I love the monsoon season, because 30% chance of thunderstorms means there will be one within 30 minutes of where I live; it is the way living atop the Palmer Divide usually works! I drove about 10 minutes south of home and was able to capture these tonight. Not as close as yesterday’s lightning by any means, but still pretty cool. Again, cell phone and daytime pictures so quality is appropriate, daytime lightning is much harder to photograph, especially getting the stepped leaders! What will tomorrow bring?
Did some digging today on the Rampart Range area on the Northeast side of the Pikes Peak Batholith. This location is known for mainly Smoky Quartz but also sometimes Amazonite and Topaz crystals. I started off prospecting a new area and did not find much so I wandered off to an old pegmatite I have worked in the past and went further into the zone I had found some crystals in previous years. I was lucky today and found many smokey quartz including a couple of small plates, and some weak colored and shaped Amazonite.
I originally came upon this area as I saw some loose pegmatite upon the ground that was somewhat graphic. Graphic granite is where the crystallization gets more pronounced and starts to get shapes and facets on one or many sides. I was pulling large (50+ pounds) chunks of pegmatite out of the ground and then I came upon a zone that was much smaller chunks of rock. After pulling out a couple of pieces smoky quartz started to fall out and then I saw a ceiling plate with a crystal intact. This plate was about 20 pounds so I left it; but I did bring home two plates intact and was able to find 5 crystals that fit back into place…which was worth the haul of these very heavy rocks to the car.
I plan to hit this site one more time as I want to ensure the pocket pinched out, which it appeared to do; but the previous seam of crystals I found along this pegmatite did the same thing, so it obviously opened up a couple times.
Part of the top plate of the small pocket. This crystal had fallen off but I was able to repair it.
Another view of the top plate in the main part of the pocket!
This was along the bottom of the pocket
These two were repaired back together
I love the point on this one.
This crystal is mostly gemmy inside.
Kinda odd facets, but awesome crystal.
Nice large crystal.
Love this point!
Some of the repaired and larger crystals; many or gemmy
These are mostly gemmy
Smaller but gemmy crystals!
Part of the larger bottom plate near the center of the pocket.
Some light colored Amazonite crystals.
These will require a long soaking; but I kinda like them as is…
Had an open Sunday so I decided to venture up to Devil’s Head Colorado to prospect in a new area that has much less digging than the typical Virgin’s Bath area. From my neighborhood, I could tell there was snow up on Devil’s Head and the Rampart Range but I decided to give it a try anyway. Worst case, I figured, I could hit an old site or even prospect some of the old mines that are on the map that I haven’t searched before.
Upon driving up the snow was covering the ground in the trees but the flatter, more open areas appeared to be snow free. I decided there was enough snow-free area to make it worth a prospecting hike. I headed a couple miles off of the road and started to see some good signs; but alas there was digging in the area where all looked good. All the digging was very old; but still it seems that there is no virgin ground around! I ended up finding a nice white quartz point in that area but decided to continue further off the beaten path.
A little after noon I found a snow-free spot that had some quartz shards that weren’t very crystallized but pretty clear; and some pegmatite so I started to dig. I ended up pulling an okay crystal of good size out (about 2.5″) and then a great looking microcline crystal; so I figured there could be some finds. I pulled out the camera and shot some video of the crystals I dug out. Check it out!
The sun started to get low on the horizon and behind the clouds and with the wind the nearly 40 degrees started to fall quickly; and the clouds were encroaching while flurries started. Given the car was about 2 miles uphill (much of it very steep) I decided to bury the hole and head out. Nearly an hour later I was heading out in a cloud/fog looming over Devil’s Head. All in all, a wonderful Sunday adventure, perhaps the last one of the season for this locale!
Bigger crystals than usual, the largest is about five inches!
Fun crystal seam at Devil's Head
Thanks to James for identifying the microcline (smaller of the two below) crystal as a Carlsbad Twin due to the 180 degree reversed twin!
3" Twinned Microcline, 4" Quartz and LARGE Microcline