Quick Guide to this site…

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Howdy.  I have many hobbies and post what I can, when I can, here and on sometimes on YouTube.  Below are some quick links if you want to quickly tune into a certain hobby:

STORM CHASING: Click Here    Lightning

ROCKHOUNDING: Click Here

MUSIC PRODUCTION / DJ: Click Here  or these external sites:

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum

It has been a while now that I have wanted to visit the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum in Golden, Colorado. I’ve read articles about it, heard it was awesome, and still never have ventured to the far west side of the Metro to pay a visit. Well, the time had come; my daughter had a Girl Scout event at the School of Mines earlier this year and while waiting for her event to finish the rest of the family went to the museum…and we’re glad we did! It did not disappoint; the local Colorado collections they had were outstanding!

What I liked most was the fact that they had similar specimens from popular Colorado localities that I have collected. In most all cases their examples of the mineral(s) were much better than I have, but in a few examples I have found similar quality specimens from the same localities. Because I have been to the same location as these were unearthed from; I also was able to definitively identify several specimens that I was only partially sure about!

There were also several specimens that I really like that I have not found that mineral anywhere yet; but they were so cool that I had to take a photo of it anyway. The museum is full of wonderful specimens — these pictures don’t do it justice; you have to *BE* there to truly grasp the magnitude of the beauty of these specimens, but hopefully the pictures get you itching to visit Golden on your next trip to the metro area!

Calcite and Pyrite

A person at the colosseum show a couple years ago had several of these for sale for cheap. I bought one in the same league than this!

Fluorite

Oklahoma Galena

Oklahoma Galena, this is an awesome specimen!  As a storm chaser I remember when Picher was partially destroyed by a tornado in 2008…what I didn’t realize is that it was a Superfund site and is one of the most toxic places in the US.  Picher is a modern day ghost town for a good reason!

Rhodochrosite Stalagmites

Rhodochrosite Stalagmites

NTM Zoelites

North Table Mountain Zoelites

Back in 2010 I was able to visit North Table Mountain on a field trip with the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society club.  This is on Jefferson County Open Space and there is no collecting usually allowed per their website; but the club had a permit which allowed us to collect.  We did find some great crystals as you will see in that blog post. Below are the fantastic zeolite crystal specimens they had in the museum.

NTM Thompsonite

North Table Mountain Thomsonite

North Table Mountain Chabazite

North Table Mountain Chabazite – We found an awesome vug lined with Chabazite during a NTM club fieldtrip!

tn_MinesMuseum-2379

tn_MinesMuseum-2380

tn_MinesMuseum-2381

tn_MinesMuseum-2383

Quartz after Halite

This Quartz after Halite specimen is awesome!

Goethite after Pyrite

I love Goethite and Pyrite; this is the best of both!

Quartz after Fluorite

This Quartz after Fluorite is just amazing!

Fluorite

Fluorite. I found a similar piece at the Smoky Hawk mine during one of the club field trips.

Here is the similar (not as big but just as gemmy) fluorite I found at the Smoky Hawk mine.

Crystal Hill Amethyst

Crystal Hill Amethyst Cluster – I have yet to find Amethyst at this locality.

Bone

Petrified Spruce

Petrified Spruce

Petrified Wood

One of the various Petrified wood slabs they had on exhibit — Joshua Tree.

Petrified Wood

One of the various Petrified wood slabs they had on exhibit

 

Snowy Day Mixtape

Snowy Day Mixtape

With the snow dumping outside, and nothing really to do except sit by the warm fire, I created this Snowy Day Mixtape.  Lots of female vocals, some trip hop, downtempo, shoegaze, krautrock and electro ambient all mashed up together in a single mix.  Since I’m going nowhere, this is a 30m double-pack.  Enjoy!

