Rockhound collecting suggestions for family field trips
Field Collecting Rocks & Minerals in Virginia
Collecting Sites that may still be accessible?
Here I will list suggestions of locations I have visited or heard about which might be suitable for the family collecting trips. In all your collecting adventures a I recommend adhering to the Rockhound Code of Ethics and also suggest in dealing with land and quarry owners you show your appreciation for the privilege of collecting. Most of the people I have dealt with during my collecting experiences have expressed an interest in rocks and minerals and seam to appreciate a sample I might have found or a polished piece of Va. material I have cut. Collecting locations are a rare commodity and becoming scarcer all the time. Please respect the property owners wishes and be responsible for you own actions!
Quarries? I feel certain types of quarries are great collecting locations for kids. The collecting locations are not in the quarry it’s self but in the piles of rock which have been crushed and sorted to various sizes. Here you are able to view large amounts of material and get an idea of what is in the quarry. Take for example some diabase quarries, after a rain you can go along and pick up green prehnite off the piles. I have even collected from piles of crushed stone on job sites! As for access, you never know till you try, some will allow collecting and some will not. I will only list ones which I have been to. I do suggest you contact the owners in advance to save a wasted trip.
Briar Fork – (bank behind and along side of store on Rt. 6 near Rt. 800 intersection) – goethite pseudomorphs after pyrite ( I heard “devils dice” by some) after a rain you just pick them off the side of the bank.
Morefield Gem Mine – I guess this is about the number one location for the pebble pups.
Appomattox Lime Co. Quarry – near Bent Creek bornite, calcite, chalcopyrite, dolomite, pyrite, sphalerite
Mine Branch – (creek near Crimora east of Rt. 340 and parallel to Rt. 612) – Manganese Ore, cryptomeline, psilomelane, pyrolusite – in along the creek also some interesting quartz. Ask land owners to walk the creek or near bridge crossings.
Allen Harris Bauxite Mine – (near Spottswood) – boehmite, diaspore, gibbsite, kaolinitic, some colored chert – This mine is on a privet property, farm and you must cross their fences to get there, nice folks who’s children collected quartz xls from the driveway when they were young.
Willis Mountain Kyanite mine – near Sprouses Corner apatite, crandallite-florencite, hematite, kyanite. lazulite, limonite (iridescent), muscovite, pyrite, rutile, tourmaline, trolleite
Tourmaline site (float) – near Andersonville – tourmaline (schorl) crystals in quartz, I have not been to this location but have seen the material (black tourmaline in white and iron stain quartz)
Lucky Lake Gem and Mineral Mine
Rose River unakite area -west of Syria on Rt. 670 – unakite granite (epidote, orthoclase, quartz ), jasper, metabsalt, quartz, quartz pseudomorphs after actinolite
American Rutile quarry -near Roseland; anatase, apatite, augite, chalcopyrite, epidote, garnet, ilmenite, orthopyroxene, quartz (blue), rutile, sphene, zoisite – on private property
Soapstone quarry – on Rt. 800 just east of Schuyler, quarry is on south side of road and dump on north side of road with a trash collecting dumpsite on part of it – actinolite, apatite, calcite, chalcopyrite, chlorite,
dolomite, galena, ilmenite, magnetite, millerite, pyrite, serpentine, talc
Tye River – west of Rt. 151 along Rt. 56 – blue quartz, jasper, epidote, metabsalt, quartz
Fairy Stone State Park – near Philpott – staurolite (most are sericite pseudomorphs after staurolite)
Pittsylvania Wayside – south of Altavista on Bus.29 – beryl, columbite-tantalite, garnet, muscovite, orthoclase, zircon – This is a good location to take a lunch and enjoy the day, has a stream and picnic shelter.
Bargers limestone quarry – Lexington – barite, calcite, fluorite, pyrite, quartz crystals
Route 56 unakite site – near Vesuvius – epidote, orthoclase, quartz (rarely apatite, chlorite, magnetite, pumpellyite) - (large boulders had been place in parking area in 2006)