MFQ in June Part 2

Ray let me know that he was available to go rockhunting again on Saturday, the 29th, and he would do the driving this time he said. I made arrangements with my parents to leave Missy with them for the day, and we couldn`t have picked a better day weather wise…we nearly burned up the Sunday before and the forecast highs for this weekend were in the upper seventies…turned out to be a breezy day as well, much more comfortable to go rockhunting in at a place with little shade. Once again, we headed out mid morning and arrived late morning, and found some work going on in another section of the quarry. We drove over to the right side and checked out the older walls first, finding some pockets of dolomite druse and Ray found a pocket with some gorgeous white as snow, druse quartz soda straws…I have never seen anything like them that far south in Missouri, so that was quite a find by itself !!

After about fifteen minutes of poking around there, we drove on over to the blast area and started nosing around where we left off the week before.  There was a trackhoe sitting there with a hydraulic jackhammer attached to it, it was obvious they had been busting up the big boulders in the past few days, down to basketball and small beach ball size. We crossed over them to get to the chunk of rock again….

01 Gorgeous Day Arrival


…and we started in digging in pretty much the same area as we left off last Sunday….

02 Chunk of Rock As Last Seen.

…and we pretty much started finding pockets of crystals once again, in the same areas as the week before, too. Ray began following a trail of crystals up high and discovered a pocket of them, while I followed a pocket of druse that led to even more crystals. I was working on the left side of the major crevice in the middle, and he was working on the right side….

03 Began Finding Pockets Again


…and as you can see in the next photo, it was an absolutely beautiful day, there was a nice cool breeze blowing all day long, and the temps were seasonably perfect….

04 Looking West


As I was nearing the bottom of the first few pockets I found, we pulled a large chunk of rock out of the way and it turned out to be covered with crystals including a nice pocket containing a dogtooth or two on one corner, here seen on the tailgate of Ray`s truck…..

05 Solid Chunk of Crystals


After removing a few more boulders in key places, Ray found yet another pocket of crystals, mostly in clusters and removed what he could. We were still dealing with some loose rocks above us, so we were trying to remove them as safely as possible, knocking a few out whenever possible to make things safer. 

06 Ray Working Right Side


We finally took a break and as I was returning from getting a good drink of cold water, I noticed Ray checking out the right side of the pile, where it sloped up next to the wall. I walked over and we started making our way up and checking for pockets along the way, in the wall, finding a few small pockets but nothing major. Once I reached nearly the top, I looked over to the chunk of rock we had been working on, but way up higher, and saw a small shelf of dark gray crystals sticking out. I made my way over and was able to pull a few out…I noticed an area of crystals about five feet below me and suggested that Ray check it out, so he made his way over and no sooner sat down, than he started pulling out some beautiful deep brown dogtooth crystals, many of them with a sugary looking frosting all over them. Within minutes, he had opened up a HUGE cavernous pocket that was chock full of more of these beauties….

11 Huge Dogtooth Pocket

This next photo will show you how high up he was working this pocket on the sloped pile from where we had been on the floor below…..

08 Ray Working Huge Dogtooth Pocket

…about thirty feet up at a sixty degree angle, yet compared to the rest of the wall behind him, he doesn`t look that high up….and it was about this time that I noticed his big blue bunny ears…..

09 Ray Aka Bugs Bunny


…course they only looked that way from a distance….

10 Big Blue Bunny Ears


…and here is that beautiful HUGE pocket up closer that he was working on…. 

12 Huge Dogtooth Pocket


13 Huge Dogtooth Pocket


…and here he is working the pocket even more, as I am climbing back down the rocks and pile, carefully, with my camera in one hand and a crystal in the other….luckily there was a nice staircase near the bottom, complete with a ramp….

16 Ray Works Pocket


…and just before I reached the bottom, I looked up and he had pulled out yet another large crystal with a dogtooth coming up off it….

17 Ray Pulls Out Another Large Crystal

17A Ray Pulls Out Another Large Crystal


…and then he went back to working it yet some more….

18 Ray Works Up High

…and from the front, you can barely make him out….

