Rock and Mineral Shows

Speaking of rock and mineral shows, I’ve updated the http://www.rockhoundingutah.com/miscellaneous/rock-shows/ page for 2017.

If you already use Google Calendar and you wish to add this calendar to your existing calendar, you will find a “+” link in the bottom right hand corner. If you are only interested in a specific show or two, you can always just add it to your calendar by opening a particular event and clicking the “copy to my calendar” link.

I wish you all a happy 2017 and hope you are able to make it out to these shows. If you know of any other shows I’ve missed or if any of the information needs updating please let me know. Thanks everyone!

Green River Rock and Mineral Festival

Hey all!

So sorry it has been so long since the last post. I’d like to get this blog back up and going again and make sure everything is current and that I am always adding to it. I went through and tried to reply to everyone who reached out to me via the contact form over the past several months, but please hit me up again if I missed you!

Anyway, I figure now that we have somewhat of a reader base here, that I’d promote a new rock show. The FIRST EVER Green River Rock and Mineral Festival will be held March 31st-April 2 this year! Their website is http://greenriverrocks.com/ and they are currently looking for vendors if any of you are interested.

Like many other shows, they’ll have field trips, craft demonstrations, workshops, the whole bit! I’m excited because Green River is one of my favorite locations in Utah to hound.

Anyway, thank you all for reading. We are going out hunting this weekend over the holiday and I hope to have much more to report.

Lake Mountains-Goethite Pseudomorph After Pyrite

20160313_144626In this post, the Lake Mountains once again prove how underrated they are for rockhounders. Maybe it is the proximity to the city or maybe it is the numerous people shooting their guns everywhere, but many pass right by without a second thought. This location is well known by many, but that hasn’t stopped it from producing amazing specimens for decades. The site used to be a private claim owned by John Holfert back in the 1970s. With the help of an excavator, he was able to dig deep enough to find some rather large pieces. You’ll find one such piece on display at the Natural History Museum at the University of Utah. From what I understand, the majority of the clay filled piles in this cut are actually the tailings from this operation. Nevertheless, many people are still able to find amazing quality cubes and clusters.

20160318_210019These cubes and clusters are made up of the mineral Goethite. Goethite, because of its chemical nature, often takes on the characteristics of other minerals. In this case that mineral is Pyrite. Many people claim that the deeper you dig at this location the more these specimens are made up of Pyrite with some only having a thin coating of Goethite and remaining completely Pyrite underneath. Dig down deep enough to the bedrock and you might just find some more world class sized clusters.

Since almost everything at this location is encrusted in a brownish or whitish clay, it is quite easy to lose track of these little specimens as you shovel and dig and explore about. Many people choose to bring along sifters to go through their own tailings often finding even better pieces than what they had dug out. I’ve found some of the best clusters even just walking the grounds. 20160318_210623Some will tell you to search in the orange colored dirt. Some will tell you to search the grayish dirt. I’ll tell you to find what works for you and keep doing that. I’ve had mixed luck each time. I’ve included a picture in this post of a Pyrite cube cluster next to a Goethite Pseudomorph cluster for your reference.

You might even get lucky enough to find “pyritohedrons,” pentagonal dodecahedron-shaped pieces, although many have claimed that no such thing exists at this site. I’ve seen really tiny ones up on top where the road first comes onto the pits so I can only imagine that larger ones exist. At any rate, I’m excited to hear what you all find. Feel free to share in the comments.

From the intersection of 800 North and I-15 in Orem, Utah

20160318_2110071. Drive North on I-15 toward Salt Lake City for 6.5 miles

2. Take exit 278 in American Fork and keep left (West) onto Pioneer Crossing (.4 miles)

3. Continue driving on Pioneer Crossing for another 5.3 miles

4. Turn left (South) onto Redwood Road and drive another 8.3 miles to the Dyno Nobel plant turnoff

5. Turn right (West) on the dirt road there (NOT the one into the Geneva gravel pit)

6. Drive 2.13 miles on this main dirt road

(Not quite a half mile in the road splits in three and you’ll take the middle one that wraps around and to the left)

(Note: at about 1.4 miles the road runs right through a large quarry)

7. Here you’ll find a road veering off to the left (South) through a ravine and up a small canyon. If your car is able to make it, go ahead and drive another .3 miles up and around to the top of the pits. Otherwise, you’ll have to walk up the road and pop on over to the site.

It appears you can also approach this location from the East side directly from Redwood Road through a series of roads up to the pits although I have not attempted this route yet.

Muddy Creek Septarian Nodule Dig

IMAG0691 I’ve had the opportunity to visit this site a few times in the last two years. Highway 89 is one of my favorite drives in Utah and I always enjoy being able to visit the three different rock shops all within a quarter mile of each other in the town of Orderville (as well as Joe’s rock shop just a mile or two North). That’s four rock shops in one small town!

You may be drawn to the fact that the price of Septarian nodules is still quite high nowadays or perhaps your interest in the latest HBO series Game of Thrones has you searching out these “Dragon Stone” eggs or maybe you just like cracking open rocks with pretty crystals inside. At any rate, this long trip South can be quite rewarding.

The Muddy Creek area West of Orderville is known for containing numerous septarian and ammonite nodules. Utah Septarian nodules are among the finest in the world with others being found in England, New Zealand, Morocco, and Madagascar. You may find many tourists nearby as this location puts you right in between several National Parks.

