Batesville Quarry

I decided to drive down and check out the quarry at Batesville with the Memphis Club MAGS on March 16th…my good friends Matthew & Carolyn Lybanon in the club, had told me about this quarry last year when they first went there and sent me photos of it as well, said there were pockets of fluorite cubes sometimes found there as well as some huge calcite dogtooth crystals…more calcites than fluorites naturally, but still nice stuff. My buddy David Hodge, the Field Trip Director for CAGMAGS, which is a sister club to MAGS and based in central Arkansas near Little Rock, had some nice samples of Phantom Calcites and Dogtooth Calcites found at this quarry, when he came to dig with my group at Tony and Shane`s new Jessieville Mine in November. David set up a dig there for my his club on March 30th, two weeks later, and invited my group to join up with his club there that day. I looked up the location on the map and decided I would simply get up early in the morning and hit the road by 4:30 and arrive four hours later. Onyx and I were on the road by 4:15 am Saturday morning, March 16th, and drove down Hwy 63 out of Rolla, then took Hwy 289, from Mammoth Springs that saved us about 20 minutes as it dropped straight south from there and skirted around a short mountain range that took us down the valleys instead. We passed by a little fishing resort called Southfork Resort on the South Fork of the Spring River that looked really nice and pretty, then came out on Hwy 412 just west of Ash Flat, where we continued south on Hwy 167 to Batesville, arriving about 8:15 am. We were the first to arrive so I parked up by the office, entered and talked to a nice employee there about what they find there…he showed me six beach ball sized massive calcites they had pulled out of the pocket they were going to take us to dig at. I met the owner of the quarry a few minutes later, and gave him a poker chip calcite crystal to show him the difference in calcite forms, four hours distance apart. He and his employee were impressed with the poker chips…so I told them I would bring them some more when I returned in two weeks for the other group dig there. Kim Hill, the Field Trip Director for MAGS, and the rest of the MAGS crew showed up in the next 30 minutes….

….and then Bill Pryor, the Arkansas State Geologist, who was to be our Guide for the Dig, showed up as well.  Bill and the owner gave us a short history talk on the quarry and then we drove up to the leading edge of the quarry pit, which presents one with a commanding view of the pit and walls….

…that area in the very bottom center, where the two pieces of yellow colored machinery were sitting, is where we would be for the next three or four hours….the next photo shows the left side of the quarry where the road begins the descent into the quarry pit, several stories below…

…and this next photo shows another view of the pit below….from a different angle…

We gathered up on the other side of the parking area of the scenic view, for a safety talk…

…and I snapped a photo of Kim resting on the hood of her truck….

…she is a good gal, heavily involved in pet rescue in the Memphis area big time, too. 🙂  Bill and the Owner told us that if we struck out digging calcites, down below, his employees had brought up a truckload of calcites from that pocket and spread them out at our feet and we were welcome to return there afterward and take what we liked, home with us. Plus he had them put some up near the crusher on top of some huge boulders as well. Nice guy. 🙂

We got back into our vehicles and descended into the quarry pit, following the Owner with Bill bringing up the rear in case anyone got lost on the way down….

…if you look closely above the second vehicle you can see a waterfall that started flowing out of the rock above and was flowing pretty heavily while we were there….once we reached the bottom and parked, Bill pointed out the tan colored dirt where the calcite pocket was embedded, so we all walked over there and began picking up crystals almost immediately, that were laying all over the place…before finding a place to dig into the hillside to locate pockets of them….

…that`s Mike Baldwin, the Website Editor for MAGS, pulling his wagon over to the pocket to pull his finds back to his vehicle later….

…look at the top of the photo above and you will see Kim Hill in the brown shirt and hot pink helmet leaning over to the right, working the pocket that I found and allowed her to take over a couple of hours after we arrived and started digging up there. Anne Pinkerton is next to her, then my buddy David Hodge and then Charles Hill, Past President of MAGS, is on the other side of David…

….we did very well up there at the top as there was an extensive sized pocket up there just full of them, waiting to be pulled from their spots in the ooey gooey clay mud. 🙂  We dug up there for at least 3 hours, maybe 3 and a half hours, then Bill decided we should go back up near the top levels and see if we could find any fluorites or trilobite fossils…believe me when I say, many of us did not want to be uprooted from that prime collecting area, but I am equally sure that there were some that did want to go up there and see what could be found up there, too. Here below you see Kim making her way carefully down the boulder field below the pocket, and I mean, you definitely had to be careful with each step of your feet, everything up there was covered in that clay mud so things were a little slick…the quarry personnel had graciously drained the water pond that we had to cross to get to the pocket, but everyone had to exercise caution on every step across there…Mike was nice enough to have his wagon handy and available for anyone to use as well…Charles Hill had some nice big crystal finds and gladly took advantage of Mike`s offer of assistance….

…while David went back to assist Kim with getting her bucket of crystals down that hill safely. Bill was stationed over on the road, trying to get us to move a little quicker out of there with our finds, like a traffic cop….

David was in front of me as we drove up the hill past that waterfall again, so I snapped another photo of it with sunlight on it this time….

Only a few people found any fluorite cubes up above, one in a huge boulder that he tried to cob down to a reasonable size, never did find out if he was able to do that tho…and a young lady walking along the level road up there, found a nice chunk of matrix with a beautiful spray of small purple cubes all over one end of it…right next to Bill Pryor`s suv, too !!  🙂

I`m still cleaning my finds from this trip and the one two weeks later at the end of March, but here are the photos of the calcites David brought to Arkansas to show us what could be found there, and as soon as I get more of mine cleaned up, I will post them here and the next story too…..