WC emailed me earlier this year while putting together the Missouri trip in April for druse quartz and Eminence, to tell me that the club was going to one of the gray limestone quarries in Black Rock, Arkansas, scheduled tentatively for the end of May. I had been fortunate to go to the one there four years ago and found some beautiful pink dolomite crystals, one large piece in a C shape with a gorgeous hexagonal shaped calcite crystal embedded in the center of it….
WC kept everyone updated and the date was set for May 31st. After checking on the forecast for that Saturday, hot and sunny, temps in the high eighties, I decided to leave Missy with my parents…she cannot handle the heat well due to that black rain slicker she wears all the time…and Mom takes her on several walks a day in their subdivision, so I knew she would like that alot better. I opted to get up early that morning, 3 am, and drive down to Black Rock on Hwy 63…the first two hours was a breeze down through south central Missouri, no traffic to speak of til I reached the West Plains area, and even then, it was pretty minimal at that time of the morning. If I had any complaints at all about that drive, it would only be regarding the nice bypass around West Plains…the speed limit on that bypass is set at 45 mph and there are several stoplights through there with very few homes or businesses in that stretch…seems like an oxymoron to have a nice bypass through there and then you can`t drive a decent speed through there as well.
I had only one problem on the entire drive down, a few miles south of West Plains, I crested a hill and found a dead deer stretched completely out across my lane of traffic, and since it was right over the hillcrest, I had no reaction time at all, so I braced myself with the steering wheel, expecting to feel it as I passed over it…my truck only has so much clearance…and to my surprise, didn`t feel a thing…but I did call 911 to report it to the highway patrol as a traffic hazard as I continued southbound.
I arrived at the rest area just north of Black Rock about 7 am, thirty minutes ahead of everyone else, meeting time was 7:30 am. I met Paul Sides, the President of MAGS, when he pulled in behind me a few minutes later and we talked for a bit before everyone else started showing up. We then handed over our signed liability waivers to WC and proceeded up the road to the Vulcan Quarry, where we met with Jeff, one of the foremen there, for a brief safety talk….
We were all wearing hard hats, steel toed shoes/boots, and had our safety glasses with us…and from there, Jeff lead us down into the quarry to the first blasting spot…
….personnel there had prepared for our visit by blasting down a huge wall of rock and there was quite a bit of pink dolomite within that wall on the east side as well as some on the west side….it was quite a beautiful day, cloudy blue skies which started off warm but cooled within an hour of our arrival, appearing as if it might rain, but never did, we just had the cooling breezes instead. Soon after parking at the initial spot, everyone was climbing around and looking for pink dolomite…
We had driven down to the first level of the quarry….
….and it looked a bit different from when we were there four years ago, as it looked in the next two photos….
It was apparent that there were a lot of changes since we had been there four years prior, the landscape among the main changes. When there last, we were able to drive down to the bottom floor of the quarry…..
….but this time found it flooded….four feet deep green water all the way across…Jeff said he was pumping water daily trying to stay ahead of it. Comparing the four years ago photos to the photos of the quarry today, it was easy to see how much blasting had been done and how far back the walls had been worked.
There was a lot of pink dolomite in the first blast section, I don`t think anyone left there unhappy with their finds….
After taking a short break after finding some pretty pink dolomite plates with some calcite and hematite balls attached, I spotted my buddy Steven Gibbs, searching for some bigger boulders of dolomite down on the west side of the blast pile…
…while his wife, April, was taking a break on the tailgate….
…over on the east side of the blast pile, several folks seemed to be concentrating on a certain section of rock where a lot of pink dolomite was being found….
…while Jeff and Bentley can be seen near the top of the pile looking for pretty dolomite….
…I caught Bentley climbing down the pile in his colorful fireman`s steel toed boots a few minutes later….
After about 90 minutes at this first location, we loaded up and drove a short distance down the slope to the next blast location…..
…..which was quite a bit smaller and after a short search, none of us could locating anything good at all, most decided to return to the first blast pile and search even more extensively there. In the short time we were down on the second level, however, Steven and April and I had walked down the road to check the rocks on both sides of the road, and April spotted a beach ball sized boulder with a neat impression of a seashell in it…
….the impression lined with quartz crystals, no less !!
As the rest of the group was loading up to return to the first location, we asked and Jeff gave permission for us to stay and see about cobbing it down and loading it up in Steven`s truck. April def wanted to take it back home. Steven got his sledge hammer out as WC and Cornelia came over to check it out as well, and Steven tried to cobb it down with his hammer…
…but the boulder merely laughed at all of Steven`s efforts to cobb it down and he wound up picking it up and loading the whole thing into his pickup instead. Jeff told us that he had never seen anything like that at the quarry while he has been there. After picking up a few more small plates of pink dolomite, some with some calcite crystals attached, I decided to head for home, via the Eminence Quarry and Falling Spring Mill. I bid everyone good bye and headed out shortly after, pausing at the top of the hill to take these photos of the remaining group collecting at the first blast location…..
Sure had a good time, was a beautiful morning and nice trip and weather, enjoyed seeing several friends there.