Ron Burke and his handy assistant and budding rockhound, Jimbo Richeson,
discovered the "mother lode" of goethite after pyrite psuedomorphs. While digging in
the bank for aragonite-filled pockets, Ron happened upon a layer of meta-siltstone and phyllite
that contains perfect psuedomorphic cubes in matrix. It was then that we knew where the crystal that
Anita had found in the lower bench originated. I joined Ron for a while scratching in the bank
and, with some effort, we both recovered a few keepers for ourselves . . . and Chrissy . . .and Mary . . .
and Greg . . . there was plenty to go around!
It seemed that Jimbo was the good luck charm that Ron had been looking for. Ron
was in hog heaven and bordering on cocky having discovered the source of the goethite after pyrite
cubes. Ron may be checking with Jimbo's schedule to see if his luck would be available at other
The following pictures were taken of a couple of the goethite after pyrite
in matrix specimens that Ron graciously allowed me to collect.
Click on each specimen picture to enlarge
I spent some quality time removing a few more keepers with my buddy, Jeffadillo,
before calling it a day at around 4:30 PM. By then, just about everyone else had left. I took the
my final picture from the top of the quarry before heading down.
On our way out, Chrissy, Opal and I met up with our new friend, Jimbo. He led us
on a short walk to show us some of the old quarry operations. We hiked up and then down an overgrown
gravel road to a deep pit with a large colluvial fan that drapes down over a steep cliff that rises
to near the top of active quarry. This abandoned pit is a perfect place to collect runoff from the
active portion of the quarry. The bottom was covered with mud and there was no telling how thick it
was. I threw a large rock out into the middle and it was quickly swallowed up as if there was
no bottom. Due to this old pit, no sediment from this area could ever reach the Nantahala River.
After our walk, we bid farewell to Jimbo and, after cleaning up in the nearby
river, we headed for home.
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