Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Cobalt’ Category

 

James examines the diamond bearing Breccia – Cobalt

Ontario’s first really big diamond was discovered in 1906. Father Paradis, a missionary in the Nipissing district, reported that he had found a 101 carat yellow diamond in glacial overburden; the stone was said to have a rough exterior and be about the size of a hen’s egg. Most surmise that the gem had been picked up somewhere near the father’s mission along the shores of Lake Timiskaming; it was auctioned at Tiffanies and has since disappeared below the radar.

Few should be surprised at the discovery of gems in Canada. For over thirty years now geologists have known that diamonds are associated with continental cratons. The Canadian Shield is but one of several cratons in the north; it is the largest such structure in the world.

The discovery and subsequent mining of diamonds just outside Yellowknife precipitated a wholesale mineralogical scramble. In recent years the search has moved in a southerly direction and it will continue right across the Shield until its rock dips down under the soil about an hour’s drive just north-east of Toronto.

Just recently there have been some astounding discoveries outside New Liskeard. Several kimberlite pipes were found and at least half of them are diamondiferous. Though diamonds are typically found in kimberlite these New Liskeard diamonds are embedded in the breccia along the side of highway 11 (above photo).

Ralph Schroetter, a local gemologist hunts for New Liskeard’s illusive crystals at night, in a nearby stream bed; he uses ultra violet light. As he explained, “Some diamonds fluoresce when exposed to that kind of stimulation. It makes them easier to spot”.

Check out the big chunk of raw silver that I found on the mine dumps in Cobalt – here (raw silver)

Check out the dirty world of blood diamonds here ….

And on the other hand as Shirley Bassey sees it – out of the mud and on to the finger …  Diamonds are Forever

Read Full Post »

Behave Yourself! – Rockwatching Blogging Protocal

 

scan0001, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Well, Rockwatching has been up and running for a number of years now (5 to be exact) and I believe it has contributed significantly to the interest of people like myself who like caving, rocks, the outdoors, gems and minerals in Ontario.

We are just a few short days from 2011 and I believe it’s high time we made some resolutions -all of us  (you my loyal fellow bloggers as well).

So in the interests of all involved a few ground rules to follow on Rockwatching from now on

1) Lets not carry a personal vendetta onto this site which is meant to be a forum where like minded enthusiasts can interact in a positive way.
2) Lets respect each other and try not to get personal when we are frustrated.
3) Lets respect the basics of conservation and eco-minded thought.
4) Lets not assume stuff we don’t know for sure (hence the survey at the bottom of the post).
5) Lets keep in mind that this is all about enjoyment.
6) Lets keep in mind that just because the topic is on the table, every single aspect that pertains to it is not an open book.
7) Lets respect people who are not on the site, private property, reputations etc. Just because there is discussion of a site or feature does not mean permission has been granted to go there.

8) Lets not get petty, self righteous or important. Stop correcting my grammar, spelling or use of terms. I am a writer at heart and so I believe I can use the language as I please (providing it’s in good taste, or if I choose, not in good taste).

9) Lets not waste my time by having to re-direct you to one of the above rules.

Happy and prosperous 2011 – Mick

Read Full Post »

Bancroft Gemboree 2010

You never know what you are gonna find at the Bancroft Gemboree and for that reason it’s always an adventure that I look forward to. The 2010 event was no exception. I met some old friends – Ralph Schroetter amongst them. I was grateful for the Oregon Sun stone that he handed me. It was a gift with a lovely peachy hue.

In retrospect, I really wish that I had bought one of these old beauties. The going price was $40 a piece. This appealed to both my caving and rock and mineral interests. The Carbide lamp burns acetylene which is produced within the lamp as a result of the reaction between Carbide (C2H2) and water. With the number of old abandoned mines up in the Bancroft area and the caves in the local marble, I would not be surprised if these old carbide lamps had seen local use. Check out the pitfalls of buying a carbide lamp here.

As usual, the better faceted and collector stones were found at the lower venue, while up on top of the hill the outside vendors displayed the greatest diversity of product. Year after year it seems the same vendors pick the same locations.

Read Full Post »

The gold was in a quartz vein, but it seems to have disappeared

Algoma Region 

The vein in which the gold was found was obviously one of quartz. There is a fair bit of massive quartz scattered through the bush near by – some of the rock is translucent white and other pieces tend toward a waxy grey or even black. There must be some radioactivity in the rock for this variety of shading to have taken place.

The mine was worked until the early 1900’s and then, as was speculated – they must have lost the vein and closed in 1909 – supposedly it had shifted. Low gold prices made further exploration pointless, but drilling in 1938 revealed some significant amount of gold below – again the gold prices were said to be so low that a mining venture could not be justified. An American company made an unsucessful attempt at revival in the 1980’s.

Read Full Post »

Raw Silver in Cobalt Mining Museum

dad 043, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Here is my dad in the Cobalt mining museum. Sitting on top of a safe they have a chunk of silver that they dug out of the earth nearby worth around $14,000. I doubt that must be the value by weight – maybe there is some kind of value added for collector appeal. If you are big on silver this is the place to go. I would imagine that there is more you can learn about silver in this museum than any place else.

Read Full Post »

Whats under Cobalt

P1020263, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

I just got back from Cobalt last night, it was a long drive – 6 hours.

