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2013, an Update... CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine
  
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John Cornish




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PostPosted: Jun 17, 2013 14:14    Post subject: 2013, an Update... CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine  

Hi Everyone,

Crocoite!

What follows is a continuation of the adventure I had while recovering specimens from the Adelaide Mine’s, Red River Pocket!

During March and April of 2013, I was invited back to Tasmania to assist in the on-going recovery of world-class specimens of the exotic mineral species crocoite from an exceptional crystalline occurrence discovered by Adam Wright and Bruce Stark.

Specimen quality continues to improve as the deeper recesses of the pocket are accessed, especially specimens recovered from the pockets hanging wall.

If you've not read the original report detailing this discovery, I'd like to encourage you to do so by clicking the link below...

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

As ever, sincerely, I hope you enjoy! All the very best,

John
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PostPosted: Jun 17, 2013 14:27    Post subject: Re: 2013, an Update... CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine  

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This first photo, an amazing fantasy-land shot of brilliant orange crystalline forests, captures the spectacular occurrence of crocoite from the pocket’s hanging wall.
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Yay, back in Tasmania!

I hit the ground running and in no time, I was back in Zeehan.

Not wasting a second, it wasn’t long before I was back underground covering myself in a fresh coating of Adelaide Mine make-up.
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PostPosted: Jun 17, 2013 14:47    Post subject: Re: 2013, an Update... CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine  

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 Description:
I had, at least as far as I was concerned, unwanted house guests sharing the place with me this time (please oh please tell me they weren’t there during my first visit!)… just not for long! This is a Huntsman spider (see… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huntsman_spider).

There were three waiting for me (new bait in the trap?) and let me tell you, when you catch one of these big buggers out of the corner of your eye creeping/stalking into the room around the door frame and crawling across the wall like some gargantuan nightmare juggernaut given flesh, you take notice!
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Bruisers, big bad boys!

Here’s one posing after being captured and released outside.
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Back at the mine…

Coming into the Red River pocket area…

Much of this space had originally been crystal-filled pocket during my first visit. With its treasures removed, it’s become a wonderfully open area perfect for working and for staging our gear and tools as we push onward.
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Then, there it was, the big beautiful bright-orange, glistening-glittering pocket that had set my heart all a’ flutter during my first visit.

And, it was happening again, my pulse thumping like war-drums!
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In this photo, I’ve focused on the timbered false-floor of the drift.

As above, so below, the pocket continues.

Confirming this, when collected, the rubble pile of the “floor” opens and black cavernous voids yawn beneath us. This same blockage is obvious above our heads too, offering clues as to its open nature there as well.
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Here is a close-up of the extraordinary cobbles accumulated above a pinch in the pocket. These jumbles of specimens are all loosely connected by inter-grown brilliant orange crystals of crocoite. With just a bit of pressure, spectacular specimens can be collected quite easily. The only concern, how the mass is going to react when a component of it is removed!

Slow and steady…
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Another angle offering more details.
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My favorite photo of the three, this one truly shows the incredible mind-blowing vision that is the interior of the Red River pocket!

Beautiful!
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Here’s a shot taken of a point a bit deeper into the pocket. The big crocoite covered boulder in the lower center of the photograph pinched between the pocket walls is over a meter long! This one will take some extra care to extract!
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Hanging wall on the right, foot wall on the left.

Much of the foot wall’s specimens had broken loose ages ago (the cobbles in the pocket) and the finest specimens we collect are those most typically associated with the hanging wall.
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Panning up higher into the pocket, another clot of pinched specimens can be seen approximately 2 meters above the drift floor awaiting our attentions in the upper center of the photograph.
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The top of the pinch.
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PostPosted: Jun 17, 2013 15:03    Post subject: Re: 2013, an Update... CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine  

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And above it, the pocket just goes and goes, meter after spectacular meter, deeper and deeper into the country rock.
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Looking almost vertically up into the pocket.

As far back as the camera illuminates, crystals can be seen sparkling on the pocket’s walls.
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Looking up almost vertically here. Note the width of the pocket at this point, about 30 cm wide.
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Another overhead shot. Note the vibrancy of color underground, fantastic!
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Time for a bit of collecting… two seconds later, it’s time for more flats!

This is fun collecting, no fuss, just smiles until your face hurts!
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Once we’d recovered some of the pockets smaller specimens, it was time to go after bigger prizes…

Bruce with the longest plate we’ve yet recovered from the Red River pocket.

Sadly, I do not have any photos of this specimen’s recovery… we had our hands full!
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Me with the long plate. It’s approximately a meter and a half long and was a bit of a bugger to recover, coming from off the hanging wall, from up high a couple of meters above the floor.
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One of the big to-do’s for this trip was having Bryan Swoboda visit to continue his excellent film documentation of the pocket.

