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!


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!





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. 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.


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!


  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!


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

Pyrite concretion

Pyrite concretion I finally took the time to clean up!

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!