Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Greetings from Weardale,

Yesterday was actually fairly sunny and warm here in the dale, but just as I stepped out the door to head for the Blue Bell for a pint after the day at the mine the rains began. This morning the clouds have broken and the breeze is up a bit, so perhaps we’ll have another good day.

Yesterday at the mine Byron spent much of the time in the pocket on the east side of the face. The pocket has now been excavated to a fair size and Byron managed to produce eight tubs of specimens, along with a few excessively large bits that will need trimming. Nothing I saw would qualify as really good, but we should get some nice wholesale flats from it. The nice thing about working this pocket is that Byron has dug a flat ledge about a meter above the tunnel floor that is large enough to sit on and have room to work. Toward the end of the day Byron took a break and Cal and I had a go at it. Cal focused his attention on a large rock in the roof of the pocket, which had a nice dark green coating of fluorite on the bottom. Unfortunately, the rock had no fractures and came out whole, weighing probably close to 100 kilos. We managed to wrestle it to the tunnel floor without crushing the fluorite-covered face, and after application of a 10-pound hammer had it reduced to a manageable size. I never saw it after it was taken out and washed, so I help the piece was worth the effort.

Cal spent much of the morning in the vein pocket trying to get at several large plates of fluorite that are on the ceiling of the cavity. Unfortunately, much hammering and swearing occurred but little was had for it. After lunch Dave took over and after reinforcing some of the timbering, set to drilling the opening of the pocket in preparation for blasting at the end of the day. The shot went off well so hopefully we will have better access after mucking. Today’s photo is of Cal plotting his attack strategy at the pocket opening.

Today we will be mucking out the area around the vein pocket and hopefully be able to do more collecting there by afternoon. Dave is planning to drill and shoot the main face at end of day. Hope is that the thin seam of fluorite now exposed at the face is the leading edge of another section of flats extending away from the vein. If we can find pockets further away from the faulted vein they are less likely to be collapsed and broken. With the production from yesterday, we will also have a load of potential specimens to wash. Hopefully, a few good bits will turn up.

Until next time,

Jesse & Crew

Cal ponders his collecting stratigy at the Vein Pocket.

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