Eruptions

We’ve been discussing calderas recently on Eruptions (I wonder why) and the Laacher See in Germany came up. I’ve actually been to the Laacher See on a field trip lead by one of the world’s experts on the caldera, Dr. Gerhard Worner. So, I thought I’d post some pictures and talk a little about this feature that up until maybe 5 years ago, I didn’t even know existed.

Laacher See, Germany
The Laacher See is a caldera in the Rhine Valley of Germany (see below). It is only ~30 km south of Bonn and ~60 km south of Koln (Cologne), just to the west of the Rhine River. It is part of the East Eiffel Volcanic Field and the 8-km wide caldera is currently filled with a lake. Now, most people don’t think of volcanic activity occuring in central Europe, but it is believed that a mantle plume lies below this part of the continent, creating rifting and the volcanism in the Eifel Volcanoes. Laacher See last erupted ~12,900 years ago, but it was a doozy, erupting ~6 km3 (dense rock equivalent, i.e., taking all the ash and compacting the air out of it; closer to 20 km3 of uncondensed) of phonolite (an silica-undersaturated magma found in continental rift zones) tephra, making it similar in size to Pinatubo in 1991. Phonolite tends to have some odd minerals in it, such as the light blue feldspathoid, Hauyne, but the Laacher See magmatic body appears to be a complex mix of crystals from different sources.

The ash from the eruption can be found in the North Sea and throughout central Europe. Some of the deposits found near the caldera is remarkable, and (to me) seem so anomalous for the middle of the German countryside. There is some suggestion that the Laacher See eruption could have had a strong effect on the climate of Europe after the eruption and the human populations living there at the time. Although it has been quiet since the climactic eruption ~12,900 years ago, the caldera should still be considered potentially active as CO2 seeps exist in some parts of the lake, suggesting that there is still magma degassing under the lake. In fact, the CO2 can be a hazard, supposedly killing some Medieval monks in their sleep. There is no hazard map for Laacher See.

Here are a few pictures from my trip to the Laacher See (as a part of the 2007 Goldschmidt Meeting in Cologne). Click on the image to get a bigger version.

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Pumice from the 12.9 ka Laacher See eruption at the Standort Wingertsbergwand, a quarry near the caldera. Note the trees at the top of the ridge for scale.

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This is the plucky mascot that guided us to the deposit.

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A close up of the tephra deposits showing the beautiful layers of ash, pumice and lithics. This is a record of the pyroclastic flows and ash fall from the multiple days of the Laacher See eruption.

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Another view of the stunning tephra deposits.

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Dr. Worner points out some of the features of the tephra deposits.

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Dr. Worner uses a hand-made sampling device (i.e., a cut up soda bottle) to gather some of the volcanic gases – mostly CO2 bubbling up on the shores of the Laacher See. You can see the bubbles in the foreground in the shallow water.

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A view across the caldera lake. You can see the Maria Laach Abbey on the opposing shore.

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And really, what a better place to end the day than at a Brewery that keeps its beer in an underground basalt flow.

Comments

  1. #1 MadScientist
    February 8, 2010

    Vulkan Brauhaus? On the opposite side of the planet there is the “Vulcan Pub” in the middle of nowhere on New Zealand’s south island (a bit far from the volcanoes which are on and around the north island).

  2. #2 Callan Bentley
    February 8, 2010

    Awesome.

  3. #3 Chris Rowan
    February 8, 2010

    How did I not know this place existed? Suddenly Germany seems a little more tempting to visit…

  4. #4 Fitz
    February 8, 2010

    I feel like the kid waving his hand in the back of the classroom..

    Theres a caldera in Missouri !! Several in Texas !

  5. #5 Gijs de Reijke
    February 8, 2010

    Thanks for the great topic ^_^ ! For everyone that ever wants to go there: if you haven’t tried it, the ‘Vulkan Bräu’ from the Vulkan Brauhaus is great beer!

