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Recent Activities -Collecting Zeolites in Nova Scotia


Recent Activities -Collecting Zeolites in Nova Scotia

During May, 2012, I visited the Bay of Fundy area to collect minerals. The trip was actually a field trip of the Walker Mineralogical Club but only two members could attend - Jim Haase, the field trip coordinator and me. So the trip ended up being a very nice visit to Nova Scotia to collect minerals and visit friends. Just Jim and me. We had maximum flexibility and lots of fun! We even found some good minerals. This little photo essay deals with the Bay of Fundy zeolite portion of the trip.

Our first stop was the stretch of the coast of the Bay of Fundy from Black Rock towards Harbourville. There are cliffs that run from the lighthouse west, that are composed of basalt, some layers of which are rich in amygdules and veins lined with mineral crystals.

Looking east back towards Black Rock lighthouse. That is my collecting friend Jim Haase working his way towards me.

This image shows some of the basalt exhibiting zeolite-filled amygdules and veins composed mostly of zeolites, calcite and quartz. Mostly, these veins and amygdules are solid but when big enough, the have open spaces lined with sharp, clean crystals.

When the tide is in, the waves constantly pound on the basalt cliffs and, in concert freeze-thaw mechanisms that weaken the rock, wear away the base, causing the cliffs to be constantly falling down, sometimes bit by bit and sometimes in huge falls. This wave action ensures a slow but constant source of new zeolite collecting opportunities! Here is Jim Haase nosing about some openings trying to locate and extract crystals of zeolite minerals.

Here is a nice cluster of white stilbite crystals, in an opening in basalt, lined with tiny orange heulandite crystals. This picture was taken with the cluster still in the rock, under a ledge. I chiselled it out and Jim caught it as it came off.

Here is the stilbite-heulandite specimen, as it looked immediately after collecting. When I returned to Newmarket, I trimmed it and cleaned it up.

Finally, here is the stilbite specimen, about 12.0cm across, all trimmed and cleaned. I soaked it in Javex to remove the algae, removed some iron staining with Iron Out and then basted it with the high-pressure water spray to remove unwanted dirt. Not bad!

We went on to Victoria Harbour, a little further west of Black Rock and hiked along the cliffs looking for zeolites. There were lots of amygdules lined with tiny heulandite crystals but it was difficult to find any bigger openings with bigger crystals, this time.

We did find lots of laumontite crystals. Here is an opening in basalt with nice clusters of laumontite crystals.

Here is a close-up of that laumontite specimen from the basalt opening. It is about 4.5cm across. The trouble with laumontite is that it starts to deteriorate the moment it is removed from a vug. That is, the water in the chemical formula starts to evaporate and after a time, the laumontite just decrepitates (falls apart). This specimen lasted about one week and then was reduced to dust. I WISH I had taken a picture of it after it had altered and fallen apart. Sorry! The only way to preserve laumontite specimens is to store them in water or oil or impregnate them with a water soluable glue or similar material.

Next stop was Horseshoe Cove, a beautiful spot on Cape D'Or. The mineralogy is different here and so we were looking for analcime, chabazite nad stilbite. I did find one small specimen of apophyllite but not a keeper. Horsehoe Cove is very near the Cape D'Or copper location but there is little to no copper at Horseshoe Cove. In this picture, the bluffs in the distance, to the left, are, in fact, the Cape D'Or copper location.

This photo is a look across the Bay of Fundy from Horseshoe Cove. The formations on the right are Cape Split while on the left, in the distance is Two Islands and closer, Cape D'Or. A beautiful place!

There are many interesting rock formations on the Bay of Fundy. This is a rock arch that we came upon, unexpectedly, when we rounded a corner in the bluffs.

A nice cavity of chabazite and stilbite released this nice little specimen, about 50mm across, from Horseshoe Cove, near the beach.

I really wanted to extract this pocket of analcime crystals in one piece. I chiseled very carefully but despite my efforts, the analcime crystals started popping off and I did not achieve my goal. Sorry! No "after" picture!

Jim Haase managed to chisel this very nice stilbite and chabazite specimen out of the basalt at Horseshoe Cove.

This is an image of the vista at Wasson's Bluff. Wasson's Bluff is one of the favourite and well-known places for collecting great zeolites along the Bay of Fundy.

While collecting, we were visited by this bald eagle that was looking for food on the tidal flats.

Here is an image of collecting buddy Jim Haase enjoying the collecting and the view at Wasson's Bluff.

My son Daniel was able to drive up from Halifax for the day to collect. Perfect day!

You never know what you might find when you turn over a rock!

Daniel works away at a vug of chabazite embedded in the basalt.

Here is the chabazite vug that was the subject of Daniel's attention in the previous image. It is about a 5.0cm opening. These cavities are very difficult to extract from the shattered basalt intact.

There were lots of veins of stilbite and calcite coursing through the bassalt at Wasson's Bluff and occasionally, they open up to reveal nice crystals. This particular vein had bits of native copper embedded in the stilbite here and there, although there is none showing in this picture. Specimen is 10.0cm long.

These are the sort of vug that we were trying to locate and expose in the bedrock of the beach. Mostly, they contained chabazite, stilbite calcite and heulandite.

Another nice vug of chabazite crystals!

Veteran field collector, mineral dealer and, now, Parrsboro resident,Rod Tyson, with the Bay of Fundy's Two Islands behind him. Tide is out!

A closer look at Rod Tyson, whose collecting technique is resulting in a fairly substantial hole!

Another veteran field collector and mineral dealer, Doug Wilson, joined us, as well. Doug is the newest resident of Parrsboro and he has set up a mineral store there, as well as running his on-line mineral business, Wilson's Minerals, from there.

Here are a group of calcite and chabazite containing nodules that Daniel Joyce collected during the day at Wasson's Bluff.

This is one of the better chabazite and heulandite specimens that we managed to collect during the trip to Wasson'r Bluff. The specimen is about 12.0cm across.

I really did work fairly hard during the trip and so, as the tide started rolling back in, I had a nice nap "on the rocks" in the shadow of Wasson's Bluff.

Another spot with frustratingly difficult to extract gmelinite pseudomorphs after chabazite. No joy here!

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