Finally… a rock dig close to home! Have you ever driven for hours to go on a dig? I do all the time. My buddy's in The Rome Georgia Mineral Society and I will commonly drive a round trip of 7 hours just to dig for 7 hours. Of course this makes for a long day - but not this dig.
The Southeast Federation of Mineralogical Society's January 2007 Dixie Mineral Council (DMC) field trip was to Ladd's Mountain, in Cartersville, Bartow Co., Georgia. (It should be noted that technically the name is actually Quarry Mountain). Living almost within site of the mountain made this trip all too convenient for me - my round trip commute was a whopping 20 minutes. Ah…finally a little justice with an added bonus of what proved to be an awesome dig.
Quarry Mountain is located in Northwest Georgia,
in the Valley and Ridge province, and is situated in the Knox Dolomite formation. The Ladd Lime & Stone Co. began mining limestone and dolomite in 1866 and continued operations well into the 1900's, producing ground limestone for agricultural purposes, and asphalt filler. In the later years of operation, the dolomite was burned into a high purity magnesium lime that was used to make baking powder and even the gas that gave Coca Cola it's
fizz. (From “Guide To the Geology Of Bartow Co., Georgia” by Wm. Hovey Smith - Photo circa 1930 by Michele Rodgers).
During the mining process Quarry Mountain was basically cut in half, revealing various cave formations. For this reason, Ladd's became the premiere Georgia site for collecting cave onyx, a fancy term for basic flowstone or calcium carbonate. Collecting cave formations is legal in Georgia so long as you have the permission of the landowner to do so. So, with County permission, Ladd's has long been the place to go for this type of material. Those who do lapidary work tell me the material is tops.
The county has always forbid collecting beyond the cave openings. Despite this, there have been a foolhardy few who have done so anyway in the past. Not only did these individuals break clearly established rules; they risked great physical harm from falling rocks or falling themselves inside the treacherous wet caves. They also risked contracting histoplasmosis, a very serious disease caused by the fungus that can form in bat droppings.
Jim was early, the crowd was early, and the fun was big. Over 70 eager, friendly, and knowledgeable, people on showed up for the day.
Jim Haege, field, trip chairman of
the Cobb Co. GMS, arranged and led the trip.
A crowd begins to assemble at Ingles
Above left - Joe Enderle of the Southern Appalachian Mineral Society
Above Right - Kim Cochran - President of the Georgia Mineral Society
Bartow County Maintenance Shop Sign-in
Let me say kudos to Mr. Jim. It was a well run and disciplined field trip. There were red flag markers at the site that clearly marked the boundaries for
collecting and everyone understood and respected the established collecting guidelines. Rules, etiquette, safety, accountability, responsible leadership, and experience are all hallmarks of a DMC field trip.
Although the high walls were out of bounds, there was plenty of material to
be found in other safer areas. There was certainly no reason to jeopardize one’s life by collecting near the wall. A few folks dug new holes, some simply picked up excellent stuff off the ground, while others relentlesly swung sledge hammers to break apart a plethora of large cave onyx boulders. There were several stalactites and stalagmites found in addition to an abundance of other cave formations and minerals, including flowstone, calcite, aragonite, and even a dolomite crystal.
More Cave Onyx
The following pictures show a few of the many specimens that I recovered that day.
Aragonite in pocket
Aragonite in Onyx
Just about everybody's vehicle was riding low at day's end, as all participants, including yours truly, were able to haul away as much material as we could carry.
In closing, please be aware that this site is posted and not currently available for return trips.