Johnson generously invited me to work with him once again on his 2008
Petersen sampling project. This project was two-fold. First
a 51,000-pound excavator was used to sample in and extend the pits along
the southernmost edge of the summit. This year, there were no big
pockets over 2 feet across that were discovered. Though the crystal pockets
were smaller, average void size was about 4 x 6 x 8 inches, the specimens
that were produced exhibited a rare combination of deeper-purple-violet
amethyst with above-average gemminess. Very few elongate "first
generation" smokey quartz crystals were seen, which is needed for
prime scepter formation. The wall on the eastern portion of the
pit, showed signs that a generally NW-SE trending pocket zone of these
crystals does occur along a contact zone of the hard white granite and
the cherty orange granite. The later generation amethyst heads,
ranging in size from 1 to 6 inches across, tended to occur mostly to the
western portion of the pit, in the orange granite. This amethyst
generation only rarely came in contact with the smokey generation quartz,
to produce fine amethyst scepters. The two most notable specimens
of this occurrence, from this year's dig, was an exceptional 4.5-inch-tall
amethyst scepter on matrix, and a fine 6.5 inch amethyst scepter, both
reconstructed, with both pockets being found within 20 feet of the first-generation
smokey quartz zone.
second part of the project was to use a medium-sized backhoe to reclaim
and fill in the extensive trench work along the western side of the "Monolith"
granite boulder outcrop. About 1,500 cubic yards of muck, mostly
from the excavator/sampling project, was used for this filling purpose.
This was done to lower the attractive nuisance factor due to high-graders.
During this time, Jon and I operated the backhoe. While mucking,
Jon made a very fortunate sighting and discovered a fabulous 800-carat
piece of nearly flawless, deeply colored amethyst gem rough. Once cut,
this may well become North America's largest fine faceted amethyst thus
far discovered! After transporting hundreds of loads of muck with
the backhoe myself, I spotted a 5-pound gemmy amethyst head that ended
up being one of the top-five pieces from this year's project. As
part of the on-going reclamation efforts, in accordance with BLM requirements,
this year's work was an unqualified success. Another task,
which helped to keep the mine site clean, was to remove the old derelict
dozer that had been on site for years.
Enjoy the Adventure!!!