Tracks:

  1. Trentemoller “Dirty Snow”
  2. How to Destroy Angels “The Space in Between”
  3. Donna Regina “Let’s Get Slow”
  4. Haujobb “X-Flow”
  5. Siouxsie and the Banshees “Red Light”
  6. Terranova “Never”
  7. Trentemoller “Even Though You’re With Another Girl”
  8. Dopplereffekt “Myon-Neutrino”
  9. Boards of Canada “Reach for the Dead”
  10. Stereolab “Harmonium”
  11. Ellen Allien and Apparat “Way Out”
  12. Portishead “Chase the Tear”

 

Snowy Day Mixtape – 30m double pack by Davealex on Mixcloud

The 30m series contains enough tunes to get you somewhere, which usually takes about 30 minutes, or in 30 minute segments (i.e. a double-pack).

EBM / Coldwave Mixtape

Coldwave EBM Mixtape

Up for your enjoyment is an EBM / Coldwave Mixtape.  I have been creating playlists on my devices and when I hit a song that would fit well on a “stylized” mixtape I bookmark it.  I have been doing this for years with the intent of throwing together mixtapes. Nothing fancy with this mixtape, just simply an old-school style of putting tracks together for my listening pleasure!

For me the styles of “Coldwave” and “Electronic Body Music” (EBM) are basically the same – cyberpunk.  The term started being used in the press during the very late 70’s with Kraftwerk’s sound and led into the darker electronic sounds in the early eighties.  I have loved this style of music since I first heard examples of it on the Denver music television show Teletunes in the early/mid 80’s.  MTV wasn’t allowed in the small rural town I grew up in, but that was okay because MTV would have never gone this alternative anyway.

Here is the track listing:

  1. Ortrotasce “At Your Last Breath” (2013)
  2. Nitzer Ebb “Let Beauty Loose” (1987)
  3. Kline Coma Xero “Left Behind” (2014)
  4. Front 242 “Body to Body” (1981)
  5. A Flock of Seagulls  “The Last Flight of Yuri Gagarin” (1983)
  6. Black Lung “Eugenics” (1994)
  7. Lassigue Bendthaus “JKTV Otaku (How Many Angels Can Dance on the Head of a Modem)” (1994)
  8. Chris & Cosey “Just Like You” (1981)
  9. Cabaret Voltaire “Automotivation” (1985)
  10. Depeche Mode “Shout” (1981)
  11. The Normal “Warm Leatherette” (1978)
  12. Lassigue Bendthaus “Velocity Life” (1991)
  13. Illustration Sonore “Flying Lights” (2013)
  14. Ministry “The Angel” (1986)

EBM Mixtape – dj davealex by Davealex on Mixcloud

Rockhounding 2014 Year in Review

2014 was a wonderful year for rockhounding the Rockies for me, when I started to think about it I went out prospecting to many localities this year and found some great crystals.  I also met and dug with some great people this year!  I can’t wait for the snow to melt off so I can commence the 2015 season…but until then, here are some of favorite memories of 2014.

Last year started out with a fun trip in April with my daughter, Daphne, to the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society amazonite claim near Lake George.  It ended up being the only trip I made to the Lake George area, although I had several other trips I wanted to do, the timing didn’t work out for me.

April Amazonite

Daphne and I hit a small amazonite seam. The iridescent purple clay was the highlight, but all these amazonites were cool too!  Also were a bunch of small white quartz plates.

I was invited to visit a private Topaz Claim near Pilot Peak.  Although we didn’t find any gems, we had a great time and I learned a lot about claims (which I suspect 2015 will have in store for me).  Thanks James for the invite!  Read more about that trip here:

I also found my first “wild” topaz at a Lake George Gem and Mineral Club field trip to another private Pilot Peak claim.  Here I found a couple of topaz crystals digging; I have found many topaz before, but they were at the Dorris topaz mine, so i don’t count them as “wild” finds given we dig in piles made by an excavator!

Topaz and smoky quartz from Pilot Peak

Topaz and smoky quartz from Pilot Peak

My dad and I (and son) hit a couple of Red Feather Lakes area spots finding some crystals in each spot.

Red Feather Lakes quartz cluster

Wonderful cluster from near the end of the pocket. My dad extracted this and another similarly amazing cluster

I visited the Wigwam area on a private claim a couple of times this spring finding some cool quartz and amazonite crystals.  I found some really neat crystals on these days.

