May 2013: Goethite and Onegite

May was a fun month for rock hounding adventures.  I visited the Lake George area several times in May, the first was to prospect and find the claim borders / corner posts, I went with my son and his friend.  We had a fun hike and I found a couple of spots that looked interesting.  I then came back and the first rock I turned over had a small spray of Goethite on it.  I have never found Goethite before and so I was pretty excited.  Ended up digging at this location for two days and pulled out a lot of Goethite and related Onegite sprays, some combo pieces, and many Smokey Quartz crystals and small microcline clusters.  No amazonite, however, but that is okay as I had a wonderful time with what I did find.

Looking at these sprays under a loupe I discovered that there are small citrine, smoky and amethyst quartz crystals all over these things.  I guess that is by definition the Onegite — Goethite with these small crystals.  I read online on how to clean these and have soaked them in soapy water for days and then used water spray to avoid breaking the delicate crystals.  On some of the onegite I was able to use a soft toothbrush.  They didn’t clean up 100% yet; I don’t know if some ever will.  Note you can’t put them in Iron Out since this is an iron based mineral.

I will post some of the microcline and smoky quartz in a different post when I have them ready; but here is a slideshow of some of the pieces that I found.  What a cool mineral!


Amethyst, onegite and goethite


Some amethyst in this onegite/goethite crystal


This one is great!

tn_Goethite-1496 tn_Goethite-1493 tn_Goethite-1486 tn_Goethite-1474 tn_Goethite-1472 tn_Goethite-1470 tn_Goethite-1458 tn_Goethite-1456 tn_Goethite-1450 tn_Goethite-1449 tn_Goethite-1445 tn_Goethite-1430 tn_Goethite-1428 tn_Goethite-1425 tn_Goethite-1410 tn_Goethite-1406 tn_Goethite-1390 tn_Goethite-1386

05-28-2013: Last Chance Adventure

I’ve been wanting to get out and chase for a while now.  Today was looking like the best day I could go out this week, but the action appeared to be heading into the Nebraska Panhandle and I just didn’t want to make that drive for what appeared to be a mediocre risk.  After pondering if I should go out or not, at about 2:30pm I decided to call it off for the day; unless by some lucky reason I could find a close to home cell.

About 3pm I looked at the obs and radar and noticed a small set of cells forming just east of Colorado Springs.  Storm motion would take these cells NE and I figured I could intercept them about Limon.  As they worked their way out on the plains the dew points and shear would get better, so I figured why not; if nothing else it would shake the rust off and ensure all the equipment is still working.  So I headed out with the destination between Limon and Last Chance on Hwy 71.

The storm was moving fairly slow and I was able to take some county roads and check out the storm pass slowly by from a nice vantage point on the ridge that Hwy 71 follows.  The wind farm was directly to my SE.  I ended up moving about a mile south of Last Chance to catch up to the storm for dusk lightning shots.  The storm was fizzling out so I left it about 9:15.  About 250 miles, nearly 8 hours.  Not bad for the first chase of 2013!


Adventures at Topaz Mountain Gem Mine, May 2013

One of my topaz from today's digs...

It’s always a fun adventure to visit the Dorris Family’s Topaz Mine here in Colorado. They allow the public to come by and dig several times per year as well as most of the Rockhounding clubs as well. Due to the late snow this spring this was the first dig, May 25th, 2013. I rounded up a group of adults and kids and we made the bright and early trek to the mine.

Joe and Krystle were telling us that they are working their way uphill a bit on their claim and that the stones are not as frequent as they have been in the past. I have been visiting for several years and I concur, although it seems (just an unscientific observation) that the stones that are being found are getting a bit larger. Perhaps that is not the case…

Anyway, we started digging on some fresh piles that were pretty wet and within about an hour I found my first topaz. It was completely covered in mud; usually they pop out and look gemmy/glassy and are very easy to spot; but this morning due to the conditions was different–making it more difficult to go through as much dirt as in the past.

People digging at the mine

People digging at the mine

Meanwhile, they were also working a section of the mine with the heavy machinery.  Was cool to watch the big machines at work!


Big machines at work getting new piles to go through!
It is beautiful up here in the Rocky Mountains in spring time!  Here I am raking through my part of a pile…
Me raking for topaz
My friend Jim wanted to try out digging for Topaz and brought his daughter who is friends with my son.  My daughter Daphne also brought a friend that was in my Rockhounding enrichment class at the Larkspur Elementary school.  There were several other kids digging as well; unfortunately they didn’t find all that much topaz; again I think luck had some to do with it but also the amount of dirt one must go through as well.  They did have a blast though!
Jim and the kids attacking their pile of dirt

We ended up getting our days fill about 2:00 and drove home, made a pit-stop and had had some orange cream soda and a beer at Bierwerks in Woodland Park, and headed home to sift through the bags of dirt.  Here is where the kids got to find and keep some wonderful stones….and they wondered why they had to dig all day when it was this easy!!!

