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Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone
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vic rzonca




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PostPosted: Apr 28, 2014 20:07    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

The frost is out, collecting is in.


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 Description:
Part of the "bathtub", the top most part of the site.
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 Description:
A years worth of broken dolostone, mostly with hand tools.
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 Description:
Crystals to 5 cm., spilt form a hard rock pocket. Clean and pristine, with bits of anthraxolite.
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 Description:
5 cm. quartz, from the spilt pocket.
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 Description:
4 cm., quartz.
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4 cm., quartz.
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 Description:
One day at the mine, blue sky, breezy, and sunshine.
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Pierre Joubert




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PostPosted: Apr 29, 2014 01:40    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

Hi Vic, needless to say, one of my favorite threads! I am amazed that you can still put in a day's work like that! I don't know if I would survive that:-) Congratulations on your find. Those crystals are very similar to Herkimer quartz. How far are the two places apart? Are the digging conditions similar? Regards.
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Rei




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PostPosted: Apr 29, 2014 02:46    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

Are the crystals in bedrock or is the rock loose? If it is solid bedrock, how are you extracting them? I have chalcedony in bedrock in a lot of places, but I have concerns that if I just started wailing at the bedrock with a pickaxe I'd just end up striking the vein and shattering chunks of it on one of the blows.
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vic rzonca




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PostPosted: Apr 29, 2014 06:45    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

Thanks, Pierre. These are indeed Herkimer diamonds. The formation that holds these crystals is hundreds of square miles large. Our site is tens of acres large with about 30 feet of elevation change across the plot. The bathtub is the top of our little bit of dolostone. It's probably a 100 yrds. from the rock pile to the bench where we work horizontally, as opposed to going straight down. The bathtub was one of our first exploration digs and at this level the pockets are, like everywhere at the site, in hard rock, but at this level the crystals range from microscopic to 10 cm., water clear and are loose in pockets. At the bottom benches the crystals form in druze lined cavities to 50 cm. with large, 30 cm., complex skeletal forms. To Rei's question I would say to exploit any existing weaknesses. Start your extraction well away from your target and work toward it. Years ago, while collecting with a novice friend, I watched him jam his gad bar directly into a datolite crystal pocket in basalt. AARRG!!! So work carefully toward your prize. Loosen the area around the seam and your chances are good to retrive the largest piece you can.


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 Description:
My chum stands on the sandstone level that marks the bottom of the crystal bearing strata. The bathtub is thirty feet up from here.
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 Description:
Collecting just abouve the sandstone-dolostone boundary.
 Viewed:  16145 Time(s)

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Rei




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PostPosted: Apr 29, 2014 07:00    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

Thanks! I appreciate tips from anyone who has as much success as you clearly have had! :)
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vic rzonca




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PostPosted: Apr 29, 2014 07:46    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

Rei wrote:
Are the crystals in bedrock or is the rock loose? If it is solid bedrock, how are you extracting them? I have chalcedony in bedrock in a lot of places, but I have concerns that if I just started wailing at the bedrock with a pickaxe I'd just end up striking the vein and shattering chunks of it on one of the blows.


Rei, a pick-axe would not be my first choice. You might have to be a bit more surgical. If you are working in an area where there is rock above your head, get a hard hat. An old classic that's used to good effect, is the thinly bevelled auto leaf spring. This tool, combined with blows from a heavy hammer, will lift a surprising amount of weight. You don't need this. You will have to nibble away at the edges, working at loosening what you can with small chisels and pry bars. Look for incipient cracks, it's rather hard to start a crack in compact rock that is in place in a solid face. Let us know how you make out. Hard hat.
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vic rzonca




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PostPosted: Apr 29, 2014 08:32    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

One other bit of kit you need, one I live in and always forget to mention, are safety glasses. Don't be smashing away at rock and chisel without them.
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Rei




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PostPosted: Apr 29, 2014 08:52    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

Thanks, I'll try to remember to bring my safety goggles next time I go out (I've been making good use of them when cleaning with HCl). If I shouldn't use the pickaxe then I'll need to find a good chisel, not sure where to look around here... though I can ask at local hardware stores. I have a crowbar but I found that trying too hard to pry pieces out just risked damaging them. Some of the chalcedony is moderately durable but the prettiest stuff is fairly brittle, and so is the calcite.

No need for head protection yet, I'm only getting started on my land so there's no "tunnels" (yet). The biggest risk as it stands looks to be undermining boulders on the slope above me, though, so I try to watch out for that.... the last thing I want is to get crushed :Ů What do you do to avoid that? Or is that not a problem there?
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Mike Wood




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PostPosted: Apr 29, 2014 15:04    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

Nice to see you've been busy again Vic; nice quartz crystals too - thanks for the pictures.

