Fall 2010 overlooking the working area

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Havey Facebook Page

 Notice for anyone coming to this page wanting to find out information about the Havey Quarry. At this point in time I have stopped writing my blog although someday I might continue. If any of you are not aware I have my Facebook page which you can access on the link below. This will keep you up to date with what is going on at the Havey. Havey Tourmaline Quarry

Thursday, March 26, 2015

New England Mineral Conference 2015

Welcome to the New England Mineral Conference 2015 to be held May 8th-10th. It's hard to believe this will be our third year. We will be holding the event at the Sunday River Conference Center again this year. This is a great venue that just helps enhance the whole weekend. We are all getting a little stir-crazy from the winter conditions that seem to never end, but the sun is getting higher and it will make us appreciate being able to go out into the field again. There are some good things about this winter as it has forced me to work on sorting out material which wouldn't happen if the weather was warmer. Hopefully some of you have been doing the same. For any who went to Tucson this year you got a nice reprieve on the weather. Not to rub it in too much for those who didn't go, but the temperatures were around 80 many days with abundant sunshine. This year's conference is going to be exciting and we have some nice surprises in store. There are several different ways to keep informed of updates. I will be putting out a few more emails as we move forward giving you updates to what is happening. You can also check out the website http://www.nemineralconference.org/ and get information and download registrations forms. You can also "like" us on Facebook at New England Mineral Association.

Presenters. Although we have not finished all the details, most of the hard work is now done. Frank Perham will again grace our stage with his presence and storytelling ability. Frank will be talking about whatever comes to mind about many of his mining experiences. You never know what he will talk about. With the research end of the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum coming together, Skip Simmons will talk about the exciting research that they will be doing. You will not want to miss John Cornish, a west coast miner, who has also been doing some mining for the beautiful delicate crocoite in Tasmania as he brings his story "Upside Down and In The Future, Mining Tasmania's Adelaide Mine!" Fred Wilda will be doing a talk on the Lane Quarry in Connecticut. Sean Sweeney talks about some of the wonderful gemstones he has cut from some of the major finds to come out of Maine. Carl Francis and Jim Nizamoff team up again to talk about Tamminen quarry apatites. Additionally, for the youth, John Cornish will be giving talks on education day for the students. I am sure any who want can sit in and maybe learn a thing or two.

Again this year we will be having an education day for students. This includes the opportunity for students to come and go through the education stations that we will be set up around the venue. This is designed for the kids to have some fun and learn at the same time. Some of the stations will be a sluice where kids will get to sluice a bag of material and a chance to hopefully find some colorful local minerals, and an area to learn how to identify different minerals. There will also be displays of some of the wonderful minerals and gems of Maine and the rest of the world.

Poster Contest for any New England student in Grades 3-12. This is a great project for students to be able to do research. If you are a teacher (public, private or home schooling) or you know anyone that might be interested, please pass this info along. Help us introduce the youth to our world, to learn and have some fun at the same time. For the students there are great prizes for the best posters and an opportunity to display and talk about their poster at the conference. Additional information is available on the website.

New England Micromounters will be having a room at the conference. This would be a great time to learn about this aspect of mineral collecting. Anyone have some micro's and are not sure what they are? This would be an excellent opportunity to possibly get them identified. There are some wicked smart people in this group but don't let them intimidate...they are there to share their passion with you.

Dealers. Anyone wanting to find out more about being a dealer at the conference can get in contact with Chad Cramer through the dealer page on the website.


Jeff Morrison

President, New England Mineral Association




I'm Back

Just thought I would give a quick update on my where abouts and lack of keeping up with the blog. Although I am not officially back to writing due to time constraints I have not given up. With mining taking on additional prominence in my life I have not had a lot of spare time. Trying to both work and mine full time doesn't leave a lot of spare time. The New Enland Mineral Conference has also taken quite a bit of time but hopefully we have much of the groundwork in place that the following years will be a little easier on me. I have some wonderful stories to tell as the last several years mining we have found some remarkable specimens. I have started a facebook page although at this time it is mostly pictures without much dialog. A little easier to do when I am short on time. I am not going to promise anything before next winter as I am very anxious to get back to the Havey and the wonders that await. There are a lot of exciting things happening in Maine right now that should be benificial to anyone interested in the mining and mineral scene. I thank you all for your continued support and understanding.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I'm Dreaming of a Brown Christmas