19 Almost Hidden From View


…we took another break and got some more water, and discovered we now had shade…figured it must have been around 4 or 5 pm now…

20 Gaining Some Shade Now

…after the break, I decided to walk over to the other wall and see what I could find. I was getting tired but still had some energy left and wanted to find a pocket as nice as the one Ray had found up on the slope. As I walked along the edge of the short pile against the wall, I saw some crystal pieces that had rolled down from somewhere above. I looked up higher and saw that someone had been digging around a little bit so I moved up and dug into it as well, It appeared to go left as well as to the right, so I kept on digging and soon enough a small hole opened up going back toward the wall, As I explored it more, a deep pocket opened up and I was soon pulling out one small cluster after another, and then another pocket opened up below and above as well. Within 30 minutes, I had put enough crystals to the side to fill two bags full, and I kept on digging. I pulled a few out that had bright yellow dogtooth crystals on them as well, but most were just simply poker chips nestled in the pretty dolomite druse. After a bit, Ray decided to come over and see what all the excitement was about…he had been hearing me say ” holie cow ” several times…I took a break to go get some water and another bag with wrapping material, and he took over digging for me…

21 Ray Works My Pocket


….I started wrapping them up, and he brought me some wrapping paper and a roll of paper towels as well, as I had exhausted my supply of wrapping material with the prior pockets. Ray walked back over and began looking for more pockets…

23 Breaktime Over


…and working a pocket that I had worked on the right side earlier in the day….after knocking down more boulders….

24 Knocking Down More Boulders



.shortly after he did, I was trying to chip out two beautiful big clusters, and the inevitable happened…I mashed one of my fingers between the rock and the hammer. Luckily i was able to remove both of them still and then wrap up the remaining crystals and carry everything back to the truck, where I stuck my finger down into the ice cold water in my cooler…boy did that hurt even worse…for a few minutes only thankfully…fingernail was already turning blue tho….

25 Mashed My Finger


I also grabbed a couple of aleve and took them as well, and within twenty minutes, the pain was starting to subside…I walked over and checked on Ray. After returning to the huge chocolate dogtooth pocket one last time and pulling out a very large boulder with a few crystals attached to it, and cobbing it down, we decided to head for home. We were both happy with our finds from the afternoon and it appeared that rain was coming our way as well. On the way home, we spotted this beautiful double rainbow….

26 Double Rainbow on Way Home


…and then soon after we began seeing the sunlit clouds as the sun was setting….we were the only ones out on the roads, so when we came across this nice scene, Ray came to a stop in the road and I shot this sunset photo….

27 Sunlit Clouds Sunset

MFQ in June Part 1

Sorry folks, been doing a lot of rockhunting this month, starting with the first weekend at Marion, Kentucky at the annual Gem Show and Fluorite Dig at the Eureka Mine, and then stopping off at a new quarry on the way home from that…and the past two weekends I`ve been taking a new friend rockhunting to a couple of quarries in south central Missouri and found out that he shares the same enthusiasm for it as I do. I`m a bit sore today, after eight hours of extensive digging at MFQ yesterday, but it was well worth it, cause we opened up about ten huge pockets of chocolate brown dogtooth crystals, some of them were big crystals, some were a bright yellow dogtooth nestled into dolomite druse crystals, and several pockets of poker chip clusters, some of those were nestled into the druse as well. Ray even found a pocket of pure white druse quartz soda straws and was able to remove a few intact. I`ll start with last weekend`s trip first.

I talked to Ray about a week before Sunday the 23rd, and he let me know that he was off and available to go with me finally. He has a lot less free time with his job, than I do, and was finally able to get away for a day, so I jumped at the chance to take him and comped out on my short night to take him rockhunting. Despite the excessive heat forecast for the day, we headed south about mid morning and arrived late morning, and pulled into the middle of the blast pile remains. Ray immediately grabbed some tools and headed to the tall wall right in front of my truck and began looking for pockets….

02 Ray Looks For Pockets


01 Ray Checks Out Blast Wall

Soon after climbing up the short pile there, he found a pocket and began chipping out some crystals….

06 Ray Chips Into Pocket


I looked to the left and this is what was left of the blast pile looking west….

