicker than the latter. Pockets of crystals are formed when a quartz solution, under much pressure and heat, is forced into a cavity in other rocks, and cools slowly. The white quartz is very unstable and weathers quickly, mostly due to sudden temperature changes. I walk around looking for white quartz rocks, weathered or in veins in other rock. Finding the white quartz is no assurance of quartz crystals, but a vital part of finding quartz crystals. Once I find the white quartz, I start searching for any material with facets and of course, clear crystals. Once I find something interesting, I look at it to see whether the crystals are weathered or water worn. I study the area to see which way the crystal would have traveled. I will follow the course, perhaps a slope, and search for more crystals. Often I find crystals higher up the slope that has less damage or no damage. I then know that I have a good chance of finding the source and scan the area carefully, digging here and there to see if something is hidden just under the ground surface. It could also be that the pocket was completely exposed with time and does not exist anymore. I have found quartz crystals by following isolated samples of interesting material for 50 m and more up a slope, where they washed down from.
Some pockets are not that easily found as they may be sitting in pockets of sandstone or other types of rocks . I always treat holes in rocks as possible places for quartz pockets. Sometimes quartz crystals are found in very unusual places while at other times places that has all the promising signs, deliver nothing. Here follows a few pictures that may help you understand what I look for.



P1430977.JPG
 Description:
A piece of white quartz, the main clue to finding quartz crystals.
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P1430977.JPG



P1130081.jpg
 Description:
White quartz vein in rock.
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P1130081.jpg



Pierre se jewels 001.JPG
 Description:
Very likely places to find quartz pockets.
 Viewed:  14320 Time(s)

Pierre se jewels 001.JPG



Vredendal 005.jpg
 Description:
In this case, the vein of softer material running in dolomite is a very good indication that quartz pockets are hiding somewhere behind, although very little, if any, white quartz can be seen. Where Riana sat, produced a massive pocket with the largest crystal over 3 kg.
 Viewed:  14348 Time(s)

Vredendal 005.jpg



P1150674.JPG
 Description:
White, weathered quartz vein, an excellent place to search.
 Viewed:  14312 Time(s)

P1150674.JPG



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PostPosted: Mar 15, 2015 08:23    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

Here are a few more pictures that may help with your search for quartz crystals. Next up is the tools I carry with me and tools I use once I have found a pocket. I will show examples of pockets and advice on removing them. I would also like to discuss general safety measures and things you need to take with you on outings. I got lost at night in a remote area once and had I taken the necessary precautions beforehand, I would not have suffered the severe discomfort that I did. Hopefully my bad experiences can serve as a warning for others.


P1040286.JPG
 Description:
Some small quartz crystals lying on top of quartz rich ground where they were found.
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P1040286.JPG



100_9022.JPG
 Description:
A place where thin veins of quartz runs in sandstone. I followed the veins to find exposed cavities, some which ended up being small quartz pockets with nice small clusters of crystals.
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100_9022.JPG



100_9018.JPG
 Description:
A close up of the small pocket mentioned above. These type of pockets usually produce the best crystals and with the least damage.
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100_9018.JPG



100_4861.JPG
 Description:
A small pocket may mean a big pocket as it may widen towards the back. This was not the case with this pocket which still produced some very nice specimens.
 Viewed:  14310 Time(s)

100_4861.JPG



100_4269.JPG
 Description:
This was part of a quartz vein of a few m long in sandstone with pockets of quartz here and there. Ideal places for pockets of quartz.
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100_4269.JPG



100_4267.JPG
 Description:
Same place as above with some small pockets of crystals exposed.
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100_4267.JPG



Clipboard01.jpg
 Description:
A massive quartz vein running for hundreds of m but so far I have not had much success here.
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Clipboard01.jpg



Clipboard02.jpg
 Description:
Here I am at a place where I found a number of pockets in a few m square. Note the white quartz boulders. Often these will have small pockets of quartz inside them.
 Viewed:  14310 Time(s)

Clipboard02.jpg



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PostPosted: Mar 15, 2015 08:52    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

Great stuff, thanks for your efforts!
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PostPosted: Mar 15, 2015 09:38    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

Psax wrote:
Great stuff, thanks for your efforts!


