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Texas Rock Collecting Sites

Posted by Tanya Cole  
avatar Texas Rock Collecting Sites
April 06, 2010 07:08PM
    
I've done a lot of exploring in my quests to find public access rockhounding sites and have started to save the GPS coordinates when I find some good stuff that I think others might be interested in. I've got coordinates for one right now and will add the others as time permits.

Llano River Public Access Entry Point, near downtown Llano: lat=30.7503786438, lon=-98.6668755605
I thought this first place was well known...but, I didn't get any results when I did the search for it here. The Llano River has an amazing variety of rocks - many are creekworn but there are some decent size rocks on the banks. I found things like schist, gneiss, mica, quartz, granite and several other pretty specimens that I haven't identified yet. The water at this point of entry was about ankle deep in most places and there are several large boulders you can rest on while you pick through the endless cache of river rocks.

Pics attached are of river & bank, rocks on the bank and pebbles & rocks in the water (keep in mind that the appearance of the rocks under water is altered from shadows).

If anyone has any coordinates on other public access entry points, please share :)
Attachments:
open | download - llano river and bank.jpg (595.1 KB)
open | download - bank of llano river.jpg (884.8 KB)
open | download - llano river rocks and pebbles.jpg (916.2 KB)
avatar Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
April 06, 2010 09:40PM
    
I've been there several times for rocks but mineral specimen public access sites are so limited in Texas. So sad.
avatar Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
April 06, 2010 10:53PM
    
I know what you mean. I did find at least a couple of minerals there though: mica & quartz....albeit, not the most sought after :)

I'll post info on another spot I ran across with public access where I found some pegmatite which contains some crystals - but, I'm not sure which mineral...maybe tourmaline. I'll include a picture...
avatar Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
April 06, 2010 11:31PM
    
Old Mason Road Pegmatite, Mason County: N 30°49.538’, W 99°14.156’

There are a couple of spots (public access/side of the road) in addition to this one along this road where you can find pegmatite bearing granite outcroppings. Attached is a picture of a chunk I got that has some nice crystals...of which mineral, I am uncertain. There's also a picture of one of the outcroppings.
Attachments:
open | download - Mason County Granite Pegmatite.jpg (765.9 KB)
open | download - 2010 01 Mason Pegmatic Granite Outcrop.JPG (915.5 KB)
avatar Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
April 07, 2010 12:31AM
There are a lot of neat things out in the Hill Country to explore geologically, but as Denise says, finding public access out there is nearly impossible. We take a group of college students on a geologic field trip to the Austin/Inks Lake area and we even have to get special permission to go places. Your best bet for Texas collecting is out west near Big Bend, but I have heard of pet wood in the NE part of the state as well.
avatar Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
April 07, 2010 12:50AM
    
I hear ya Paul! I have been really, really, really wanting to Big Bend! I've had a couple of opportunities and the timing wasn't right. I have my itinerary almost planned out - but, I need more than a long weekend for that trip. I'd like to go when I can stay for a whole week. It'd be different if flying was an option - but....hmmmm...I can imagine how much my airline baggage fees would be with all of the things I hope to find! I've got a few small petrified wood specimens - but, I do hope to checkout the Piney Woods area one day for a big piece for my collection.

About the public access areas - you are right! They are very difficult to find. Luckily, I enjoy searching for spots almost (at a different level) as much as looking for rocks. After spending a lot of time prospecting to find legal, public places to find rocks, I like sharing the spots with others...which is why I started this post. But, I can see how just one of two spots might not be worth the trip for someone unless they live close. Oh well...I'll still post the other spots I've found later when I have time. Maybe they'll be helpful to someone. :)
Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
May 12, 2010 06:34AM
    
Hi Tanya,

For a real treat, might I suggest the Fly Gap Road? It's a dirt road that runs several miles south from highway 71, 10 miles northeast of Mason. There are dozens of pegmatite exposures on both sides of the road. Pay particular attention to the low water crossings and bar ditches, especially after a heavy rain. One day after a rain, I spotted what looked like black fingers sticking up from the roadbed. They turned out to be three perfect 5-7 cm dark smoky quartz crystals. You will find green epidote, black ilmenite crystals, orange spessartine garnets and beautiful silvery books of muscovite mica all along the road.