07 Left Side of Pile Nearly Cleared

08 Far Left Side of Pile


He wasn`t over there for long though, he wandered around a bit and then came over to check and see what I was finding in the solid chunk of blasted out rock on the west side of the pile. After getting my boots on, I had first walked over to the east side piles and found a few very large yard rocks that had crystals all over them, decided I would look at them again later if I needed to, and then walked to the west side pile and found some pockets of dolomite druse at the base of a large chunk of wall that appeared to have separated itself from the wall and fell down into the middle of the pile on blast off. Ray joined me there and we were soon finding pockets of chocolate colored dogtooth crystals with eroded poker chip formations around them and appeared to have been sprinkled with brown sugar as well.  I didn`t take my camera over close to that chunk of rock, because there was dust and small rocks raining down on us all afternoon, below you can see Ray putting some of his finds into a boxtop after wrapping them up about thirty feet away from the chunk of rock…

09 Ray Wraps Up His Crystals


I did zoom in however to show you some pockets we found at the base of that big boy….

10 Huge Pocket Found Here


Boy was it hot that day…guessing it was about 95 when we arrived and the humidity was something else as well…felt like a wet blanket wrapped around me much of the day…we took a lot of breaks and went through a lot of cold water, at times pouring it into our hats for a nice refreshing splash when we put our hats back on. I know my limits when it comes to heat exhaustion and warning, and let me tell you, we both hit our limits on the exhaustion part a few times that day and had to sit down a bit and take a breather. We were finding so many nice crystals and hated to, but had to…one of those priority things. I was glad I had brought enough water with me, we were wringing wet within fifteen minutes after our arrival. After one of our breaks mid afternoon, we decided to knock down some of the big boulders on the right side of that chunk to make things safer for collecting, here is Ray using one of my pry bars to knock some down on the right side…. 

12 Ray Makes It Safer


13 Much Safer Already


14 Knocking Down Loose Rocks


…til things finally looked much safer…..

15 Much Safer Now


….we worked on pulling a few more out and then left about an hour later, and headed to another quarry to check things out there…as we were heading there, we saw black storm clouds to the north. We arrived and hadn`t been there long when the wind suddenly picked up and turned much cooler very fast, we watched the storm clouds roll our way and then split off on either side of us. We stayed about an hour and found a few pockets, Ray located some nice druse plates, and then we headed for home. I had the following weekend off and told him to let me know his schedule then, and we would go again. Here are some of my finds all cleaned up from the quarries….

16 One Spectacular Find



16B One Spectacular Dogtooth Cluster



16C One Spectacular Dogtooth Cluster



16CL One Spectacular Dogtooth Cluster



16CL2 One Spectacular Dogtooth Cluster



18 Beautiful Dogtooth



18B Small Dogtooth Cluster


…and here is a mess of the clusters found too….


20 Cluster Counter


…the next photo shows a dogtooth exposed in the lower end of a crystal, coming out at the top end, nestled on a base of matrix and dolomite druse…

23 Double Dogtooth Cluster


…and more dogtooths….


24A Small Dogtooth Crystal



29A Druse with Dogtooth on Top



19A Cluster Brown and Gray Dogtooths



19C Cluster Brown and Gray Dogtooths



30 Large Druse and Chips



30A Large Druse and Chips



30B Large Druse and Chips



33 Palm Sized Cluster



35 Dark Grey Dogtooth & Druse



37 Black Dogtooth Crystal



41 Black Chips and Druse



42 Black Dogtooth Crystal




Spectacular Dogtooth Crystals and Clusters

I got bored the other day on my day off and decided to drive back down to the new spot and see what else could be found…Missy decided to tag along since it wasn`t extremely hot and we arrived about mid afternoon. In the next four hours, I discovered hundreds of spectacular dogtooth crystals and clusters in a few gooey wet clay pockets, which started going deep on me fast,  and as I dug down into the wet clay even deeper, I discovered some blue and brown colored ones underneath a bed of bright yellow and orange ones !!!  I was blown away…I wrapped them up double in the terry cloths I had and filled five bags completely full !!!  I was so happy with them that I headed home with an hour of daylight left. I started working on cleaning them up this afternoon, some of them are double terminated, and there are some twin dogtooth crystals in this batch as well, one of them was about six inches tall and had the brightest yellow center I have ever seen on a dogtooth……

10 A Very Large Bright Yellow Dogtooth

Here are the crystals and dogtooths I found, now all cleaned up….