Sifting through our bags of dirt; the kids did quite well!

Sifting through our bags of dirt; the kids did quite well!

All in all, another wonderful day at the Topaz Mountain Gem Mine!  I should have at least one more trip, probably more, back there this summer.  Looking very much forward to it!


Here are what my kids found at the mine (the larger one is one of the many found in the bags of dirt!).  Makes me think of some of the lamer parts of the Prospectors show on Weather Channel… guns and gems…

My kids findings...gems and brass

My kids findings...gems and brass


My findings from digging all day…

My findings from today!

Nice smokey quartz; double-terminated; a cutter!

Nice smokey quartz; double-terminated; a cutter!

The best cutter stone I found at the Topaz Mountain Gem Mine

The best cutter stone I found

Cute blue faceted gem!  Small but beautiful!

Cute blue faceted gem! Small but beautiful!

Finally, the best for last.  One of the first time diggers there pulled this beast from the ground.  It was absolutely spectacular.  Joe stated that this stone was one of the best (upper 1%) stones he has pulled out of the claim; and is likely one of the best ever found in Colorado.  Unfortunately the person that found it didn’t get to keep it (obviously!) as it was destined for the Dorris personal collection!  This stone was (I’m guessing) 600 carats and nearly flawless.  It didn’t hurt that it was Sherry and Blue bi-color!  Looking at this stone was mesmerizing, every angle had a different look and “feel” to it.  A special day to witness this being pulled from the ground next to us, and to view a stone of this caliber!

Absolutely gorgeous monster topaz found today!

Absolutely gorgeous bi-color monster topaz found today!

Bi-color Incredible Topaz found today

Bi-color Incredible Topaz found today

Monster Topaz - Showing the facets, perfectness, and sherry color

Monster Topaz - Showing the facets, perfectness, and sherry color

Thanks to Harold Alexander for some of the mine pictures, and thanks to Krystle Velasco/Joe Dorris for letting us take pictures of the mine’s wonderful mega-stone!

Cinco de Mayo 2013: A New Hope

Today was a great day and my second outing for the year, this time to the New Hope Amethyst lode claim as guests of the Canyon City rock club.  I was with the Lake George Gem and Mineral club , there were 5 or 6 clubs on this field trip.  Lots of eager Rockhounds wanting to get out find some amethyst quartz crystals!!  The day was slightly overcast which was perfect for a day of digging–bright but not too hot or sunny. I started the day doing some prospecting and walking around the claim and surrounding public lands.  I found some epidote in quartz/granite which was cool; but nothing else per se.  Richard, the field trip leader for the club, had given me a clue on where to find some calcite crystals so I went on a hunt for them.  I was able to find the area he mentioned; but obviously someone had been digging there already and I didn’t see the calcite crystals he mentioned.  The seam that had been dug out had some dried red clay and I figured I should see what that was about so I started digging in that carefully.  I ended up finding a small plate of small quartz points which was exciting (thanks to Carl Carnein for his help with identification).  Unfortunately the host rock was extremely brittle and even exercising great care it was hard to extract the plates without everything busting into tiny pieces.

Cute calcite cluster found in the maroon clay

Cute quartz cluster found in the maroon clay.  These will scratch glass.

I continued to dig into the clay and uncovered more small plates of quartz crystals, again they were very brittle but I was able to extract a couple 1.5 – 2″ pieces intact which was exciting!  Continuing into the pocket I the clay turned iridescent maroon colored and that is where I found a couple of really pretty plates, one, the back/side of the pocket was able to be extracted intact that was rather large, 4-5″ long.  Sweet! The below cluster was one of the intact small clusters which came from this area of the small pocket.

Calcite cluster without the coating of calcite

Quartz cluster that was pretty clean…

Awesome large cluster of calcite crystals intact!!

Awesome large cluster of quartz crystals intact!!

Once I got to the end of this small pocket I broke into a small but pretty smokey and amethyst quartz vein.  It quickly pinched out and I decided to see what everyone else was finding and relax for a little bit. Overall the calcite pocket was about 3-5″ high, 1-3″ wide and about 4″ deep at the largest points.

"Zipper" Vein of Smokey and Amethyst Quartz at the end of the Calcite pocket

“Zipper” Vein of Smokey and Amethyst Quartz at the end of the quartz pocket

Everyone was having luck about two feet deep digging an amethyst vein.  There was a lot of folks digging in a tight space so I decided to try and intercept the vein a little ways away from the crowd; 10 yards or so uphill.  I dug and dug in all directions but did not find the vein…it either made a significant turn, went further down than I was wanting to dig (which was 3+ feet!); or pinched out.  After a couple of hours I reclaimed my prospecting and just hung out and listened to everyone talk and enjoyed the stories and watching everyone find great little clusters.