Pleasure Psax!

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PostPosted: Mar 16, 2015 00:43    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

This is such a wonderful tool. Great Job!
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PostPosted: Mar 16, 2015 02:27    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

Reinhardt van Vuuren wrote:
This is such a wonderful tool. Great Job!


Dankie Reinhardt.

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PostPosted: Mar 17, 2015 06:23    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

When I leave on a day trip to look for crystals, I take a small ruck sack with the following items in: windbreaker, sunblock, emergency blanket, lighter, knife, small medical kit (plasters, ointment, head ache pills etc.), ENOUGH water and food (emergency energy bars etc.), small binoculars, charged CELL PHONE (make sure you have an S.O.S number stored on it), compass, GOOD TORCH (plus extra batteries), A few plastic bags and newspaper (for wrapping crystals). I need to say that you have to dress for the occasion. Watch the weather beforehand. You do not want to be going with only a T-shirt and short pants and get caught in the snow, or visa versa. Always make sure you have a HAT. I am so paranoiac about that, that I often take an extra one. What footwear you have on is also very important.
The tools I carry on me are shown below, and I also take a cushion for kneeling. Once a pocket is found and heavier tools are required, I will return with what is necessary. See 'How to dig a pocket - (18)'



P1430986-001.JPG
 Description:
Basic tools I carry with me when I search for quartz crystals.
 Viewed:  14056 Time(s)

P1430986-001.JPG



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PostPosted: Mar 17, 2015 07:20    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

Some pockets of crystals sit in a cavity in rock while other pockets sit in the ground with all the surrounding rock weathered away (quartz crystal is very stable matter while plain milky rock quartz is not). In most cases, the pocket was filled, at some or other time, with soil or clay. This is a wonderful way that nature has been programmed to protect it's treasures. Once a pocket is found, I mainly use a wood poker to remove the crystals and wrap them in newspaper. Some pockets are so large and deep that you need to improvise tools to rake them out. At one place, Riana and I removed crystals that were about 2 m deep in a narrow pocket. For this I used a telescopic paint stick with either a poker head or a small rake. If crystals are stuck to rocks and need to be removed by hammer and chisel, I attempt to buffer the shock as best as I can so that the crystals do not come loose off it's matrix.


26886.jpg
 Description:
What a crystal cluster to start a super pocket with. Joe Wicht kindly took this photo for me. This pocket of crystals sat in clay and took a few days to remove.
 Viewed:  14026 Time(s)

26886.jpg



100_5428.JPG
 Description:
I found a few pockets in sandstone and here Riana is busy removing the contents of one of them.
 Viewed:  14034 Time(s)

100_5428.JPG



100_5429-1.JPG
 Description:
Same place as above, just closer.
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100_5429-1.JPG



100_5430.JPG
 Description:
Still closer.
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100_5430.JPG



100_5431.JPG
 Description:
A crystal in the same pocket.
 Viewed:  14029 Time(s)

100_5431.JPG



100_5433-1.JPG
 Description:
The same crystal after removal.
 Viewed:  14038 Time(s)

100_5433-1.JPG



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PostPosted: Mar 17, 2015 07:35    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

A few more pocket pictures.


100_5646.JPG
 Description:
This was a small pocket that yielded a number of small to very small faden quartz crystals.
 Viewed:  14023 Time(s)

100_5646.JPG



100_5647.JPG
 Description:
The same small pocket with a very special faden quartz specimen visible.
 Viewed:  14014 Time(s)

100_5647.JPG



100_5652.JPG
 Description:
The same specimen after removal. It is now in our collection.
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100_5652.JPG



100_5655.JPG
 Description:
Same as above.
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100_5655.JPG



100_5662.JPG
 Description:
Yet another pocket in sanstone that yielded some of the finest small to medium sized clusters that we have ever removed.
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100_5662.JPG



100_5667.JPG
 Description:
A specimen from the above pocket just after it was removed by Riana.
 Viewed:  14021 Time(s)

100_5667.JPG



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PostPosted: Mar 17, 2015 08:22    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

A few more pictures.


