June 4, 2011
This trip was run by the Michiana Gem & Mineral Society. The quarry is only about 4 hours from South Bend, so it was a day trip for most of the members. Because it’s a bit further from my house, and there’s a time difference, Barb & I made it a weekend trip. We drove to Bellefontaine, Ohio on Friday (about 6 miles past Huntsville) and stayed in a motel. From there I went to the quarry on Saturday, and we returned home on Sunday.
We met in the parking lot of the quarry before 11:30 AM and signed in at the office. The manager had shown one of our members who arrived early the best places to collect. At 11:30, when work stopped for the day, we were allowed to drive into the quarry, and asked to lock the gate when we left for the day.
The weather turned out to be perfect. The forecast had been for temperatures in the 90’s and thunderstorms, but it was clear and in the low 80’s. There was even a pleasant breeze down in the quarry.
The minearals found here are pyrite, dolomite and calcite. There’s also fluorite and sphalerite reported, but they are uncommon. I didn’t find any.
The main interest here is the pyrite. It’s found in a variety of crystal forms. In addition to the cube, octahedron, pyritohedron and combinations, diploids are quite common.
Some of the pyrite is iridescent. The picture above shows some iridescent pyrite on the left, some pyrite crystals with combinations of forms (I think octahedron/pyritohedron) in the center, and a dolomite crystal with rounded pyritohedrons of pyrite on top.
The quarry is fairly shallow, but spread out. Fortunately, the floor of the quarry is flat and smooth, so it is possible to drive around in it easily, even in a passenger car.