Ardglen Quarry, Ardglen, NSW
Last Updated: 3rd Jan 2013
Ardglen Quarry is located near the village of Ardglen, in the county of Buckland in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.
Ardglen itself is a very small rural village with a few dozen homes plus the quarry and is located approximately 4.5 kms North-West of Murrurundi.
The geo co-ordinates for Ardglen Quarry are 31°44'21"S 150°46'49"E. Ardglen Quarry is clearly visible using Google Maps.
It is unclear as to when Ardglen Quarry first commenced operations but it certainly appears that the quarry has operated since 1903. It is of interest to note that the former railway station of Ardglen, which was renamed in June 1883, was once called Doughboy Hollow (circa 1877). At this time "kerosene shale" had been discovered here, but not acted upon. This may indicate that quarrying occurred here in the 1880’s as ballast would have been required for the railway line.
Ardglen Quarry provides crushed rock for railway ballast and road construction throughout NSW. The quarry is connected to the main Western Rail Line which makes for the easy supply of rail ballast throughout the State. In addition, Quarry Road connects Ardglen Quarry with the New England Highway and provides easy access for the distribution of aggregate by road.
The current (2012) owners of the quarry (Daracon Group) extended the quarry westward and plan to remediate the previously quarried areas.
Geology and minerals of the quarry
The quarry is centred on three olivine-rich Tertiary basalt flows. The upper flow extends up to 30 metres and the lower flows up to 14 metres. I note that in one paper it was suggested that the two lower basalt flows may not be Tertiary. I have not found any further evidence to confirm this either way.
Minerals that have been documented from Ardglen Quarry include Analcime, Apatite, Apophyllite-(KOH), Aragonite, Augite, Biotite, Calcite, Chabazite-Ca, Chabazite-Na, 'Chlorite Group', 'Gmelinite', Gyrolite, Manganocalcite, Natrolite, Phillipsite-Na, Prehnite, Pyroxene group, Saponite, Serpentine, Thomsonite-Ca and Todorokite .
Ardglen Quarry is primarily famous for its Natrolite specimens and it appears that Natrolite is the most common crystallised mineral found here. Natrolite appears throughout the quarry in all three lava flows. The Natrolite xls generally consist of micro to 5mm size xls and are found as radiating masses and densely matted veins although some Natrolite xls have been found to around 4 cms.
Minerals are found within small amygdaloidal cavities and joints and fissures within the basalt flows. Calcite was probably the first mineral formed in these amygdaloidal cavities as it often forms a glutonous base on which other minerals are attached. Most of the Calcite is found as thin seams and crusts rather than crystals. Calcite xls larger than micro appear to be rare and are generally found as rhombi or scalenohedrons.
Various zeolites were also found in the nearby Ardglen Rail Tunnel which was opened on 13 August 1877. The geo co-ordinates for the tunnel are 31°75’56"S - 150°79’37”E. The NSW State government is proposing to widen the tunnel to create an extra rail line for the coal industry and this may produce further specimens in the future.
Collecting at the quarry
I first collected here in the mid 1960s when I accompanied my parents on a lapidary club trip to the quarry. I have visited the quarry twice since then. I think my last visit was around 2006 and the quarry had been extended westwards. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to collect on that occasion but I could see poor quality Natrolite in scattered basalt boulders.
While Ardglen Quarry is an active quarry, collecting generally is not permitted although the Mineralogical Society of NSW was recently (2011) given permission to collect there on a non-operating day (last minute circumstances prevented me from attending this visit). Apparently many members of the Society collected a range of zeolites on that occasion.
Ardglen Quarry is likely to produce zeolite specimens for many years and it is hoped that the quarry owners will continue to permit occasional supervised collecting to both help preserve the mineral heritage of New South Wales and to facilitate further study of the mineral assemblages found at this quarry.
|1.||Proposed Ardglen Quarry Extension, Preliminary Assessment, Daracon Quarries October 2006|
|2.||Hodge-Smith T.: Notes on the Occurrence of Zeolites, Ardglen, New South Wales: records of the Australian Museum, (1924)14(3) 213-222|
a. England B.M.: Additional Na-rich zeolite species and their associations from Ardglen, New South Wales. Australian Journal of Mineralogy Vol. 6 No.1 June 2000 pp 33-40.
b. England B.M and Sutherland FL: Volcanic Zeolites and associated minerals from New South Wales. Mineralogical Record (1988) Vol. 19 (6) pp 389-406.
c. McNevin A.A.: Zeolites. Departmental Geological Survey Report July 1973.
d. Tschernich Rudy W.: Zeolites of the World, Geoscience Press Inc., Phoenix, Arizona p 358.
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Locality Updated: Champblanc quarries, Cherves-Richemont, Charente, Poitou-Charentes, FranceFrom Uwe Kolitsch, 10th Dec 2013 16:27:16