Mindat Logo

History and Mineralology of the Strickland Quarry

Last Updated: 13th Apr 2012

The Strickland Quarry is debatably the most famous locality in Connecticut. The amount of minerals it produced was impressive, as was the quality of specimans. Strickland lies on the eastern side of Collins Hill in Portland, Connecticut.

History:
The Strickland quarry was operated for high-grade feldspar and from 1904 to 1960s. There is some speculation of the date the operation was started. It is possible that operations began in the 1840's. The owner from 1904 to 1945 was Mr. F. E. Strickland. He collected many interesting specimans from his quarry, and these can be found in some old collections. The nearby Schoonmaker/Cramer Mine, an underground operation, was not connected to the Strickland Quarry. However, Strickland did have some underground workings. The larger northern dumps belonged to the Schoonmaker mine.

The Strickland Quarry was leased to Eureka Flint & Spar Co., Eureka Mining & Operating Co., or Eureka Mica & Mining Co. The operators after Strickland were George Wilkes, and then William Wilkes. As well as faldspar and mica production, Strickland is noted for beryl, gem, and quartz production. Operations ended in the 1960s.

While the quarry was owned by Strickland, collectors could work in the dumps. They were allowed to keep anything that wasn't particularly gemmy. These were given to Strickland, and would eventualy be sold. Specimans found while working the quarry were sometimes sold to visitors. According to W. G. Foye's article "Mineral Localities in the Vicinity of Middletown, Connecticut", Strickland was "...an expert on the minerals of his quarry, and save(d) carefully any unusual crystals."

Collecting in the dumps continued into the 1990's until the property was bought and developed into a golf course. Although the dumps and flooded pit still remain, collecting isn't allowed. It is possible that, in the future, a very generous person will own property with a portion of the dumps on it and allow collectors to dig there.

maps at:
pubs.usgs.gov/pp/0255/plate-48.pdf
pubs.usgs.gov/pp/0255/plate-47.pdf


Minerals:
One of the most notable localities in Connecticut for tourmaline is Strickland. Not only is the quarry described to have produced the only asbestiform tourmaline found in the state, but many specimens of high quality blue-green Elbaite were found in miarolitic cavities in cleavalandite. After operations ceased, nice Elbaites could still be found in the dump, but it is likely that none were as good as ones discovered while the quarry was operating. Earl V. Shannon described a crystal he found on the dumps in his article:
"The writer picked up one mass weighing approximately three kilograms and completely encrusted with the brown secondary crust. When split this mass was found to be a single crystal aggregate of tourmaline, purplish at the base, rubellite pink in the central portion and green in the upper third"(52-53).

Pic 1

Pic 2

Pic 1

Pic 2


Spodumene, beryl, lepidolite, cleavelindite, and quartz from the quarry are also of note. Nail-head calcite is described as coming from the quarry by Foye.

Calcite was found in small cavities in the cleavelandite. They were micro sized rounded crystals or cleavage masses.

Pic 1

Pic 2


Some Spodumenes from Strickland may have been gemmy, but most crystals I have seen are by no means translucent. Strickland spods are known to give off beautiful orange phosphorescence. Shannon describes there size as "...crystals up to 3 dm. in length..."(52). Unlike Branchville material, it never altered to cymatolite. Some did alter to what Shannon describes as "...a woody, fibrous substance like anthophyllite in appearance"(52)

Pic 1

Pic 2


Gem aquamarines were uncovered in the dump and quarry, some quite large. Other beryls found were green (common beryl), Heliodor, and Morganite. Some of the best Connecticut beryls the author has seen were found at Strickland.

Pic 1

Pic 2


The cleavelandite was often a light blue color, and ranged from course to very fine grained. Small cavities between cleavelandite crystals housed nice columbite crystals, small smoky quartz crystals, pyrite, and K-feldspar.


Quartz crystals were normally smoky or milky, some with an interesting yellow tinge. It was described as citrine by Foye, and it is quite probable. some crystals had tourmaline inclusions. There may have also been some rose quartz found. Some larger quartz crystals ended up in museums, and one particular cluster is in the Wesleyan Mineral Museum. Very rarely, an amethyst specimen would turn up. One such the writer has seen was a scepter cluster photographed by Harold Moritz.

