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Nevada Rocks

Nevada Rocks

Nevada made a perfect trip for me as I was starting to foam at the mouth for some rock hunting fun, yet needed some easy hunting while I recuperate.  There’s a few spots I know that I can drive up to the rocks and hunt without having to walk or carry anything too far.  My special thanks to the guys for carrying my pack for me.  I’d have not gotten nearly the special stash I did without just a little help from friends.

There were two spots I rock hunted that had the rocks that I’ve been wanting for some of my crafting.  Those were Fernley for green jasper, and Lovelock for opalized petrified wood.

Fernley Green Jasper:

This jasper runs from light to a dark pine green.  Much of it is hard enough for lapidary, however, some is a little glassy to cut easily.

This one is mossy up close.  This one is for slabbing.

I like the dark greens the best.

A lot of the color mix is just surface and do not run throughout the rock.

Lovelock Opalized Wood

Much of this wood is too glassy for lapidary and breaks easily.  I use it for crafts and displays…….however, there are pieces that are perfect for cabbing, too.  It’s so beautiful, that sometimes display is all someone would even want to do with it.

I sure hope to get back to Nevada again this summer.  There’s just so many places to hunt, and such beautiful material.

Rocks from Around Nevada

Rocks from Around Nevada

Fire season here got a little hard to handle for awhile, so I decided near the end of August to take a little run around Nevada for awhile.  I decided to head for Wells, drop from there to the Ruby mountains, continue on down to Ely, then take hwy 50 back.

In the Wells area, the wind was formidable. It surprised me, as I would not have expected it to be that windy, especially not in late summer. Along with the wind was incredible dust.  I like to travel with windows down, but after just a few minutes of back roads I decided to roll the windows up. Too late. The inside of the rig was dusted – thickly, and closing the windows just sent the dust into the air in choking clouds. So I figured out which windows to open and how far to keep the dust out of my face and things went a little better.

I headed toward back roads to do some exploring.  There were a few that were pretty well maintained.  The offshoot 4WD roads were not as well kept. Many were washed or pitted enough that I couldn’t drive them. There was a lot of jasper (a NV usual no matter where ya go).  I’ll spare the usual pic of a red and yellow jasper and show you a few of the lively greens from the area.


The one in the middle is actually blue rather than green. It’s also got a strange texture to it. It’s almost as opalite like as jaspery. In the long run, though – it’s jasper.  The big green chunk to the right of it really excited me for a minute.  It looks like wood. It’s not, though.  It’s just the way it layered in the mountain that gives it that look.  Still a nice chunk of jasper, though, so I was pleased with it.


There was a lot of opalite up there.  One location had a lot of this pink opalite. This piece is about 6 inches across. Some of the opalite is very brittle and will shatter easily. Some is rather hard – this piece has a fracture or two but it basically a hard piece.



There was a lot of obsidian up there.  There were also a lot of Apache tears – many were the size I’m holding. And yeah – I do know my hands are dirty.  Playing with rocks does that.  I’m thinking anyone interested in this article probably spends as much for soap and emery boards as I do. One of the hazards of the field.



While I did spare you all another pic of the red and yellow jasper which seems to appear almost every place you go in NV……at least Northern NV – I did feel it proper to add a picture of the Nevada agate from there, which also seems to be scattered across the upper part of this state. This was a pretty common find, but had some patterning that seemed might be pretty when cut.



After leaving Wells, I descended south to the Ruby Mountains.  When you get back up into those mountains, you’ll find some absolutely beautiful scenery.  Even during the late summer, these mountains were very green and, in spots, actually lush. There’s a lot of lakes in the upper regions.  There’s also a lot of pegmatite.  I was hoping to find a little beryl when I was up there, but that didn’t happen.  I did go to two locations where beryl has been found, but one would have taken digging, and the other was just expansive. I did hike around and found a few rocks with garnet type crystals in them, but didn’t see any beryl.  I’m pretty sure a few more days in the area might have turned up some, though.

The rock in one of the areas was almost more granite than pegmatite.  It was a blue green, though, that would be perfect coloration for beryl. This is from the location that I thought digging might reveal some crystal.  As you can see, the smaller sample actually looks more like massive beryl than quartz. Haven’t really tested it yet, but don’t need to test to see that it will make a nice cab.