I call it "The Right Foot", awesome unique crystal!

I call it “The Right Foot”, awesome unique crystal!

CrystalsWigmam-3837

Very unique shaped light blue/green amazonite crystal.

 

The first crystal I pulled out.  Clear/smoky quartz topped with milky quartz caps/growth on both ends

The first crystal I pulled out. Clear/smoky quartz topped with milky quartz caps/growth on both ends, terminated on both ends.

Awesome parallel growth crystal cluster from Wigwam locale.

Awesome parallel growth crystal cluster from Wigwam locale.

I’m pretty bored with the Ruby Mountain area although we camp there every year, so this year I ventured a bit further from camp.  Next year I have plans for several sites in the area.  In 2014 I found some awesome petrified wood near Brown’s Canyon.

I love the detail on this piece of petrified wood

I love the detail on this piece of petrified wood

Cool agatized petrified wood

Cool agatized petrified wood

This year through the CSMS club we had the opportunity to take a wire wrap class from Kim Peckham.  She was a wonderful instructor and my family did an excellent job both at the class and since!  Here are some of the wire wrappings that we did this year.

Wire Wrapping

From our class with Kim Peckham

Wire Wrap Pyrite Balls

Erin created these awesome wire wrapped Christmas tree ornaments out of pyrite balls

Here are some various minerals and fossils I found in my adventures across the state this year.  I have documented the Gilman/Leadville trip.

Some kind of fossilized organism

Some kind of fossilized organism

Sea Bottom Fossils

Sea Bottom Fossils

Pyrtie Ammonite

Pyrite Ammonite and iron snails

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County, Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County, Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County, Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County, Colorado

Pyrtie concretions

Pyrite concretions

Pyrite concretion

Pyrite concretion

Finally, my most visited location was Devils Head areas this year as it is less than an hour from home.  I found many cool spots that produced many enjoyable days!

The bigger smoky quartz

The bigger smoky quartz

The smaller smoky quartz

The smaller smoky quartz

Large Blue Amazonite

Largest amazonite of the day.

Parallel Growth Smoky Quartz

This parallel growth smokey quartz had a chunk of amazonite attached.

Devil's Head small seam

Devil’s Head small seam

Part of the top plate of the small pocket.  This crystal had fallen off but I was able to repair it.

Part of the top plate of the small pocket. This crystal had fallen off but I was able to repair it.

Dia De Los Muertos Smoky Quartz Pocket

Daphne constructed this 2 1/2 foot crystal skull from the smoky quartz from this pocket

El Nariz Quartz Crystal

El Nariz – The gemmy smoky quartz cluster from the center of the pocket

Quartz with Phantom

Quartz with Phantom

I have posted several videos of my crystal finds this year as well; I was expecting maybe 50-100 views during the year, but I was surprised to see views in the thousand on one!  Wow. Here are the videos I’ve posted this year.

All in all, 2014 was an incredible prospecting year!  I hope to be able to top the amount of fun in 2015…and meet some more neat folks and learn more to help me find better crystal pockets!  See you out there in 2015!

Roland HS-60 (Juno 106) – Internal Speakers

I purchased a Roland HS-60 Synthesizer a little while ago and am currently integrating it into my home studio.  One thing I noticed was the front panel interface is the EXACT same as the Roland Juno 106 (it is the same synthesizer after all) and there was no way to mute the internal speakers based on the front or back panel controls.

Roland HS-60 Synthesizer

I ended up reading the manual and buried in there was the answer.  Seems like this could have been a little more obvious, but now that I know you have to plug in a cable to the headphone jack to turn off the speakers I am good to go.

Turn off Roland HS-60 Internal Speakers

From the Roland HS-60 Manual, here is the trick to turning off the internal speakers. Note that the Juno 106 does not have this speaker option.

Read more about the HS-60 from my original posting.  The original owner’s manual is located here.

Dia De Los Muertos Crystal Pocket (Updated with Video)

As always, clicking the image brings up a larger version, and you can review my other rockhounding adventures here.