  6. #6 Erik Klemetti
    February 8, 2010

    The Vulkan Bräu sure is good – and I have an empty bottle on the shelf in my office!

  7. #7 Randall Nix
    February 8, 2010

    So the Laacher See is a lot like the volcanos that erupted in the Taconic orogeny at the begining of the Appalachian mountains?

  8. #8 Boris Behncke
    February 8, 2010

    Yes that’s definitely a very good beer, the Vulkan Bräu, especially when administered after a hot, dusty day out in the field in the tephra quarries around the Laacher See (yes there are a few hot days in the German summer). I do conserve a bottle that I emptied back in 1988 – it’s in my office at the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Catania, among the rocks and other stuff from Etna … But believe it or not, some time ago a new brand of beer popped up here at Etna, called – somewhat logically – Etna Bräu (I should send Erik a photo so that he can post it)!!! And considering that we’re in Sicily, which has much less of a beer tradition, it’s quite a good beer, which is essential since we have much more hot, dry, dusty and gassy days on this volcano here.

  9. #9 Randall Nix
    February 8, 2010

    Fitz there is the remains of a 95 million-year-old highly explosive type of volcano in Arkansas;)

  10. #10 Gijs de Reijke
    February 8, 2010

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/12/15943/

    We should have an ‘Eruptions Blog/Forum field triep’ to Mendig ^_^ ;-) . I’m sure everyone is thirsty after (and before) we go looking for that 5+ carat Hauyne at ‘In den Dellen’ quarry ;-) .

  11. #11 Randall Nix
    February 8, 2010

    Boris In left you a comment on the yellowstone thread. It wouldn’t allow me to post the links though;)

  12. #12 mots
    February 8, 2010

    So there must be plenty of ‘plumes’ from the mantle.
    Hawaii, Deuchland, Italy, and do we know of any others?
    yes,yes,Yellowstone…
    i wonder if, with all the subearth technological exploration
    we have uncovered others.
    off to ask Wikipedia.
    And to think i spent 2 years in Germany (no better bread in the world) and the mustard is outstanding…….. and never
    knew there was a volcano around…….. nuts.
    My mom hauled me everywhere……
    history….HISTORY!
    and i remember throwing a teenage fit at Porta Negra and saying i was more impressed with this rock (picking up a stray rock from the ground) than from all the other rocks that i’d seen people pile up one on another making another historic site. i must have been quite the pain.
    Best!motsfo

  13. #13 Gijs de Reijke
    February 8, 2010

    If you think you missed only a couple of volcanic areas…

    http://www.mantleplumes.org/images3/Europe_Fig1_580.gif

    Most of the volcanoes/volcanic fields have plume like structures beneath them, but they lack some properties that ‘classic’ mantle plumes have. For example, they don’t go as deep as many once thought. But they are anomalies indeed, it’s just that there is a lot of discussion going on about what caused/causes them.

  14. #14 Diane
    February 8, 2010

    Wow! Great pics, Erik! That is quite the ash flow.

    What’s this about a volcano is Arkansas? Hmmm. Seems they are all over the place. I saw a lady’s web site and what she was doing was visiting as many volcanoes as she could and documenting them. I don’t know if the her site is still up or not.

    At least I have climbed one twice, and been to a few more, but have only climbed Lassen. I know, I have talked about Lassen before. There is just something about that area and the mountain that I like and having been on the top was cool. Of course, while I was half way up the first time, I could see the parking lot below and a group of kids started up the trail. Before I had gone another half mile, they had caught up with me! Makes you feel good, you know. Yeah, right!!

    @Boris: Beer? In Sicily? I thought it was wine country. LOL Makes me think of the “I Love Lucy” show and her getting into the wine vat to stomp grapes and getting into a fight with the Italian lady. Talk about funny!

  15. #15 bruce stout
    February 8, 2010

    The one thing I took from the documentary was that there seems to be a slow drift of volcanism eastwards (i.e. towards the Rhine) and possibly also a slow rise in magnitude (not to imply the next eruption will be anything like the Laachersee eruption but of the next ten eruptions or so (think roughly 70k years) something like that is possibly on the cards). They even showed CO2 bubbling up from the bed of the river.

