WCGMC News article for September, 2015 – By Ken St. John
My son, Isaac, and I joined the club on the field trip to the Jerusalem Road Gorge in Ilion earlier this year (see July 2015 WCGMC News). In sorting through the material we brought back (yes, we left the deer skeleton) I exposed the rocks and minerals to UV light. I thought that I’d share the pictures.
One of my favorite upstate New York sites for a few hours of collecting is Ilion Gorge on Jerusalem Road in Herkimer County, NY. Each winter erosion in the gorge exposes new banded travertine that can be collected in the creek or chiseled from the boulders that have fallen off the gorge walls. The site is pretty with short waterfalls and lots of green. When the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club decided to visit the site on May 39th, I was there with 10 other club members. We were ready for a day of collecting and camaraderie.
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.