Kirk K. Hilbelink, PG President/Geologist

Conifer, Colorado
(303) 204-3170


Field Trip with the Park County Historical Society

Fun even in the winter! The pond is about eight feet deep where Nick is standing.Recently I led the Park County Historical Society on a field trip to one of my mining claims, The Nicholas-Carson Mine, after being contacted by PCHS member Dr. Pete Modreski, Community Relations and Educational Outreach guy for the USGS. While Pete impressed all with his local geological knowledge, I was more than willing to share my limited grasp of the more historical aspects of the claim. This claim includes a pegmatite body that had been previously worked in the 1950s and '60s for feldspar (the purest, or whitest material was used for ceramic insulatorsBlue and green topaz specimens (not quite gem quality) and the like) and milky quartz (crushed for terrazzo stone for rooftops, garderns, etc.). The site is also known for rare earth elements (REEs) such as monazite, and semi-precious minerals such as topaz and fluorite. However, most of the topaz, although rich in color, is somewhat granular and only of specimen quality. Fortunately, I can lay claim to the first ever gemmy topaz rough recovered at this location, much of which has been cut into small stones and set in jewelry for loved ones and friends. Color is a medium blue, and occasionally apple green, but certainly unlike any other topaz found in the Pikes Peak region. Regrettably, I've been unable to duplicate the initial finds since first prospecting the area. 

Through my research on the claim, I was able to determine where the original miners cut their dynamite (I believe it was required that the TNT be cut at least 300 feet from the active mining area, for safety reasons). It was also noted in the mining claim documentation that while the miners excavated the core of the pegmatite (where the purest of the recoverable minerals were mined), they intersected a spring that immediately flooded their pit and eventually forced them to abandon their claim. The pit is currently filled with about eight feet of stagnant water and untold layers of rubble that has fallen or been thrown into the pit over the years. The pond hosts quite an extended family of tiger salamanders!

Better than typical specimen-quality topaz. The blue color really stands out when treated with mineral oil.Some gemmy topaz rough. The largest gem cut from this piece was about four carats.A nice view of granular topaz and fluorite in situ. Here the topaz occurs in 'pods' with a notable rind of sericite. Unfortunately, upon prolonged exposure to the atmosphere, the vibrant colors wash out as the materials dry.Another topaz specimen. This is what is considered as topaz pycnite, notable for its columnar crystal habit. 








One of the attendees submitted his trip report to the Fairplay Flume, which was published in the October 16th edition. A reprint of the article is located here (as published in the Park County Republican and Fairplay Flume (The Flume) on October 16, 2015). 

Here's a zoned fluorite from the dump. I have found fluorite crystals in situ in the pit area but nothing near as remarkable as this one.A plan view of the pegmatite from Simmons 1980. I was fortunate to meet the author and accompany him on a field trip to a site he hadn't visited in over 30 years.A brilliant green fluorite.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (4)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
« Happy 4th of July, Thanks To...... | Main | Prospectors Part II »