Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wheaton College Geology Sale Sept. 29th, 2012


Many of you remember the sale of rocks, minerals, fossils, maps, and instruments from Wheaton College's collection last year. Now, because of a continuing surplus and many fine duplicates donated to the department, we must do it again!

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2012  from 9am to 5pm:

Wheaton College Geology will again offer a large amount of valuable material to collectors at all levels. One room will be devoted to children's and beginner's goodies. One room will be for sale of higher-quality items, and one room for intermediate items. Marked prices range from less than a dollar to hundreds of dollars. "Deals" can be made to discount for larger numbers of purchases. These prices are not at the lowest, wholesale range, but are far less than most stores and online offerings. CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED. NO OUT OF TOWN CHECKS.

Items included: large, nice MI coppers; many varieties of quartz (top-quality Arkansas); Tampa Bay agatized corals; Madagascar Ocean Jasper slices; loads of calcites from the TriState, Mexico, etc.; Tsumeb malachite; pyrites and marcasite; TriState galenas, sphalerite, and chalcopyrite, IL fluorite, some with witherite; many pegmatite minerals (including columbite); Mexican arsenates; SD barite; US metamorphic minerals from the Rockies and Appalachians; copper ores from AZ, NM and Butte, MT; gold and platinum ores: uvite and hexagonite from New York; Indian zeolites; New Jersey zinc ores and associated skarn minerals; many types of garnets (uvarovite, melanite, grossular, etc.); USGS portfolios; projection petrographic microscopes; fossils, including many invertebrates (trilobites, corals, etc), Tertiary mammals, turtles, and dino bones; and much more, some in large quantities.

If you want more specific information, please contact me. The sale will take place in Wheaton College's new Science Center.

Jeff Greenberg, PhD, Professor of Geology and Environmental Science

Lapidary Auction in Belvidere IL Saturday Sept. 8th, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Badger Rock Club Copper Country Fieldtrip

Place: Keweenaw Copper Country Upper Peninsula Michigan
Dates: Saturday August 25th & Sunday 26th, 2012
Contact Person: Dan Trocke - Cell: 608-215-5307,
Meeting Place & Time: Meeting Mike Riesch between 9:30 & 10:00 AM at the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum Michigan Technological University, 1404 E. Sharon Avenue, Houghton, Michigan 49931-1295
Telephone: (906)487-2572.  Hours: open 9-5 Mon to Sat.  Admission fee.
 After everyone gets their fill of the museum we will head out to several or all of the following sites with our guide Mike. Thanks Mike!!!

The sites available to visit and collect:
·         Cliff Mine area.  Collecting Focus - native copper and if you are lucky native silver, copper in prehnite, copper chisel chips
·         Senaka Mine (county owned – can access on weekend)
·         Central Exploration - Mine tailing piles
·         Lake Mine tailing piles (near Mass City) – supposed to be a huge area with shafts, addits, piles
·         S&G recycling to check for scrapped native copper
·         Lastly might get to explore a wooded area with a copper hunting dog and his owner.  The dog can smell copper in the ground and points.
·         Any other sites too good to miss – please pipe up!
Notes: The Copper Country is notable for native copper mines and the rock piles comprise the waste rock from these old copper mines.  At all of the localities it is possible to find native copper either in mass or crystallized form. Massive is much, much more common than crystallized, and virtually everyone will find native copper at a locality notable for native copper. Native silver accompanies native copper and it, too, can be found at all localities, but much less frequently.
There are over 130 different minerals found in the mines of the Copper Country. You can find many of these at every site.  Some sites are more notable for certain minerals than other sites, but that does not mean you cannot find fine specimens of other minerals.  The common minerals are:
copper (native)
dolomite (ferroan)
feldspar (microcline, adularia)
mohawkite (algodonite, domeykite)
pumpellyite (greenstone)
silver (native)