Mining is coming to a close for the 3013 season which hopefully will give me adequate time to get caught up with the blog. Have some exciting finds to tell you about. Now back to Winter 2011 Although October isn't really winter we had a major snowstorm  with about 8" of snow and that made me a little nervous. Measurable snow in October is extremely rare and I can't say that I remember any in my lifetime. I do remember flurries one year on Halloween.  I have so much I want to get accomplished so as to have a strong start to 2012 snow is not part of the program. This snow ended up being short lived and all was gone several days later. Due to the lateness of the season I have given up working on Otto's pocket. I really need to lower the floor and approach the pocket from a lower level. To be able to do this I have a need to remove most of the rubble that is in the mine and I also need to be able to pump the water all the way down thus I'm dreaming of a brown Christmas to be able to get all this work done without the hindrance of snow. I will take some warm weather to go along with it. Lack of snow and warm weather do not necessarily go together.

As I have mentioned before mining isn't just about finding pockets filled with crystals. Much of the finding involves doing all the prep work so as to be able to work in the mineralized zone. As miners we are lucky if we can spend 20% of our time looking for minerals, the other 80% involves prepping for this work. With cold weather upon us it was time to start getting ready for next season. If this work isn't done now countless days will be wasted when it is warm doing the work. Workable days in the winter can be difficult to come by and you need to jump on them when they arrive. Working in the winter involves cold temperatures, snowy conditions and days when the sun goes down early. Some snow can be a good thing as it acts as an insulation blanket but too much and it just overwhelms everything. Snowplowing is a constant and the snow can make it slick to get the dump truck around. Volunteers are far fewer this time of year. Everyone wants to dig out a tourmaline pocket, almost no one wants to cut trees and move rock. Early winter with the low sun and short days can be depressing but by the time the Tucson show is ending the days are lengthening and the sun is getting higher. Much is still frozen but things are definitely looking more positive.

Moving material out of the mine is a slow process. It also is not very fun. There are almost always some pieces of blasted ledge that are too big to move without breaking them into smaller pieces and if they are from the outer margins of the pegmatite they can be very difficult to break as they are very hard. The area that I have been drilling and blasting has some natural fractures in the rock which means that the rock will break along the fracture and this has a tendency to give me some extremely large pieces. Occasionally there will be a 20 ton boulder and this makes for a lot of work as they need to be broken up in place as they are to heavy to move. When this happens the best thing is to find some large rock that the excavator can lift and drop them on the larger rock and hope that they break. Usually the rock that is being dropped breaks, so it is good to have a collection of big rocks that can be lifted and a few very hard ones at that.

December turned out to be very nice by Maine standards. There were mild temperatures and very little snow. It allowed me to keep getting material out of the mine so as to give me better access to start to work in the spring. If there isn't much snow it gives me time to do some clean up of the surrounding property. I have several years of woods cleaning ahead as most of the helpers get tired of this job quickly. After getting the mine almost empty of excess rock and since there wasn't much snow yet and it continued to stay mild, it was decided to build a new entryway into the mine. This would involve many days if not weeks of work. I would need to cut the trees where the new road would go, then get rid of the stumps and loam, install new gravel and this was the easy part. The difficult part was having to blast and lower the way into the mine by about 10'. This would take awhile and hopefully the weather would cooperate or I would fall way behind when it was time to start working the mineralized zone come spring.

On the right will be the new road into the mine. Approaching the mine from this way will allow me to have a more gradual decent into the mine. 

With all the tree cutting there was the need to burn the brush. At least we were able to get warm for a little while.
This grouse hung around for several months. He was usually on the road into the mine and if you were doing any work near where he was, he was get right in the way to the point that you had to stop or you wouldn't run him over.
After returning from Tucson even though it was still winter there still was not much snow on the ground. Highly unusual thinking back a few years ago when there was 4' which made for a slow start. With little to no snow this gave me additional opportunity to work on my new access road into the mine. The tree cutting had got done before Tucson so now it was time to move some rock. There was soil overburden that needed to be moved first and then the ledge blasted. All the ledge that was being blasted was going to barren of any interesting minerals. I was working in an area that was almost all country rock which did have a couple of pegmatite dikes running through them. Not much showing up that was exciting in the dike but it did give me something to look at. This ledge work was going to take a while and it was all going to be hard work and not much to break up the monotony

Who says Mardi Gras is only for New Orleans.