Dia De Los Muertos Smoky Quartz Pocket

Daphne constructed this 2 .5 foot crystal skull from the smoky quartz of this pocket

Dia De Los Muertos is always a celebration, especially when finding a crystal pocket! On November 2 I ventured up to Devils Head locality with the hopes of finding some crystals.  I was venturing into new areas and often I don’t find much when prospecting but today was a lucky day!  I found some smaller pegmatite chunks on the surface and dug in the area; about 45 minutes into my digging I started to pull out some interesting microcline plates. I definitely was in a seam or pocket but there wasn’t any quartz crystals to be found….yet…

Microcline Smoky Quartz Plate

One of the many interesting smoky quartz/microcline combo plates from the pocket

Smoky Quartz / Microcline plate

One of many Smoky Quartz / Microcline plates from this seam

As I dug parallel to a larger pegmatite I tracked upon a small seam that started producing small smoky quartz crystals along with plates of microcline.  The further I dug the larger and more abundant the crystals became.  The pocket opened up a few times with some nice 5+ inch smoky quartz crystals and then would become smaller just to open up again.  After about 10 feet of excavation no more than 18 inches under ground, I had found well over 200 crystals and clusters, and then the seam quickly pinched out. As with other seams and pockets, when you get into the crystals you tend to get many in a small space!  I figure on average I was pulling out a couple of crystals per inch of excavation work!

Smoky Quartz from pocket

Not yet soaked in acid, smoky quartz with phantoms and healed terminations

Dia De Los Muertos Crystals

Many of the Dia De Los Muertos Crystals all cleaned up

One thing I noted while plucking the crystals from the ground is many were double terminated, probably close to 1/3 of the crystals from the pocket!  Upon getting them cleaned up it became obvious that this crystal pocket had seen several growth periods and also a period of shift where several crystals were crushed and shattered.  One of the largest 5″ crystals was missing its point which I found about a foot away along the seam.  The tip didn’t fit perfectly because of the additional growth period on both the tip and the base crystal; but it was obvious they were once the same crystal though.

El Nariz Quartz Crystal

La Nariz – The gemmy smoky quartz cluster from the center of the pocket; I plan to visit again next year to see if the microcline plate this came off of is still there…I bet it is!

 

Smoky cluster showing phantom

Smoky quartz cluster showing phantom

The multiple growth periods are evident in several ways.  Firstly, many of the crystals have milky colored phantoms.  This is the first time I found phantoms like this at Devils Head and they are truly spectacular.  Multiple growth periods is additionally evident due to terminated healing where crystals that were once on the floor or ceiling were broken off (likely when the pocket shifted or collapsed) and then the end healed forming beautiful double terminated crystals.  Many of these are healed with phantoms as well!

Phantom Quartz

This quartz was smashed ages ago and shows the phantom crystal up close and personal

Gemmy Smoky with Phantom

Gemmy Smoky with Phantom

Gemmy quartz with phantom

Gemmy quartz with phantom

Gemmy Quartz with Phantom

Gemmy Quartz with Phantom prior to the acid bath

Smoky Quartz with Phantom

Smoky Quartz with Phantom

Quartz with Phantom

Quartz with Phantom, after the Super Iron Out soak but before Phosphoric Acid bath

Cleaning took a while, although they were not heavily coated.  I used Super Iron Out first for a couple of sessions, mechanically cleaned the crystals with my water gun in between, and then soaked them for two weeks (some took about 6 weeks) in a heated phosphoric acid bath.  I did two or sometimes three sessions with the water gun between soaks.

Double Terminated / Healed Quartz

Double Terminated / Healed Quartz

Double Terminated Smoky Quartz

Double Terminated Smoky Quartz with Phantom

Double Terminated Smoky Quartz

Double Terminated Smoky Quartz

A wonderful end to the season; I found some great crystals this year at Devils Head and look forward to prospecting some new areas next year!

Virgin Bath Overlook looking south

Devils Head’s Virgin Bath Overlook looking southwest!