The pegmatite from the other area a few miles north of this one is laced liberally with mica. I picked up a few small mica books around an inch across or so. Not huge, but nice chunks for decorating gardens.  Not sure if you can see the little crystals in the following pic or not, but they seem to be low grade garnet. I could be wrong.  I would think anyone in that area that puts in the time might come up with some nice crystals of some sort or other.



The next day found me in Ely at Garnet Hill. I proceeded to the park area at the top of the hill where I was incensed by what I found. I’m amazed that this area is still open to the public. The top of the hill is covered with digging holes. Many, many trees have been rooted and people have left the holes without filling them back in.  Really – people that careless should not be allowed off of sidewalks.  What they think they’re doing is way beyond anything I can fathom.

Anyway – I walked around for a few minutes, shaking my head at the mess. The whole top of the hill is  nothing but rock fragment, and underneath just rocks to chip at. I stopped at one beautiful little tree that had been rooted and filled the hole back in.  I did find one fairly nice garnet while filling the hole up, so got a little reward for trying to save the little tree.  Then I proceeded downhill and hunted via my usual method for finding garnet. I got a relatively nice score. While the pic doesn’t show the color, these are an intensely deep wine red.  I might be able to get the color to show after cleaning off matrix rock and cleaning them up a bit. As you can see, they’re generally nice sized garnets even if the beautiful color doesn’t show up.



As I was leaving a family with two little girls had parked and were just starting the hunt. These little girls were extremely excited and there was no way they were going to be digging in that hard rock above, so I showed them how to hunt for the stones on my way out.  I hope they got a few nice ones.

I left Ely to continue my trip via hwy 50.  My next stop was Eureka, and I found I hadn’t brought my information on the area.  I wanted to hunt for the trilobite fossils in the region.  So, I stopped in town to ask around. I talked to several people but nobody seemed to know what the heck I was talking about. For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on I found the place a little eerie and opted out of staying for the night and continuing my hunt there in the morning.  Someday I might go back when I am not traveling on my own and have my information about the area with me. At any rate, I headed for Austin.

It was almost dark when I reached Austin and there was only one room left in town.  I was considering taking it, when someone had heard me say I’d camped all nights but one on my trip.  She asked me if I knew there were hot springs there.  Hot springs? Oh yeah – I’d rather do that!  She gave me the directions and I spent most of the night sleeping on top of my rig where I fell asleep watching that spectacular sky out there in the middle of nowhere, parked by a nice hot tub of running water.

The next morning found me in a little cafe in Austin having a chat about blue agates with an interesting man with sharp intelligent eyes, and a long silver pony tail. He reminded me of Gandolf and I immediately liked him. After lunch and some stimulating conversation, I headed out to look for Airy Mt agates……….which are not on Mt Airy. Go figure.  I’d never have found them with just the information I had.  The man at the cafe had over-estimated my eyesight when he gave me a landmark to look for, but at least I was on the right road.

Not seeing the landmark, I doubled back and saw something out in the distance that I thought might be what I was told to look for. So I headed down a 4WD path.  I got up even with the marker, but saw I was on the wrong path. Still – I wasn’t planning on staying on the road anyway, so got out of the car.  I immediately picked up two blue agates off the path and decided that whether I was in the exact location or not, I was close enough and did a little hiking……….and a little picking up rock.  I had pulled these out of a bucket of water take the pic so the cement is a little wet, but the agates are basically dry in the pic.


When I had had enough hunting, I made my way back to the rig, and as I got ready to leave, I suddenly saw the landmark that I’d been told to begin my search at.  The next time I go out to the Austin area I will know where to start my hunting. And I will go back there.  I will also be studying up to see what else can be found in the vicinity.  With a hot springs and blue agates, I’ve got at least one night and one day covered.

So all in all, I had a pretty great trip.  There were a few disappointments and a lot of very great views and great rocks and hot springs to offset them. I’m hoping the weather holds long enough for the next trip I want to take to explore the Black Rock Desert.


Until next time;

Life’s short –  Rock hard

Finds From The 2016 McDermitt Meet-Up and more……

Finds From The 2016 McDermitt Meet-Up and more……

I just went out to the rock garden today and got some pics of some of my McDermitt finds from the meet this year.  While right there with a decent camera, I also got a few pics of finds from elsewhere around Nevada – and a few from a trip to Washington I took a year ago.

This year’s hunt was led once more by Tony Funk (member catmandewe), and he’s proven once again to be the ultimate in rock tour guides. I thank you, Tony for yet one more spectacular meetup!