Sorting through some of the smaller material from the Spaniards Pocket. This is good winter work. All this material fell through the 1/4" screen and then sorted for gem material which is very small and sent overseas to be cut. Any of the larger gem material is cut in the US as the cutting is a much higher quality and the yield is larger.

A stringer of pegmatite cutting through the country rock which was later bisected with a small basalt dike. The basalt which  came in 200 millions years after the pegmatite had very little interaction with the pegmatite.

Getting ready to put gravel on the new drive into the mine. This new entrance was about 10' lower than the previous entrance making for a more gradual decent into the mine, at least for the present time.

Another one of those piles of rock that need to be moved. If you notice this rock is a bluish grey color and is predominately all country rock that is overlying the pegmatite on this portion of the property. On the back left is the Berry Quarry
The weather stayed decent for this time of year and all the blasting to lower the mine entrance moved along nicely, except for the fact that the rubble pile kept getting larger and larger. You don't realize how much rock is there until you take out the first truck load and it doesn't make a dent. The one nice thing about having all the blasted ledge near where I was extending the new road is it made for a short trip to move the rock. This would be nice as I was getting a little tired of just looking at waste rock. I wanted to see some color to get me in the mood for the upcoming season. There were remnants of last years pocket still left in the bottom of the mine, so as soon as the recent blasted rock was moved it would be time to start looking for minerals.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Displays

December '13 With the onset of winter it is time to continue the story about the Havey Mine. It has been a very exciting year with a lot happening but that will be for later. For now anyone that is near or will be visiting downtown Portland, ME stop in and visit Cross Jewelers and you will have a very Havey Christmas. They have done a tremendous job and have on display 6 videos of some of the different tourmaline pockets that were found of late along with some of the tourmaline crystals on display. They also have some extra large posters of some of the pockets hanging on the wall. Available also is a 4 page color spread of some pictures from recent pockets along with a detailed description from the jewelers point of view of us digging out a tourmaline pocket.
Below is a video that some of you may have already seen from youtube. No, this is not a picture of me holding the crystal, it is Ron Larrivee. For anyone who knows Ron say you saw his picture holding the tourmaline crystal. We are trying for him to reach "Rock" star status.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

New England Mineral Conference

Welcome Everyone, 
 It is almost here, the first New England Mineral Conference. We invite you to check out the event at the link below. Anyone coming to the Maine Mineralogical and Geological Society club show this weekend can still register at the reduced rate. If you have not yet registered and would still like to come there is registration available the day of the events at the door. After 22 years of a successful run the Maine Mineral Symposium ended and left a void and people have been anxiously waiting for a return of a similar event. This years event will be held April 26th-28th at the Ramada Conference Center in Lewiston, Me. There is still lodging available for anyone traveling from away.

To give you a taste of what you can expect this year, the past president and founder of the Maine Mineral Symposium, Woody Thompson, will be presenting a celebration of Ray Woodman. For those of you that don’t know Ray, he was a State of Maine geologist who has been an avid collector and over the years amassed what is considered the most complete Maine mineral collection. Luckily, this collection ended up at the Maine Mineral Museum in Bethel that will open later this year. Carl Francis, of Harvard fame and now working with the Museum, will also speak on the collection and the museum. The museum will also be displaying some of the Ray Woodman collection. There will be many other displays from around New England, as well. Skip Simmons, PhD, pegmatologist from the University of New Orleans, will be our emcee and keynote speaker. Anyone who has heard Skip speak will tell you that you need to be here for this event. 
Jeff Morrison
New England Mineral Association  

New England Mineral Conference

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Fall 2011 Razz is taking to the mine like he was born to it. He is very curious. I am hoping I can train him to sniff out tourmaline, but so far I have had no luck with the other dogs. He loves to be where the action is. He has many of the similar traits that Otto had, at times it's a little spooky. Where Boston Terriers don't have a very warm coat he won't be able to come up much longer as they don't like to spend too much time outdoors when it is cold.

New dog in town-Razz Ma Tazz 
It is getting close on to a year that we have been working in Otto's pocket. As we expand the pocket in some areas there is not much interesting to find, but you never know when this will change. In cleaning off some of the rubble around the pocket the decision was made to try working it in a new direction. This would mean that when we expose the ledge to work the new area it would limit the access into the rest of the mine for a period of time. Since the goal is to find new mineral specimens there was nothing wrong with that plan. Where we already had worked the adjacent area fairly deep, it make expanding the pocket in search of new material frelatively easy. It seemed that the pocket area in the new section that we were working was not nearly as deep. This could be the pocket might end. We were pulling out some smokies when all of a sudden I felt something different.