Pic 1

Pic 2

Pic 1

Pic 2

The lepidolite was found in mostly fine grained masses, some being rather large. However, there was some course material found.


Triplite was occasionally found at Strickland, but was not common.


Rather ugly petalite was found from time to time.

A rather significant amount of annite was present at Strickland. A particularly interesting annite was found by the author's father, in association with columbite.


Montebrasite was found in the cleavelandite, although they were very poor as specimens. The were almost all massive.


The purple apatite from this quarry is particularly notable. They were often well formed and transparent, although not all that big.

Pic 1

Pic 2


Pockets produced decent pyrite, flourite, analcime, bertrandite, and sphalerite specimens from time to time. The
bertrandite was actually rather nice, with good transparent crystals found. Most of these minerals were on a bed of K-rich albite, or platy cleavelandite.

Pic 1

Pic 2

Pic 1

Pic 2

Pic 1

Pic 2


Fine tantalites were found in some pockets. These were deep maroon, elongated prisms.


Strickland produced world class wodginite, tapered crystals up to 6cm. They were often translucent.


Excellent, large columbites formed in pockets and cleavelandite. Many double terminated crystals were produced, and are a joy to own. Sub parallel groups up to around 15cm were found, although the pocket columbites were only micros. These often have vivid iridescence

Pic 1

Pic 2


During operations, Strickland produced a descent amount of uraninite. According to Foye, "The greater part of the uraninite from Portland has come from a small area near the hanging wall of the quarry." The writer has seen some nice specimens, and has one minor piece, but it would certainly be nice to see this supposed amount all together.


Uranium secondaries there aren't often acknowledged as being prominent here, but some average specimens of torbernite, autunite, and uranophane.

Pic 1

Pic 2


Schorl crystals were mostly shattered, but some descent crystals were found in the pegmatite and the surrounding schist. Some schorls from the pocket zones graded up to elbaite at the termination. These make very attractive specimens,
and one of the author's favorite specimens from Strickland is one such piece. It also has some balls of cookite on it.

Pic 1

Pic 2


Almandine was frequent in small gem crystals. Larger crystals were found, and were still sharply formed! They rival the almandine from the nearby Nathan Hall, which are large and very nice. Some attractive combos of massive green Mn-bearing flourapatite and almandine were also found.

Pic 1

Pic 2


Some interesting specimens of zinnwaldite mica were found, although not frequently. Some was fine grained and formed interesting wavy patterns, while others were little crystals scattered in matrices. It looks rather like lepidolite.


Some nice zircon was found, although small. They are similar to those found at the other pegmatites in central CT.


Monazite crystals were occasionally found.

Minerals found in the schist formations around the pegmatite include rutile, garnet, zoisite(?), and cordierite (var. iolite).



Mindat Mineral List: (the author apologizes for the length ;])
Actinolite
Albite
var: Cleavelandite
var: Oligoclase
Allanite-(Ce) ?
Almandine
Amblygonite
Analcime
Anatase
Anglesite
Annite
Aragonite
Arsenolite
Arsenopyrite
Augelite
Autunite
Bavenite
Bertrandite
Beryl
var: Aquamarine
var: Heliodor
var: Morganite
Bismite
Bismuthinite ?
Bismutite
Bityite
Brazilianite ?
Calcite
Cassiterite
Chalcopyrite
'Chlorite Group'
Chrysotile
Clinozoisite
Columbite-(Fe)
Cookeite
Cordierite
Crandallite
Dickinsonite-(KMnNa)
Diopside
Elbaite
Eosphorite
Epsomite
Eucryptite ?
Fairfieldite ?
Fluorapatite
var: Mn-bearing Fluorapatite
Fluorite
Foitite
Gahnite
Galena
Gobbinsite
Goethite
Graphite
Greenockite
Grossular
Gypsum
Hematite
Hureaulite
Ilmenite ?
Kaolinite
Kyanite
Lacroixite
Lepidolite
Limonite
Lithiophilite
Magnetite
'Manganese Oxides'
'var: Manganese Dendrites'
Manganite ?
Melanterite
Meta-autunite
Microcline
Microlite Group
Mitridatite
Molybdenite
Monazite-(Ce)
Montebrasite
Montmorillonite
Morinite ?
Muscovite
Natromontebrasite ?
Opal
var: Opal-AN
Orthoclase
Petalite
Phenakite
Phlogopite
Pickeringite
'Pinite'
Planerite
Pollucite
'Prochlorite'
Purpurite
Pyrite
Pyrochlore Group
Pyrolusite
Pyrrhotite
Quartz
var: Amethyst
var: Citrine
var: Milky Quartz
var: Rock Crystal
var: Rose Quartz
var: Smoky Quartz
Reddingite
Rhodochrosite
Rhodonite
Rutile
Samarskite-(Y) ?
'Scapolite'
Scheelite
Schorl
Scorodite
Siderite
Spessartine
Sphalerite
Spodumene
var: Kunzite
Sulphur
Tantalite
Tantalite-(Mn)
Titanite
Topaz ?
Torbernite
'Tourmaline'
'var: Rubellite'
'var: Verdelite'
Triplite
Uraninite
Uranophane
Vesuvianite ?
Vivianite
'Voltzite'
Wardite ?
Wodginite
Wollastonite
Xenotime-(Y)
Zinnwaldite
Zircon
var: Cyrtolite
Zoisite