That's a nice big bar you have there! I have used those (5' pinch-bar) and leave them on site over winter. More often than not, I can't find them again next time I visit...
But they are great for splitting and moving big rocks. I'm a little envious of the hydraulic bottle-jack too.. I've used those when I was a rope-access worker, to dislodge huge flakes of rock from big cliffs (sigh); those were the days..

Hope to see more progress reports Vic, keep 'em coming!

Regards, Mike

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Pierre Joubert




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PostPosted: Apr 30, 2014 02:44    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

I have named picture IMG_0365.JPG 'Utter contentment'. I know that addictive feeling too well: you, quartz & nature = 'happiness overdose'
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vic rzonca




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PostPosted: May 31, 2014 20:17    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

Just another perfect day at the mine.


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 Description:
First, we dropped a track.
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Then, I contemplated my beat feet, waiting for the thunder and lightning to pass.
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Which it didn't. Hard to see, but it's raining like a cow pissing on a flat rock, only to turn to hail.
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 Description:
Anyway, this is what we're looking for and luckily finding. Around 5 cm. Thanks for your interest Pierre, Mike, et al.
 Viewed:  15543 Time(s)

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Rei




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PostPosted: May 31, 2014 20:34    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

Beauties!

How are you mounting them?
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vic rzonca




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PostPosted: May 31, 2014 22:05    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

Rei, they are mounted on several carefully placed gobs of hot glue on a small square of stainless. One thing I've found about the glue I've used is that it does not like the heat generated by my lights and I've had them lean over. It's a fine line between just enough to hold and too much, destroying the aesthetics. Mineral tack! Arrg!


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In my cluttered case. More is better?
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PostPosted: Jun 01, 2014 05:35    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

Hi Vic, Those are extremely beautiful quartz's! Do you actually own the mine?
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vic rzonca




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PostPosted: Jun 01, 2014 06:35    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

Yes they are nice, Pierre. I'm partnered with a couple of others and have been working the site for ten years or so and hoarding most of the output. I'm low man, some of the muscle, which is fine with me.


IMG_0773.JPG
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Quartz to 2 cm.
 Viewed:  15420 Time(s)

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Mike Wood




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PostPosted: Jun 12, 2014 17:00    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

Always interesting to see your posts Vic, and some of your quotes are legendary. The description of the rain intensity is one I shall commit to memory..
Beautiful crystal groups by the way!

Regards, Mike

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vic rzonca




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PostPosted: Jun 12, 2014 21:30    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

I learned that discriptive on the farm Mike.


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 Description:
4 cm. quartz, found after the rain stopped.
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 Description:
A dirty unusual quartz form with dolomite crystal casts. 9 cm. This crystal has faces on all sides and is a floater.
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 Description:
Smoke filled quartz. The color is said to come from anthraxolite inclusions. Many of the crystals of this type have interesting growth paterns on their crystal faces. 8 cm.
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Dolomite impressions on 4 cm. quartz.
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 Description:
1 cm. quartz included in calcite on a bed of dolomite with bright black anthraxolite. FOV about 10 cm.
 Viewed:  15069 Time(s)

IMG_1894.JPG


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vic rzonca




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PostPosted: Nov 12, 2014 09:25    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

Well, lots of work done on the dolostone with some reward and much edification. Returned to an old area at the site and developed a new working face high on the location. Hope you find it interesting, thanks.


IMG_1870.JPG
 Mineral: Quartz.
 Locality:
Little Falls, Herkimer County, New York, USA
 Dimensions: Fingers for scale.
 Description:
In the dolostone.
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 Description:
Work on the upper bench revealed a fractured zone that allowed progress into ledge. After a point we were able to put the 100 ton ram in the slot and break rock on both sides of the slot.
 Viewed:  13807 Time(s)

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 Description:
Nice, new trowel.
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 Mineral: Quartz
 Locality:
Fonda, Mohawk, Montgomery County, New York, USA
 Dimensions: 10 cm.
 Description:
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Man at work, upper bench.
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A cleaned IMG.2114.JPG.
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Re-purposed golf cart carrying the pump, ram, and whatever else we can lash on. Very handy. That golf cart never worked so hard.
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As my friend's children grow out of their terra planes, we put them to new uses.
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 Description:
You may run across this fellow in Tucson. The sledge weights as much as he does. How can he look so happy?
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 Description:
Seasons Greetings.
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kushmeja




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PostPosted: Nov 12, 2014 09:43    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

Great pics Vic... and amazing crystals! Gives me the itch to make the 5 hour drive up that way to do some mining! I've been tied up in NJ & southern PA all summer/fall, so haven't made my way up there this year, at least not yet ;)
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Don Lum




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PostPosted: Nov 12, 2014 11:14    Post subject: Re: Collecting quartz on the Little Falls dolostone  

Enjoying your report, Vic.

Thanks.

Don

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