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Anybody know where "sunset hill" Conn. is? Specimen of Bismuthinite from there

Posted by Beth Schaefer  
Beth Schaefer July 01, 2011 09:31PM
I can't post a topic under the localities list, so I thought I would post it here.

I have a specimen (thumbnail) of bismuthinite, listed from Sunset Hill, Conn. I can't find "sunset hill" on I have attached a photo.

I did google searches and the closest match were a few roads named sunset hill (and a golf course!).

Are there any conn. experts in old mines who have heard of this location? This is an old specimen, -it was acquired in 1955 (by Alex Knoll) but it could have been collected much earlier.

open | download - bismuthinite sunset hill conn 680.jpg (572.4 KB)
Sam Cordero, Jr. July 01, 2011 11:11PM
Good one ! I'll be keeping an eye on this post for sure.
Sam Cordero, Jr. July 01, 2011 11:21PM
Well, I found an area in Redding, CT that is called "Sunset Hill". In Redding, CT there is the famous Branchville locality. In Branchville there was some Bismutite found. Therefore Bismuthinite could be associated. This is probably an old specimen, that locality is currently closed. It's one of Connecticut's pride and joys. It has the most Type Locality minerals for any quarry ever in CT, totalling 9. Good luck, I'll try and talk to some of the more knowledgeable folks I know to try and provide you with some more information.
David Bernstein July 02, 2011 01:00AM
Sam, ask Fritz. He knows everything.:)-D
Stephan Segedy July 02, 2011 02:20AM
If not Sunset Hill near the Branchville locality, I also note a Sunset Hill in the vincinity of Bethel, CT (off Sunset Hill Rd oddly enough). Bismutite/bismuthinite have been found near here as well. I have not yet collected in the area so I cannot speak from personal experience. But they are both nearby to each other, so might be worth investigating.

Good Luck,
Joseph Polityka July 02, 2011 01:09PM
David, I though Sunset Hill was on the western side of Sunrise Hill?

Keep truckin' and happy Fourth of July to our American Midaters.


David Bernstein July 02, 2011 03:29PM
Makes perfect sense, Joe. Have a nice holiday weekend yourself!
Howard Heitner July 05, 2011 06:48PM
I just came across an old Alex Knoll label for columbite in my collection. It lists the locality as "Sunset Hill, Bethel, Conn." I think it is a safe assumption that this is also the bismuthinite locality. It is not in my old Connecticut locality book by John Hiller.
Sam Cordero, Jr. July 07, 2011 01:41AM
Ok, fine.. I'll ask Fritz. I can't seem to find much on it myself (in my spare time). I just pm'd him....
Beth Schaefer July 07, 2011 02:39AM
Thanks for the help, with some of these older specimens, it's an adventure trying to figure out which mine/area they came from!
Harold Moritz (2) July 07, 2011 04:36PM
Hmmm, interesting name, does not ring a bell. There is a Sunset Quartzite (Flagstone) Quarry listed in Altamura's 1987 Bedrock Mines and Quarries of Conn. (R-D, Cqt 54-32), it is in Glastonbury, but not likely to have produced pegmatite minerals such as bismuthinite or its alterations.
A search of place names on my digitized USGS topo maps for Connecticut revealed 5 Sunset Hills.

Of these, the likely ones are:
in northern Wilton just 1.2 miles south of Branchville (but unlikely because everyone typically called the quarry at Branchville either by that village name or by the initial owner Fillow).
or in northern Redding just southwest of Huntington State Park, within which the Biermann pegmatite quarry is located. Sunset Hill itself is a large drumlin, which would be made of glacial till and not have exposed bedrock. However, the state park, located in southeastern Bethel just east of Sunset Hill Road, which extends from Bethel into Redding, did not exist until 1973 and there is no previous place name for the land it occupies. Thus this locality often has a vague name or just "Bethel" on old labels. I think the specimen looks like a typical bismutite pseudomorph after bismuthinite, see one that Ronald Januzzi found at Biermann's:
So I'd have to go with Biermann's quarry as the actual locality, the label says Sunset Hill probably because the road would be the last geographic feature an old-time collector would be on when going there. I dont know if this name should be added to the official mindat locality aliases for Biermann as it is pretty unusual, but I think the image can be posted to that page, with a qualifier in the photo description that the label says "sunset hill".

PS, While Dave Bernstein may think I "know everything" B), I do have many resources (mostly hard to find now) on Connecticut minerals etc., which I consult when these problems come up. I wouldnt want to know everything because, to quote Monty Python (penguin on top of the tele sketch), "That would take all the mystery out of life"!

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 07/07/2011 04:50PM by Harold Moritz (2).
Sam Cordero, Jr. July 13, 2011 12:40AM
Thanks again Fritz, hope all is well.
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