Field Trip Report Bookcliffs
May 12-14, 2006

by Ron Knoshaug

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On the very hot long weekend of May 12-14, 2006 we had a joint field trip to the Bookcliffs. Ron and Judy Knoshaug went over to Grand Junction Thursday to check out the area and be able to get to the digging area bright and early Friday morning. We found a buried nodule and began to excavate the area to break into the nodule. We probably found the nodule with the thickest and hardest shale covering possible. Using all the tools we brought (16 lb sledge hammer, 4 lb crack hammer, assortment of chisels, and a stout bar) and all the strength we could muster, we finally broke into it by midday.

About 9:30 AM Don and Gail Beamer and Sharon Perry arrive and set about to find barite. Don put a reflective tarp over Gail’s digging area and she was able to dig in some comfort out of the sun in a relative cool area. Ted Gildea and Tim Hillsten arrived sometime in the morning and go exploring in other areas for barite. By 5 PM, after a day in the heat and sun, we all called it a day and headed for town for a cold shower and dinner at Applebee’s.

On Saturday, back to the digging area we all went. We were joined by Tom Miller, Bob Loeffler and Robert Barber. By noon, Judy and I had broken away a large part of the outer part of the nodule and began to hunt for the barite and calcite.

Ted and Tim again explored new areas and found some nice but partially cloudy barite. Gail found some small, but very clear crystals. Sharon found many crystals and probably had the best finds for the trip. After all the work of breaking a very hard, totally un-weathered nodule, Judy and I found only a few clear keepers. The most interesting one is shown below. Note the phantom in the flat crystal.

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