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Walker Valley, Mount Vernon, Skagit Co., Washington, USA

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 48° 24' 22'' North , 122° 12' 35'' West
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): 48.40611,-122.20972
Köppen climate type:Csb : Warm-summer Mediterranean climate


The Walker Valley collecting area is located about 15 km east of Mount Vernon, Washington. The collecting site became popular among local mineral collectors in the late 1960’s after a period of quarrying for road fill that exposed geode and agate bearing outcrops (Mustoe, 1996a). “The outcrop appears to be a 100-m-wide mass of brecciated rhyolite bordered on either side by unaltered black basalt” (Mustoe, 1996a). In actuality, though, the rock is an andesite of “fairly uniform composition,” the lighter color of the brecciated rock is due to hydrothermal alteration, and an explosive hydrothermal event resulted in the brecciation of the deposit (Mustoe, 1996a). The early stages of mineralization at Walker Valley were probably the result of contact by hot hydrothermal solutions with the cooler wall rock, which caused minerals to precipitate (Mustoe, 1996a). A likely significant factor in the last stages of mineralization was when mineral-laden fluids encountered fractures, which caused precipitation due to lower pressures and boiling (Mustoe, 1996a).

A typical feature of Walker Valley geodes is a layer of the unusual mineral hisingerite, which forms a boundary between the andesite and the subsequent minerals (Mustoe, 1996a). The layer of hisingerite serves as an aid to collecting specimens at Walker Valley, because it is much softer and more brittle than the ultra-tough rock, forming a parting layer (Mustoe, 1996a).

Visits to the locality produced widely divergent site descriptions over time. Based on trips taken in the 1970’s, the site could be described as a steep series of benches and short drop-offs occupying a zone about 100 meters wide and trending up a steep hill over a distance of perhaps 300 meters. There was an ample amount of rock debris from earlier collectors, but sufficient exposed rock to make collecting possible, but only with some hard work. This was mainly because the rock itself was very hard, and although the hisingerite layer made collecting specimens possible, it was nonetheless very difficult to remove decent sized specimens intact. A trip made in 2000 revealed a stark contrast with the visits from over 20 years before. By 2000, the debris from past collecting efforts had completely covered the underlying outcrop, with no fresh rock exposed. In addition, it would be difficult to determine where to dig to remove overburden in order to get to what had been the most prolific areas. There was no reason to think in 2000 that the deposit could not still produce good specimens, but a substantial amount of “mucking out” would be required.

There are adjacent deposits, the Junior Agate Seam, and Fly-by-Nite are known for the production of “seam agate” (chalcedony).

References:

Cannon, B. (1975). Minerals of Washington. Mercer Island: Cordilleran.

Mustoe, G. E., D. G. Vandenburg, & L. M. Vandenburg (1996a). The minerals of Walker Valley, Skagit County, Washington. Washington Geology v. 24, n. 1 (March 1996), pp 22-29.

Mustoe, G. E. (1996b). Hisingerite—a rare iron mineral from Walker Valley, Skagit County, Washington. Washington Geology v. 24, n. 4 (December, 1996) pp 14-19.


Mineral List


9 valid minerals.

Regional Geology

This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.

Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on Macrostrat.org

Pleistocene
0.0117 - 2.588 Ma



ID: 2756396
Younger glacial drift

Age: Pleistocene (0.0117 - 2.588 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Vashon drift; Possession Drift; Whidbey Formation

Description: Younger glacial drift, undivided. Till, outwash, and associated deposits; sorted and unsorted sand, gravel, silt, and clay. Includes some alluvium.

Comments: Includes nonglacial sediments and peat beds locally. Example: Whidbey Formation in Central Puget Lowland; peat beds in Vashon Stade. Principally Wisconsin in age. Difficult to distinguish from Qg2 by lithology; distinction is in age difference only. Some stratigraphic units may occur in both units, regardless of age.

Lithology: Major:{fine alluvium,coarse alluvium}

Reference: Horton, J.D., C.A. San Juan, and D.B. Stoeser. The State Geologic Map Compilation (SGMC) geodatabase of the conterminous United States. doi: 10.3133/ds1052. U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1052. [133]

Mesozoic
66 - 252.17 Ma



ID: 1420280
Helena Haystack melange

Age: Mesozoic (66 - 252.17 Ma)

Lithology: Ultrabasic (ultramafic) rocks

Reference: Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geology and Earth Resources. Washington Interactive Geologic Map: 1:100,000 scale. Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources. [19]

Data and map coding provided by Macrostrat.org, used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License



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