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Posted in response to Rock hunting sites in West Virginia from Michael on March 05, 2012 at 08:19:19:

Re: Rock hunting sites in West Virginia

Hi Michael

I thought you might be interested in this information from an earlier Rock Shop post in 2006 (see below). If you do have a chance of collecting pieces of the Lithostrotionella then I would be interested to exchange examples of this for pieces of our local (UK) agatised fossil coral (Tisbury Coral). This takes a good polish - could send you some pieces for wirewrapping or tumbling if you like - makes good baroque jewellery.


Nick Crawford (Wiltshire, England)

Re: West Virginia fossil coral (Lithostrotionella sp.)

I think I can help you out. I work in Information Technology for the WV DEP, and more importantly am a rock hound.

Driving Directions: If you find US Route 219 north from Lewisburg on a map, follow it along to Hillsboro. When you pass Droop Mountain State Park, between the park road and Hillsboro, on the SE side of Rt 219 over the hill, you will need to look for Locust Creek Spring. Turn east and down the hill on Healing Spring Road or towards Watoga State Park, which is at the bottom of the hill near Greenbrier River. Driving N on 219 from Lewisburg this is a right turn after passing Droop Mtn State Park by a couple of miles - driving S on 219 from Hillsboro, this will be a left turn 4 or 5 miles south of town.

Geographical Background: On the other side of Droop Mountain is another park within Mon National Forest, called The Falls of Hill Creek. This creek tumbles over 3 pretty big waterfalls, and there is a path and steps built down from the parking lot to the lowest of the 3 waterfalls. Hills Creek eventually hits the bottom of Droop Mountain, on the western side, and goes under the mountain. It is what is called a "sinking"creek. It passes completely under Droop Mountain through caverns only accessible to SCUBA divers (so far as I know). It eventually comes out of the mountain on the other (the SE) side where it is called Locust Creek.

While passing under Droop Mountain, it erodes and washes out a profuse amount of nodules of Lithostrontianella. There is also a limestone quarry a little farther north at Mill Point, and they occasionally encounter "reefs" of Litho in their aggregate mining. I'm not sure if they try to crush it and sell it as road building material or not - it's pretty hard stuff, compared with regulat limestone.

Collecting: You can park and wade Locust creek with a 5 gallon bucket and pick up rounded rocks from the creek bed. Some (but not all) of these nodules will be litho.

I've found it in pastures where woodchucks have cleaned their burrows in the spring and have thrown small lumps of coral down the hill from the mouth of their home burrows, but in stream beds is the best place to look. It can be quite beautiful, when it occurs as translucent agate with hexagonal cell structures and all. It does make a nice lapidary material

From Nick Crawford - March 15, 2012 at 23:20:15

Message: 70247

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