Field Trips 2011

A Review of the Club's Field Trips for 2011

March – Corona Amethyst Fields

Our first field trip for the year was in March, where we went up to the Corona Amethyst Fields and continued opening up a new area that had been located last year. This yielded some nice deep purple amethyst of a quality that had not been found for quite some time. This was an older area towards the southern end of the field that appears to not have been prospected since the early days.

May – Eldee Station – Old Mundi Mundi Homestead
All that's left of the Homestead

Our second field trip was in May and we went to the old Mundi Mundi Homestead and up the valley to the east. Here we found a few pegmatites with tourmaline crystals inside, some of which had good form. On this trip we were accompanied by members of the Illawarra Club who were in the Broken Hill region and timed their visit to coincide with our trip. Ross Clark lapped up the opportunity to be our guide to the history of the old ruins area and explained how large the Mundi Mundi Homestead was. Now all that is left is the chimney in what would have been the main living area.

The Lady Dorothy including the Mobile Store
June – Nine Mile Station - Lady Dorothy Mine

Our field trip for June was out to Nine Mile Station and back to the Barrier Colorado area that was visited last year. This time we located and inspected the Lady Dorothy Mine, however this mine turned out not to be worth a return visit as the dumps showed little sign of collectable mineral specimens. What was of interest was the old, early 1900’s mobile store wagon that had been left on site by the miners. This had become a very nice home for some enterprising kangaroos. After we left the Lady Dorothy we headed back to the small pit at location LC361 where we once again collected small but very sharp, deep green gahnite crystals in quartz.

August – Corona Amethyst Fields

Our trip in August was supposed to be to the Fairy Hill mine, however rain once again stopped access as the road into the area was too washed out and boggy. As an alternative we waited until the next weekend and did a day trip back to the Corona Amethyst Fields. Here we were able to re-visit the area we had discovered in March and obtain some more dark purple amethyst from a small vein exposed in a gully. After a sausage sizzle lunch we headed over to the zone where the best green quartz has been found and picked up a few nice samples.

September – Plumbago

The September trip was a weekender down to Plumbago Station, where we joined up with the members of the South Australian Minsoc and the Port Pirie Club. On Saturday, we went digging through the topsoil at the Billeroo Davidite locality and obtained some nice samples. While on Sunday, we explored the area around the Mount Victoria Copper Mine. The immediate area around the mine yielded some nice samples of magnetite while those prepared to walk further afield and along the valley to the southwest were able to find some nice epidote crystals.

October – Rock-On Gem and Mineral Show

The field trips held after the show were very popular and very quickly filled up with willing fossickers.

The Monday trip was to the Triple Chance Mine looking for beryl crystals and feldspar. This mine had long been closed to collectors, however it is in the process of winding down and our club was able to get special permission to enter the site as they are no longer actively mining. Those in attendance all found good samples of beryl, with the best find, a single tapered hexagonal crystal 6cm across and 15cm long. After we left the Triple Chance Mine, we spent an hour over at the Baileys Tank garnet mine looking for almandine garnets in hornblende. This spot is now a graded area with the remnants of a small pit. Following the rehabilitation of the open cut mine in 2005, the whole side of the hill is covered with material that was spread out from the dumps and collecting good samples is easy.
Lunch at the Triple Chance Mine

Beryl Crystal

The Tuesday field trip was onto Limestone Station, to look at the old lead / zinc mines for gahnite crystals. At the Hidden Treasure Mine some very nice, up to 1.5cm gahnites were found, by turning over rocks and sieving through the topsoil. Then over to the Nine Mile South Mine where small pink garnets - spessartines and books of black biotite mica were collected. Nearby and along strike to the main mines is a reef of the quartz-gahnite horizon and some very nice gahnite samples were found. In the rocks around the mine are almandine garnets and small chocolate brown doubly terminated staurolite crystals. We then went to the Great Western Mine and collected more gahnite along with pieces of the green plumbian feldspar.

Gahnites from the Hidden Treasure
Gahnites abound in the topsoil