National Limestone Quarry
Mount Pleasant Mills, Pennsylvania
April 20, 2008
Report by Mike Streeter


When Chrissy and I decided to head north to the Herkimer, New York area to collect quartz for our annual spring vacation, we thought that it might be fun to make a stop to visit and collect with some of our Pennsylvania friends. I contacted our pal, RJ Harris, President of the Central Pennsylvania Rock and Mineral Club to see if he could gain access to any of the nearby collecting locals, including the National Limestone Quarry in Mount Pleasant Mills. RJ contacted National's owner, Eric Stahl, who graciously allowed us to access the quarry, as we had done before in August 2007 (Click Here for Report). We drove from our home near Asheville to Selingsgrove, PA on Saturday where we set up our Coleman folding camper at the Penn Avon Campground.

Opal, Chrissy and I met RJ, Ken Springer, Bruce Skubon and Ethan Martin at the quarry at 8:00 AM Sunday. It was overcast and the weather forecast called for thunderstorms that were supposed to begin by mid-morning and persist into the afternoon. Undaunted by the chance of rain, we drove to an area at the base of the quarry where Eric had mentioned to RJ that a calcite-rich vein had been encountered during the last blast.

National Limestone Quarry

It only took a couple minutes for us to discover that Eric's claim to have intersected a calcite-rich vein was an understatement. We were elated to find huge piles of large boulders ripe with pockets lined with clear and yellowish calcite crystals and some strontianite - it was a downright crystal bonanza!

Chrissy & RJ working a boulder pile

We all fanned out like a hungry sharks in a well-stocked goldfish pond to attack the plentiful calcite-rich boulders.

Ethan (left) and Bruce

Opal appeared at times as though she was watching a tennis match as eager rockhounds scurried back and forth across the quarry in search of the next rock to bust.

Ken and RJ took the time out of their busy rockhounding schedule to teach Opal the proper way to pose - it took two tries to show her better half.

Ken, Opal and RJ

Prepared for the forecasted rain that ironically wouldn't arrive until mid-afternoon, Chrissy was like a kid in a candy store - so many rocks, so little time.

We worked this lower section of the quarry for the entire morning and recovered so many specimens that we had a tough time deciding which we wanted to keep in order to leave some room in the back of the truck for what we hoped to find during the remainder of our trip. This chore was made even more difficult because many of the specimens were very large because bigger is almost always better in my book. The following pictures show a sampling of our calcite and strontianite specimens.

Click on each specimen picture to enlarge

Click on each specimen picture to enlarge

Click on each specimen picture to enlarge

After lunch, we headed off to another section of the quarry where green to yellowish green wavellite could be found in a silicified sandstone. While we were digging, thunder began to roll and the sky opened up with a steady downpour that would continue intermittently throughout the remainder of the afternoon. The rain wasn't all bad though, as it helped wash the brown dirt off the rocks as I dug thus exposing the wavellite. We got our fill of wavellite and wet by late-afternoon and decided to call it a day. The following pictures show a couple the wavellite specimens.

Click on each specimen picture to enlarge

Chrissy and I are again grateful to Eric and RJ for yet another wonderful day to remember in beautiful and bountiful PA!