While in Cobalt I took an abandoned mine tour. Its a service offered by the local museum – well worth doing if you like that kind of thing. This here is one of the tunnels in the old Colonial Mine. There are over 27 kilometers of passage – stretching as far as Lake Temiskaming I am told. Beneath the level we were at the tunnels are all flooded. Shafts lead up and down – but not anywhere near where we were – it was quite sanitized and safe for the average visitor.

Tunnels spidered along through dense black rock following the calcite veins that had led to silver. Outside every mine there were big piles of scree, it suggested something of the extent of the tunnels within.

Read Full Post »

Rocks Minerals and Caves in Ontario – the north

IMG_1620, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

This is Ralph holding a slab of “tourmaline in quartz” at the Coe Hill gold mine. There is an intrusion or pocket at the top oif a hill on that property that consists almost exclusively of quartz impregnated tourmaline. One interesting thing about tthe tourmaline is that the spines are all bent as though they were being washed around in water – like a current moving sea fans. I suspect it has something to do with the cooling process.

You might notice the new header up at the top of the blog – that is courtesy of my “brother-in-law Nige”, he is a computer whiz and the guy who got me blogging in the first place. The picture has been derived from larger photo of the wheels of abandoned mine trolleys in Cobalt. I am off to Cobalt tomorrow so you can expect more pictures like that soon.

Reason for visiting Cobalt – to get more high Resolution picturesd for my upcoming book “Rockhounding: An Experience of the North” I dont want to give to much away at this time, but as you might surmise it will be of interest to mineral collectors – and inadvertantly – cavers as well as there are a few sidebars about Ontario caves – yet to be published material. I have a publisher who has shown interest in the idea – with some modification from the original format.

If you want to help me – link to my site – it will increase my ability to reach the world. Oh, and thanks Nige. You have some scotch coming your way.

Read Full Post »

Raw silver found as wire – sold at the Bancroft Gemboree

P1010606, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

If you want it you can find it at the Bancroft Gemboree.

Yeah – they look like fletched arrow spines, barbs on fish hooks or just poorly made hooks but as the vendor explained, they are naturally occuring pieces of silver wire.

I am especially interested in what can be found up in cobalt. There was a massive silver strike up there in the early 1900s. According to the fellow that I was speaking to he said he had no luck in Cobalt – shook his head like it had been a really distasteful experience. “Got these from California”. I suspect he was keeping me clear of a rich hunting ground.

These pieces of silver wire are sometimes found in tangled balls and at other times in thick strands like the branches of a dead tree.

Read Full Post »

Locals call him “old yellow mane”. 

IMG_1821, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Though Doug Shier tells me that all roads in the area lead back to Cobalt, I am warned by an older gent in the Silver Load Hotel’s restaurant to be careful out there if I am exploring the ore piles. It was a little cryptic; you might say kind of creepy. I thanked him for the advice, finished pouring my coffee and headed out. I wondered what he might be alluding to. Maybe he was talking about getting lost or falling down a shaft like the Chinese laundering family-hmmmm (They all disappeared one night leaving the food still cooking on the stove – never to be seen again – see one of my earlier posts on Cobalt).

Once out there it really began to play on my mind. I had followed an old tramline down a narrow valley between towering white pines. I was in a hidden valley that for some reason had escaped the miners axe. There was supposedly an abandoned mill a few kilometres up the path. My source told me that it was on the left hand side just before the tailings swamp.

From the impressive “Little silver Vein Mine” I had followed a short incline up to the tramline. I soon found myself pushing along a tree-lined tunnel of soft, feathery-limbed tamarack and cedar. It was a wonderfully “organic experience” that started off in a relatively wholesome way but eventually began to feel quite creepy.

The further I went the more subdued the forest became. Eventually there was only deathly silence. I found myself dwelling on the oddly disturbing feeling of being watched. I thought back to something that I had recently read of. It was the appearance of “Old Yellow Mane”. He is Ontario’s northern Sasquatch. Yellow Mane had first been seen in 1906 by miners at the nearby Violet Mine. He was seen again in 1923 by two prospectors who surprised him while he was picking blueberries. They supposedly threw rocks at the poor fellow and he ran away. As was reported in the North Bay Nugget, Yellow Mane was seen for a third time in 1946. A woman and her son saw him ambling along beside some rail tracks. I never found the mill or “Old Yellow Mane” but the walk was quite surreal.

Read Full Post »

What on earth is a glory hole?

IMG_1813, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

At the edge of Cobalt there is a deep open pit that is said to drop down 250 feet. The bottom is filled with cold, black water. A cable cuts across the top right of the picture. At one time there was a spider web of these strands that supported a tin roof to protect the miners below.

The tunnels cut inwards along the silver seams. At night the “High grader” was said to make his own private excavations using stolen dynamite. Doug Shearer, a knowledgeable local historian said, why bother digging to steal the stuff?It was lined up in wagons beside the station, solid slabs of pure, raw silver. “What a waste of time! There was nobody to stop them from hijacking a wagon load”.

In Cobalt all the locals have an “abandoned mine story”. Down along the shores of Long Lake I met a guy who was walking his dog early in the morning. He reminisced about a candle-lit journey that he had made as a teenager from a tunnel far out in the forest. They walked along in the dark, their light flickering with an unpredictable breeze that blew from within. Eventually they were reduced to crawling, the hot wax raising blisters on their skin. Through a tight squeeze they emerged into sunlight window way up the inside of the “Glory Hole” I am not sure how much the water has risen since his youth but it would seem to me that one of these exposed entrances might be the one.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »