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The All New Adventures of Dances With Snakes

Lincoln, MO, Hamilton, IL, and Canton, MO

May 5th - 7th, 2006

Another McRocks Field Trip Perspective

Keokuk Geode Hunt

    Let's start this trip in Lincoln, MO with a visit to the Gilded Lilly where we meet up with Mike Bates of the Mozarkite Society of Lincoln, and Dale Lawrence of Dale's Creations. Both gentlemen are jewelry designers and feature their work for sale at the Gilded Lilly in Lincoln.

    Mozarkite is an attractive, highly-colored cryptocrystalline variety of quartz appearing in many colors and shades of colors such as red, blue, brown, pink, white, yellow, black raspberry, salmon and green which is very scarce. The formation of the stone created a "swirling" of the various colors. When the stone is "cut open or sliced", (using a diamond edge saw blade), the exposed surface often reveals pictures. It takes little imagination to find faces, mountains, lakes, trees, waterfalls, etc. One such piece is displayed in the Truman Library in Independence bearing the likeness of a Missouri Mule. Mozarkite has a hardness of 7.5 to 7.75 on the Mohs scale (diamonds are 10), which qualifies it as a suitable material for semiprecious gemstone. The hardness allows the stone to be worked to a high polish. (Source: Mozarkite Society of Lincoln Website, http://www.mozarkite.com/).

    Myself and Floyd Speck met with Mike and Dale at the Gilded Lilly just after 12:30pm on Friday. Mike had talked with the owner of the Mozarkite locality, eighty year old Linville Harms of Sedalia, whose 56 acre farm is virtually the only place you can go to collect good quality, un-fractured Mozarkite. Mr. Harms occasionally rips a new trench with a backhoe to expose a  fresh supply of Mozarkite, usually for the annual Mozarkite Society Dig. Despite the fact that the last time this was done was sometime last year (2005), there was ample material to collect in virtually every color combination, including some deep reds from a special "spot" of Dale's. If you have an interest in collecting this material, which incidentally is also the state rock of Missouri, contact the Mozarkite Society of Lincoln. They will be happy to help.

    The next leg of our journey takes us to Alexandria, MO, and the site of now abandoned, and soon to be demolished, Sheffler's Rock Shop. We decided we should take a picture or two before this historic place meets it's final demise. the huge boulders of collectable stone that make up the outside of the shop are astounding. Rose Quartz, Aventurine, Potosi-stone, Quartz lined geodes, Serpentine, Lepidolite, Feldspar, even Lapis, make walking around the building a real adventure!

    We spent just a short time here before continuing on to Keokuk to meet up with the group at Hickory Haven Campground, just outside town. When we arrived, we found Everett Harrington, his mom Celia, Carole Poole, and Donna Templeton socializing over a bucket of fried chicken and sides, and cracking geodes they had already been out collecting that day at ESP and Geode Glen. They graciously shared their chicken, biscuits, mashed taters and slaw with Floyd and I (Thanks guys! It hit the spot!). It was like it always is when getting together with folks who share a common interest in rocks, like we have all known each other for years!

    I tried to get a shot of one of Everett's small geodes from Geode Glen that has Marcasite and Pyrite scepters, and a wonderful little "star" comprised of Marcasite needles and Pyrite Cubes all intersected by a single pyrite cube. The formation is tiny but beautiful, hopefully Everett will be able to provide a clear microphotograph of the specimen soon. It was difficult to try and get a good picture using a flashlight... To the right you will see a Pyrite cube impaled on a Marcasite needle, and a tine hair of Marcasite protruding from the top of the cube. To the left is the "star" of the picture. All sitting on a bed of fine quartz crystals.

    Saturday morning found us at the All American (formerly Keokuk Family Restaurant) on the bank of the Mississippi River in Keokuk. Here we met up with other members of the group including Cori Nelson from Wisconsin, Bill Clark from Connecticut, and Rich Ewick from Massachusetts. Altogether we had ten individuals in the group. Our destination of the day was to be Gary Jacobs geode mine across the river in Hamilton, Illinois. After breakfast we headed out for the day's adventures. the following pictures tell a tale of mystery and intrigue beyond the imagination...

The road leading up the hill to the mine, and looking back at the creek crossing.

Everyone is happily digging away!

Dig organizer Everett Harrington says: "Oh, now that wasn't fair!" Everett taste tests a petrified "muffin" he dug out of the wall... "A little gritty..."

Continued on page two... 2







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