BTW, I'm familiar with the exposure on the Old Mason Road. The dark crystals are indeed greenish-black schorl tourmaline. You should also find nice crystalline magnetite specimens in the road at the same site. There is another site a mile or two north of that one with beautiful strawberry quartz crystals and bright gemmy green fluorite. PM me for details.

Frank
avatar Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
May 20, 2010 07:28PM
    
Frank - These are great tips! I'm going rock hunting in Mason county for my birthday at the end of the month - I'll have to check these out! Thank you so much :) !

Tanya
Lori Simon
Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
May 27, 2010 05:09PM
Hi Frank,

I understand that in March you arranged for the Fredericksburg Club to hunt on the Quarry at Willow City Loop. Is this something that you could do for other clubs.

I am the field trip coordinator for the Dallas Gem and Mineral Society and we would love to be able to come and hunt there.

My email is Lori.Ltr@gmail.com Could you email me. I would love to talk about places to take my group to hunt. I also have some questions about other places I have heard from but cannot find.

Thank you so much
Lori
Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
June 11, 2010 05:47AM
    
Hi Lori,

I sent you an e-mail, but so far, no response. I'll answer your questions here.

Yes, I take groups, mostly clubs and university geology students to many sites in the Llano Uplift. I also take individuals from time to time. I almost never charge for this because I enjoy the company. There is only one site, the White Eagle copper-silver mine where the land owner requests $10 (US) per person, per day to dig copper minerals. PM me if you are interested.

Frank
Mark Stave
Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
August 18, 2010 01:24AM
Coming to Texas for about a week just before Thanksgiving to do some rockhounding. Any suggestions? I have already ordered the Gem Trails of Texas book, is it worth following. Some of the other Gem Trail series are a bit off, sometimes
Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
August 18, 2010 05:27AM
The Gem Trails Of Texas book is a decent book, but, if you're like me and looking for mineral specimens, I think you'll find it a bit lacking. It's got some pretty good localities in it (including many classic ones for the state), but sadly, a good majority of the book focuses on agate and fossils. There are many localities in Texas, but the problem that you're going to run into is that a good number of them are either no longer accessible, or are now on private property, and unless you know the owners, or the right people (some of which post on these message-boards, actually), there's no real way to get on them (and this is not a state that you want to accidentally stumble onto somebody's private property in).

--David Aldridge
avatar Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
August 20, 2010 03:48AM
    
Hey Mark - What part of Texas are you planning to visit?
Amethyst Girl
Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
August 30, 2010 04:33PM
Hi Tanya and Frank --- have read both of your tips and suggestions for Texas Rock Collecting Sites, and they are a great help. I just started rockhounding this year. Have ran into some research about the Sequist Ranch and Lindsay ranch having some blue topaz, have any of you guys heard of this and if so, is it true?
Amethyst Girl
Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
August 30, 2010 04:53PM
Hi Frank --- I just start with the wonderful hobby of rockhounding and am interested in getting lots and lots of help from the more experienced rockhounds.

I read the tip you gave Tanya on May 12, 2010 and I have just discovered and was sooo excited that Mason County is known for the blue topaz and that it is found within the borders of the state only in Mason County and that it occurs in granite outcroppings principally in the Streeter, Grit, and Katemcy areas. That blue topaz is usually found in streambeds and ravines but occasionally can be located atop the ground. I want to go to these sites, but it is still soooo very hot here in Texas right now.

This particular website mentions Sequist Ranch and Lindsay Ranch, have you been to either one of these places for topaz hunting, if so, did you find anything?