Small amethyst, milky and smokey quartz clusters and points

Small amethyst, milky and smokey quartz clusters and points

I went through some of the tailings and found some cool little points, and after everyone was done they offered me a chance to dig in the excavated hole and I enjoyed about an hour of finding great small milky quartz covered plates before it was time to head home.  It was a wonderful day with great people; I’ve really enjoyed visiting this claim and appreciate the opportunity to do so!

Needs a little more scrubbing; beautiful amethyst quartz!

Needs a little more scrubbing; beautiful amethyst and smokey quartz!

Calcite crystals in close proximity to quartz vein

Quartz crystals in close proximity to quartz vein


Music News: Freq Modif Active

Been a while since my project Freq Modif has been active; but that sleeping beast awakes. Right now there is a Facebook page and a Soundcloud page. I have 25+ tracks ready to go online; I’m going to add them a few at a time–much like a glacier melts–so does the Freq Modif archive to create a constant stream…

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]


And the patch above was my dad’s; he was a Radarman in the Navy.  I love the patch and it hangs in the studio with all the electronics equipment!

Moog Modular Schematic Blueprints :: Obliq Museum

Moog 901-A Oscillator Controller

Moog 901-A Oscillator Controller, Drawing 1100, July 2, 1969

About 16 years ago I bought a PolyMoog Synthesizer from a Pawn Shop up in Brighton.  It was in good shape and came with the PolyPedal, but didn’t have the legs or power cord.  I found a computer power cord in the shop and asked the broker if I could give it a try.  At first he was reluctant, but then allowed me to try.  It acted as if it had a stuck key; I knew this could be a much bigger issue than just a key; so I talked to him and got a really good deal on it!

I bought the schematics and operations manuals online and took it apart and looked to see if it was something mechanical or “simple”…but I was unable to figure out the issue.  I figured I’d send it out to a tech sometime; but given its weight I wanted the tech to be close to home.  Meanwhile, I found a PolyMoog Road Kit on eBay and I won that auction.  This parts kit was essential for bands who were on the road with one of these beasts, so I was told.  This came from a former employee that worked in the Moog Trumansburg Factory.  He included with this auction lot several Moog schematic blueprints and an EMU modular catalog!!!  *BONUS* 🙂

Fast forward 15+ years… I found a great tech here locally just a few months back (Chris Rowland, offbeat electronics) — who I highly recommend, btw — who has put to good use that PolyMoog Road Kit.  I hope to get my Moog back in pristine working condition here shortly.  Meanwhile, I finally took some photos of these schematics that I have framed and hanging in my man-cave.  Click on them for a larger image; and some didn’t come out as clear as I wanted; if you want higher resolution let me know and I’ll work harder to get a better shot!

Here are some more schematics and a great article.

Here is the full list of schematics:

    • 901-A Oscillator Controller (July 2, 1969 #1000)
    • 901-C Output Stage (February 14, 1967 #1126)
    • 904-A Low Pass Filter (July 27, 1967 #1149)
    • 904-B High Pass Filter (December 1966 #1118)
    • 904-C Voltage Controlled Filter Coupler (July 14, 1967 #1148)
    • 905 Reverberation (July 26, 1966 #1104)
    • 910 Power Supply (March 8, 1965 #1058)
    • 911 Envelope Generator (August 14, 1968 #1220)
    • 911-A Dual Trigger Delay (July 13, 1967 #1146)
    • 912 Envelope Follower (March 10, 1967 #1130)
    • 914 Fixed Filter Bank (June 28, 1967 #1142)
    • 961 Controller
    • 1150 Ribbon Controller
    • Synthesizer 10 (December 30, 1969 #1374)
    • Console Panel 3 (February 27, 1968 #1170)

If you have any of these, or have images or links to others, please post in the comments; I would love to see more!  These look great framed and hanging on the walls!

Moog 904-A Low Pass Filter Schematic

Moog 904-A Low Pass Filter Schematic, Drawing 1149, July 25, 1967

Moog 904-B High Pass Filter Schematic

Moog 904-B High Pass Filter Schematic, Drawing 1118, December 1966

Moog 905 Reverberation Schematic

Moog 905 Reverberation Schematic, Drawing 1104, July 26, 1966

Moog 961 Controller Schematics

Moog 961 Interface Schematics

Moog Synthesizer 10 Schematics

Moog Synthesizer 10 Schematics, Drawing 1374, December 30, 1969