So – without further discussion — here’s the rocks!

The pile of green in the center of this pic are Garry Green wood.  The one with the visible green ripple leaning on the wall in back is from the green jasper stop.  Sorry – I can’t remember what the heck the name of that jasper is.  It’s green. That much I can tell ya.  I got lucky when I was hauling those two big hunks of Garry green out of the canyon when a few members of the party drove by in Trucks and gave me a boost with them the rest of the way up the hill.  They were a lot heavier than they looked and it would have taken me all day to get them up on my own……….but I really wanted em.


Here’s a few close-ups of this beautifully banded wood.




While this next one is not the color you expect to see when you’re hunting Garry Green, it was my favorite find from that location.  I was surprised that there’s actually a lot of blue up there mingled with the green.


This next shot is a little blurry, but I just wanted to show the color of this agate so tried for a close up. OOPS.  It’s called purple cow and it’s not a real translucent agate, but it is purple. I also got a piece that is much the same shade of lavender as the lavender quartz I got last year, but a little more translucent. The piece in the pic below isn’t the most purple of the agates found by the group that day, but it’s an example of the color.  Despite it’s blur, I think it gives you the idea of what purple cow is.  Hopefully, someone else will have a more clear pic of  a little more lively colored piece of this stuff to offer.  



This next shot is from another wood location Tony took us back to.  This is a highly opalized wood – and I was delighted to find some actual tiffany fire in it.  At first I thought it was just flash from a fracture, but later inspection proved it was not fracture. While there was only about an inch long area of color in this one – I’m hoping, if I get back to that area again to find more of it. A lot of the color (on the right side) doesn’t show up the way the sun hit it – but you can see a little of it.  That blue area all the way to the right end contains color.  On the left, some of the beautiful banding in this piece is visible, too. As you can see, I haven’t mastered close up shots at all.



This last pic of wood from the McDermitt area I found at the mouth of a canyon that I very much wanted to get into.  There was a herd of range cows with some very young babies that had other ideas about me traipsing around their water hole, though.  I liked the colors, none the less,  and will go back to this area whenever I return to the McDermitt area in the future and try again. I have a feeling there’s some nice wood hiding down that canyon.


Okay – that’s my favorite of my McDermitt finds.  Now here’s a few miscellaneous pics of stuff I’ve wanted pics of for awhile now.

Above the rock pick are a few of my finds from my hunt in Central Washington a year and half ago.  I’ve got a few close ups of this wood just below this pic.



The top of this one isn’t going to slice, but I have a use for it anyway.  The rock about 4 inches from the top is pretty solid and I have plans for other uses for that once I get it sliced from the top. Gonna have to find someone with a big saw for this one. It’s a foot across and a little over that deep.


The next one is a little more solid, but I have other uses besides lapidary for this piece, as well.


As you can see, this Washington opalized wood is a multitude of earth tones.  All this wood made me fall in love with opalized wood.  Still love agatized wood, too – but this stuff is just really special in my book.


The next two pictures are also opalized wood – but,  are from Nevada.  These are from the hunt I went on with John (member Orygone) and his side kick, Patti when our 2015 meetup was canceled due to weather.  It wasn’t the best weather that day, either – but at least we were close enough to solid road that we were able to hunt despite the rain. The pictures don’t do a couple of these boldly banded pieces much justice.


While I didn’t see anything opalized in Washington that wasn’t earth-tone – there was a little more variety in Nevada.


This next rock I got in the same area on that hunt with John and Patti.  I’m not sure what it is – rhyolite, jasper, opal?  I sure do like it, though.


Next pic is some banded wood that Bob (coldwatergold) and I found not too far out of Dayton last spring when he came out to see a friend of his who lives there.  Some of this stuff has more color to it, but it is predominantly white with darker banding.


Okay – the last two pics are of rock from my local area out here in NV.  The first one is just an example of the jasper out here. There are other colors, too, here and there fairly local – but there’s tons of this red and tan stuff everywhere.


And this last pic is because we have several members who live out around here or visit sometimes and I get sooooo many questions about Lahotan blue lace agate.  This is the blue that is here. I guess some of it works into some really neat cabs, but the color of the blue is not that bright blue found elsewhere in the state.  It’s blue, but it’s a muted blue, and is not a highly translucent rock, either.


So – that’s all I got, today folks.  Hope you enjoyed the virtual tour.

Until next time;

Life’s short –  Rock hard