    If the Rhine got dammed temporarily by a small eruption it would be a classic example of how a natural catastrophe is not so much dependent on mere magnitude but more on the coincidence of a number of factors (here major river, flat alluvial plain, high population density, etc.)

    Perhaps if the general public were more aware of this interplay of factors in natural disasters, especially of those factors we have under our control, we wouldn’t get so obsessed with end of the world scenarios and super-volcanos but concentrate on the much more likely collateral damage even small eruptions can have.

    That said, I’d love to here something about the magma genesis of this kind of intraplate volcanism. ASsuming this field is generated by a mantle plume, why are we not getting ponding of melt under the continental crust and associated rhyolitc magma chambers forming .. why are we getting basaltic scoria cones and lava flows and phonolitic maars? As though the plume is rising straight up through the continental crust without any ponding on the way.. This seems to bear similarities to the Auckland volcanic field which is also chiefly basaltic and situated well and truly on continental crust, even despite the absence of rifting.
    my 2c./

  16. #16 Randall Nix
    February 8, 2010

    The volcano in Arkanas is from the mantle but isn’t a mantle plume…it is a Kimberlite or Lamprophyre. There is also one in Tennessee and one yet to be found in Alabama….it is most likely under some Kudzu and maybe pinched off like the gold deposits are in Alabama but there is the remains of a (most likely small) Kimberlite pipe somewhere in Alabama…most likely near Auburn or Phoenix City;)

  17. #17 Diane
    February 8, 2010

    @Mots: My mom told me I was picking up pretty rocks from the time I was about 2 1/2 to 3 years old! I have a nice collection I have been gathering over the years. Most small stuff, but nice stuff. I also have some fossils. I have only had a couple of chances to dig for them myself. Once, Mom and I went down to S CA and she pulled off the road to a dirt road and there was an area of sand that was coming down the road cut and it divided the road cut. I climbed up the sand (not easy!) and started digging. I found a piece of Lapis that looks like blue flecked granite and I also found a rock that is probably calcite with silver colored stripes running though it. I wanted to dig there some more so bad, but we didn’t have time. I bet there was some more neat stuff.

    I had the geology teachers look at them and they identified the lapis, but they didn’t quite know what the other one was and they figured it was calcite laced with some mineral. Well it sure looks like silver to me.

    Not exactly about volcanoes, but related in a way. Geology ,you see. :-)

  18. #18 Randall Nix
    February 8, 2010

    It’s the study of the volcanic rocks that help us understand volcanoes a little better;) There is also a big kimberlite outside of El Paso and there are lots of them up around the Colorado/Wyoming border.

  19. #19 Randall Nix
    February 8, 2010

    I guess the lesson from Laacher See and the Kimberlites is that no matter where you are….you may be a lot closer to a volcano or volcanism than you ever realized;)

  20. #20 Diane
    February 8, 2010

    I have collected (don’t tell anybody lol) some of the Bishop tuff and some other volcanic or ignious rock. I just wish I could do more. I found a piece of shist in with a bunch of rock along a dirt road. I have it now. Neat rock. Then I got a piece of ash or pyroclast hunk from along a road. I have seen some globs that are definitely ash or from a pyroclastic flow sticking out of softer material that had eroded around them. They are in a road cut! Maybe I can take some pics and give them to Erik to post just for fun.

    Where is the La Garida caldera?

  21. #21 Randall Nix
    February 8, 2010

    Diane If you found the Lapis stone near the ones with the white and silver then it may be calcite and pyrite (fools gold). Pyrite looks sort of like silver sometimes more than it does gold. I think that it is due to the higher sulfer content in some samples (Boris or Erik could tell you more on that) or it could be just really oxidized making it look more gray.

