Petersen Mountain Commercial Dig Report
19th through the 26th of October, 2007
My good friend Jon Johnson once again invited me to help him work at his world-class amethyst quartz scepter property at Petersen Mountain.   My job was to continue my geological and economical studies of the property for a formal report.  I was also the official pocket collector for the project!  This time we will be using a 37,000-pound Case Excavator! 
Get ready for a front row seat of a world-class Quartz scepter find!  
It's time to study some geology and collect
EXTREME pockets in extreme places!!!

19 Oct-  We start our collecting adventure on this very windy and stormy day-

Over the course of the next 2 hours, Jon very carefully walked the Excavator up to the mine-

When we got to the mine, we were blasted by sustained, hurricane-force winds averaging 70 to 80 mph, with gusts over 100 mph.  Did that stop us from mining??  Heck no!!  But, I couldn't take any pictures as to protect my camera from the pelting and pervasive dirt and gravel flying through the air.  It was so bad that I got gravel burns on my face!   But, we did pull a couple of nice amethysts!   The excavator works GREAT!

20 Oct- chilly, but with thankfully little wind, we start the day
Fresh snow can be seen on the mountains across the valley

As Jon digs in with the powerful excavator, right away, our efforts are rewarded with a large pocket-

Large amethyst crystals and smoky quartz scepters
begin to show themselves!

This 4 inch (10cm) Smoky Quartz is doubly terminated and SCEPTERED
on one side!
Here it is!

The mining of the pocket continues-

Here's a very nice 4 inch tall (10cm) scepter.  After being washed, it will show purple hues of amethyst in the head!
Another 3 inch
(7cm) scepter-

And a last nice 2 inch+ (6cm) scepter-

After that pocket was finished, we began moving more rock with the excavator, when this pocket presented itself-
This superb 4 inch (10cm) gemmy scepter, from the pocket pictured above, is my find of the day!

Jon's nephew "Nate" helped
us out on this fine day-
Now quit messing around
and get back to work!  ;)

21 Oct, MF Hill
(Mighty Feisty)

Today Nate and his friend Gabe helped out on this warm and calm day-

The Royal Flush Pocket

 As Jon was working the pit with the excavator, he hit a pod of white quartz that lead me to this pocket, which would eventually become over 3 feet (1 meter) wide and 2 feet (half meter+) deep.   It will become my favorite Petersen Mountain pocket that I have ever collected on Jon's property and a top ten pocket for Jon in his 30+ years of commercially mining this deposit!

As the white, bull quartz vein opened up, giant shards of smoky quartz crystals to 8 inches (20cm) were seen. Afterwards, the smokys became terminated.  Then, amazingly, they became sceptered, occurring next
to huge fine amethyst crystals.  Over a memorable 4 hour period, 6 quality scepters exceeding 6 inches (15cm) and about a dozen smaller ones, as well as 6 beautiful,
gemmy amethyst crystals weighing about 20 pounds total were recovered from the "Royal Flush" Pocket!

Little did I know what the smoky quartz stem by my finger would become-

As more fine specimens and crystal shards were removed from this part of the pocket, the smoky stem is now almost 8 inches (20cm) long and sticking out into open air!

As I carefully brushed out the pocket with a broom and using a wooden stick as not to chip any crystals, another fine and huge amethyst crystal presents itself in the pocket-

Fully expecting the huge smoky to be a typical non-terminated shaft, I was shocked when I found the beginnings of a SCEPTER HEAD!!
A closeup-

As I continued to very carefully excavate the pocket soil from around the huge smoky scepter, another large perfect scepter appeared!!!
It's over 6 inches (15cm) long!

This has to be one of the most amazing pocket pictures I have thus far shot at Petersen Mountain.  In view is a 6 inch (15cm) scepter, a 10 inch (over 25cm) scepter and a 5 pound amethyst crystal, along with numerous other good specimens showing small edges exposed
in the continuing pocket!

The 6 inch (15cm) scepter came out first, and it's a beauty!

This is the longest Petersen scepter that I have ever collected.  Measuring over 10 inches tall(!), 25.3cm, and superb, with a perfect and gemmy head, it is a miracle specimen that took me 17 years to find!   Jon says he has found about 12 scepters this size during the 30 years of his commercial mining, two of which are in this pocket.  


Then the HUGE
5 inch (13cm) wide,
6 inch (15cm) tall amethyst crystal came out next!  This 5 pound purple crystal is gemmy and nicely colored for its size, with an unusually-simple, 6 sided termination!  Most Petersen crystals this big are much more complex in habit, on that rare occasion when you find them.
A mighty handful!

Then, unbelievably, the pocket produced a 9 inch (23cm) scepter!

the very best piece of the pocket came out.  When I collected this fine amethyst crystal from the pocket, it showed a clear scar at it's base where a smoky stem once attached.  Looking into the pocket I SAW IT and it reattached perfectly!!!  This MONSTER amethyst scepter is over 8.5 inches (22cm) long
and weighs over
3 pounds!!!
This is THE largest and most beautiful amethyst scepter I have ever collected!