Photo by Raymond Sprague   Frank Perham with a large piece of morganite just out of the pocket. He was pretty excited about pulling this out. As you can see he had on a rain jacket but that was not even a consideration in light of what was being found. He said he would have walked all the way from home if he knew he could pull something out of the ground like this. He lives at least 30 miles away.

Another large piece of morganite out of the same pocket. You can see some smoky quartz crystals under the milky quartz, just above the morganite. 
Originally some small pieces of etched beryl came out. Just by the feel you can tell what they are when you rub your fingers over them. It feels like your hand is getting snagged on the etched sections. As  we dug a little more, some larger pieces which were mostly orange came out. We called Frank Perham to see if he was interested in coming down to see what we were pulling out. By the time he got here we had pulled out most of the larger pieces but as he started digging in the pocket he found a fairly nice  piece that we had not got to. Whenever you find anything like this you hope that it keeps going or that you are only at the beginning and the specimens are only going to get better but it shortly runs out and then the search is back on. Usually you don't appreciate the moment until it is gone. After the morganite came out it the pocket went back to just quartz. As I kept working the rest of the pocket, the rock on top started to thicken up making it difficult to keep going. Winter was starting to come on and it was decided to leave the pocket and the mineralized zone alone until it warmed up in the spring.
Photo by Raymond Sprague Frank Perham overseeing the digging of the pocket.

Photo by Raymond Sprague One of the first pieces of morganite to come out of this section of Otto's pocket. This was a little earlier in the day and at the time no rain coats were needed. 

Going to the mine isn't all about mining. That of course it the primary reason, but there is other things to do, although not truly out in the wilderness there is fair amount of wildlife to be seen. There are are hawks that hang out around the mine from time to time. There is a bald eagle that I have seen on several occasions. One day there was some type of weasel running through the air compressor I assume looking for mice. I have seen coyotes, deer and owls and there are many turkeys on occasion. In the fall is is nice to take a walk down by the river. We usually will do this on a Sunday so as not to have to worry about hunters. The dogs love this time as they are not having to compete with the mining. It is also nice to get up to the mine early and just find a place to sit in the sun and contemplate the mine and what needs to get done. Most of the time when working the mine there is some type of equipment running which ruins the solitude.
The Havey quarry overlooks the Hatch Farm on Mount Apatite Cookin Carol, now owns  it, and you can get access to the Hatch Ledge through her. Up beyond the farm house on the edge of the field is the Hatch Ledge where they first found tourmaline in this area in the 1860's. Feldspar production started in the late 1800's  farther up the hill in the wooded area. At the time it would have been all fields and you would have been able to see people working at several off the different quarries . The famous Pulsifer quarry noted for it's world class purple apatite would be out of the picture to the upper left on the lower slopes of Mount Apatite. This part of Mount Apatite is privately owned but access can be had by going through Poland Mining Camps. The wooded area behind the farm is part of Mount Apatite Park which is open to the public and many rock hounds continue to work the dump piles still finding some nice specimens, but you need to dig deep as they have been worked very hard. There has been some conversation about turning the dumps in the future. This is the only public tourmaline mine in the US that I know of and you can get it for free. When the miners were working for feldspar almost 100 years ago much of the tourmaline was looked at as a waste product and thrown on the dumps. 

Little Androscoggin River about 1/4 mile from the mine. Back in the early 1900's when they were working both Mount Apatite and the Berry Havey quarry for feldspar there was a raft they pulled across the river so as to be able to have quick access to both mining areas. Besides owning the Havey Quarry, Forest Havey also oversaw the production of some of the other feldspar mines. 

