January 1, 2009

The day started off very cold, below freezing in fact.  I decided to go check on a construction site down the road.  My friend Joe and I have checked this spot a few times already and never found anything of intrest except saprolitic granite.  But there's been quite a bit of rain and more digging there so I thought I'd take one last look.  Alas, nothing still.  I did have an unexpected surprise as nature left me a gift that only a camera could capture.  Since I had my camera I was able to keep these crystals forever.
After I pried a huge piece of bedrock away near a seam of small siderite crystals Bob reached down and pulled out this specimen from that spot.  He handed it to me and said it was mine since I exposed it.  It's limonite after siderite since it streaks red-brown and not white.

Later I met up with Bob who took me to a spot that produces siderite.  I could see that the bedrock was exposed in this creek.  We walked down to an area where the weeds and kudzu that had overtaken the bank had dried up and withered for the winter.  Bob made his way to a spot where he raked the dead weeds back and pointed at small crystals of siderite that were sticking out of the the saprolitic bedrock.

January 3, 2009

Well today I met up with friend and rock hound Dave and we headed back out to the creek with the quartz and schorl tourmaline.  We dug around in the spot Bob showed me the other day but didn't find anything worth keeping.  So I decided to dig in another spot where some crystals and tourmaline did begin to roll out.  Happy in that spot we cut into the bank another 3 to 4ft before it began to get too dark to dig.
There were some very tiny needles of golden rutile running through this crystal.  You can barely make them out in the center of this crystal.  This is why I try and keep everything I find that has any face on it, even if it's just one face.  Because whatever conditions there were for this face to form were also conducive for other minerals to form such as rutile or schorl.  Had I thrown this piece back on the ground because it only had one or two crystal faces, I wouldn't have discovered the rutile.  The moral of the story is not that I now have a spectacular piece of rutile included quartz, because it's not spectacular in any sense, but that now I know rutile is in this area, and this gives me motivation to go back and search for more. 
Our next stop was another creek down the street from the siderite.  The ancient granite at this spot had completely rotted into what I could only describe as the essence of saprolite.  The dirt here fell away with so much ease that it was difficult to tell if it had not already been moved by some machinery in the past.  I knew, however, that it was original and in situ saprolitic earth because the veins of mica and quartz were still there and intact.  The above specimen came from a thin black vein of iron oxide that had small crystals of quartz and tourmaline in it.  Bob handed me this piece to wash off in the creek.
I found what appeared to be a small pocket with lots of quartz.  About half the quartz I pulled out had small faces here and there, but nothing that was an entire crystal.  I was still hopeful that something good could come out because the signs were there.  After a bit more scratching around the above tourmaline crystal rolled out.  It was very shiny and lustrous.
Well, much more hopeful now I continued digging and found this tourmaline included quartz.
Dave took a break to go check out the creek alluvium in hopes of finding some crystals.  He had found a very nice 2-3 inch long tesin habit crystal in this same creek in the past.  Well, while he was doing that the above specimen rolled out of my little pocket.  A small clear tessin habit point with tourmaline included throughout the base.