2014 Favorite Records & Tunes

A the year comes to a close, there is a group of likeminded music enthusiasts that puts together their favs for the year.  This year is no different–although like always I tend to stretch the rules and this year is no different! :)  Some of these releases are vinyl re-releases that came out long ago; and some of these releases are not from 2014 but I learned about them and picked them up in 2014.  Finally, some of these releases are not albums but rather singles–likely found on Soundcloud.

Would love to hear your opinions and comment on your favorites of the year; or perhaps give me some tips on releases I should have heard but didn’t!

First, some local artists…

Munly & The Lee Lewis Harlots (Pesanta Urfolk 032-1)

Bummed that I didn’t get the colored vinyl version (I even pre-ordered), it would be amazing with the gatefold artwork of this double vinyl release.  Heavy 200g vinyls to boot!  This is classic Munly, not really country but definitely a rural vibe.  Munly’s unique vocals (sometimes high, sometimes low) and various stringed instruments in the composition give this record a very unique feel.

Reighnbeau x Sister Grotto – Highways

Remix by New Mexico artist Reighnbeau, this is a classic shoegaze pop track featuring Denver’s Sister Grotto.  I first saw Sister Grotto open for Mark McGuire earlier in the year and really enjoyed her ambient/melancholy set.  Soon thereafter she released this track and I have been enjoying it on my commute for the rest of the year!  Definitely worth checking out!

Obsolete Future’s House of Mutes Vol.1

Coming from around the world, Denver/Austin based Obsolete Future describes this compilation of electronic music / techno tunes precisely.  Beautiful artwork on this cassette release (think ANALOG) and overall great presentation of local and global artists.  In the electronic high rotation bin for sure!  A must listen!

Carpe Sonum’s Veni Vidi Audivi

This was just released at the end of the year and already is in high rotation.  For those unfamiliar with this label, it is a tribute label to the late Pete Namlook (think FAX – the pioneering electronic music label out of Germany).  This is an excellent lineup of ambient artists and look forward to what 2015 has to bring from this label!

SYM TRN

Symbols & Translations?  This is banned media from some Austin freak.  This track is solid techno and makes you yearn for the next release.  I happened to find a bootleg of the upcoming Austin show and that track is amazing.  Clubs, beware!

 Now some not so local artists…

Trentemøller – Lost

I’m a big fan of Trentemøller; his latest couple of albums have been more listening albums than his earlier dancefloor style.  This album is great; excellent female vocals throughout; some really mellow tracks while others are seriously rockin’.  Several tracks remind me of older The Cure, especially in the guitars!  Got to see him on this tour at the Gothic and was a stellar show!  Full band…he’s a very talented individual!

Hank III – Long Gone Daddy

This is a great record of probably mixed timeframe of tracks on Curb Records.  Hank III has departed ways with Curb (seems pretty nasty relationship) but they must have a wonderful archive of his stuff.  I liked this better than his Brothers of 4×4 and punk albums he came out in 2014 as well.  Classic country, as only Hank 3 can pull off!


Terranova – Hotel Amour (Kompakt)

I’ve been a big fan of this German producer and this album took me by surprise.  Vocal electronic tech house music, but a little more soulful than I typically listen to.  The album has grown on me and I listen to it often.  I recommend all his releases!

Kid Koala – 12 Bit Blues (Ninja Tune)

Ok, the gimmick lured me into this album, but after the first listen I loved it.  Kid Koala mashes up old blues tunes as only he can.  The best part, though, is on the CD there is a small turntable you put together (cardboard) with a flexi record you can listen to!  Now this I couldn’t turn down.

 

Bonobo – Cirrus (Ninja Tune)

What a cool picture disk.  This is a zeotrope with a cardboard zoetrope viewer.  The limited picture disk was made available only to fans with a voucher (from the fan club I think).  The track is really nice, and the picture disk and its Zoetrope video is incredible.  Super sweet!

 Blawan – His He She & She EP (Hinge Finger)

Love this straight up techno track.  Why they hide bodies under my garage?  Don’t know, but it definitely inspired an amazing track.  The other 3 tracks on the EP are killer tracks too.  Mostly dancefloor techno tracks, one is an amazing “anxiety” track ala Demdike Stares.  Highly recommended!  Oh, and the video is amazing; again Zoetrope!  Took 2 years to track this bad boy down; but acquired the single in 2014 so it made the list!