Safety is always first!
All collecting requires safe practices and use of common sense. At all times maintain awareness of yourself and your physical surroundings. Stay off the steep slopes and loose rock. Follow instructions of the trip guides. Be mindful of others collecting in your area.
Safety glasses are required!! Rock chips can fly a long way so you are just as likely to be struck with a chip from another as you are from yourself.
Work gloves, full-length jeans, and supportive footwear are a good idea.
A rock hammer and 5 gallon plastic bucket are essential items. In addition, to the rock hammer a chisel comes in handy too for breaking rocks. The bucket is an easy way to carry your specimens, but an old backpack will work too.
Water for cleaning specimens is a good idea as newly exposed rocks are coated with “muck.” A small spray-bottle of water and/or a container of water will work.
Bring a metal detector for copper collecting or arrange to rent one. With the prepared rock piles the newly exposed rock is very dirty. We strongly recommend you have a metal detector for copper collecting. However, there is no substitute for your eyes and some find equal success without a metal detector. Metal detectors are of NO value when looking for datolite or greenstone.
Carry drinking water with you on EVERY field trip. Plan your water containers before you leave home. Bring more than you think you will need, as rock piles can be quite hot.
Bring a variety of clothing. Field trips proceed as scheduled, rain or shine. In the past, we've had weather with sun and near perfect temps around 75 degrees to sunny with extremely hot temps from 90-105 degrees, to fog and rain with cold temps of 40-50 degrees. Weather is affected by Lake Superior and is less predictable than elsewhere. If it does rain, at least it will wash muck off of the newly exposed rocks.
Black flies and mosquitoes are usually not too bad by August, but a can or bottle of insect repellant in your vehicle is recommended. Bug nets are usually not needed but can be purchased locally.
Sun should be a concern too all as most rock piles have no shade!! Sunglasses, a head covering, and sunblock are recommended.
Bring or plan on purchasing packing materials to get your treasures home intact. Paper, paper towels, toliet paper or dry cleaning (plastic) bags work well. Newspaper is good for larger specimens. Plan on boxes to store your specimens.
Casusal dress is appropriate for everything.

Some great advice from Erich Hessner:
1) Get the Michigan Gazeteer.  There is an abandoned copper mine every few miles for 100+ miles, starting down by Rockland, going all the way up the Keweenaw Peninsula to Copper Harbor.  If you find one pile, you can find them all using a compass and the map book.
2) Land owned by paper/lumber companies is considered recreational land, regardless of who owns the mineral rights, as long as it is not being logged when you are there.  Collecting minerals shy of actual mining is tolerated.  In some cases, the surface mineral rights have been bought by Richard Whiteman, of Red Metal Minerals.  He can get a bit testy if he catches you collecting at one of his sites - Minesota, Bumblebee, Mass, and a few others.  He is a nice guy otherwise, so talk to him first - after all he's a rockhound himself.  He may steer you to something off the beaten path - do not of course let him talk you into any of his overpriced "Turista" stuff.  Contact info at his website.
3) You won't find any agates on the beaches - not even the private one's with permission.  They are hunted hard after every storm by the locals.
4) You won't find much copper without a metal detector.  The cheapest detector works the best - it discriminates.  the ground around the mines is quite mineralized, and also copper sheets and wires (common) really ping the detector no matter how small.
5) Michigan is more relaxed than down here.  Generally it is OK to drive a car a short distance on the All Season roads.  You can tell which gravel roads are all season by the paint pattern designating a snowmobile crossing (across the asphalt), often with signage too.
Logging roads will be unmarked - travel these only with 4 wheel, and if not posted.  Private roads will always have an address marker, and/or be posted.  Use common sense, especially since you will have out of state plates.
6) Please! do not go into any open mines.  Besides the safety concern, and our club rules, if the mining inspector finds out, big trouble!  Our rock club never will be welcomed back up there again if you get caught.  Yes, I've done it, but not as a card carrying member of the club, and with local Yoopers.
7) Use your imagination - the glaciers moved copper everywhere.  There is a lot of "float" copper where you would least expect it.  Also look for areas where new rock has been exposed at the waste rock piles.  Rock is being hauled off for logging roads all the time.  If you can't find some recently disturbed earth, just start digging a hole.  Most of my silver came out of one hole - in afternoon of digging.  The silver likes to hide under calcite.
8) Don't forget to have a pasty when you're up there.

Hotels / Motels in the Keweenaw
·         SUPER 8(recommended by Mike)
1200 East Lakeshore Drive  Houghton, MI 49931; 1200 East Lakeshore Drive  Houghton, MI 49931; Ph: 906-482-2240.
·         Travelodge in Houghten (Cathy said it was great (cheap)).  Has a warm swimming pool and hot tub.  Plus a pizza place a block away. J
215 Shelden Ave, 49931 Houghton 800-578-7878
820 Shelden Avenue, Houghton; Ph: 906/487-1700.
·         HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS (Motel): 
1110 Century Way, Houghton, MI; Ph: 906/482-1066 
·         AMERIC INN:
5101 South 6th Street, Calumet, MI 49913; Ph:906/337-6463
1200 East Lakeshore Drive; Houghton, MI; Ph: 906/482-2240 
·         JULIE’S MOTOR INN (formerly Budget Host Inn): 
US Hwy 41 SE, Houghton, MI; Ph: 906/482-5351
919 Razorback Drive (near Wal-Mart), Houghton, MI; Ph: 906/487-6700
·         RAMADA INN:
99 Navy Street, Hancock, MI; 906/482-8400
Camping in the Keweenaw
Four types of camping are available on and near the Keweenaw Peninsula: Michigan State Parks, municipal, private, & U.S. Forest Service.  Please note: as inviting as it may seem, do not just pull over and pitch your tent. For many years now, most land in the Keweenaw is privately owned. In Michigan, private lands DO NOT NEED TO BE POSTED to prevent uninvited guests. Rather, it is the responsibility of the guest to obtain formal permission allowing access to a property.

