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June 13th and 20th, 2010  It was a torrid 95F/35C+ on the two Sundays we came to hunt this construction site in Cary.
The air was thick with humidity and it seemed each breath required a little extra work to pull the air in to the lungs.  There was more
than once I thought to myself how crazy we must be for doing this.  But, the incentive was too great, too compelling.  We were finding
crystals here, and we were happy.   
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Joe inspects a fissure for crystals (above).  This cut hillside quickly became the focus of our first Sunday trip to this location.
The embankment was permeated with small fissures visible as stringers of quartz and mica on the surface.  The proliferation of
fissures was such that that it prompted an analogy from Joe, "It's like a grocery store.  You just shop around and pick which
one you want!".
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The fissure above ran roughly east west.  Ideally we look for mica to be present as well.  It has become well established through our
experience that the areas where the mica and quartz come together there is also a high probability for crystals.  Since the above
fissure showed no signs of mica we left it as it was.
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Joe is always meticulous with each of his crystal excavations.  His trowel is now rounded and dulled at the tip from years of volunteer
archeological digging he used to do for the state.  Although it is now used primarily for digging quartz here in Wake County it is with
this approach coupled with experience that he is able to find even the smallest of crystals as well as keep all of them damage free.
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To his left I found this crystal exhumed from its original location by machinery and sitting on the surface washed off from the rain.
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Another surface find.  Without the heavy rain that had recently washed this area off these surface finds would have been impossible.
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Here a small group of tessin habit smoky quartz crystals protrude from the clay Joe extracted along a fissure.
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Although fractured on the left side I also found a decent tessin habit crystal in a fissure I was working.
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Joe rests on a drainage pipe in a twelve foot pit.  This pit was promising as its walls were covered with fissures on both sides.
A few minutes of digging and Joe pulls out a small but beautiful undamaged tessin habit crystal.  Our hopes were up, but for the
next hour of exploiting as many of these fissures as possible we weren't able to do better than that initial find.
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Here is a great example of three fissures within the saprolitic schist walls of the pit in the previous picture.  Although they were
packed with small mica crystals, these fissures contained little to no quartz.
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The classic features of an alpine type fissure is seen here with the fissure running perpendicular to the foliation and the
leached (lighter) zone around it.  Theoretically the leached minerals from the country rock re-crystallize within the fissure.
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Giving up on the pit I decided to locate a fissure in a different area.  It wasn't hard locating another fissure given how they pervaded the
entire construction site.  Here the quartz can be seen crystallizing along the fissure, a good sign.  Unfortunately, the best part of this fissure
was what can be seen in the picture (above).
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Again and again we would find fissures containing mica and crystal faces yet void of terminated crystals.  The section of fissure
I'm holding above had been completely filled in with quartz seemingly leaving only the outer edges room to crystallize.  Unfortunately,
the material was not clear enough to take home and the parts covered in clay were broken, uncrystallized quartz.
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Finally persistence pays off with a decent crystal to take home.  The quality of clarity and lustre can be easily seen in the picture.
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This is a tiny cluster of tessin habit crystals I found initially coated with an iron oxide coating. After a bit of soaking in acid it cleaned
up well.
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This small cluster of three quartz points with mica at its base looks as if it's reaching out for a hug.
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My best find at this location was this crystal.  Joe was there when I uncovered the fissure containing it.  It was quickly apparent
that something good was going to come out of this fissure when while extracting the quartz it suddenly became glassy.  It was as
if the quartz exploded into crystals in a zone within the fissure.  The sunlight now directly overhead reflected shiny faces on
the nearly black quartz as it lay half buried in the ground.  I saw one edge of the crystal above and knew immediately it was
going to be killer.  After quickly brushing the dirt off and holding it up in the sun Joe and I stared in awe. "Damn!", Joe
exclaimed.  This was a huge burst of motivation for us.  Exhausted and drenched in sweat in the burning sun we suddenly
found a second wind knowing that the surrounding area must contain more goodies.  Joe exemplified this by promptly
finding another fissure six feet away in which he extracted two or three nice crystals and some facet grade smoky quartz material.
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This is the opposite side of the crystal in the previous picture.
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