IMAG0690 “Septarian” comes from the latin septum (“partition”). The cracks that create the partitions are highly variable in shape and volume making each one unique. The outer clay shell of the Septarian is made up of bentonite. On the inside, between the outer clay shell and the crystal pocket inside, is a brown layer of aragonite. Within the crystal pocket you’ll find yellow calcite and/or clear barite crystals or you may even find some pyrite or various fossils.

You’ll find lots of different information out there on how Septarians were formed so I won’t go into that too much here. The most important thing I’ve found is that once you find one, you’ll should find several others nearby in the same layer. If you start digging above or below that layer you’ll probably end up doing a whole lot of work for nothing. Sometimes, the ground has shifted and the layers won’t exactly line up, but I found more success when I followed a particular layer.

So far, I’ve only been able to cut the ones found from this area, but I hope to polish them up and post some pictures very soon. I wanted to at least get this information up before Spring in case anyone reading had some trips planned out around this area.
Directions to Muddy Creek Septarian Nodule Dig:

From the intersection of 800 North and I-15 in Orem, Utah

1. Drive South on I-15 for 177 miles to the turnoff for US-20 (exit 95)

2. Turn left (East) onto US-20 toward US-89/Panguitch/Kanab

3. Drive 20.5 miles on US-20 until you run into US-89. Turn right (South) onto US-89 and drive 10.1 miles into the town of Panguitch

4. In the town of Panguitch, turn left (East) and continue on US-89. Drive about 48.4 miles past the towns of Hatch, Alton, Glendale, and Orderville

5. Look for a Mormon heritage historical pillar on your right marking the dirt road turnoff leading West into the Muddy Creek area and turn onto this road

6. Drive 3.5 miles in a Northwest direction until a turnoff veers off to the right

7. From here, the road can get a little nasty and I wouldn’t recommend doing it in a car. You’ll want to continue up some switchbacks and across a field for about .75 miles to the dig site

8. (You’ll pass another claim with an excavator on site right before hitting this location. You should have to pass through a gate down into a dig that wraps all the way around a hill. You’ll find pieces of nodules scattered about the valley, but might have to do some digging to locate the layer to find the whole nodules)

Lake Mountains-Banded Calcite Onyx

IMAG0615The past few weekends Big J and I have had to keep the trips close to home since we had other stuff going on, but this should never be an excuse to not come back with awesome stuff 🙂 Our destination this time was in the Lake Mountains just west of Utah Lake and South of the town of Saratoga Springs. I had to be more specific in the title of this post since there are actually several different types of minerals and fossils at or near this location and we hope to return many times in the future and share with you all whatever we might find.

 

IMAG0612Despite what we read about the location, you actually do not necessarily need a four wheel drive or high clearance vehicle. We ended up driving right up a super sketchy side road only to find that we had passed the dig entirely. If you look on the map on the locations page I placed the pin right on the dig we ended up going past and coming back to. The vein itself appeared to run vertically right up the mountain. Large parts of it had been exposed and, after a few sprays with the spray bottle, we immediately recognized the banding.

You can find pieces and chips of the material all over the ground, but I would HIGHLY recommend a shovel, a sledge, chisels, pry bars, a brush, a spray bottle, etc. for a little bit of heavy/dirty work to get the bigger pieces. We broke two chisels trying to get one of the larger pieces out. You would think this stuff would be pretty soft (and honestly some of the chucks did actually just break apart in our hands), but the stuff you really want to go after are those chunks that are super solid, heavy, and thick.

IMAG0608The colors ranged from a honey yellow all the way to the rootbeer dark brown. My favorite was the greenish semi-transparent stuff we found on the other side of the mountain. From what I understand, just about any cut or dig you come across in this area should have some type of calcite coming out of it and this proved to be true in our wanderings. At any rate, I hope that when you do go that you run into the same success we ended up having.

 

 

IMAG0616Directions to Lake Mountains-Banded Calcite Onyx:

From the intersection of 800 North and I-15 in Orem, Utah

1. Drive North on I-15 toward Salt Lake City for 6.5 miles

2. Take exit 278 in American Fork and keep left (West) onto Pioneer Crossing (.4 miles)

3. Continue driving on Pioneer Crossing for another 5.3 miles

4. Turn left (South) onto Redwood Road and drive another 8.3 miles to the Dyno Nobel plant turnoff

5. Turn right (West) on the dirt road there (NOT the one into the Geneva gravel pit)

IMAG06136. Drive 2.76 miles on this main dirt road

(Not quite a half mile in the road splits in three and you’ll take the middle one that wraps around and to the left)

(Note: at about 1.4 miles the road runs right through a large quarry)

7. Turn left (Southwest) after the 2.76 miles for about 640 feet to a meeting of the roads

I’d recommend walking the last bit for step 8…

8. Turn left (East) on the road that goes up the hill (back toward Mt. Timp) for about another 500 feet and you’ll see the cut right there from the road

I should mention that this whole mountain was full of material (especially up and over the other side). When we were coming back down the main road, we parked at a little pullout where there was a for sale sign and saw digs and cuts all over the place. This is one of those areas where it definitely pays to explore.

According to Me