15 Bright Large Yellow Cleaned Up


17 Dogtooth Attached to Druse


19 Dogtooth Cluster


20 Dogtooth Crystals


21 Dogtooth Twin


23 Unique Dogtooth Found


24 Unique Dogtooth Found


25 More Crystals


28 Middle Rear


29 Left Side


30 Right Side Front

if you have any questions or wanna say hi, give me a shout at





BE Clement Museum Gem Show and Dig Celebration 2013

Several of us had a good time in Marion, Kentucky this past weekend, despite a lot of rain and storms pelting the area Friday morning before our arrival as well as later into the night before finally ending late Saturday  morning, turning everything at the Eureka Mine into a gooey muddy mess.

I arrived at the museum around 2 pm on Friday afternoon and found Tina supervising a busy crew of helpers, that were assisting dealers and vendors at Fohs Hall in setting up their booths and preparing for the rock and mineral show on Saturday and Sunday. I transported some more grab bag material, and some druse/poker chip pieces for their silent auction as well and they helped me unload that too. Tina`s daughter, Jesse,  took me back to get a quick look at their new display room in the museum while there, a project that Tina and a few members have been working on since the first of the year and let me tell you, they have done a great job with the new display cases that were built by the Amish community handimen to the north of Marion, and they look great, they have each one holding specific crystals and minerals of a specific type/category, nothing is mixed up any longer. their cubed display glass cases were moved out away from the wall and their new maps were placed up on the back wall for easier viewing. this room is near the back, one before the black light room.

As I walked outside the museum with Tina, I ran into Lamon Flynn, who had traveled up for the gem show with his grandson and they were unloading their Kentucky agate to sell and a large display case that holds his agate keepers, to show off as well. We talked for a bit, he was asking about Ian from Colorado, and Peggy of the Twister Sisters and if she had survived the latest round of storms in the Midwest. I found out his grandson had just graduated high school and was preparing to attend college and become a police officer. 

After chitchatting with them a bit more, I headed to the hotel at Kuttawa and got settled in there, and then had a great supper at the Oasis Steakhouse next door. I heard from my mom, who told me about the bad storms that struck the Oklahoma City area once again, we have family members there, and then the St Louis area later in the day, at least three tornadoes. I then watched the local weathercasters, who were calling for the storms to move southeast and hit the Marion area around 3 to 5 am, with rain then forecast to fall much of the morning. I wasn`t sure how bad it would get the next day, so I retired early to get as much rest as possible. 

I woke up about 6 am and discovered the rain pouring down outside my room, not sure if you can see it in this photo, but it was coming down in sheets, I could only hope it would clear off by noon as the forecasters were calling for…

01 Rain Pouring Down Sat 6 AM


…and after grabbing some donuts at Miss Neta`s Donut Shop in Eddyville, I headed to the Eureka Mine…..and arrived about 7:30 am to begin pumping down the pit.  I had contacted and offered to help Bill Frazer  and free him up from his many other tasks for this weekend, and he accepted my offer. I pulled up to park near the mine and found  a muddy mess all over the place….

02 What a Muddy Mess


03 Tailing Piles Turned Over

 Apparently between Friday morning and Saturday morning, the pit area received about five inches of rainfall, so when I arrived, there was an additional two to three feet of water in the pit more than normal, and as a result, it was almost noon before I was able to pump the pit completely down to where diggers could even access and dig in the pit. For the first three hours of pumping, I wasn`t even sure the water level had dropped at all.

04 Pit Full of Extra Water

 By 10 am, diggers started showing up…Mary from Ohio, was the first to arrive and soon after, several more showed up.

05 Diggers Sat Morning


By noon there were approximately 35 diggers at the Eureka and while many stayed on top and worked through the three tailing piles, a few ventured down into the pit. I can safely say, it was the sloppiest gooey muddy mix I have ever seen there, every step on top was about ten inches down in the wet sloppy mud and down in the pit, you were lucky if you didnt lose your boots or shoes…even those with the pull on galoshes were experiencing problems keeping them on.