This is, like me, Bryan’s second visit to the Adelaide Mine. As on his previous trip, Bryan was busy-busy-busy working to capture all of the excitement as it unfolded while we worked.
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One of the specimens Bryan focused on was this little beauty. As we sought to recover it from off of the pockets hanging wall, Bryan filmed Bruce and I in all our glory.

Bryan has posted a film to Youtube which documents this recovery…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_0noXIhIGg&list=UUSIGYON34E_XN97bJAPqYuA&index=1
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Bryan looking for the perfect shot!
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Outside talking strategy. Adam on the right, Bruce at center with his back to us and Bryan on the left.
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The guys yukking it up, all smiles!
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Back inside the mine, Bruce and I had been working…

Collecting is fun, pushing back the mineralized foot wall, not so much!

It was tough, brutal work. But by doing it, we opened the pocket, developing a wider area to more comfortably and effectively work which additionally benefitted Bryan, allowing him more options for filming. This also created a fresh scar of barren drift on our left which creeped ever higher into the upper recesses of the Red River pocket.

In this angled, near-vertical view, the hanging wall is on the top of the photo.
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PostPosted: Jun 17, 2013 15:19    Post subject: Re: 2013, an Update... CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine  

...


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 Description:
Enticing me to no-end, this spectacular column of 8 to 10 cm multi-hued crocoites overwhelmed me with its beauty and with its screaming and reckless taunting…

What a scary target!

Note the scars of barren rock all about the column, these mark areas where material had collapsed naturally at some point in the far distant past. These are the original locations for a percentage of the cobbles we’d been collecting from down lower in the pocket.

Also note the draped fence of stalactites on the hanging wall just before the column and stretching from the center of the photo over towards its right hand side. The stalactite just off center is magnificently perfect, those on its right show a bright orange scar at their tips where sections of falling foot wall had slid past, scuffing their terminations tragically.
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A close-up of the column, 30 cm wide at its narrowest point (where it rests against the pocket’s hanging wall) and in the upper right hand corner of the photo, of the tip of the pristine stalactite I’d mentioned in the previous photo’s caption.
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Wanting a better look, not to mention easier access, it was time to climb up into the area where the Red River pocket had been originally breached.
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In this photo I’ve climbed into the area above our main workings and am looking back towards the portal, this time from a sub-level approximately 4 meters above our main drift below. Prior to there being a drift below, the boys had been following a mineralized streak here. One which finally opened (and that spectacularly!) into the Red River pocket.
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Now, looking into the pocket. You can see the edge of the ladder for reference and then before and below, the pocket gapes.
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Still to be collected...

This is a great shot illustrating the variations of color and crystal size that can occur over a relatively short distance within the pocket.

On the hanging wall, this photo highlights a near meter long patch of neon-colored happiness!
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Further in, the pocket just keeps going. At least it appears so from below. The bridging of the foot and hanging walls in this photo is illusionary. Beyond this point (the column mentioned previously), the pocket swells and opens to its widest dimensions yet.

Also note the hefty back-cut on the foot wall below.
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Beyond the column, way back in the distance, meters away and calling like a siren, this 30 cm long (as I can see it) exquisite pristine stalactite of crocoites yet awaits.

When collected successfully, this will be one of the World’s finest crocoites specimens!
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A terrible attempt at a close-up of this incredible specimen.
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At this point, with so much candy exposed, I called Bruce to come take a look. Using another ladder, he soon poked-up from below at a point a meter or two ahead of me, taking advantage of the space we’d created by cutting back the foot wall.
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He seemed pleased!
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And why not…
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When this is…
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What’s ahead of you!
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PostPosted: Jun 17, 2013 15:33    Post subject: Re: 2013, an Update... CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine  

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Back outside, I was cruising the dump…
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A close-up.
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Just lying there…
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Nice, but they just didn’t…
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Make the cut.
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As we ponder, here are a couple of shots from about the camp…

Smoke from the chimney, the ground wet from the rain and the scene lit by the afternoon’s half-light.
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Me posed before a riotously lush background of primal greens and browns out the backyard.
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Oh so beautiful and brightly colored…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanita_muscaria
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While growing, they were incredibly prolific in some areas.
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A Tasmanian Angularity!

I thought this a neat collage of angles.
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As the days went by, Bruce and I worked away. Bryan and Adam both came and went and for us, life was pretty much routine.

How cool is this, routine = collecting a monster crocoite crystal pocket!!!

One day, while collecting cute little miniature to small cabinet-sized specimens from off of the hanging wall, Bruce and I got a BIG surprise!