Plastikman – EX (Novamute)

Richie Hawtin was commissioned to perform at the Guggenheim Museum and this is the set he put together for it.  Classic Plastikman minimal acid techno, I really like the album.  Lots of work on the EFX and straight up 303 and beats like only Richie can pull off!

Luke Vibert – Ridmik (Hypercolor)

Luke Vibert is one of the kings of acid music, and this is a great expedition down that classic acid sound like no one but Luke can do.  FUNKY beats and soulful techno acid.  Super sweet!

 

Bjork – Bastards (One Little Indian)

This was a record store day special from several years ago, Angelos had it for 1/2 price. Great album full of limited edition remixes from the album Crystalline.  Bjork remixes are typically more fun and I like them better than album versions.  Bjork was ahead of the game (image that) creating an interactive iPad app for this album.  For fans of Bjork; even includes a Daniel Bell remix, who passed this year; his Dancer In the Dark soundtrack was amazing!

Kline Coma Xero (Medical Records)

Tony Williams I first heard on Soundcloud, the Left Behind track.  I’ve been following him since.  This is his first album and it is absolutely classic EBM.  Very talented, can’t wait for future releases from him!

 

Happy New Year S/T

I bought this on a whim; the discogs seller had it cheap and it was free shipping; sometimes you have to take a chance to get something new.  This would fit perfectly at The Road House opening for Julee Cruise!  Sometimes you get lucky.  Also on pretty white vinyl!

 And finally some classic reissues on vinyl…

  • Lassigue Bendthaus – Atom Heart’s first project, essential EBM, an absolute classic!  Comes with a 12″ and 7″.
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees – Songs from the Void.  The earliest Siouxsie recordings available, on incredible orange marbled vinyl (my favorite color and rare color for vinyl).  Amazing bootleg!
  • Psyche – Re-membering Dwayne.  Tribute album of Skinny Puppy band member Dwayne Goettel.  He was in Psyche and crushed the band to join up as a permanent member of Skinny Puppy until his overdose prior to The Process album.  I am a big fan of Psyche after Dwayne left; and this album doesn’t disappoint; much more aggro–all the stuff Dwayne recorded with the band including his diary/notebook as an insert!
  • Skinny Puppy – The Greater Wrong of the Right.  Classic re-issue of this album when they started their comeback in my opinion.  Only available on DVD/CD combo (concert) and Metropolis released this super packaging gatefold release.  Classic “new” album in the Skinny Puppy catalog.
  • Xymox – Subsequent Pleasures.  This album has been impossible to find over the years, and recently repressed in high quality vinyl with a remaster.  This is the first Xymox single before they signed to 4AD Records as Clan of Xymox.  If you like early Clan of Xymox, this is a must!

Singles – Soundcloud playlists

Finally, I have been finding a bunch of music on Soundcloud.  As you probably know, you have to dig to find gems; and many times you come up empty handed; but as prospecting for gems in the real world; when you hit a pocket you are treated with many incredible finds.  That’s Soundcloud for me.  I have been interested in 140/Dungeon style of Dubstep…very slow funky beats with cinematic backdrops and just amazing bass.  Check out some of these tracks…

 

Multicast track featured on Veni Vidi Audivi compilation

Multicast has a track Departure featured on the Veni Vidi Audivi compilation on Carpe Sonum Records. There is no reason for not enjoying this release, it is absolutely free!  The release features upcoming artists on the label.

Veni, Vidi Audivi ambient electronic music compilation on Carpe Sonum Records

Veni, Vidi Audivi ambient electronic music compilation on Carpe Sonum Records. Grab it now, it’s FREE!

For those unaware of Carpe Sonum Records, it is a Colorado-based ambient music label continuing the spirit of the late Pete Namlook‘s pioneering electronic music label Fax +49-69/450464.  Here’s more information on Carpe Sonum Records.

