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Denver teacher looking to collect at the Colorado Sedalia Mine or another

Posted by Joel Allen  
Denver teacher looking to collect at the Colorado Sedalia Mine or another
March 23, 2012 04:22AM
I'm a high school geology teacher and although my rock and mineral collection is large, I'm looking to collect a few minerals for my class next year. Such as sphalerite, corundum, various feldspars, augite, apatite, pyrite, hornblende, kyanite, garnets, galena, diopside, chlorites, spinel, olivine and others.

The Sedalia Mine seemed a great place to start, but I'm unsure of clubs that go there and my toyota corolla might not make it. Any other suggested mines? Is anyone willing to go collecting?

Also, I'd appreciate if you could either recommend a club to go with or are comfortable passing along the property owners' information on these sites via e-mail or phone call.
avatar Re: Denver teacher looking to collect at the Colorado Sedalia Mine or another
March 23, 2012 08:03PM
    
Joel,
Hello. With the Colorado natural resources, you live in a good location to be a geology teacher.

The North Jeffco Gem & MIneral Club has annual trips to the Sedalia "Copper Mine". While the approach road is sandy, most cars can make it.

Send me a Private Message (PM) with your email address, and I will send you a map to the North Table Mountain quarry.

Stephen Voynick's book, Colorado Rockhounding is your best reference. You should put the calumet mine at the top of your list for the abundant magnetite, epidote, quartz, calcite, and actinolite found there (bring along a magnet).

Kids are also impressed by the light weight of the lava boulders that yo can find at the Dotsero volcano along I-70 near Gysum.

-Dean Allum
Re: Denver teacher looking to collect at the Colorado Sedalia Mine or another
March 23, 2012 10:43PM
Hi Joel,
I live in Denver also and a member of the Colorado Mineral Society. With that society they team up with a lot of the other mineral clubs in Colorado and share field trips throughout this spring and summer. Dean is right that around that area to Buena Vista there are some collecting areas that don't need 4X4. PM me sometime and you can come to one of the monthly meetings or field trips the society has, alos my wife grew up in Leadville and knows areas around there too that we go to in the summer.

Colorado Rockhounding is a great book, have in my library, and a couple ohers that good as well.

Aaron
Re: Denver teacher looking to collect at the Colorado Sedalia Mine or another
March 24, 2012 06:54PM
Hi Joel,

As a member of CMS as well, I drove to the Sedalia Mine in a Toyota Corolla two years ago. You just have to watch not to bottom out your car as the toughest part of the road are those sections where the wheel ruts are quite deep side by side. In extreme cases go to the side of the road using the center of the road for one wheel and the other on the outside of the rut. One nice part of being a club member is the ability to carpool with other members to the sites that require 4WD such as Mount Antero and of course safety in numbers if your car gets stranded for some reason!

The Calumet mine site does not require 4WD if you take the other road to the bottom of the site from a junction point and hike up to the main collecting area, The 4WD road from the junction point does get you a lot closer but you still have to walk some distance since there is a chunk of the road missing that is too deep to drive over.

There are quite a few clubs in the Denver area that take field trips to those places, do a web search for the club pages and check out past visits and photo pages to see what club might work best for you. I believe most of the clubs set their trip schedule for the year in May.

James
avatar Re: Denver teacher looking to collect at the Colorado Sedalia Mine or another
March 25, 2012 03:29AM
    
The approach (north of Salida).

That's James Christopher's Rover zipping through the sand.
The Sedalia Copper Mine dig is about half a mile from the gated entrance, a quarter mile-east and a quarter-mile up.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/01/2012 05:13PM by Dean Allum.
Re: Denver teacher looking to collect at the Colorado Sedalia Mine or another
March 30, 2012 05:56PM
    
James,
I've been to the Calumet Iron mine last fall. I thought that it was a great collecting site but I hiked up from the bottom. I'm planning to go back this summer. I also plan to go back up Mt. Antero plus check out other areas around Sedalia.

How do you access the Calumet mine from the 4WD road? I have a high clearance 4WD Jeep GC so bad roads aren't a problem. Where is the junction point and 4WD access to the mine? I have National Geo Topo for Colorado on my laptop so if you give me some direction I'm sure I can find it. Last fall I tried a couple of ways to get to the mine besides the bottom but I ran into no trespassing signs or locked gates.

Besides the great epidote crystals from the mine, I found some nice octahedral crystals of magnetite on the opposite side of the road from the mine in an area that must have been their old ore pile. Any information on better access to the mine without the steep uphill hike would be appreciated.

I'm from Arizona so I certainly notice the altitude when hiking up to the Calumet Iron Mine with a pack full of heavy tools. If any of you are coming to AZ, I'll be glad to trade some AZ locality information for some CO locality information. But you better hurry to AZ, it's going to get hot soon and the rattlesnakes are already out. Oh well, there is always next winter. You can PM me if you like or just reply here.