07 Hunting Thru the Piles


Around 11 am, a carload of geology students from the University of Illinois at Champaign showed up and began digging.

06 Navigating the Mud


A few of them were brave, daring to move around the muddy mess barefoot…..

08 Braver Than Most


09 Barefoot In the Mud


They were walking up to take a look at what Robin had found in the tailing pile back behind them, what was left of the huge pile on the north side of the pit last year, and had been turned over a week before the show and dig. Robin had found some  nice cubes and showed them what they should be looking for in the mud….

10 Robin Shows Off Finds So Far


…and Robin had found some nice ones by the time the geology students arrived, one of them a nice small set of cubes seen here close up in his crate….

11 Robin`s Finds


…including that green bottle that I found in the mud that morning at the top of the pit…I hollered out, ” who collects bottles ” and he answered ” I do ” and got the bottle. I have discovered people collect different things these days in addition to rocks….

11 Robin`s Finds Close Up


Diggers were looking through the tailing piles on both sides of the pit, this guy checking out the pile on the south side of the pit…

13 Looking Thru Tailing Pile


and you will notice he has his rain gear on, as many of us did, until around noon or a little after, when the sun came out finally…some went without rain gear deciding a little wet wasnt gonna hurt them at all since they were gonna get muddy anyway…..

15 Little Girl Blue

…and the mud created hazards on its own, making balance very important…

14 Balancing Act


….and getting back to looking for fluorite everywhere…this next guy John, one of the Maryland crew, I found him down in the muddy water pit about an hour later, looking for crystals…I think he figured it was worth a shot since it was near the backfilled area…

16 John from Maryland


…and here are a couple more of the Maryland crewmembers, washing off crystals in the outflow from the pump….

17 Maryland Crew


…but no matter what, people still showed up and continued to dig all day out there, in all age groups too….

18 Digging All Over Pile


19 Digging All Over Pile


20 Look What I Found Mom


21 Another Maryland Digger


22 Ohio Steve Clearing Out


…..above is Ohio Steve clearing out after searching all morning down by the creek bank, he actually found a rockhammer down there buried in the mud…..and below is my buddy Steve from Memphis, walking around looking for treasures on the north side of the pit….

23 Steve Looks for Treasure


…and more afternoon diggers shown and raingear set off to the side as the sun was now out and it was humid as well….

24 Afternoon Diggers

One of the geology students, Cody, stood out when he showed up completely prepared for any type of weather in waders, and by the time he left for the day about six hours later, he was muddy from the front toes of his boots to the very top of the waders, looked like he had gotten down into the pit and rolled in it, but I can tell you Cody was one happy digger by then, having a few large yard rocks and some smaller cubed clusters as well for his muddy adventures. He was also happy because some rockhounds from Maryland….yes I said Maryland… had given him some instruction and assistance in hard rock mining as he was trying to tackle a pocket he found in the saddle in the middle of the pit. After learning how to hard rock mine some cubes, he was quite happy just to have learned the method, even though he really didnt extricate any cubes from the pocket. He was working over on the south side of the pit when Robin and Sandy joined me on the north side to take a closer look at the old tunnel entrance…..

29 Old Tunnel Entrance

….we tried digging it out to see if there was anything worthwhile in the mix, but didnt find a thing in it. After I explained the saddle to Cody, he moved to it to try and work the pockets, we then moved over to the south side where I  began moving mud away from the base and digging down to the bench level and pulling out some small clusters of fluorite cubes. After a bit Tammy Bromley and her sister joined me on that side, staying up on top and sifting thru the tailing piles, after looking around on the north side all morning. Steven and April Gibbs arrived around 1 pm and stayed up on top working the spoil piles as well. 