And the pocket KEPT going!!!  Here's a gorgeous 2 pound amethyst crystal next to more scepters!

One last scepter in the
"Royal Flush" pocket
Scepters from heaven!

22 Oct, digging our butts off
hoping to find more epic pockets!

And then, we found another pocket worth naming!

"Dueling Scepters"

The superb amethyst crystal,
pictured below, can be seen
near the top of the pocket-

"Dueling Scepters"
specimen measures over 6 inches (15cm) long
and was found in the pocket intact!

6 inch (15cm) scepter from the Dueling Scepters Pocket!
Jon with the Dueling Scepters Pocket

This ABSOLUTELY STUNNING amethyst crystal, from the Dueling Scepters pocket, is among the top 5 amethysts Jon has ever seen from
Petersen for richness of color.    WORLD-CLASS  WOW!!!!!!

Digging hard, we found 2 more flats worth (30 pounds) of lower-quality, partial amethyst heads, some with good faceting areas, before calling it a day.  

24 Oct, After a day of rest, Jon and I went back at it.  Today was tough, and we learned first hand that at Petersen you must GIVE...
In order to RECEIVE!

25 Oct, This is our last day mining.  Today we are lucky and find another big pocket Jon calls
"The West Wall" Pocket.  It produced at least 6 large, top-quality scepters and dozens of others specimens, filling 3 flats!  The reconstruction possibilities in this pocket are very high!

A big scepter head imbedded in heavy oxidized iron crust derived from the decomposition of gold-bearing Pyrite.  We should have the stem for this piece!
Jon calls this one the "Scepter with a Crutch"

The West Wall Pocket became over 4-feet long, extending upward
to within inches of the original ground surface!

It's a BIG pocket!
Jon finds a matrix plate that we might be able to reattach a scepter to!

One last killer scepter from the
"West Wall" pocket

Time to bury the pit and go home.  We estimate that we had to mine through over 500 cubic yards of rock (A 30 x 30 x 15 foot area) to find each of the great pockets we recovered!  At 2,000 pounds per cubic yard, that truly makes each of these a "one in a million pound" find, even on Petersen Mountain!  Thank goodness we had an Excavator!!!

November 1st, Back home, the cleaning process begins as
Ed Christiansen
helps out
It was a very productive week!
The Amethyst gemstone bucket filled just as fast as our "junk" bucket, A very good ratio
I would say!  :)

The Royal Flush pocket contents covered a surface area 2 x 4 feet and produced 5 of the 10 top pieces from this dig!

The Dueling Scepters Pocket!  For a smaller pocket (3x1x1 feet) it sure produced some GREAT specimens!  Three of the top ten pieces from our dig came from this pocket!

The West Wall Pocket produced a surprising number of good scepters!!

Some of our A-Grade Amethyst Faceting pile.  The top pieces should cut quality gemstones over 50 carats!  Of course, only "non-specimen" damaged and broken pieces are selected for cutting.  Jon estimates that we should have at least 300+ carats of A grade finished faceted stones from this dig!

One good amethyst crystal!
Fun, Fun, Fun!!!

These are the largest, quality amethyst crystals, and a
killer amethyst scepter, from our dig!  The largest crystal
weighs 10 pounds and is over 8 inches long!

Jon with the very best specimen from our dig! 
The Dueling Scepters Pocket Amethyst Specimen
wins the GRAND PRIZE!  
The next best piece was the 8.5 inch amethyst scepter from the Royal Flush pocket.  Third-place went to a 5 inch matrix amethyst crystal from the Royal Flush pocket.  Fourth Place went to the 10 inch scepter from the Royal Flush pocket.  Fifth Place went to the 6 inch scepter from the Royal Flush pocket.  Sixth Place went to the 6 inch scepter from the Dueling Scepters pocket.  Seventh Place went to the 5 pound amethyst head from Royal Flush pocket.  Eighth and Nineth Place were the superb 2.5 inch pencil-neck scepter (with a moving water bubble) and a superb 4 inch scepter, both from unnamed pockets.  And Tenth Place went to the "Dueling Scepters" themselves.

These are my top 2 dozen picks from the specimen split!  We got so many great pieces this time, that I was able get in on some killers!  I was able to pick the EPIC 10 inch scepter (hurray!!!) and the awesome 5 pound amethyst, both from the Royal Flush pocket!  I was also able to get the "Dueling Scepters" specimen!  In addition, I chose 6 good pieces of bright and gemmy amethyst (2 with excellent moving water bubbles!), 6 good amethyst scepters, and 9 good clear to smoky scepters!  These specimens will all clean up to be beauties!  
In all, this was a very memorable week of digging!!!

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