P1200583.JPG
 Description:
A pocket of smoky quartz crystals exposed.
 Viewed:  14006 Time(s)

P1200583.JPG



P1250724.JPG
 Description:
Some large smoky quartz crystals sitting in hard clay. These were very difficult to remove and clean.
 Viewed:  13996 Time(s)

P1250724.JPG



100_2666.JPG
 Description:
I found a large pocket at a mine where a man made cliff met some rubble. I found this pocket by simply following a suspicious looking seam.
 Viewed:  14000 Time(s)

100_2666.JPG



100_2660.JPG
 Description:
The entrance to above mentioned pocket.
 Viewed:  14000 Time(s)

100_2660.JPG



100_2661.JPG
 Description:
The inside of above mentioned pocket with some of it's treasure visible.
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100_2661.JPG



100_6484.JPG
 Description:
Riana with a nice crystal fresh from the earth.
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100_6484.JPG



100_4850.JPG
 Description:
I found this pocket in the evening in the middle of winter after I spent the whole day finding nothing worthy of note.
 Viewed:  14001 Time(s)

100_4850.JPG



100_6022.JPG
 Description:
Here Riana is removing some smoky quartz crystals found under a minor road. Smoky quartz crystals from this area are very unusual.
 Viewed:  13986 Time(s)

100_6022.JPG



100_6024.JPG
 Description:
A close up of some of the above crystals of above mentioned pocket. These sat in clay.
 Viewed:  14004 Time(s)

100_6024.JPG



100_6026.JPG
 Description:
Some crystals from above mentioned pocket.
 Viewed:  14002 Time(s)

100_6026.JPG



P1200068.JPG
 Description:
Quartz and manganese in clay.
 Viewed:  14002 Time(s)

P1200068.JPG



P1200072.JPG
 Description:
Same as above; a pocket of quartz crystals in manganese and clay.
 Viewed:  14010 Time(s)

P1200072.JPG



P1200075.JPG
 Description:
Same as above.
 Viewed:  14018 Time(s)

P1200075.JPG



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PostPosted: Mar 17, 2015 08:55    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

I would like to conclude my contribution to this thread with the following, and welcome comments. When I take somebody out on a collecting trip I expect them to abide by a few simple rules. They are to: respect the privilege to enjoy the property or place in nature and tell no one where it is; no littering. When you need to visit the bush, dig a decent hole and cover it; if you need to smoke, take your cigarette butts home. It is not always possible to fill a hole after removing crystals, but as far as possible, do so. I also expect that you will not make an attempt to visit the place without getting my permission.

I hope that these guidelines can help you find a pocket. If you do strike it rich, please think of me :-)

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PostPosted: Mar 17, 2015 16:49    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

Hello Pierre!

Thank you very, very much for your execution. Here in the European Alps, collecting quartz (and other minerals as well) is very similar to your area. Alpine clefts are showing in the most cases signs that not all collectors are able to read this sings and it is not easy to find such clefts. The host rock in the Alps is in the most cases gneiss, amphibolite, greenschist and other metamorphic rocks. If you are lucky enough, it is always a pleasure to dig out minerals from a cleft. I think this is the spirit of mineral collectors around the world!

Martin

PS: I agree fully with your last post.

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PostPosted: Mar 18, 2015 01:13    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

This has been wonderful thank you. Hopefully soon Ill be able to share successful finds thanks to your guidance :)
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Don Lum




Joined: 03 Sep 2012
Posts: 1678
Location: Arkansas


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PostPosted: Mar 18, 2015 10:44    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

Pierre,

Thanks for taking us along on one of your quartz hunting outings. I enjoyed seeing pictures of you and Riana. It was a very well done report.

Regards,

Don

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Peter




Joined: 16 Jan 2009
Posts: 315
Location: SWEDEN / LUXEMBOURG

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PostPosted: Mar 18, 2015 16:02    Post subject: Re: How to find a pocket? - (22)  

Very nicely written and illustrated Pierre!
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