  22. #22 Gijs de Reijke
    February 8, 2010

    @ Diane: right here: http://maps.google.nl/maps?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:nl:official&channel=s&hl=nl&source=hp&q=La%20Garita%20caldera&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl

    There are some maps available on where caldera rim faults can be found, but just using Google should get you there ^_^ .

  23. #24 Randall Nix
    February 8, 2010

    I used to have a mining patent up in Saguache;) it is an amazing place…Just like the San Louis Valley geology is very interesting…you really can’t fully begin to understaand the LaGarita caldera without understanding the San Louis Valley geology;)
    Diane here is a link to some cool rocks I have found:
    http://www.corunduminium.com/oldsitebackup/page/New.htm
    Scroll down the page a little ways and you will see a
    2000ct blue/gray sapphire (corundum) I found in Alabama.

    In case the link doesn’t work from here you can find it on Google by typing in “Alabama corundum”…it’s the first search return:)

  24. #25 Randall Nix
    February 8, 2010

    LaGarita is just west of the San Louis Valley and the Sangre De Cristo mountains, in south central Colorado

  25. #26 Fitz
    February 8, 2010

    I posted a link to a map of La Garita and most of the other calderas in Colorado, most of em I havent found the names to.
    Heres the site I found it on, it has other cool pics too.

    http://skywalker.cochise.edu/wellerr/students/wheeler/project.htm

    the big yellow blob is La Garita, the pink blob is I think the extant of the melted tuff ( as opposed to the relatively cooler ashfall)

    And if you’re from Back East and feel Geology Deprived
    heres a map of US Rifts –

    http://www.uky.edu/KGS/emsweb/ecrb/pcrift2.html

    RFR is the Reelfoot Rift, the cause of the New Madrid quakes. Just one of many.

  26. #27 Randall Nix
    February 8, 2010

    WASHINGTON – A magnitude 5.7-earthquake has struck southern Mexico near the Oaxaca coast.

    The quake was centered 35 miles north of Puerto Angel, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Information Center.

    It hit at 6:47 p.m. local time and was felt 280 miles away in Mexico City, were buildings swayed gently.

    Magnitude 5.7 – OAXACA, MEXICO
    2010 February 09 00:47:42 UTC
    Versión en Español
    DetailsSummaryMapsScientific & Technical
    Earthquake Details
    Magnitude 5.7
    Date-Time Tuesday, February 09, 2010 at 00:47:42 UTC
    Monday, February 08, 2010 at 06:47:42 PM at epicenter
    Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

    Location 16.145°N, 96.525°W
    Depth 35 km (21.7 miles) set by location program
    Region OAXACA, MEXICO
    Distances 55 km (35 miles) N of Puerto Angel, Oaxaca, Mexico
    100 km (65 miles) SSE of Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
    140 km (90 miles) W of Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, Mexico
    455 km (285 miles) SE of MEXICO CITY, D.F., Mexico

    Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 6.8 km (4.2 miles); depth fixed by location program
    Parameters NST=201, Nph=205, Dmin=983 km, Rmss=0.72 sec, Gp=133°,
    M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=6
    Source USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)

    Event ID us2010smac

  27. #28 Diane
    February 8, 2010

    Thank you all for the info on La Garita. That sounds like a place I want to see. I have not been in that area, but I have been on top of Pike’s Peak a couple of times. I won’t be doing that again because I get dizzy if I go above 12,500 and now, I probably would lower than that.

    @Randall, those saphires are beautiful. I just wish I could go looking for rocks. And the ones that I found, you are probably right about it being pyrite with the calcite. It is in layers and thin lines through the rock. I had both polished and they are really pretty. The lapis, unfortunately, got a bit of dark stuff in it when I polished it, but it is still a really pretty rock. I felt pretty good about finding them.

    One rock I found was out of place. It was on one of the trips the Goldhounds used to take to Nevada every year. We were out in an area that was mostly ash and such and I was headed back to my car when I looked down and saw a bit of reddish rock sticking out of the ground. I dug it up and it was a piece of red and yellow jasper. It is a beautiful rock. Cool find and some of the gang thought it was the best find on the trip. :-D

    I found a nice rock of yellow jasper near the river and I was going to take it home and forgot it. I could have kicked myself for that one. It was about six inches in diameter! ARG!

