I recently had the opportunity to visit and collect a the wonderful Flamboro Quarry. The Flamboro operating management do not allow collectors into the quarry very often. The do allow the Young Toronto Mineralogists Club (YTMC) in each spring for a morning of collecting and education about quarrying activities. It is a fantastic opportunity for YTMC members. The Quarry operators recognize that the adult organizers don't get a chance to collect when the YTMC is there since we are too busy helping the youngsters learn and stay safe. This year, they opened their gate for the adult helpers of YTMC to give us a chance to collect in an area not savaged by the young mineral collectors. We appreciated the opportunity! Here is a little bit about the visit.
The Flamboro Quarry, run by Dufferin Aggregates is a large limestone/dolostone quarry that has a capacity of 900te per hour. Millions of tonnes per year! That is pretty big! They have a modern fleet of trucks and loaders, a superb crushing and screening plant and, by all appearances, are a professional, safe, efficient quarry operation. We are blessed to have to opportunity to search their quarry for rare mineral crystals, on occasion, before they crush them to oblivion for aggregate for important road, housing and civil construction purposes. We find most of our best crystals in the large chunks of rock that they sell for landscaping or for reinforcement purposes like breakwater construction. We appreciate the opportunity!
The "limestone" that we work on is actually dolostone, metamoprphosed from limestone by circulating magnesium rich brines, many million years ago. Subsequent metalliferous mineralization of zinc, iron, sulphur and lead was emplaced by "Mississippi Valley Deposit" type reactions.
Here is yours truly DRENCHED in sweat. It was one of the hottest possible days of the year in a record hot summer. That's OK. We drank lots of water and plugged away! I was pretty pooped by this stage. Look at the vugs in those boulders! Exciting!
Don't mess with this guy. Stalwart collector Bob Beckett can swing a 16 pound sledge hammer with the best of them!
Bob was helping me cracking this small boulder that had promise to produce some nice galena crystals. There is a picture, coming up, of a nice crystal that I pulled out of it. Unfortunately, despite Bob's gallant whacking, there were no more vugs in this rock.
My brother Brian also does not mess around. He took home a couple of large pieces to trim later and a "garden rock" for his and Mary's nice garden. One of the trimmer specimens had a nice, large galena and a cluster of gemmy, sharp fluorites together in a vug. Unusual! Hope they survive the trimming!
I was very fortunate to find a nice galena crystal in a vug in this piece. It is the same one that Bob broke up afterwards to see if there were any more cavities inside. This crystal was just loose in the vug when I leaned over and plucked it out with two fingers!
Isn't it a beauty? 28mm across. Wonderful growth features! These are not found very often, so I feel fortunate.
This is an interesting specimen showing, what I think is a part-stromatolite fossil encrusted with tiny calcite, marcasite and sphalerite crystals.
A nice, concave plate of sphalerite crystals with a nice orangey colouration. Again, I think this curved matrix is part of a stromatolite. 10.2cm tall
A close-up of the sphalerite crystals. The largest one is 7mm across.
A cute little fluorite and marcasite specimen. Just 50mm or so tall.