Friday, June 11, 2004

Good morning from Weardale.

Yesterday the weather returned to a pattern reminiscent of summers past - brief fits of rain, often torrential, between equally brief fits of sunshine. Down the dale at the mine the rain was not as intense as up-dale at the cottage, and the wind kept everything fairly dry. This morning it looks like the pattern is continuing. We are presently in the rain portion of the cycle.

I spent most of the day at the mine yesterday in a final, and ultimately futile effort to dislodge the two large rocks now blocking access to the good fluorite seam in the NE Cross Cut. By the end of the day I must have undercut them by at least a meter, but still no movement. As today I will be getting things organized for my return to the U.S., I must now bequeath the effort to Byron. No doubt, he will make short work of the whole thing.

Byron too spent the day digging, with almost equal frustration. The area he has been working at is along the vein toward the front where the now-abandon west spur tunnel splits off from the main one. Over the past two days he has pulled out a number of large clusters of fairly large green twinned crystals. I estimate the crystals get up to 7 or 8 cm on edge. Unfortunately, the zone is rather brecciated and most pieces come with a good bit of damage, and all have white centers, which upon drying become quite obvious. I don't know what's worse, moving rock all day for not, or getting a bunch of stuff that never lives up to its promise.

Dave's day was a bit more straight forward, and was focused mainly on mucking out the main face. By later in the afternoon we could get a good look at the face, and it is becoming clear that the fracture zone that has converged on the vein from the west is now crossing it. This will likely cause some difficulties for Dave in maintaining the tunnel as we move through the zone, and it will be important to determine what, if any vertical offset there is along the fracture. From what little we have seen so far, I suspect there is a meter or two raise on the west side. This, however, is based solely on the one flat-like cavity Byron has found in the ceiling of the western spur tunnel, which is on the west side of the fracture zone. Today's photo is of Dave with the Eimco, preparing for the day's task.

After quitting for the day we stopped by the Golden Lion to find Lloyd and the Damerons already exchanging stories of their day. Bill and Diana spent their day hiking Hadrian's Wall between the old Roman fort Housteds and Vindolanda, which is an archeological site on one of the best preserved Roman-era settlements yet discovered. Lloyd spent his day getting rained on while looking for a mine dump he collected at some years ago. He says he found the site, but could not confirm the presence of smithsonite, which he collected there on his previous visit. Everyone got carried away with the conversation, and Byron and I got a scolding from Jonina for coming home late.

Today I will be organizing things for my return to San Francisco. I will be home barely a week before coming back this way to attend the Ste. Marie Aux Mines show so need to get together what new fluorite I can for the event. Jonina hopes she has her daily drives over to Cumbria behind her and plans to spend the day on fluorite in the garage. Byron will, of course, be at the mine digging again. This will be my last e-mail until returning to Weardale in mid-August. Jonina is this year equipped with her own digital camera and promises to send out at least three photos a week.

Until next time…

Cheers,

Jesse, Byron and Jonina



Dave and the Eimco.

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