  28. #29 Benjamin
    February 8, 2010

    In that third picture (directly below the plucky mascot), is that trough cross-bedded tephra in the middle?

  29. #30 Fitz
    February 9, 2010

    wanna know what makes me happy?

    Found a list of ALL the calderas in Colorado….

    yes

    ALL the CALDERAS in COLORADO !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    24 or 25, one hasnt been located firmly, “Great Basin, 2600 km3, 29Mya” and I have one more thats not on the list if Brizzley Peak is really a caldera.

    Mr NIX :
    where the heck are the volcanos that dropped the Millbrig and Deike bentonites? Tennessee, or farther southwest? YS size, but not a peep on the net about where they are.

  30. #31 Doug Merson
    February 9, 2010

    As a mineral collector with an interest in micro minerals, I have been aware of the Eifel area for quite some time. There are many minerals found in the rock resulting from the eruptions. The following site has many excellent photos of some of the minerals found there.
    http://wannenkopfe.strahlen.org/
    My interest in minerals has me interested in all things geologic.

    Doug Merson

  31. #32 Randall Nix
    February 9, 2010

    They occured in the Middle Ordovician during the Taconic orogeny around 450 million years ago. The ash gets thicker as you go from the Northwest to the Southeast so that ash came from volcanoes that were once located to the East of what is now South Carolina…I am afraid the volcanoes that laid those beds down are long gone. They originated in the Iapetus Ocean and have been folded into the Appalachians. They made the ash beds you are seeing and some of that same ash after being buried and reheated later during another mountain building phase…contributed to the metamorphic rocks of the Inner Piedmont….the amphibilites and other ultramafic rocks where I find my corundum;)

  32. #33 Randall Nix
    February 9, 2010

    Nice Rutile!

  33. #34 Gijs de Reijke
    February 9, 2010

    @ Fitz: the calderas in and around Colorado formed as parts of the so called ‘Mid-Teriary ingnimbrite flare-up’. I don’t know much about it (yet), but here’s a link to some information: http://www.colorado.edu/GeolSci/Resources/WUSTectonics/CzIgnimbrite/ignimbrite_intro.html

    @ Bejamin: by the looks of it it’s above the so called ‘Autobahn’ (the two bands of pumice fallout at the bottom of the picture that look like a highway), and it kind of looks the same, so I guess you’re right about that being (mostly) cross-bedded tehpra.

  34. #35 steve sorrell
    February 9, 2010

    There’s an excellent book on the minerals of the Laacher See too – “Mineralien Des Laacher-See-Gebietes”, Eddy Van Der Meersche, 1997

  35. #36 MadScientist
    February 9, 2010

    An Etna Brau? I’ll have to visit Sicily again. I might have to change from asking for “uno vino locale” to “una birra locale”.

  36. #37 Diane
    February 9, 2010

    @Fitz: 24/25 calderas in Colorado?! Wow! Now I want to know what constitutes a caldera. Is it just a matter of size?

    Somebody needs to make up a volcano/caldera map, if there isn’t one, of the entire US. That is not to leave out the rest of the world! Maps of other areas would be nice ,too.

  37. #38 Fitz
    February 9, 2010

    Diane: I think by definition a caldera is the crater formed when the area surrounding a vent collapses. They can be fairly small, like the ones at the tops of stratocone volcanos. All the ones on the list I found had ejected volumes of around 100 cubic kilometers and up. Fairly large. Vesuvius has a somma caldera. The really big ones dont seem to bother building a “volcano” they just blow big holes in the ground. (PS Colorado has been quiet for 25 million yrs)

    R Nix: offshore? That figures. Forget setting up a tour. Interest returns to the diamond bearing kimberlite pipes in Arkansas. Got anything good on those? Parallels to Kimberly and Canada?

