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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Hamilton County (Read 4247 times)
dirtslanger
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Hamilton County
Sep 16th, 2015 at 11:18am
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I found these stones on the side of the road in some gravel in the Red Bank area of Hamilton County TN. I was wondering if anyone knows where they may have been quarried from? I grew up in the area and saw a lot of this brown gravel used around town but only recently took a close look at it. I was pretty stoked to find an agate as I haven't read of any agate found around Chattanooga other than the paintrock occasionally found west to southwest of the area.
  

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Tim4d
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Re: Hamilton County
Reply #1 - Sep 16th, 2015 at 4:46pm
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Don't know about the area, but I would be looking at the local supplies for gravel -- whether imported or local.  Depending on ratio of agate to junk, you could buy a bag at hardware store price and tumble as you wish.
  
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dirtslanger
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Re: Hamilton County
Reply #2 - Sep 19th, 2015 at 10:55pm
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Well I stopped back by the spot where I found those stones and found a lot more agates and many other interesting rocks.  The tan brown gravel included banded cherts crinoids fossilized coral heads jasper carnelian and chunks of geodes plus a lot of other funky stuff I could not ID.  I will post them once I get a chance to clean them up a little.  The weathering indicates some water exposure possibly from a river and conchoidal fracturing possibly from sorting and transport.

Since most of the rock is muddy brown and contains such an enormous variety of goodies my best guess is that this is commercial Mississippi gravel.  So can someone explain how I am finding LSA's in East Tennessee?  Has the Mississippi gravel distribution been that extensive in the Southeast?  Is this stuff still available?  If so where can I buy it by the ton...I found 15 agates in a very small section of gravel within about 30 minutes and I am sure I overlooked at least that many.

Great tumbling material!
  

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Tim4d
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Re: Hamilton County
Reply #3 - Sep 21st, 2015 at 4:36pm
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What does LSA stand for?

When I lived in Northern Virginia there were many creeks worth a look because of "ancient" Potomac River gravels -- when the river was much bigger and higher, resulting in gravel beds way uphill from the current river.  Similar thing?
  
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JoeM
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Re: Hamilton County
Reply #4 - Sep 21st, 2015 at 5:33pm
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That is some great looking agate material you are finding there!
I'd be going back for more too! Wink

From the color of the gravel and what all you are finding in it
I am wondering if the source that is being quarried isn't an old alluvial gravel bed?
Has the gravel been crushed? Let's see a piece or two of the gravel.
That type of agate can be found in isolated deposits all around you,
so the source/quarry may not be all that far away.
They may also be quarrying sand and the rocks/gravel are separated out.
Good luck!


  
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dirtslanger
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Re: Hamilton County
Reply #5 - Sep 21st, 2015 at 10:59pm
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Why is it full of agates?  Could it be possible that there are alluvial agate bearing deposits in East Tennessee?   Would they come from the Appalachians, ridge and valley, or Cumberland plateau?  The coloring reminds me of some Missouri agates I have seen which is why I initially concluded that the agates originated in the Lake Superior region (LSA - Lake Superior Agate) and worked their way down the Mississippi and/or Ohio River.   However if someone knows of an accessible agate bearing alluvial deposit in the Southeast I would probably flip out and do a Tigger dance.  Could it be possible that the northern glacial till worked its way as far South as the Cumberland plateau?  Could banders have formed nearby? Does anyone have a contact that is familiar with the geology of the area and where most of the regional commercial gravels originate?

More pics to come...
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2015 at 9:48am by dirtslanger »  

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dirtslanger
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Re: Hamilton County
Reply #6 - Sep 22nd, 2015 at 10:06am
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Well here is a little more eye candy.  Scale is cm.  Some of the rocks aren't really worth photographing but I included them anyway in the hopes that it may help some in determining the source.  The material is chipped at times which I am guessing suggests that they have been size sorted.  Many of them have a light tan coating or are that color throughout the stone and the colored agates show some color washout.  The jaspers range from light pink to deep red and I am thinking include carnelian.  If anyone can tell me more specifically what they are seeing I would appreciate it.  The good stuff was about 1 to 5% of the gravel.  Most of it are plain peanut brown rocks which may hold red jasper interior based on the observed fractures.  The rocks pictured include hexogonaria crinoids coral buds jasper agate and thin chalcedony that appears to be broken geode chunks.  Do y'all agree?  Do you see more?  I am all ears...

  

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dirtslanger
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Re: Hamilton County
Reply #7 - Sep 22nd, 2015 at 10:14am
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Red Bank gravel continued
  

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JoeM
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Re: Hamilton County
Reply #8 - Sep 22nd, 2015 at 1:45pm
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Wow, some of those pieces are pretty awesome!
I'd like to sink my teeth into a couple of'em.

I can see how you would think that some of them are LSA.
Some of them could be, if they weren't found in southern Tennessee! Wink
Just like the famous Paint Rock there are other layers of chert, jasper, and agates
throughout Tennessee, Kentucky, and the whole Ohio Valley.
The fossils definitely fit for your area of Tennessee.
I think you are beginning to acquire a nice collection of some of the many different types possible.
The question is, how are they getting into that gravel?
I think they are coming from,
Sam Bostic Dirt and Gravel
2247 Bancroft Rd., McDonald, TN  27353.
You ought to bring a bag of what you've found down to Sam and see if he doesn't recognize it. Smiley
  
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Re: Hamilton County
Reply #9 - Sep 22nd, 2015 at 5:05pm
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Sweet Joe.  I will probably do just that.  I am curious.  How do you know about Sam's company?
  