Trail along the edge of the property where they run sled dogs in the winter it makes for a great walking path as it gets very little use in the off season. Razz is some happy that he doesn't have to pull a sled in the winter. He much rather be under a warm blanket.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Otto's Pocket Extension

Photo by Ray Sprague Any pocket that is big enough to sleep in is a good pocket. This was a quartz pocket that we had been working on with  not a decent crystal in the whole pocket which is quite rare. It provided a nice respit on a hot summer day. We believe this pocket was part of  the Otto Pocket extension. 
Summer 2011 Although there was still some workable area in Otto's pocket it was hard going and the results were marginal. At this point it was difficult to work and  was mostly producing some inferior quartz crystals. Not that we were giving up on it but it was time to move forward and keep this as a fall back position. A blast had been done and there was a full entourage at the Havey, with Ray, Jim and Mike, myself and the dogs. Things were getting crowded. We were cleaning up from a blast hoping to find some interesting.. There were some  pink bubble gum colored tourmaline in quartz. They were completely opaque but they were still interesting. The area looked like it held potential and as the day went on Mike was holding out hoping that we were going to break into something soon. He had made another commitment and needed to head for home and he didn't want to miss the big score. After he left we continued scraping off some of the debris with the excavator, Jim motioned for me to stop and he  pulls out a smoky quartz crystal. Finding the smoky with the excavator is not what you hope to do, raking the teeth of a 30,000lb machine is not usually good for the specimen.

Here is diagram that was sent to Encar Roda PhD with some of the pockets labeled. As she is in Spain, Ray sends frequent updates to what is going on with the mining. This was taken a few weeks before we hit Otto's extension. What is labeled as the Big Smoky Quartz and Morganite Pocket would have been the original Otto's Pocket and the Otto's Extension is labeled Newest Big Pocket area. Where it is labeled Your Quartz Pocket, that is a pocket that Encar had worked in at the same time that we was working the Spaniard's Tourmaline pocket that is labeled in the corner. Of course  to get access into the pocket some ledge was needed to be blasted above it. 

Photo by Ray Sprague A couple of very dark smokies that had come out to the right of the hammer.

Photo by Ray Sprague A large parallel growth smoky you can see the underside in the picture above.
Jim got to work the right hand side of the pocket and I got to work the left and we met in the middle. My side was not producing much of interest, there were quite a few areas of micro quartz with an occasional few larger ones up to small finger size mixed in. Some of this material was put on the high grade dump pile for the collectors to find. Jim's side of the pocket was much different there were smoky quartz crystals stacked one on top of another and it was a difficult and slow puzzle to take apart. It was well worth the effort as a couple smoky quartz plates came out with very little damage.

Photo by Ray Sprague When this  was cleaned up and the staining removed it turned into a pretty spectacular specimen.

Photo by Ray Sprague Looks like I am trying to sneak over onto Jim's side which was producing much more interesting material than my side.

Photo by Ray Sprague Jim helping steady this large quartz crystal This is Raymonds contribution to the pocket. This came out just to the right and below Jim's feet in the previous picture. The smoky quartz side was down and the back side that was up was just plain ugly. It is was a nice piece when cleaned with several different types of quartz growth patterns. If my mother ever gives it up it will go back to it's rightful owner. Raymond spent several days working on getting it. 

After Raymond had removed enough material to get the large quartz there were several other large quartz crystals underneath it. Although they were all smaller and most came out in several pieces. This could be because I was working the area and didn't have the patience of Ray. Thankfully even though some of them came out in pieces non of them seemed to be as nice as Ray's. There was a lot of feldspar showing beyond this with dendrites and it looked promising for the pocket to keep going so we worked the area to find an additional chamber fill with you guessed it, more smoky quartz.

Its nice to have enough room to lay in the main pocket with room to spare and work  a "small" chamber off from it.  We knew it couldn't go much further as I had blasted in that area earlier in the year.  You can see the feldspar with the dendrites above where I am working. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


February 2013 While I went to Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, I took very few pictures and instead of my ramblings click on  Gail Spann's Tucson Adventure even those of us that go feel indebted to what she does. It is great that she takes the time and effort to put this information for all of us to see. Even if you can't go to Tucson, Gail gives you a feel for what it is like. Also check out other shows she has done in the past on the FMF Mineral Forum Thank You Gail for all you do. Keep checking back for updates as sometimes it takes her a little while to get it all on the site.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Otto's Pocket revisited

