Saturday, September 28, 2013

Calcite Mine Field Trip

When I was in third grade, I went on a school field trip to "the calcite mine." It was somewhere out on the west side of Utah Lake, in the middle of nowhere it seemed to me, and I think it was on that same trip that we visited a Ghost Town (which I also don't remember the name of, or why it existed). I can't believe how much I've forgotten, but I DO remember the thrill of finding the beautiful pieces of calcite as they sparkled in the sun, and I remember collecting and taking home a whole bucketful (which my mom says she still has somewhere).

When we started this rock and mineral unit, my first thought was "maybe we can go to the calcite mine!" But I had no idea how to find it. I tried searching online but didn't find anything definitive, and that area has changed so much in the last 25 years, I wasn't even sure if the place still existed. I asked my mom and she had the same sort of vague memories of the place that I did---"somewhere west of Utah Lake."

Finally I found a blog post by someone talking about collecting calcite out near Pelican Point. That fit with what I remembered, so we decided to head down there and see what we could find. You drive way down Redwood Road until you get to Pelican Point, and then turn immediately west, toward the mountain, at the Dyno-Nobel sign. There are some areas fenced off that must be part of that, but as you drive west you soon pass some large piles of rock (mine tailings?) and some abandoned buildings that I'm guessing used to be part of a mining operation there. I have no idea if this is the same mine I visited in 3rd grade, but it had lots of beautiful calcite to pick up, and we loved it! 
I loved seeing the old buildings. To the right of this picture you can see the entrance to the mine (fenced off now). We peered in but couldn't see much.
Love this old boxcar too. And the advertising: "Be specific---ship Union Pacific!" Catchy!
Rickety conveyor belt
I love the banded pieces of calcite---such pretty colors and interesting patterns!
Honey-colored calcite crystals
I love the neat way calcite cleaves apart---it makes such pretty little flat crystals!
Bands of calcite through rock
These crystals with flat faces are my very favorites
but Sam loves the tall, pointy ones best!
Those piles behind Seb just look like sand or gravel, but when you get up close they are full of tiny, sparkling pieces of calcite! They were beautiful in the sun.
It was a gorgeous day and a beautiful place to collect rocks!

UPDATE: See some tumbled calcite here!

1 comment:

  1. good post! I love the tall, pointy ones best to!


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