It was completely unexpected too!

Bruce was working a batch of beautiful specimens loose with a small flat-bladed screwdriver. I was there assisting, catching everything that fell loose as the specimen was removed from off the wall. We’d been at this for awhile and really had things down when all of a sudden, everything changed!

Bruce set the screwdriver and gently pried like he had a dozen times before and just like that, with a sucking, puckering sound as it cracked free, a monstrous slab of crocoites came loose, one over a meter long and nearly half that wide!

Holy Estwing! We both backed right away, neither of us in a hurry to be standing underneath it!

Brainstorming, we concocted a plan and then calmly set to it.

First, Bruce measured the drift, then cut timbers to span the drift. Mocking these into place, Bruce next used custom-cut wooden wedges to secure the braces (Bruce called them “Toms”) one wall to the other. When placed, Bruce tested them thoroughly. They were 100% secure.

As usual, Bruce had executed a perfect job!
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Bruce looking up towards me where I watch from above, his early warning system if anything moved!
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The “Toms” in place, set directly beneath the big plate.
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This is a photo of the big plate while it was still on the wall.
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PostPosted: Jun 17, 2013 15:49    Post subject: Re: 2013, an Update... CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine  

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 Description:
When we went for it, it took but a tiny bit of prying and the entire wall seemed to come down!

We did it slowly, but it just seemed to happen sooooo fast! One minute it’s on the wall, the next it’s on the boards rock solid!
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The hammer and my leg for scale.
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Here’s another view, this time from down below, from the back of the pocket, looking out towards the portal.
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Another view of the big plate.
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And more detail yet.
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Oh ya, did I mention the plate came free from 2 and a half meters above the floor of the drift… Fun!
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With everything solid on the boards and our picture taking done, we next set to constructing a ramp from the “Toms” down to the waiting wheelbarrow. It was slow and steady work, but moving carefully, we were able to bring the plate down without suffering any damage.
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Staged in the drift, waiting for its eventual loading at the end of the day for its trip into Zeehan.
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Loaded in the car.
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My foot for scale again. This is the single largest plate for width and length yet recovered from the Red River pocket!
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For some reason, and I think it was because of Bryan’s being there filming, I didn’t take a lot of photographs on this trip. That said, following is a random selection of specimens, all of them collected by Bruce and I during my stay.
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PostPosted: Jun 17, 2013 16:01    Post subject: Re: 2013, an Update... CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine  

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And then all too soon, that was it and I was making my last trip out of the mine, locking it as I went.
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Outside, the wheelbarrow will have to carry on without me once again.
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Adam, Bruce, words don’t come close, once again, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of this grand adventure!

All the very best everyone. Until next time…

Take care,

John
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PostPosted: Jun 18, 2013 01:21    Post subject: Re: 2013, an Update... CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine  

Excellent post John!!!! Just reading the post takes me back to being there with you lads. What a treat indeed!! Here's to the future mate!
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PostPosted: Jun 18, 2013 01:25    Post subject: Re: 2013, an Update... CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine  




CrocoiteWall.jpg
 Description:
Here's a favorite shot of mine. Looking down into the "Red River" of Crocoite.
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CrocoiteWall.jpg



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PostPosted: Jun 18, 2013 01:40    Post subject: Re: 2013, an Update... CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine  

Here's the video link again, this time you can play it right in the window.

I love the way these two guys communicate throughout the entire process. This is not scripted and I did not tell them to fill the silence with conversation. This is their natural banter and I was just a fly on the wall.





John Cornish and Bruce Stark removing a fantastic Crocoite plate from the Adelaide Mine.

To see the video in the highest resolution, once the video starts playing, click the gear button at the bottom of the video screen and select 720p(HD).

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PostPosted: Jun 18, 2013 08:36    Post subject: Re: 2013, an Update... CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine  

What a wonderful documentary!!! Really great to see underground mining in such a famous mine - in HD :)
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John Medici




Joined: 02 Mar 2011
Posts: 123
Location: Ohio


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PostPosted: Jun 19, 2013 23:40    Post subject: Re: 2013, an Update... CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine  

John, thanks for the great, colorful post! Glad to see you're willing to travel a bit for some exciting field collecting.
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John Cornish




Joined: 19 Oct 2009
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Location: Port Angeles


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PostPosted: Jun 24, 2013 08:14    Post subject: Re: 2013, an Update... CROCOITE! A Huge New Pocket From The Adelaide Mine  

Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for the positive feedback and Bryan, thanks for the extra photo and video link, both are very much appreciated.

Jordi, thanks for hosting this on your site.

All the very best and fingers crosed for more grand times... for all of us!

Get out there and find some treasure!

Sincerely,

John
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