I'm the president of an Arizona mineral and gem club, the Leaverites (azleaverite.org), and we have been fortunate to get into some good old classic locations in Arizona this winter such as the Finch Mine for wulfenite, the Ray Mine for native copper, the Reymert Mine for amethyst, good barite crystals and a little cerussite and other rare minerals, the Amethyst Hill mine for cerussite and galena, and this weekend to the Rowley Mine, hopefully underground for wulfenite. We are trying to get access from the mine owner for fee collecting at the Apache/Defiance Mine for vanadinite. There is another field trip to the Reymert Mine coming up in mid-April as part of the Arizona Mineral Symposium. The Reymert Mine is now an operating rock quarry that has part of the old lead and silver vein well exposed but it has locked gates and a watchman so you have to get permission from the owner to get in.

We have a field trip coming up in late April to the Johnson Camp area mines before they get turned into one large new open pit copper mine (then they won't be accessible to collectors). There is also a helicopter trip coming up in late April that is sponsored by a local jewelry store to the working Four Peaks Amethyst Mine for facet quality amethyst. You get to go underground to collect amethyst. It's a great trip. There are no roads near the Four Peaks Amethyst Mine so you either take a helicopter in or hike in and they don't like unannounced visitors hiking in. The only downside the to the helicopter trip to the mine is $$$.

Many of the above mentioned mines are working copper, specimen, or crushed rock operations that are difficult or impossible to get into for the casual traveler but we have been fortunate this year to negotiate access to these great collecting locations (and it pays to have members in the mining business or associated with the mining business).

I contacted the North Jeffco club last fall to let them know that they were welcome to come on our winter field trips when they are snowed in but I never got a response back. The offer still stands to all the Colorado Clubs.

btw, Joel should be careful with his Corolla. Most of the way to the mine, it's just a gravel road but there are a few rocks in the road just before you get to the mine. You can get around them with a low clearance vehicle but just take it easy. But it's certainly worth the drive for the great epidote and other crystals.

Steve
Re: Denver teacher looking to collect at the Colorado Sedalia Mine or another
March 31, 2012 08:48PM
Hi Steve,

I don't think there is an unlocked 4WD road to the Calumet Mine. We did have permission as a club to use the 4WD road as the trip leader had a key or combination for the locked gate. You probably went right past that gate when you were searching around that area. If I remember right the junction was located next to a sign showing the road to Turret on the left and the road to the right eventually lets you drive past the locked gate on the left. I haven't done much exploring in the Calumet area besides the mine itself but there is a separate hill/ridge visible near the mine that has the sapphires which I need to check out sometime. The sapphires are quite thin and certainly far too thin to facet athough they do have a dark blue color and show nice size and crystal form. I bought an example of the sapphires on ebay a while back for reference material and the seller has a nice site on corundum overall that isn't on ebay.

The helicopter trip sounds fun, although the time frame is too short for me to even think of attending, never mind the cost of a helicopter. Is it an annual thing as a trip in the future might be possible as I do have a sister living in AZ? I'm itching to do some collecting near Denver or Colorado Springs soon with nice weather breaking out but alas so far I have had to work on Saturday for over a month which is only the really good time for me to collect all day without taking vacation time which I certainly do in the summer!
Re: Denver teacher looking to collect at the Colorado Sedalia Mine or another
March 31, 2012 10:56PM
    
James,
The helicopter trip to the Four Peaks Amethyst Mine usually goes once in the Spring when the mine first opens and once in the fall before the mine closes for the year. The mine is at about 8,000 ft in elevation in a very remote area so they don't try to operate it during the winter. It occasionally snows at that altitude in AZ and gets quite cold. I know, 8,000 ft, a little snow, and chilly weather doesn't sound like much to you guys in Colorado but, hey, this is AZ. We go up to our mountains in the hot summer and down to the low desert in the winter. That way we get to collect all the time (as long as we can get off work anyway or our wives let us). Unfortunately, many of our higher mountains are relatively recent volcanic mountains with not much in the way of mineral resources so we have to go to Colorado in the summer for good collecting (except for Four Peaks which is very old quartzite and a few others such as the Bradshaw Mountains).

The websites for the jewelry store that sponsors the trip to the Four Peaks Amethyst Mine are:

[www.arizonagems.com]

[www.arizonagems.com]

Steve
avatar Re: Denver teacher looking to collect at the Colorado Sedalia Mine or another
April 01, 2012 02:49PM
    
There is also a lot of material just past the Calumet parking spot that is just below the road. Not many people look here. It is tailings that were dumped there, and are probably part of the road bed as well.
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