Summer 2011 Jim Nizamoff was suppose to come up for a day of mining. Where he doesn't come often I like to have something special for him to look at. He has the ability to get some identification done on difficult to identify specimens, it is worth giving him something special to see. Ray and I had been working a pocket in preparation of Jim coming, that was primarily quartz crystals but was showing some tourmaline cast and some other interesting mineralization but this quickly ran out. Knowing there was still some of Otto's pocket left to work on, we shifted gears and uncovered this pocket for Jim to be able to work in. We started working what was thought to be the bottom of the pocket with not much interesting showing, mostly some poor quality quartz crystals but with mining pegmatites you never know what will suddenly show up. I needed to leave early for a birthday party. All birthdays should should fall anytime of the year except mining season. Jim wanted to stay a while longer and see if anything showed up. Many hours later I get a call to find out that they started to find pocket beryl in the pocket. It was too late in the day for me to go up and Ray was taken the material home with him so I wouldn't get to see it for another week. This was exciting and frustrating at the same time. This would be the first pocket beryl that I had seen from the Havey and there wasn't much written historically on pocket beryl being found here.

photo by Ray Sprague Jim Nizamoff  with etched beryl he had just pulled out of the pocket with a cluster of lepidolite pillars.

photo by Ray Sprague Etched beryl from above, opposite side plus some other pieces that came out in the same area. One side has an orange tinge being morganite and the other side has a slight blue tinge which doesn't show clearly in the picture.

photo by Ray Sprague Lepidolite pillars-These show up periodically in the bottom of the pocket.

Etched beryl in the current bottom of Otto's pocket. Approximately 16cm across
These were not associated with the pocket but where in the same area and were 3 to 6cm across

Associated with the pocket beryl were some large quartz crystals although most like the one pictured above were not very pretty

I was chomping at the bit to get back up to the mine and check out the pocket beryl area. It can be frustrating to have to go to your day job instead of being able to go up to the mine. I did sneak up late one afternoon after work and did some digging in the pocket without much result. I needed to wait a couple of more days before I could go up and work it for an extended period of time. Finally the day came and I was able to go up and work the pocket in search of some additional pocket beryl. In the same area that Jim had found the initial pieces some other beryl started to show up. This was very exciting.  As we continued to work the pocket some pieces of tourmaline were showing up, they also were etched. The tourmaline was very sparse and the hope was that as we got deeper into the pocket tourmaline might show up or if there was a separate chamber that had a different growth habit that there might be a concentration of tourmaline.

Jim Nizamoff  working in Otto's pocket. The pocket had a substantial  side chamber but for its size it did not produce much. Some additional etched beryl came out along with quartz crystals some tourmaline, and a small amount of columbite. 
Photo by Jim Nizamoff Ray Sprague entering the Havey
This past winter miner Ray Sprague had seen the previous error of his ways and made the move to Maine. Rumor had it, this was so he could be closer to Roy's hamburgers in Auburn where he can often be found on mining days. With him moving to Maine and some changes at the Emmons, Ray moved his coffee pot temporarily to the Havey  It would be good to have some additional help. Ray has been mining long enough that he knew that it would not be all glamorous work. Everyone wants to help when there is a pocket to be dug but in reality that is a small percentage of mining. He is also very good at mineral identification and is good at cleaning specimens. I like to find specimens and Ray doesn't mind cleaning them, this was sounding good to me as I was getting quite a few pails stockpiled. Although I enjoy mining alone there is so much to do that having another set of hands and eyes would allow more mining to get done. In mining these pegmatites we really do not move very far in the course of a year and realizing there is more mining here than I can do in my lifetime it is good to speed up production. Move more rock, find more specimens. It is also great having someone who can identify the rarer minerals. I have to make sure I bring up Toot and Razz to keep Ray occupied in the slow times..  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New England Mineral Conference

Welcome Everyone,
 It is almost here, the first New England Mineral Conference. We invite you to check out the event at the link below. Anyone coming to the Maine Mineralogical and Geological Society club show this weekend can still register at the reduced rate. If you have not yet registered and would still like to come there is registration available the day of the events at the door. After 22 years of a successful run the Maine Mineral Symposium ended and left a void and people have been anxiously waiting for a return of a similar event. This years event will be held April 26th-28th at the Ramada Conference Center in Lewiston, Me. There is still lodging available for anyone traveling from away.
To give you a taste of what you can expect this year, the past president and founder of the Maine Mineral Symposium, Woody Thompson, will be presenting a celebration of Ray Woodman. For those of you that don’t know Ray, he was a State of Maine geologist who has been an avid collector and over the years amassed what is considered the most complete Maine mineral collection. Luckily, this collection ended up at the Maine Mineral Museum in Bethel that will open later this year. Carl Francis, of Harvard fame and now working with the Museum, will also speak on the collection and the museum. The museum will also be displaying some of the Ray Woodman collection. There will be many other displays from around New England, as well. Skip Simmons, PhD, pegmatologist from the University of New Orleans, will be our emcee and keynote speaker. Anyone who has heard Skip speak will tell you that you need to be here for this event.
Jeff Morrison
New England Mineral Association  