    All – just realized we have a Diane and a Diana. I would volunteer my forum as a place to have a welcome page, but I dont want to pilfer folks from Erik.

  38. #39 Gijs de Reijke
    February 9, 2010

    @ Diane: I think you can describe a caldera as ‘a volcanic collapse crater of at least 1 km in diameter, in which the collapse has not been caused by a phreatic or phreatomagmatic eruption’.

    @ Fitz: I agree on making/finding a place where we can at least introduce ourselves to one another :) .

  39. #41 Randall Nix
    February 9, 2010

    Murfreesboro, Pike County, Arkansas the Prairie Creek kimberlite/lamproite

    the crater of Diamond
    State Park, southwestern Arkansas

    I tried to post links to several papers on US Kimberlites/lamproite/peridotite but it wouldn’t let me.

  40. #42 Diane
    February 9, 2010

    Thanks Gijs and Fitz for the interpretations of calderas. I was just checking on Medicine Lake caldera in CA and the CVO describes it as a shield volcano that has had rather mild eruptions. By that they mean nothing like Mt. St. Helens. It is about 7700′ high and it formed in the caldera which was a collapse from the emptying of the lava chambers. It was an interesting article and I haven’t read the entirety of it, but what I did read was interesting. It is part of the Cascades, though not typical. It has erupted dacite, basalt, rhyolite, among ohter stuff, and Glass Mountain is part of it. It seems to have several chambers rather than one major plume.

    I was interested in looking this up because my DH thought the caldera itself was about 85miles in diameter. The caldera isn’t that large. The area involved with the eruptions might be. I am still wondering which caldera is considered to be the largest. Not necessarily the one that blew the most stuff, but the actual dimentions, such as Long Valley being 17×30 miles. (some say 15 miles wide) I am just curious about it.

    Also, does anyone know about the impact crater in Colorado that is also part way into Wyoming? DH says there are some interesting rocks and minerals Including some diamonds in that area. He likened it to Kimberlite formations and told me that, as far as the minerals in the area, the minerals can only be formed by either an impact or Kimberlite. So I would like any input on this.

    Thanks everone. I appreciate the answers as they get me to digging more into this. Very interesting.

  41. #43 Randall Nix
    February 10, 2010

    Here are a few links to some impact stuff I think you will like:
    http://www.impactstructure.net/
    http://www.unb.ca/passc/ImpactDatabase/NorthAmerica.html

    There are several kimberlites along the Colorado Wyoming border.

  42. #44 Randall Nix
    February 10, 2010

    I had to put the link to the impact site as my url to get it to post. Just click on my name in this post and it will take you there. For some reason it isn’t allowing me to post links and keeps telling me my comments are being held for review.

    By the way there are several kimberlites along the Colorado Wyoming border.

  43. #45 mjkbk
    February 10, 2010

    Medicine Lake is the largest volcano by volume in the Cascades and is the source of all the features in Lava Beds National Monument. The last eruption in the area was only 900 years ago. This baby is just slumbering.

  44. #46 Diane
    February 10, 2010

    @Randall: Thanks for that site! I had no idea there were that many impact craters. I have been to Berringer. Now I want to go see the ones that can be seen. And who would have thought Chesapeak Bay is the result of an impact. I guess I can say I have been there because we crossed it over 30 years ago. Can you do rock hounding in that crater area along the Colorado/Wyoming border?

    @Mjkbk: Yes, I know it is the largest by volume in the Cascades. It did send out a lot of stuff beyond the caldera itself and due to that, I guess you can say the diameter is around 85 miles. I know there are a lot of basalt flows around there. There are several flows from different vents, such as Glass Mountain. CVO also mentioned that Shasta is the largest of the stratovolcanoes of the Cascades. If Mazama and Tehema hadn’t blown, they would have been larger than Shasta. Lassen came up from the remains of Tehama sort of along one side. I can’t say there is a caldera there because there doesn’t appear to be a collapse, but if you are in the right place, you can see some remnents of Tehama. Brokeoff is part of it, also.

