googleed3ca5fea536c11e.html South African Mineral Specimens: Our Vredendal Trip, March 2010.

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A Mineral specimen blog by which we want to share our mineral outings as well as our experiences in the Western Cape mountains.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Our Vredendal Trip, March 2010.

We were more than 30 club members who met at the gates of the lime quarry a few kilometeres outside Vredendal early on Saturday morning. After the usual briefing and signing of indemnity forms, everyone started their long-awaited search for crystals. (Access to this mine is closed to the public, and only club members may go with the club about twice a year.)
I found a few crystals in a red clay wall, while Pierre went on to the main mining area, where he found a pocket of quartz crystals within about 5 minutes. The pocket extended about 2m into the rock face. Pierre marked his pocket, then came and called me, where I was still finding only a few, isolated, crystals. (He always does the hard work, then allows me to join in the fun of removing the specimens from his pockets!) At some point in time, there must have been a flush of water that came through the pocket which removed the original soft, yellow clay, and deposited a brown, harder clay. Quite a few of the crystals were embedded in this type of clay. There have obviously also been some movement in the pocket somewhere in the past, because a number of the bigger crystals were badly broken. Still we removed quite a few beautiful crystals from this pocket.
We also ventured to the hills where we have previously found some nice smokies. These crystals were embedded in very hard clay, and we had to make use of a pick to break the ground. The hard work paid off, and we found some lovely smoky quartz crystals. I even found and retrieved my very own, good sized smokie!

We camped for two nights at the mine, and left by midday on the Monday of the long week-end. When we got home, after about 2½ hours on the road, a refreshing shower was at the top of our priority list - a vital necessity after having camped and mined for 2½ days without any facilities or running water ...


The pocket, extending about 2m into the rock face.

A pick is needed to break through the very hard clay

Searching for crystals

Some crystals were embedded in brown clay

Lovely, double terminated smoky
A lovely quartz cluster

Single quartz crystal with iron oxide coating
A pocket found!
Double terminated, flat, quartz crystal.

Beautiful quartz crystals with rutile, on feldspar matrix

A lovely quartz cluster

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