New England Mineral Conference

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Spaniard's Tourmaline Pocket

Late Spring 2011 It is difficult to explain the feeling of finding a nice tourmaline pocket after putting in all this time. I can say I  was on an adrenalin rush for almost a week and had a difficult time focusing at work. There had been so many times when I thought I was close to finding something with no results and then as I am trying to blast a road the pocket shows up. Some people even thought with all the work I had done that finding the pocket had come to quickly. I wasn't in this group as I may not have put in a lot of years but I had put in a lot of time. Maine is not known for giving up its colored tourmaline very easily. There are very few localities that produce consistently and even those can go years and sometimes decades considering people try mining and then give up and then someone new comes along with all kinds of energy and starts all over again. May 1st of this year it had relented to give up tourmaline at the Havey quarry and rumor was heard that up at Mount Marie Dennis Durgin had found a tourmaline pocket. Dennis has done a lot of mining at Mount Marie with many lean years but it looked like he had stuck it out long enough to reap some rewards. Click on the Mount Marie link to see some of the beautiful things that he has been finding recently. It's encouraging to here of other miners finding pockets as it mine although sometimes producing similar minerals there growth habit can be dramatically different.

After originally working on the tourmaline pocket for a period of time the decision had been made to cover the remnants of the pocket and open it back up after the Pegmatite Workshop had taken place. This would be over a month away but Encar Rhoda who is doing research at the mine was coming over from Spain and this would be a great opportunity for her to see a Havey tourmaline pocket with some of the tourmaline still in place. It was also a chance to look at the pocket with some of the excitement at least from my part worn off. Opening up a pocket can be like a kid having free rein in the candy store and grabbing for everything and and not appreciating the need for some patience and slow down to appreciate the experience.

photo by Al Falster Taking  Toot for a walk. I am sure that Jim dropped the stick first.
The day came to reveal the tourmaline pocket and the boulders that were hiding and protecting the pocket were removed. Anticipation was building as it is always difficult to know what may be left. Sometimes the pockets just end abruptly and other times you may find an additional area that you weren't aware of. The first thing that needed to be done was to start washing away some of the debris. Washing usually highlights any of the color that might be there, it can be very productive when searching for tourmaline. With the initial washing a couple of small pieces were found which was nice but wasn't exactly what we were hoping to find. Then came an area that had some kaolin and as the kaolin was washed away the tourmaline kept showing up. This was a great photo op for all those present. This area was a little beyond my original workings and indicated that the pocket may have continued in this direction. Where the top of the pocket had gotten blown off  there was great access into the pocket. Most of the time if you break into the side of the pocket taking pictures can be difficult at best. Now hopefully we would find some additional material to collect and photograph.

photo by Al Falster Washing down the area in search of tourmaline.

photo by Raymond Sprague An area that had been washed down , with most of the kaolin and some of the fines removed.

Photo by Ray Sprague Freshly washed tourmaline pieces

Photo by  Jim Nizamoff  Havey Tourmaline right from the pocket.

photo by Alexander Falster  Except for some watermelon tourmaline almost all the tourmaline that came out of this pocket was almost identical in color.

photo by Ray Sprague The bottom of the pocket. The pocket went up and behind the large quartz crystal on the upper left of the picture.

photo by Jim Nizamoff  Some of the tourmaline under the large quartz crystal

Encar Roda-PhD working the Spaniards Pocket in search of tourmaline. This is how the pocket got its name.