    As for Medicine Lake, are the Tule Lake flows from that volcano? I have been up there where 60 Indians led by Captain Jack hid in the lava caves and held off 500 cav soldiers for six months. (Or was it 600 soldiers for five months?)

  45. #47 Diane
    February 10, 2010

    Oops. :-> Just figured out the Lava Beds National Monument is the area near Tule Lake.

  46. #48 Randall Nix
    February 10, 2010

    Here is a crater close to me that I have visited many times:
    Wetumpka impact crater page
    David T. King, Jr.
    Geology Dept., Auburn University
    http://www.auburn.edu/~kingdat/wetumpkawebpage3.htm
    It is a fascinating place and that impact is thought to be part of the same chunk that hit Chicxulub and supposedly killed out the dinosaurs. It also created some great petrified wood with smokey quartz crystals that I have sitting on my desk right now;)
    As for checking out kimberlites along the Colorado-Wyoming border….

    http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/diamonds/north.html

    If they are private mining claims you will have to ask permission before going on the site. A lot of the rual west is actually administered by the BLM and if there is not a working or a patented mining claim on it then it is open for prospecting. You can find this out at the local county court house. My advice is to find your own Kimberlite;) Get hold of a chuck of Kimberlite if possible. It is light gray to a darkish bluish green or if weathered it can be more or a brownish geenish gray, not real impressive in itself but the minerals that are included in the Kimberlite can range from diamond to garnet or just about any mineral you can think of depending on what it picked up as the Kimberlite blew a hole to the surface. Study photos if you can’t get hold of chunk of Kimberlite. You can also visit Kilbourne Hole outside of El Paso….I don’t think there are any diamonds there (not all kimberlites have diamonds) but there are some good garnets, small peridote and other xenoliths and you can see a kimberlite volcano first hand.

    When I get some time I will try to compile the info for you and I will try to point you in the general area. You can take a day to go look. When looking in a good area check out all dry washes look for changes in color in the soil or rock formations and don’t just look down….look around to see where the flash floods have cut through beds. If you see a kimberlite it won’t look like a volcano and will most likely just be a change in rock type or color of the soil….Remember don’t look for a diamond because chances are you would never see one….look for the kimberlites or possibly garnets in the dry washes and follow them back to their source. If you know how to find gold then you can use some of those same techniques to find the Kimberlite source…find the source and if possible stake the claim….If the info I give you leads you to something I want 2% of what you find;) I hope some of this may help.

  47. #49 Randall Nix
    February 10, 2010

    Here is a crater close to me that I have visited many times:
    Wetumpka impact crater page
    David T. King, Jr.
    Geology Dept., Auburn University
    It wouldn’t let me post with links again so I am trying it without them….just go to Google and search for the Wetumpka impact crater.
    It is a fascinating place and that impact is thought to be part of the same chunk that hit Chicxulub and supposedly killed out the dinosaurs. It also created some great petrified wood with smokey quartz crystals that I have sitting on my desk right now;)
    As for checking out kimberlites along the Colorado-Wyoming border….If they are private mining claims you will have to ask permission before going on the site. A lot of the rual west is actually administered by the BLM and if there is not a working or a patented mining claim on it then it is open for prospecting. You can find this out at the local county court house. My advice is to find your own Kimberlite;) Get hold of a chuck of Kimberlite if possible. It is light gray to a darkish bluish green or if weathered it can be more or a brownish geenish gray, not real impressive in itself but the minerals that are included in the Kimberlite can range from diamond to garnet or just about any mineral you can think of depending on what it picked up as the Kimberlite blew a hole to the surface. Study photos if you can’t get hold of chunk of Kimberlite. You can also visit Kilbourne Hole outside of El Paso….I don’t think there are any diamonds there (not all kimberlites have diamonds) but there are some good garnets, small peridote and other xenoliths and you can see a kimberlite volcano first hand. Since I couldn’t post the link in this post…just click on my name to see a Wiki page about Kilbourne Hole.