We are honored to be part of this amazing ambient release.  Our 2005 vinyl-only album Bahian Coastal Hwy. will be released in spring of 2015, remastered by Andreas [Lupo] Lubich and containing extra tracks.  Here is a preview of the upcoming release in addition to what is on the compilation.

Here is information about other Obliq Recordings (i.e. my bands) tracks featured on the Pete Namlook tribute album on Carpe Sonum records.

Sit back in your easy chair, wipe your mind from thought, and let your ears enjoy!

Oh, and please forward the information to your likeminded friends! Thank you!

Larkspur alluvial smoky quartz

Over the last 15 or so years I have collected alluvial smoky quartz crystals along the roads in our neighborhood while out and about.  Others in my neighborhood have also shown me crystals they have found.  I have seen some Native American points found in the area made out of smoky quartz too that are quite amazing.

These quartz crystals are alluvial and are obviously a ways from where they started.  I am assuming these originated in the Devils Head area and were ground down as they were transported by glaciers.  Many of these are very gemmy inside and could be used for cutters.

At the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society rock show many years ago I visited a club booth where one of the members found a huge alluvial smoky crystal along Fountain Creek that was on display.  This particular stone was a large gem (perhaps eight inches in diameter) and they had another similar size quartz they found faceted; both came from the creek bed.  That is when I decided that the larger stones don’t facet well (at least to my eye) — although the faceter did an excellent job it just didn’t sparkle like the smaller cuts.

Alluvial Smoky Quartz

My small collection of Smoky Quartz found along the roads near Larkspur Colorado.

Larkspur Smoky Quartz

This one came from a rut at the side of a road under some pine needles

Larkspur Smoky Quartz

This I found just a couple of weeks ago while walking the dog. Very gemmy inside.

Just goes to show that prospecting can be easy and very close to home; just need to keep a trained eye on the ground!

Gilman District Barite

Was up visiting a friend near Eagle and he turned me onto a public site near the Gilman District of Colorado to collect quartz and barite. It was a bit chilly showing that fall is on its way; all the peaks had significant snow. I was able to find some yellow barite but the quartz eluded me.

Gilman Colorado as seen from the road across the valley from the north.

Gilman Colorado as seen from the road across the valley from the north.

Gilman Colorado is a now ghost town that got its start during the silver boom of the late 1880s.  It was the town supporting the Eagle Mine, but production stopped in 1984 and the mine is heavily polluted making it a Superfund site.  What is interesting is I was listening to a great book on Rocky Flats on the way up that day, Full Body Burden by Kristin Iverson, which talks about another horribly polluted area of Colorado!  Note that the town and its buildings and mines are on private property.  Where I was there were many sheer cliffs and very steep hills, so caution is required in this general area.

Old wire sticking out of the ground.

Old wire sticking out of the ground.

Visiting museums and rock shops around the state I have seen plenty of pyrite and yellow barite mineral specimens from the Eagle Mine.  I was excited that I was able to find some great finds including larger 25+ pound rocks (which were really fun to carry up the steep hills of the area) and some great individual crystals!

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County Colorado

 

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County, Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County, Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County, Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County, Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County, Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County, Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County, Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County, Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County, Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County, Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County, Colorado

Yellow Barite, Gilman District, Eagle County, Colorado

I was looking for pyrite but given I wasn’t near any of the mines or tailings I didn’t find any.  I did find a curious mineral, which reminds me a lot of Satin Spar.  This had some really interesting “worm” like appendages.  It is fairly brittle and I’m currently researching what this could be.

tn_Gilman-3551

The nodules on top of this (?) Satin Spar were really neat

The nodules on top of this (?) Satin Spar were really neat

Not sure what this is, it looked like Satin Spar, a form of selenite gypsum

Not sure what this is, it looked like Satin Spar, a form of selenite gypsum

I also visited several mine dumps above Leadville along 5th street looking for pyrite there, but again didn’t find anything much of interest.  There was snow on the ground here and it was a beautiful day to get out and hike around, and that is what I did!  Anyone that has been to Leadville knows the scenery is absolutely stunning!