More information:

Other articles:
Earl V. Shannon
www.minsocam.org/ammin/AM5/AM5_51.pdf
W. G. Foye
www.minsocam.org/msa/collectors_corner/arc/cnmiddletown.htm

Mindat Page:
www.mindat.org/loc-3708.html


Refrences
-Shannon, Earl V. (1920): Strickland's Quarry, Portland Connecticut (American Mineralogist 5:51-54)
-Foye, W. G. (1922): Mineral Localities in the Vicinity of Middletown, Connecticut (American Mineralogist 7:4-12)
-Mindat. 19 November 2011. www.mindat.org/loc-3708.html
-Rowan M. Lytle Mineral Collection
-Christian R. Lytle Mineral Collection

Photos Courtesy Harold Moritz




Article has been viewed at least 14836 times.

Comments

Finale, after announcing i Would write this article this past winter-spring it is done! I would appreciate any contributions, including photos and personal stories.

Rowan Lytle
20th Nov 2011 5:27am
Nice job Rowan. One small correction is that I do not actually possess the amethyst pictured, I just photographed it for the owner so it could be posted on mindat before it was sold.

Harold Moritz
22nd Nov 2011 9:46pm
Excellent article, Rowan. Thanks very much. I started collecting at Strickland in around 1951, and continued until I left Connecticut for Oregon in 1985. I have quite a few Strickland specimens to photograph and post on Mindat, and will do so as time allows. They include several specimens of capillary toumaline which have been quite challenging to photograph through my microscope, but I'm not satisfied enough with the quality of the pictures to post them. I'm still working on them.

Mickey Marks
22nd Nov 2011 11:48pm
oops.... edited

p.s. You are very lucky to have collected there Mickey, since I moved here I have dreamed about it!
-Rowan Lytle

Rowan Lytle
23rd Nov 2011 6:04pm
Awesome article Rowan!

-Matthew

Matthew Kimball
23rd Nov 2011 7:07pm
Superb article, Rowan! Great job!
Joe


Joe Mulvey
24th Nov 2011 12:01pm
Rowan, I have one large cabinet specimen of fluorapatite with 3 blue and purple xls, 2 damaged, but each over 1 inch across!

Tony Albini
22nd Dec 2012 4:03pm

In order to leave comments to this article, you must be registered
Mineral and/or Locality  
Search Google  
Copyright © Jolyon Ralph and Ida Chau 1993-2014. Site Map. Locality, mineral & photograph data are the copyright of the individuals who submitted them. Site hosted & developed by Jolyon Ralph. Mindat.org is an online information resource dedicated to providing free mineralogical information to all. Mindat relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters. Mindat does not offer minerals for sale. If you would like to add information to improve the quality of our database, then click here to register.
Current server date and time: July 13, 2014 08:16:23
Mineral and Locality Search
Mineral:
and/or Locality:
Options
Fade toolbar when not in focusFix toolbar to bottom of page
Hide Social Media Links
Slideshow frame delay seconds