Also have in mind to go agate hunting at the Woodward Ranch in Oct. or Nov., but blue topaz hunting is more appealing to me before agate hunting.
avatar Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
August 30, 2010 07:45PM
    
Hi,
I was to Seaquist Ranch in november 2 years ago. Whole day working in the stream bed and doing some digging into the pegmatite rock (the place was shown to me by Mike Seaquist) - just one small (4mm) topas in the river bed (none at the pegmatite..) was the result! But the the nature was the biggest adventure - the first time I have seen alive armadillo...exciting for a guy from central Europe. At least I have seen (and hold) some big pieces of topas in jewellery shop in Mason.
Good luck on Your trip!
Aleš.
Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
August 30, 2010 08:54PM
Thanks for your input about the Seaquist Ranch --- Right after lunch, I called and talked to Mike's son, Scott and he was very nice and told me to dig at least 3 feet deep, because topaz is buried down deep. Well, its not rare for us to see those animals any day when we are traveling from town to town here in Texas. Sometimes, you even see them when you go out at least 45 mins. away from the city and you visit some friends out in the country. We have some friends who have 13 acres close by the Brazos Bend State Park and they have a pond in the back of their property, and they encountered a baby alligator in their pond.
Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
September 01, 2010 04:43AM
    
Hi A.G., Hi Elizabeth,

I've heard that Delores Lindsey is no longer permitting rockhounds to hunt topaz on her ranch. Evidently one of the guests did something to ruin it for the rest of us. As far as I know, that leaves only the Seaquist Ranch open for collecting. I'll call D and find out what's going on. I've never hunted on the Seaquist, but have found small crystals of topaz in miarolytic cavities in a shallow pegmatite on the Lindsey Ranch. I also found two water-worn 1 cm pieces in a low water crossing on Blackjack Road, northeast of Mason. Strangely enough, the first blue topaz I ever found was taken from the Llano River at Kingsland, 40 miles east of Mason, in Llano County. No doubt it worked its way downstream from Mason County.

Earlier this month, I identified a couple of potential hot collecting spots in the Katemcy area that are on public right of way and therefore legal to access without permission. Until this brutal heat slacks off a bit however, they will have to wait. If either (or both) of you want to come along the next time I head to Mason County, you're more than welcome.

Frank
avatar Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
September 03, 2010 05:51AM
    
Hi Amethyst Girl - welcome to the fun world of rockhounding....I'm somewhat new to it myself...only been at it about a year.

Anyway - in answer to your question, I've hunted on Lindsey Creek Ranch (didn't know it was closed to us now - that's too bad) and I've hunted at Seaquist Ranch. You can definitely find Topaz at Seaquist Ranch. I didn't find any myself - but, several people found some while we were there. There were a couple of guys that come to hunt fairly often that seem to have a lot of success finding Topaz. Mr. Seaquist said they usually overturn enough dirt/gravel to fill up the back of a dump truck. They were working the creek the day I was there (probably for the same reason I was digging in the creek - it was rather hot!). From what I could tell, their strategy seemed to involve picking a spot, taking turns shoveling and sifting (using an oversized screen box) and then moving on to a new spot. I’d like to go back again when it’s not as hot so I can do some exploring. They have a lot of land that you can access, including a lot with granite outcroppings. We tried banging on some when we were there – but, it was just too hot to be on those rocks!

Ahhh Big Bend – that is an excellent choice for rockhounding. I haven’t been there yet - but, I really, really want to plan a trip sometime soon. I just got an email with some information about some Big Bend rock hunting trips. I think Frank probably got the message too. So, if you send a private message to either me or Frank, one of us can forward the email to you.

Have fun enjoying your new hobby! :)
Tanya
avatar Re: Texas Rock Collecting Sites
September 03, 2010 05:54AM
    
Frank - you know I've got an itch now to check out those spots you mentioned in the Katemcy area! Let me know next time you plan on heading that way :).
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