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Stillwell and woodward ranch

Posted by Allen Morris  
Allen Morris February 19, 2012 06:07AM
Will be heading to both ranchs march 2nd any suggestions on where to start hunting those pretty agates ?????
Jonathan Woolley February 19, 2012 06:36PM

I have only collected at the Walker Ranch, which is (I think) adjacent to the Woodward Ranch, so my advice will be somewhat general. The agates are eroding from the exposed basalt lava flows, which crop out on the hillsides. I had my best luck at the base and on the slopes of the hills. However, the agate nodules and pieces are all over the place, and can also be found in the washes and on the flat plains. The agate nodules formed in the cavities left behind by gas bubbles in the basalts, and hence typically have a rounded shape with with a flattened side that was originally the bottom. I'm attaching photos of the outside (and inside) of nodules to show you what they typically look like.

Be on the lookout for amethyst and quartz geodes as well, which were my favorite finds since I prefer specimens to cut agates. On the Walker Ranch, the amethysts seem to be forming in the few areas where the basalts were dark green in color rather than the typical brown. Also, small chunks of gem grade light yellow labradorite feldspar can be found. I found these more on the west side of the hills associated with basalt flows with beautiful red agate not forming in nodules, but rather in seams that were mostly too small to yield cuttable agates.

All in all, your best chance is to cover as much ground as possible with a sharp eye and a little luck. Hope this helps.

Best regards,
open | download - nodules_skin.jpg (256.6 KB)
open | download - agate1.jpg (337.4 KB)
open | download - yellow_agate_amethyst.jpg (255.4 KB)
Jonathan Woolley February 19, 2012 06:40PM
Here are a few more photos from the Walker Ranch. Apologies for the photo quality - the agates are not completely polished yet and I had to wet them for the photos.

Amethyst geode with a red calcite crystal:

Labradorite chunk:

Red & black plume agate for which the region is famous:

Best regards,
open | download - amethyst_calcite_geode.jpg (241.8 KB)
open | download - labradorite.jpg (226.4 KB)
open | download - plume_agate.jpg (253.4 KB)
Jonathan Woolley February 19, 2012 06:42PM
A couple more just for fun:

Flower Garden agate:

Orange and green agate with quartz crystals on top:

Best regards,
open | download - flower_garden_agate.jpg (274.8 KB)
open | download - orange_green_agate.jpg (246.6 KB)
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