Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Greetings from Weardale,

It rained most of the day yesterday, and it is raining this morning. Fortunately, just a drizzle. On the way out of the quarry yesterday I noticed that our pond has risen to the level of the road at one spot. Fortunately, I have a pair of wellies in the car boot in case I need to park at the head of the track and walk in.

Yesterday at the mine I spent the morning washing and wrapping specimens, while Byron picked at the face, and Dave mucked out the debris Cal had created in the West Cross Cut. Around noon we all decided that the roof at the face needed some temporary supports put in to keep it safe, so Byron set up the chain saw to do some trimming on large specimens while Dave did his carpentry up front. Dave had this finished fairly quickly, so after lunch Byron went back to collecting and I took over with the saw.

Byron’s collecting over the past week or so has produces a number of very large rocks with patches of fluorite scattered about, and these all needed to be cut up before shipping home. The limestone country rock in this area of the flats seems to be highly replaced by silica, so the rocks to be carved up were very tough and sawing was a slow process. By the end of the day between the two of us we managed to get them all butchered, and got some good pieces out. Several hours of leaning on a heavy saw and pulling the hydraulic lines about is pretty tiring and everyone involved was glad to see it done.

The face has tightened up and is currently a mass of mud and rock that is pretty much locked together. Byron managed to collect a few things during the afternoon, but nothing of any consequence. Somewhere in the mess there has got to be a rock, which when removed will allow the rest of them to come out as well, and collecting to continue. Hopefully we will find it today, otherwise we will likely need to result to the not-so-subtle technique of blasting the floor of the pocket zone.

Toward the end of the day Dave started drilling the side of the old Dodgy Bugger area of the West Cross Cut in order to blast the tunnel forward a bit in that area, and is the subject of today’s photo. True to its legacy, a large rock in the ceiling bean to move and needed to be supported so work could continue. Dave will be finishing this today and theoretically we will shoot it at the end of the day. Byron will, undoubtedly be spending the day at the face trying to break through our “log-jam” of rocks, and I will be cleaning and packing the results of yesterdays sawing. On the way out of the quarry yesterday evening I discovered that my rental car had a flat tire, so I’ll be trying to get that repaired today as well.

Until next time,

Jesse, Joan, and Byron

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