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!

Cherokee Oklahoma Selenite – Spring 2012

We’ve been wanting to do this trip for a while; so we decided to embark on a long 3-day weekend trip with my dad and my kids to go Selenite digging in the Great Salt Plains in North-central Oklahoma.  I did some calling around and because of the oil boom and the Wynoka Rattlesnake Festival no hotels were available except in Enid; so we opted for a place in neighboring Anthony Kansas–the Anthony Motel & Cafe.

The Cafe was closed and I think we were the only non-oil industry guests at the motel; but it was nice enough…we got the Harley room so who could ask for more? Got there Friday evening and hung out in the room and went to bed early.  Drove south to Cherokee OK on Saturday morning and headed out to the Salt Plains.  Being a storm chaser as well; I was amazed that we were in the center of the high risk area; so we kept our eye open for building storms all day…

The wind was brutal; about a 30-40 mile southerly wind all day that picked up about 3:00pm…so we decided we had enough digging and decided to leave.  Of course, like everyone else, we lost several things that blew out of the back of the truck and we couldn’t catch them it was blowing so hard!

We dug all day and found that the Selenites were a couple of inches below the ground.  Hunter discovered that if you dug near the standing water you’d find crystals right away.  They said to dig a hole in the sand, let it fill with water (we are at the water table) and then use a bucket or can to wash the sand from the walls.  This did work and crystals did fall into the murky, sandy water; but we discovered that the Crystals exist right at the interface between the sand and clay usually; so we ended up just digging horizontal about 3″ below that interface and then pulling out the crystals on the top of the sand rather than in the water…seemed quicker and easier.  You can either set out the crystals in the wind to dry; or just toss them in a bucket…we did both.

There appeared to be several types of crystals.  Those that formed in the sand, we called them “Sandy”.  Those that formed in the clay that were larger and brownish.  Those that formed in clay that were bow-ties of sand in clear crystals, we called them “bow ties”.  Those that formed in both sand and clay; we called them “changlings”.

Note that digging this way you have to be careful with your shovel as it is easy to break or bend it…we bent one of ours and another person there broke their metal shovel.  The clay is stiff and heavy; so go easy.  Daphne discovered the “motherload” of the day which put us into the great clusters and bow-tie crystals…of course this was just before we wanted to leave so we ended up staying an extra hour…but it was worth it.

Storm Prediction Center issues a high risk; we were in the center of it!

Storm Prediction Center issues a high risk; we were in the center of it!

We went home and saw the storms forming on radar…the ones that looked to impact our location of Anthony were at the time near Woodward, OK; which is where several folks died.  The storm directly impacted Cherokee where we were all day (note that when we drove through every carwash and other bay was taken by cars already).  I decided not to chase the storms given I was with the family and in Erin’s truck (hail damage was not an option; plus some of the side dirt roads would not be good in her car) so we decided to hang out in Anthony.  About dark; the storm came through and we took refuge in the local funeral home basement; which was the normal storm shelter after the sirens started blaring!  The kids got a good experience of what it is like to be a citizen in tornado prone areas (they’ve been on several chases with me prior…so they know that side too; which isn’t as scary).  The twister went about 4 miles SE of town on its way to Wichita.

On the way home Daphne wanted to see “tornado damage” so I chose a route to put us through where I read there were touch-downs.  We saw some damage near Hudson which was relatively minor; albeit still scary!

Overall a great trip, some amazing crystals and chased by a storm on a high risk day in the heart of tornado alley! Great fun!

Rural small town propaganda.  Obama Care wasn't popular with this guy and his junk

Rural small town propaganda. Obama Care wasn’t popular with this guy and his junk

Rural propaganda

Rural propaganda

Our hotel in Anthony Kansas, the "Harley Room"

Our hotel in Anthony Kansas, the “Harley Room”

Just south of Cherokee, Oklahoma

Just south of Cherokee, Oklahoma

Entrance to the state park

Entrance to the state park

Driving into the salt flats; used to be trees and winter wheat everywhere...

Driving into the salt flats; used to be trees and winter wheat everywhere…

Just in case you dig up some old military heirlooms

Just in case you dig up some old military heirlooms

Tornadic storm after the core passed just south and east of Anthony.

Tornadic storm after the core passed just south and east of Anthony.

Tornado thrown sheet metal into a power line

Tornado thrown sheet metal into a power line

Some of the nicer clusters of bowtie selenite

Some of the nicer clusters of bowtie selenite

More clusters of selenite

More clusters of selenite

Nice bowtie selenites

Nice bowtie selenites

Cool cluster of selenite

Cool cluster of selenite

We brought home two classifiers filled with crystals!

We brought home two classifiers filled with crystals!

Some of the nice selenite finds

Some of the nice selenite finds

Interesting selenite crystals, not the normal "bowtie" blades

Interesting selenite crystals, not the normal “bowtie” blades

Cool clusters of selenite

Cool clusters of selenite

Some of the larger bowtie selenite crystals

Some of the larger bowtie selenite crystals