​A Review of the Club's Field Trips for 2009

March - Thackaringa - Garnet Diggings

Garnets from White's Tank

Garnets and Staurolite in Black Mica

This month we went out to the Thackaringa Hills and searched both sides of the Barrier Highway to find good collecting sites for garnets and staurolites. South of the highway near the old sillimanite quarry is an outcrop of black mica schist with well formed garnet crystals and staurolite crystals. While this outcrop had been well picked over in the past, there was still plenty of material lying around to fill our bags. Andrea Schultzer gets the pack horse award for the shear quantity of rock carried back to the car (most of which will probably end up decorating the garden). The garnets here, although small form very nice little clusters, while the staurolites range in size from 1-4 cm in length and have a red-brown hue. North of the highway is the White’s Tank pit that the club visited following the last Rock-On and rediscovered an area where deep red lustrous garnets occur in black mica schist. We also discovered large blocky staurolite crystals that had been washed out of a white feldspar vein and
some were nearly two inches in length. Our brief visit this day resulted in some more nice larger garnets along with good matrix specimens.

May - Ascot Vale Station - Huonville Sphene Pit - Copper Blow

Our trip in May was out to the Sphene Pit and the Copper Blow. Both of these locations have been visited before, but it has been over four years ago and most in attendance had not previously been there. At the sphene pit we tried some serious sieving and found a few larger crystal fragments, but unfortunately no full spectacular crystalline pieces. It would be right to say that the dumps have been really turned over, as a lot of dirt was moved in a few short hours. We headed over to the Copper Blow for lunch and then fossicked for malachite samples around the large open cut. One dump showed great promise and after some heavy digging and breaking a few larger rocks, Pete Spangler opened a crack containing fresh and clean rosettes of malachite needles and some exceptional samples were found. Another nearby dump also showed promise, but time and light ran out on the day, so this one will have to wait till next time.

June - Olary - Kings Bluff

Kings Bluff Quartz
View over the main quartz crystal area from the top of the Bluff

The June field trip was down to Olary and the Kings Bluff goldfield to look for quartz crystals. It has been a few years since the club last visited this location and only one person (aside from the field officer) in the group had been there before. We were also met there by David and Sarah Tiller and their children, from Balaclava. David, who most members would know via our joint field trips with the Port Pirie club, had driven past Kings Bluff many times and never actually stopped for a look. This was a perfect opportunity for him to finally fossick there.
Finds were frequent and many nice crystals recovered. Although it was small, Josie Hill found the best crystal - a double terminated twin, with complete clarity and an adamantine lustre. During the day several members explored the area around the diggings, culminating in the obligatory climb to the top of the bluff.

July - Woolcunda Station - Desert Rose Diggings

In July we ventured down to Woolcunda Station to try digging for desert rose gypsums. After a few exploratory holes we were able to locate a good layer of crystals and these were worked for the rest of the day. From these holes all in attendance were able to find some very nice clusters to add to their collections.
On this trip were we happy to welcome some unexpected extras in attendance, including visitors from Glen Innes in Alan and Carol Rose and we were once again joined by David Tiller and his family from Balaclava..
Down in the holes at Woolcunda
Desert Roses from Woolcunda

August - Olary - Kalabity Station

This month our trip was down via Olary to Kalabity Station to collect chiastolites. We followed up on our discovery of last year where good crystals were found on the northern flank of the hill behind the shearing shed. We were able to collect quite a number of chiastolites showing nice cross formation. These were then cut up for placement on mineral boards back at the clubroom. While on route to Kalabity we checked out some piles of rock next to the main road. These had been dumped as fill for the road culvert and contained beryls! Apparently they were left by the owners of the Triple Chance Mine who also own the Antro Quarry on Bimbowrie Station and frequently use the road for their trucks. On further inspection there were sections of the road that had been covered with gravel from this mine and small fragments of beryl were easily spotted among the crushed rock.

September - Rock-On Gem and Mineral Show

This was the month when we held our "Rock-On" Mineral Show, so there was no designated field trip. There were however two days of field trips following the show and these were: Monday - Tikalina Station and Radium Hill, Tuesday - Limestone Station Gahnite Locations. Both day were very well attended and all that came along were able to find some material to take home.

At Radium Hill we were able to find davidite, carnotite, actinolite and pyrite. North of and nearby to the Radium Hill mine is a kyanite scrape where nice, up to 15 cm blades of blue kyanite were found. Also associated with the kyanite were blue corundum crystals and in the immediate viscinity were specular hematite and good devil's dice. The last location for this day was at a spot we have nicknamed the "shooting gallery" by the large number of bullet shells found. Here lies a long black outcrop of magnetite with many small but well formed crystals. Every one was able to find at least one good sample of crystalline magnetite and all went home happy with their finds.

On Limestone Station we visited three locations where good crystals of gahnite could be found. These were the Hidden Treasure, Great Western and Nine Mile South Mines. At these spots the gahnite is small but sharp and single octahedral crystals were able to be found with relative ease. At the Nine Mile South Mine the ore contains very nice pink garnets and small black stacks of biotite mica in feldspar. These extra samples were an added bonus to the gahnites and everyone attending were able to find something good.