There is a limestone quarry near Dundas, Onrtario, actually closer to a crossroads called "Clappison's Corners" where I have been collecting since I was a kid. This is a HUGE quarry where many millions of tonnes of limestone are blasted each year and processed into aggregate for roads, building projects, lime, cement, etc. This quarry has been a rich source of specimens of a number of minerals, specifically celestine, fluorite, sphalerite, calcite, gypsum, marcasite, galena, pyrrhotite and some others for over 50 years now! May be longer, I don't really know!
I used to go to this quarry often but haven't been for a few years. Every year the Central Canadian Federation of Mineral Societies(CCFMS) organizes two field trips into the quarry for members of associated clubs. This past September my brother, Brian, his wife Mary (my favourite sister-in law on that side of the family) and I made a pilgrimage to try to collect some of the well-crystallized minerals. Unfortunately, it was not a good day, weatherwise. We were suffering the after effects of hurricane Rita and there was rain, lightning and thunder for much of the early part of the day. We did find some decent crystals. Immediately upon arrival, Brian found a wonderful vug of fluorite and sphalerite in a boulder. You can see some of the great crystals that he retrieved in the photographs on this page. I have included some of the crystals that I collected that day, or in the past, as well. I hope that you enjoy them!
An older Fluorite
This is an older specimen that, I believe, Mike Irwin collected many years ago, back in the 1980's. I think I traded it from Mike. The crystal is 23mm across. For information only. Not for sale.
An Older Sphalerite
Back in the 1980's, reached into a vug and pulled out this nice sphalerite specimen. Notice that the complex 29mm sphalerite cluster is sitting on a fossil! You often see this. For information only. Not for sale.
Isn't this nice? Mike Irwin collected this piece back in the 1980's. For information only. Not for sale.
This is the quarry, looking at it from the top bench about fifty feet below the original contour of the land. A LOT of rock and many mineral specimens have been removed from this quarry over the years.
This is actually only one of three giant quarries that have been developed on the site over the years. The plan is eventually to let it flood and make a lake out of it, complete with fish. Lake Fluorite? Celestine Lake?
Deep into his work
Brian Joyce diligently and carefully removes some very nice fluorite and sphalerite crystals from a vug in a boulder.
This is the nicest-largest fluorite specimen that Brian Joyce collected during this particular trip. He was fairly pleased!
Fluorite usually occurs in crystals like this -cubic crystals with gemmy corners and cloudy centres, either clear and colourless or with a browny tinge, like this one. Brian has faceted some nice fluorite stones from here.
Here is another nice, smaller fluorite that Brian Joyce collected.
Sphalerite occurs in a number of different habits at the Lafarge quarry. Brian found these lovely, complex, resinous red-orange clusters in his boulder-pocket.
Celestine in Calcite
This is a little different. At one place in the quarry, blasting had revealed a vein of calcite. Embedded in the banded onyx-like calcite were large, blue celestine crystals. It would take a lot of acid to liberate these crystals! I brought one home as a "garden rock".
More Celestine in Calcite
Another piece of the celestine in calcite. I hadn't seen this before!
Galena on Marcasite-coated Sphalerite
This specimen was collected about 40 years ago by Reiner Mielke and his father, I believe. I traded it from Reiner years ago. it is 10.0 cm across. For information only. Not for sale.
This is a beautiful 21mm thumbnail crystal of irridescent sphalerite on a bit of matrix. Notice the second generation of orange sphalerite? For information only. Not for sale.
Celestine crystals are often lustrous at the Lafarge Quarry but not often gemmy and glassy like this. The view is about 6.0cm across. For information only. Not for sale.
Celestine -multiple termination
A lovely crystal of celestine with a multiple termination. This crystal is 6.4cm across. For information only. Not for sale.
This is my favourite sphalerite specimen from the quarry. I collected it in the early 1990's. It was in a cavity in a limestone boulder and I just reached in and pulled it out!! It is a wonderful crystal, 23mm across. For information only. Not for sale.
Galena on Celestine
This is a combination that we do not see very often. These are 2-3mm galena crystals on a single 51mm long celestine crystal. For information only. Not for sale.
Isn't this nice? There was a lot of this orange sphalerite and white calcite available in boulders in one area of the quarry during this recent visit. 4.7cm across. For information only. Not for sale.
It is pretty easy to find good crystals of calcite in the quarry. It is everywhere! This piece is 11.0cm across. For information only. Not for sale.
Sphalerite on Limestone
This is the better of the sphalerites that I collected on this particular trip. Nothing fancy but a nice clean, sort of octahedral-looking 15mm crystal. For information only. Not for sale.