As I stated, there was an entire group that traveled down from the state of Maryland for the dig at the Eureka Mine, a club outing for them and after talking to them a bit, discovered that they do this quite a bit, and are planning now for an upcoming trip out to Utah to look for geodes red beryl,  and agate. They had made the drive down here straight thru, and it required around fifteen hours. They stayed the entire day with us at the Eureka and around 4:30 pm, Bill Frazer came down the road to warn us of a dark storm cloud approaching from the northwest…we could see it coming down the valley but couldnt tell much about it due to the restriction of the trees blocking our narrow view of it, but as it neared our location, it suddenly changed direction and headed in a more easterly direction toward the highway from the pit. By that time though, all of us had bailed from the pit and decided we were tired and muddy enough to retire early for the day. The Maryland crew decided to stick around and take advantage of the waterfall under the bridge to clean up at before heading out, while the rest of us headed back to the hotel to clean up and go to the steakhouse. As I got to the intersection of Hwy 60, I could see the cloud that concerned everyone and saw that it was a roll cloud, a very long reaching roll cloud, several miles long and neat looking as well. They can be quite scary looking when accompanied by dark colored clouds. After a brief stop at the museum to talk to Tina, I headed to the hotel and stopped briefly near Fredonia to photograph the pretty horses that are always in the field next to the highway……

25 Pretty Horses Sat PM Sunlight


26 Pretty Horses Sat PM Sunlight


27 Pretty Horses Sat PM Sunlight


28 Pretty Horses Sat PM Sunlight

…and then I headed on south to the hotel to get cleaned up and then meet Steve, April, and her mom at the Oasis for a great meal and catch up on old times. They are great rockhunting friends from Memphis and I hadn`t seen them for about a year, so we caught up on events in the past year through supper. They are creating jewelry with their treasures these days so they were going to the show on Sunday morning. I had brought them some agates and other gems as well. 

Sunday morning dawned early for me, it didnt seem like I had gotten enough rest and I had a long day in front of me. I arrived at the mine about 7 am this time and started the pump, the water level back down to its normal level this time and so it only took about 90 minutes to pump it down. I stopped after about an hour though and diverted the flow to the water hose and washed off the bench in case there would be any hard rock miners this time. Even though there were no hard rock miners there in the morning, there might have been some later on. Tammy and her sister were the first ones to arrive after Mike the host,  and I put them down in the corner pocket I had been working the day before….

31 Corner I Worked Sat PM

….and after helping them for a while, I took off for home, stopping off at the museum to give BJ the gate key and then walked over to the gem show to visit a bit. I bought a few pieces of agate from Mr. Flynn and he invited me back to hunt with him anytime in the Irvine area and I told him I would def do that. As he said, springtime is better as far as less leaves covering the ground, but early fall has its advantages as well, as the deep creek holes are usually drier by then too. These days with the recession still making things difficult for many people, there are many more folks out hunting for it and selling it on the side, so you have to be careful as some of them are a bit on the shady side.

 I soon headed home from there, taking Hwy 60 to Paducah due to the restricted roadway and construction stupidity on I-24 from Eddyville to Paducah. I stopped in Paducah to fill my gas tank, gas there 3.37 a gallon and then headed west on Hwy 62 and 286 to Wickliffe, crossing first the Ohio River and then the Mississippi River on the twin steel structure bridges near Cairo…..

33 Mississippi River Bridge

….as I entered Charleston, Missouri, I encountered the lowest priced gas pumps seen so far on the trip, at the truck stop there, 3.25 a gallon and kinda wished then, that I had filled up there instead. Oh well…

On my way home, I made a pit stop at a great location that a buddy of mine told me about in south central Missouri, and filled my entire truck up with beautiful clusters and single crystals of calcite and druse, some that were several inches in diameter and length, and in many colors including some pinks and greens.  I had several huge clusters in the front passenger seat and the entire back seat filled up, as well as the bed of my truck…I had to leave several behind because I simply had no more room to put them. I found some gorgeous orange dogtooth crystals there as well, and carefully wrapped them up and placed in several of my blue bags.

Hopefully they will still be there in a couple of weeks when I return with a rockhunting friend from the St Louis area. I was very tired when I finally got home about 11 pm Sunday night, but also very happy. It looks like my next few days off will involve alot of crystal cleaning and catching up on my blog site as well, as I now have about a dozen bags of wrapped crystals to clean up. As soon as I get them cleaned up and some photos taken, I`ll post them then. 

if you have any questions or wanna say hi, give me a shout at