WCGMC Field Season

July has just ended and the field collecting season is about half over. Can you count the number of collecting trips the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club has conducted or attended so far in 2014? Hint: you will need your toes.  If you visit our webpage (wcgmc.org) and link to the calendar page you can count them. In the first seven months of 2014 (and we did not start until late March) our club has taken part in 15 digs!  We did not plan every one of them:  the Penn-Dixie Expert Dig, the Penfield Open House, and the Sterling Hills Super Dig were outside functions.

Five of these digs involved overnight stays.  Two, including the recent 5 day adventure to the self-proclaimed “Mineral collecting capital of Canada” around Bancroft, Ontario, involved camping.  We’ve been to St. Lawrence County 3 times. We’ve been to Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  We’ve collected fossils in seven counties in New York and two in Pennsylvania.  We’ve explored the Precambrian in the Adirondacks and in Ontario, the Devonian and Silurian in western New York, and the Carboniferous in Pennsylvania. Continue reading

Ilion Gorge, NY

Cold Water Travertine at Ilion

Some 30 years ago, Herkimer County decided that the annual flooding and requisite road repair on Jerusalem Road (Co. Rd 16) south of Ilion was not worth the cost and effort and a one mile section of the road was permanently closed.  In the 30 years hence, the road has been washed out repeatedly and is now a mere paved path in the woods.  In fact, there is not much left of the old road (note the asphalt along the right side of the cover photo).

About half way along this section of road there is a series of springs which exit the shale that is exposed in the gully.  At this point fractures in the shale have been partially filled and coated with travertine (a form of calcite).  Varying in color from yellow to orange to various shades of brown this material has become a favorite of local collectors.  Our club has generally scheduled an annual trip to this location.  This year nine of us visited on June 24th and were not disappointed.

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Bancroft, Ontario 2014

Article I wrote for August, 2014 WCGMC News

Amphiboles, Apatites, and a Whole Lot More

Wonderful weather and a glorious suite of minerals greeted the eleven WCGMC members who spent 5 days and 4 July nights camping and collecting in the Bancroft, Ontario area.

bancroft1

The group did not let moss grown under their collecting feet.  After setting up camp on Monday afternoon, it was off to the Graphite Road outcrop north of town for tremolite and biotite and our first set of mosquito bites.  As a small and readily accessible roadcut listed in the 2013 Bancroft Chamber of Commerce collecting site book, this site is heavily visited, but we still found it worthy of an hour or two of dedicated digging and collecting and quite a few pounds of tremolite and biotite went back to the campsite for cleaning and packing.  Back at the campsite we enjoyed Eva Jane’s chicken casserole and dreamed of the huge apatites and titanites to come.

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NY State Mineral?

Most of you likely know that the Eurypterid (a Silurian-age sea scorpion) holds official status as the state fossil of New York.  But did you know that our esteemed government bodies in Albany are busy working on the monumental task of assigning an official state mineral?  Bet it will not take you much time to decide what mineral they are considering.

Yes, on April 28th,  2014 the New York State Senate passed legislation that could officially assign the “Herkimer diamond” as the official state mineral.   The legislation was sponsored by Senator James Seward of Oneonta, who proclaimed that doubly terminated clear Herkimer diamonds were “formed almost 500 million years ago and deserve to be properly recognized across New York.”  Senator Butler’s website goes on to say that Herkimer diamonds are “known around the world as some of the clearest quartz mineral specimens found to date.”

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