Once in a while I like to combine my two primary hobbies, philately (stamp collecting) and mineral collecting. This is “once in a while” version 2017. This summer I participated in two separate week-long trips to Ontario to collect minerals: once with the Niagara Peninsular Geological Society of St. Catharine’s, Ontario and once on the annual Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club Canada trip. Now back home and with October baseball on TV, I decided to revisit my mineral finds and pictures from those trips and mix in a bit of philately. This first installment focuses on the historic mining district of Cobalt, Ontario, a site visited on both trips.
Do you remember your nursery rhymes?
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
OK, but you probably have not heard these two:
Amphibole Arnie sat in a ledge, Til WCGMC came along with their sledge. After much mauling and sawing and sweating, To their chagrin poor Arnie was crumbling.
Apatite Annie sat in some calcite, Resting so nicely each day and each night. Then came the chisels, the saw and the carts, And Annie came out in four miserable parts.
For the second consecutive year, members of Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club joined with the Niagara Peninsula Geological Society for a several day trip to mineral sites in Ontario. We thank Ashley Pollock for organizing the trip and I thank Ashley for writing this short summary of one of the sites we visited and allowing me to publish it in the September, 2017 WCGMC newsletter and also this this blog.
It rained and then it stopped and then it rained again as we drove north to start our week long summer collecting trip. But when we met our Wayne County Club friends at our first collecting stop along the French River south of Sudbury, the clouds had parted and the week of fun began.
The Rutter Pluton is a nepheline-syenite intrusion within/ straddling the border of the Grenville Front Tectonic Zone (GFTZ) of the Grenville Province. The 10 km long, 2 km wide igneous body is dated at 975 million years. Like much of the Precambrian terrain in Ontario, the igneous rocks have been metamorphosed to a gneissic texture. Mineralogically, the pluton consists of nepheline, albite (plagioclase feldspar), potassium-feldspar, and biotite mica. Quartz is absent.
The annual test of aging bones and muscles that we call the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club quest for really old Ontario rocks was in July this year. The event lasted five days for several and eight days for four of us who continued on to Cobalt, Ontario. I am happy to report that all of us survived, and we have the pictures, stones, bruises, and mosquito bites to prove we were there. The whirlwind trip included collecting beryl and rose quartz in two pegmatites, a day in Eganville for apatite and biotite, a quarry stop for fossils, Princess Mine for sodalite, Schickler Mine for fluorite, Desmont Mine for mosquitoes, and Essonville Line roadcut for fluoro-richterite. Four of us carried on to Cobalt, grabbing some garnets along the way and finding one very nice silver-laced boulder at a mine dump in Cobalt.
The highlight of the trip had to be the day we spent with Canadian collector George Thompson on his mineral claims off Gibson Road in Tory Hill. We all thank him for sharing his calcite vein-dikes with us and allowing us to carry home memories of a fine day in the field. Oh, we took home some minerals also. And thus this note focuses on George’s property and the fifth day of our adventure. Continue reading
Generally, when Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club packs up the buckets, hammers, passports and bug repellent to head north of the border we are after minerals in the Precambrian rocks of the Grenville Geological Province. But recently we have been able to make an annual stop in younger rocks to collect fossils in Ordovician limestones in the Eganville area of eastern Ontario. Specifically we visit the Haley Quarry in Douglas, Ontario and search the Upper Ordovician Verulam and Lindsey Formations of the Ottawa Group. We did so again this year on Wednesday July 19th.
Where should I start? The 10 day August trip to Thunder Bay and back again was a blast. We all returned with enough minerals and memories to last through the winter (or at least until our trip to the Adirondacks in September!).
But first and foremost: Just as the 1959 stamp Issue in the header was a joint issue of the USA and Canada, this trip was a two country trip with WCGMC and the Niagara Peninsula Geological Society (NPGS) of St. Catharine’s, Ontario. Those of us from WCGMC thank NPGS for allowing us to join them, and in particular to their field trip leader Ashley Pollock, who planned the itinerary and set up the many visits requiring permission and outside leadership.
After 3 nights in Cobalt (see August WCGMC newsletter), we headed to Eganville in search of more collecting adventure.
Although the primary objective of our trek back to the Grenville Province was minerals, our first stop was at a limestone quarry where large cephalopods and coral could be found. The Haley Quarry, 8 miles southeast of Eganville, exposes the Lindsey and Verulam Formations of the Upper Ordovician Ottawa Group which are known for their large cephalopods, some of which are exposed in nearby Bonnecherre caves.
During the third week in July, seven WCGMC members spent 7 days and 6 nights collecting in Ontario. The first three days in Cobalt, Ontario are summarized here. Part 2, three days near Eganville, will be reviewed in a subsequent entry. Modified from August, 2015 WCGMC newsletter article.
From its discovery in 1903 until around 1920, Cobalt, Ontario was a hotbed of silver mining and the center of Ontario’s economic mining industry as over 10,000 inhabitants opened more than 100 mines in search of silver. Over 100 years later, and for 2 days in July, 2015, seven eager rockhounds from WCGMC followed in the old timers footsteps.
Article I wrote for WCGMC News in Oct., 2014
Four of us (Linda Schmidtgall, Bill Chapman, Ken St. John, Fred Haynes) decided one summer trip to eastern Ontario was simply not enough and we returned for 4 days in early September. The highlight was a return to the Miller Property in Eganville, but we managed to squeeze three other sites into the trip, including a pair of lesser known sites in the Bancroft Chamber of Commerce 2013 collecting book.
We started with a visit to the well known Beryl Pit in Quadeville. Fred had visited with the Rochester Club in July and since that time the owners (Dave and Renee Paterson) had excavated a significant amount of material in the floor of the pegmatite quarry and piled it outside the quarry. This made for easy pickings for beryl, quartz, tourmaline (var. schorl), cleavlandite, albite, perthite, fluorite, and euxenite. We later learned that we may have taken more than our limit on that last one. Keep reading to learn why!
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.
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.
A small, but hardy group of five Rochester Academy of Science mineral enthusiasts spent their Memorial Day weekend collecting minerals and mosquito bites in the Bancroft District of Ontario, the self-proclaimed mineral capital of Canada. Dick and Jeanne Phillips, Mario and Debbie Errico, and me made the 5 hour trip around Lake Ontario to Wilberforce and Bancroft for a whirlwind 3 days of rockhounding in the famous district. Dick led the group to 8 separate sites, including a night dig with black lights at the CN rock pile right in Bancroft.