  Michigan State Parks
·         BARAGA STATE PARK (US-41):
30 minutes southeast of Houghton. 906-353-6558.

·         TWIN LAKES STATE PARK (M-26):
40 minutes southwest of Houghton. 906-288-3321.

·         F.J. MCLAIN STATE PARK (M-203):
30 minutes west of Houghton. 906-482-0278.

~1 hour north of Houghton in Copper Harbor. 906-289-4215.

Municipal / County Campgrounds
·         Gratiot River County Park - Gratiot River County Park off of Five Mile Point Road, Ahmeek, MI 49901, owned by Keweenaw County, encompasses 222 acres and 8.489 feet of Lake Superior shoreline, plus 1/2 mile of the Gratiot River. The park is open daily with no fee. Fires are permitted on contained areas and rustic camping is permitted in designated sites with quiet hours from 1 hour after sunset to 1 hour after sunrise. Please pack out what you pack in. Hunting and fishing are permitted.  Is 20 miles (40 mins drive) Northeast of Houghton, and is pretty and free J
West Hancock on Portage Canal.  Campground Office: 906-482-7413.

·         HOUGHTON CITY RV PARK - RV Only:
West Houghton, 1100 W. Lakeshore Drive. 906-482-8745 or 906-482-1700.
Lake Linden on Torch Lake, 20 minutes east of Houghton.
Lake Linden Village Clerk for information: 906-296-9911.

Private Campgrounds
~1 hour north of Houghton, 505 2nd Street, Copper Harbor.

Five Mile Point Road, Ahmeek, ~45 minutes north of Houghton.
2701 Sunset Bay Beach Road, Allouez Township
941/923-2378 (October-May); 906-337-2494 (after June 1st)


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Badger Rock Club Utica Pyrite Fieldtrip

  Place: Utica Clay Pit near Utica Illinois
Date: Saturday, August 11th, 2012
Contact Person: Dan Trocke - Home: 608-935-0597, Cell: 608-215-5307,
Meeting Place & Time: Meet at 10:00 AM at the Love's Travel Stop gas station, 3020 East 8th Road, North Utica, IL Ph:(815) 667-4572.  There is a McDonalds here as well.  We’ll try to leave here by 10:20 AM().  Note: Love’s Travel Plaza meeting place is about 73 miles (hour and 24 minutes) south of Rockford Illinois so try to give yourself plenty of time.
Arrive at Utica Clay Pit: arrive at the quarry as a group at 10:30 AM and park out of the way near the main building.  We’ll leave the clay pit around 3 PM and arrive home by 6PM.
What to bring: If when we get there the quarry is active and trucks are running, we cannot access or collect in the quarry unless we come prepared with Hard hats, High visibility vest (mesh will be coolest), safety glasses and good sturdy shoes or boots.  Personal safety equipment can be purchased at Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Harbor Freight, Conney Safety, etc..  Bring a Sack Lunch, (as we will be eating lunch in Quarry), sunscreen and plenty of water and liquids!  Small garden tools, small rake and shovel gem scoop, masons or geology pick for tools.  A fanny pack, plastic grocery bags, 5 gallon buckets and egg cartons work great to hold your finds.
What we will hopefully find: Large quantities of little pyrite clusters, up to 2", fossil Lepidodendron roots up to 8" long, small petrified & pyritized wood pieces, and good chert.  Odd silicious geodes have been collected here in the past.   The real prize to be had, however, is the beautiful pyrite clusters perched on Lepidodendron root. Also interesting is the pastel colored cherts, with pyrite glitter on top. Kids are allowed in the quarry, and
Notes: This huge open pit mine has produced "fire clay," coal and crushed rock since the early 1900s.   At the north (left) end of the pit, the Pennsylvanian clay rests unconformably on the Ordovician St. Peter sandstone. On the south (right) end, the clay is on top of the Platteville dolomite.   The clay has been interpreted as a floodplain or delta deposit.  This site had been closed to all collectors for many years.  Let’s make sure to follow the rules, bring the safety gear listed above.   There are moderate dangers of foul, acidic, standing water, and hard, tight piles to collect on, possibly twisting ankles.   Keep away from the water and off dangerous inclines.  Please do not contact this quarry or revisit this quarry except as part of the Badger Rock club fieldtrip this Saturday.  We enter quarry as a group and leave the quarry as a group – no single stragglers.  Sorry, no bathroom facilities in quarry.  This has been an excellent producing quarry. This trip is opened to all Badger Lapidary and Geological Society Members.