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Laurie Adams
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Re: Hamilton County
Reply #10 - Sep 22nd, 2015 at 5:22pm
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A couple of questions and clarifications.  Did you find these already polished by stream action, or did you tumble them?  Did the deposit you found them in look like it was local and native to the natural environment, or was it obviously brought in from elsewhere?   Hamilton County is fortunate to host two geologic provinces, the Valley and Ridge and the Cumberland Plateau.  Red Bank, in the western part of the county, sits astride the two provinces, at the base of the eastern escarpment of the Cumberland plateau.  On the western escarpment, a couple counties away, the famous Tennessee Paint Rock Agate is found, occurring in the Bangor Limestone.  The Bedford also outcrops in Hamilton County on the eastern escarpment, so there is a very slight possibility that agate could be coming from within the county, but it is somewhat doubtful.  The Bangor only outcrops in thin strips on steep slopes with considerable overburden, nothing like the gentle slope outcrops on the western escarment and Highland rim.  The company Joe mentioned is mostly a trucking company that transports materials from lots of places.  I would say that if the material is not local, then he is exactly right as suspecting that these would be the suspects in bringing in the material.  They are located in McDonald in the eastern part of the county, well within the valley and ridge Province.  To my knowledge agate has not been found in Tennessee in this province, but this may well be my ignorance.  If the material is obviously transported, it couldn't hurt to give those folks a call and see what they say?  That's pretty decent material you have there to just be found in a gravel pile, so I'd surely keep investigating to find the source.
« Last Edit: Sep 23rd, 2015 at 11:08am by »  
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Re: Hamilton County
Reply #11 - Sep 22nd, 2015 at 6:55pm
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Thank you for getting our general geologic context in order, Laurie.
And I agree, the source of this material is worth investigating.

To answer your question, dirtslanger, I did a quick Google search of gravel suppliers in your area.
You can scratch the big MartinMarietta and Vulcan quarries out because they are blasting and crushing rock
for gravel, which wouldn't be the source of this gravel.
Of course I haven't seen the gravel and am assuming that it was transported by truck to where you are finding it.

But, I think the "original" source has got to be an alluvial deposit along a river basin
where all these agate pieces were transported and deposited together with the other gravels.
This could be a Mom & Pop operation and Sam just hauls and sells for them. Infact, around here we find this type of material
in the old sand quarries where the rocks are separated out.
On his Homepage description of gravel he talks about it being "River Gravel" and "Pea Gravel".
I don't know if Sam is the one digging it, but he might know where it could be coming from.

Probably just a bunch of legwork. Wink

I did notice a big hole that looks like it needs to be looked at behind the Mill Creek Country Day School
on Hunter Rd, Ooltewah, if it's still there.

Rock On!
  
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dirtslanger
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Re: Hamilton County
Reply #12 - Sep 22nd, 2015 at 8:55pm
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Please read the following related article titled "Rocks and Fossils Found in Mississippi Gravel Deposits" from the director of the office of geology in Jackson MS if you have a moment.
It would be well worth your time. 

http://www.deq.state.ms.us/mdeq.nsf/pdf/Geology_Circular-RocksAndFossilsFoundInMississippisGravelDeposits/$File/Circular%207.pdf?OpenElement

The pics and info within are excellent and many of the stones I have posted are dead ringers or super close.  I think this gravel came across the state from a major Mississippi gravel distributor.  I still find it a bit wild that the distribution of gravels in the area is that extensive but I imagine a field trip to an established aggregate supplier would be both eye opening and well worth our time regardless of where we live. I bet some of the construction and landscaping material comes from a lot further than we might imagine. 

To answer Laurie these stones were already river polished.  I used a lapidary wheel to smooth a few of the chipped stones and increase an existing window here and there but for the most part they are as I found them.  The gravel looks like any other brown ornamental river gravel until you inspect it closely.  Most of the local brown 1 to 4 inch gravels have fossils shells black flint red and brown jasper but no agate.  I have been checking every one I come across while driving around town.  I will do a more thorough creek and river inspection when we move back to Lookout Mountain most likely next year.

Thanks Joe for the heads up on that excavated spot. I will mark it to be checked and will do so when I get a chance.  One other clue that some of these agate pieces might be of Lake Superior origin are the bright orange and tangerine colors.  Once you see the brilliant orange lakers they find up there you don't soon forget it.
  

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Re: Hamilton County
Reply #13 - Sep 23rd, 2015 at 9:36am
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Might want to consult with Dave Boring of Ooltewah.  He goes by "Rockshine" on the American Rockhound board for MAGMA members.  If I were down your way I would definitely check out the Patty Quarry in Summerville,  GA.  I've seen where clubs arrange field trips (http://www.mobilerockandgem.com/field-trips/2014/6/29/summerville-agate) and I think you can just call the quarry and arrange individual permission on Sundays.    It's described as, drive into the quarry, get out of your vehicle, look down at your feet, and start collecting agate and such.
  
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Re: Hamilton County
Reply #14 - Sep 23rd, 2015 at 12:38pm
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I will do just that.  Thanks for the contact Tim.
Also thanks for the info on Summerville.  I am working on some specimens I found there this summer and if they turn out to be RHL worthy I will post them.  That part of Taylor's Ridge is definitely one of the best published locations for agate I have found in Georgia.  The other two that I know of are Savannah River Agate in Girard and the Withlacoochee Coral down south both of which I am yet to visit.  Also at the nearby Sloppy Floyd State Park I found plenty more material to include petwood botryoidal pink chalcedony and oodles of seam agate lying all over the place...but the Patty quarry material is by far the best.  I hear reports of good fossils nearby too plus the fantastic Mineral collection at the Tellus Science Museum make this the perfect weekend destination for any club or individual Rockhound.  I love it!   There is a member here from PA (Talusman) who is visiting the area on business and Summerville was the #1 spot I recommended.   Grin
  

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