    When I get some time I will try to compile the info for you and I will try to point you in the general area. You can take a day to go look. When looking in a good area check out all dry washes look for changes in color in the soil or rock formations and don’t just look down….look around to see where the flash floods have cut through beds. If you see a kimberlite it won’t look like a volcano and will most likely just be a change in rock type or color of the soil….Remember don’t look for a diamond because chances are you would never see one….look for the kimberlites or possibly garnets in the dry washes and follow them back to their source. If you know how to find gold then you can use some of those same techniques to find the Kimberlite source…find the source and if possible stake the claim….If the info I give you leads you to something I want 2% of what you find;) I hope some of this may help.

  48. #50 Diane
    February 10, 2010

    @Randall, if the area you are talking about is in Arkanasa or Texas it is too far for me to be able to be searching for Kimberlite. I am in CA! So I will have to be content to go where and when I can afford to. I think my distance limits are no further east than NDAK. I have been wanting to go back to Montana and NDAK for some time, but the time hasn’t been right.

    I know I probably can find where any claims are if I check with the BLM office of the area I go to. I know I can do that in Sac and get that info.

    Thanks for the idea, though and also the information. I may be able to get to Wyoming sometime.

  49. #51 Randall Nix
    February 10, 2010

    In that case you are closer to Buell Park, Arizona, there are kimberlites there too. Sorry Diane for some reason I thought you were in Colorado. Also for anyone living closer to Kansas there are six kimberlite pipes of late Cretaceous or Tertiary age in Riley Co., in east-central Kansas. Yes Dorothy there are volcanoes in Kansas…the Stockdale kimberlites;)

  50. #52 Diane
    February 10, 2010

    @Randall, thanks for the info on Arizona. I know several people from the Goldhounds who go down there for the Tucson rock shows. They also go metal detecting and some do dry washing.

    BTW, there was one guy that used to be a member (he has moved away) who went detecting where the Sierras come to the Mojave and found a nugget the size of my fist! 27 oz.!! It was the biggest nugget I have had opportunity to hold in my hands.

  51. #53 Fitz
    February 10, 2010

    You dont need diamonds in CALIF, you got all that gold already.
    It aint fair. All we got in KS is salt. Salt. And some oil. A few big ol’ coal mines. OK, a lotta oil, but a lotta salt too.

  52. #54 Randall Nix
    February 10, 2010

    Fitz, you have kimberlites in Kansas….scroll up;)

  53. #55 Diane
    February 11, 2010

    @Fitz, there is gold in EVERY state. It just may not be evident. As for salt, the Mojave has a lot of that. Most of SE CA is desert. And there is gold down there and in the desert, it is spotty. That big nugget was very much a rarity, a once in a lifetime find. Most of the easy stuff was taken out BEFORE the 49ers(not the SF ones lol) even got here. Very few got rich on the gold. The ones who got rich were the ones who sold the equipment to the miners. We had a next door neighbor, when I was young, whose father outfitted miners and they would go to Grass Valley and never be heard from again. There was a lot of claim jumping and believe it or not, there still is, even before the gold went up in price. One of the Hounds went to his claim and found somebody had take a can of paint and wrote Clifford’s claim on a rock and really made a mess. He told the forest service he would get it all cleaned up.

    Where I do my panning and classifying is at the river and also an hydrolic pit. We get what they call flour gold—small flakes. Some of them are small enough to go through a #100 screen. That is 100X100 holes/sq”. You can see them, but they sure are small. But I have so much fun at the river. We never know what we are going to see. Canada geese fly in and land on the calm part of the river, seven canvass backs swimming up river, a mother duck with nine little ducklings, a great blue heron, other birds, cougar prints on the short trail to the river; bear, lizzard, snake, racoon, turkey, quail, deer, squirrel, mouse, and bob cat tracks along the road. It is so quiet and nice early in the morning and we always find a bit of that yellow stuff.

    Yes, Dorthy, there is gold in Kanasas. And Kimberlites.

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