Thursday, February 3, 2011

Riding For Geodes

Attention: Rock-hounds! No heavy trail riding today. No camping. No dry-washing for gold or silver today either. Nope. Today we set off with a small group of riders organized by our campground (Desert Gold) in the Brenda/Salome area of Arizona. The mission; find a geode. If you wish to learn more about geodes, I found a real good link for you to check out and you can see it by CLICKING HERE. But for general discussion sake, a geode is a roughly round shaped rock that at some point in time was a bubble in molten lava. As the bubble cooled, crystals formed inside the bubble. And just like a bubble, the inside of the geode is essentially hollow except for the crystals that have formed on the inside wall of the bubble. The inside of the geode is hidden from the eye of the collector or prospector. They can be the size of a golf ball, a baseball, a soft ball, or they can reach the size of giant boulders. To find out what's inside, you must either break the geode with a geology pick or cut it with a rock saw. Some are nothing much. Some are pretty. Some are amazing. Today, most of the ones I found had quartz crystals in them. Amethyst crystals are the most sought after specimens and I couldn't come up with any that had amethyst on this outing. Below is a picture of a few that I brought back to camp to be photographed up close. The four pieces in the lower left section of the picture are geodes that I have not yet opened. I wanted to see if I could access a rock saw to get a clean cut and see how that would work out.

And then here is the best picture I was able to get of the crystals inside the geode:

In case you haven't already figured this out, the deserts of the south west are a great place to look for geodes. I dug a hole on top of a small desert mound where geodes have been found many times before- to the point where they call this ride "the geode mine"- although it is not a mine at all, just a good patch of dirt where your odds of finding a geode are pretty good. I poked around for quite a while and then happened upon a spot where the hole I was digging produced most of the geode specimens shown in the picture above.

It was another new experience in the desert. I was happy digging in the dirt, like I always am. I was also happy I wore my long johns as the sun was out but the air was crisp and cold. What follows is a slide show of our day in search of geodes....

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