 Working the pocket
This was a great day. We found several areas that I had not cleaned out from the previous mining episode. Everyone got a chance that wanted to, to dig in the pocket and pull out some nice Maine tourmaline.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tucson Bound

To anyone that is heading for Tucson to the greatest mineral show on earth there will be some Havey mineral specimens available to look at, if interested. John Whitney will have some material in room 163 at the Arizona Mineral and Fossil Show at the Hotel Tucson City Center. Click on the purple link and it will take you to the website for the show.  John has other Maine minerals from many of the other Maine mines. Tucson in February is very nice. High temperatures around 70. If you are from a cold climate this is a nice break. Yes there is much to see out there and it will take you several trips to get the hang of the different venues. Although I am not a desert person it is beautiful in its own way and there are many other things to do in the Tucson area besides look at mineral specimens. That will be a later topic.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Field Trips

Spring 2011 I don't think any miner is big on having field trips come to their mine. I know I am not. It is a tremendous amount of work especially if they are going to be let inside the quarry. It usually takes a day or two to make the mine, people friendly and then I lose a day of mining while people are here. I didn't take up mining to become a tour guide. That being said it is great to see people learning new things especially the younger ones who have awe in their eyes. Some of the younger ones have a greater knowledge than many of the adults. There are some great field collectors, that come and it is a pleasure to meet them. As safe as we make it at the quarry there is always someone who thinks they need to try and access the most dangerous spot to see what is there and they become a danger to themselves and others around them. Rocks hurt when you fall on them or they fall on someone else and they are much heavier than they look. Groups would do themselves a favor if they policed their own a little better. As with most groups it is a very small percentage who ruins it for the rest. If you would like to visit the Havey I would recommend Poland Mining Camps as they are the only ones allowed in on a regular basis. I also let college geology classes in if it fits my schedule.

Yes the rumor is true the top of the tourmaline pocket was blasted off and ends up being spread around the mine.I had tried to keep it quiet about finding the tourmaline pocket, but it is amazing how quickly news travels in the mining world, much of it ends up being exaggerated. I believe this is caused some by us all dreaming of the perfect specimens. Mention of the word tourmaline brings visions of big gem crystals when many times it is opaque with no crystal structure at all. After working the tourmaline pocket and with a couple different groups coming in I had covered up the remnants of the pocket so that no one was going to get to it. Knowing that I had blasted off the top of the pocket I had looked around and washed off a fairly large area without finding much tourmaline, but when the Maine Mineral Symposium field trip shows up on a rainy day they have some pretty good success. Of course they have the advantage of many eyes and hands going through many different areas. Although rain can deter some it brings out the color in the rock that has a tendency to fade on a dry sunny day. There was plenty of fresh blasted rock and much of this rock had come from the mineralized zone so that it had many nice specimens although many didn't have much value, it is still great to find some color. It's also wonderful to see some of the youngsters out there looking and finding some nice specimens. They sometimes get some specimens that I have lying around that I don't really want to take home but are worth too much to throw away. I think it is great when the field trip participants find something nice. As a miner we don't spend much time going through the dumps unless it is right after a blast and we think something may have got blasted out. In this case I knew some material had been blasted from the pocket but the chances of me finding something was small although I am always on the look out.

A piece of gem tourmaline found by Barbara Liebman at the Maine Mineral Symposium field trip.  This was not the only piece of tourmaline found this summer. The best piece that someone found in the dumps was the best piece of  gem rough that came out of the whole pocket.  I am not asking for it back but would take it if you get tired of it. 

Another find from the Symposium trip was this nice smoky scepter. I was a little jealous on this one. It was a wet day but with finds like this no one was leaving
                                                                                                                                                   The Pegmatite Workshop was next to show up. This is a great group as there are many knowledgeable people. The workshop is a one week event where participants spend half a day in the classroom and half a day out in the field at a different mine everyday. I try to have the mine cleaned up for the workshop as there are many scientist in this group and they want to see what is actually going on in the pegmatite. Some of what they want to collect I wouldn't even give a second look at.  It is also a great time to get some people shots as there usually are some very colorful shirts worn by this group. I would highly recommend this event for anyone interested in pegmatites especially from Maine as it is truly a world class group. This event will not be held until 2014 as the Peg 2013 International Symposium will take place in New Hampshire and Maine during this period. Peg 2013 is geared a little more toward the pegmatite experts. I believe this is a first time that it has been held in the USA. There are both a lectures and field trips and this event will have participants from all over the world.

Photo by Raymond Sprague Anticipation builds as participants to the Pegmatite workshop near the entrance to the mine . For some it will be the first time that they have been here. Most that come have a wonderful time. 

photo by Al Falster Some of the Workshop participants eagerly waiting for the green light to go into the quarry.

Photo by Al Falster Yes that is Skip Simmons helping Jim Nizamoff remove a large specimen from the wall.
Photo by Raymond Sprague  Al Falster and one of the paricipants in front of one of the quartz pockets from last fall.