New Hampshire Collecting Sites


Mineral Collecting at Surry, New Hampshire

Hematite

Source: Jon Ciemiewicz 11/16/97
JTC@sprintmail.com

This road cut and ledge are abundant in botryoidal hematite with very rare occurrences of fans and rhombohedral crystals.

Directions: From Route 101 in Keene, NH take routes 9/10/12 north. Follow route 12 as it splits off to the left. In about 1 mile turn right onto route 12A and follow it about 1 mile to a traffic light. Turn left there onto Old Walpole Road. You will be driving in a northerly direction. The collecting area is 3.2 miles from the traffic light. It can be recognized by a road cut ledge on the left with a dirt road just beyond it and a ledge off to the right which is difficult to see at first because of the woods.

Collecting: The road cut and the ledge both have numerous fissures where the botryoidal hematite can be collected. There are also pieces of this mineral in the dirt at the bottom of the road cut which are easy picking for the kids. The ledge area on the right side of the road is where the crystalline structure hematite has been found. The fan structure hematite is virtually impossible to remove from the matrix without breakage so take a considerable under cut if you are trying to collect this material.

Suggestions: A crack hammer and hand sledge and chisels will easily break out specimens to bring home. Don't forget goggles and gloves for protection. Insect repellent is a must most of the spring through fall as the black flies and mosquitoes are vicious. There are no known restrictions to collecting at this site. You will need a good stiff bristle tooth brush to clean up any of the specimens that you collect. I recommend that if you have a dishwasher that you throw them into it after removing the worst of the dirt coating. Don't use any acid for it will tend to eat off the nice surface glaze.

NOTE: Beware of the slippery moss and wet leaf covered rocks when climbing on the ledges.


Mineral Collecting at South Lyndeborough, New Hampshire

Quartz crystals

Source: Jon Ciemiewicz 6/13/97
JTC@sprintmail.com

This quarry was used for years to support a leaded crystal glass industry in the town. The quarry has been closed for about a decade and there is no known restriction to collecting.

Directions: From the intersection of routes 101 and 31 in Wilton, NH, take route 31 northwest to the town of South Lyndeborough. Turn right on School Street (an acute right turn) soon after passing the Post Office. Follow School St. up the hill and turn left onto Locust Lane. The entrance to the quarry is just past a small cape style home. The road appears to be the driveway for the home, but isn't. Park anywhere in the vacinity of the quarry and start collecting. Some of the easiest is to check out the quartz boulders in the dump where you can find small vugs filled with terminated crystals.

Suggestions: A crack hammer/sledge hammer and chisels will break out specimens to bring home. Don't forget goggles and gloves for protection. Insect repellent is a must most of the spring through fall as the black flies and mosquitoes are vicious. There are no known restrictions to collecting at this site.

NOTE: Beware of the rotten rock along the top edge of the quarry!


Mineral Collecting near Bedford, Hillsboro County, New Hampshire

Magnatite crystals and Other Minerals
These crystals are reasonably abundant in a ledge exposed by a road cut south of Bedford, NH.

Source: Jon Ciemiewicz 5/31/96
JTC@sprintmail.com

Directions to the Site and Some General Collecting Instructions for Beginners

Magnatite: The good crystals range in size from 1/8" to 3/4" in size and can be very well formed cubes in a decomposing feldspar, quartz granite matrix. The collecting site is a road cut on State Route 101 south of Bedford almost to the Amherst town line.

Directions: From the town of Bedford, just south of Manchester, take route 101 west (you will actually be heading more south than west) towards Milford. The road cut is 0.4 miles past Joppa Hill road and only about 15' high on the east side and considerably shorter on the west side. If you reach the Amherst town line you have gone to far.

Collecting: The magnetite crystals are predominantly found in the top of the ledge on the east side of the road. The crystals can be brittle so one must be cautious in removal. Take more matrix than you think is necessary when trying to remove them. When you have broken out a piece of matrix the best way to dislodge them from the matrix appears to be by cautiously chipping away using minimum force working your way slowly towards the crystal. They are well formed crystals and worth the effort as an addition to anyone's collection, however, their magnetic properties are very week. The feldspar has a very nice salmon color to it and occasionally one can find a magnetite attached to the feldspar which makes a nice display piece. No microcline crystals of the feldspar have been found by this collector.

Suggestions: A crack hammer and a couple of chisels ranging from 1/2" to about 1 1/2" are about all that is required to break out the crystals. Don't forget goggles and gloves for protection. Shorty's Mexican Road House is a couple miles north of the collecting site on Rt. 101 and has some of the best Mexican food in the north east.

Credit: Thanks to the members of the Nashua Mineral Society for providing the locations of numerous sites that this collector has submitted, including this one.


Road Cuts near Lisbon, Grafton County, New Hampshire

Pyrite, Garnet & Staurolite crystals and Other Minerals
The three crystalline mineral types pyrite, garnet and staurolite can all be found in abundance in a road cuts or very accessible ledge in the general vicinity of Lisbon, NH. These crystals are easily found and dislodged with a crack hammer, chisels and a rock hounds hammer/pick.

Source: Jon Ciemiewicz 5/31/96
JTC@sprintmail.com

Directions to the Sites and Some General Collecting Instructions for Beginners

Pyrite: The Pyrite crystals range in size from 1/4" to 1" in size and are very well formed cubes in a shale matrix. The collecting site is a road cut on a blacktop country road between Parkers Hill and Pettyboro.

Directions: From the town of Lisbon on state route 302 cross the Ammonoosuc River on the bridge directly in front of the IGA. Take an immediate right turn after crossing the bridge on Water St. and follow the road to the stop sign at a T intersection at Parker Hill. Take a left at the stop sign and continue towards Pettyboro for 1.2 miles. The road cut is small and easy to miss so start looking to your left for the gray/blue shale starting about 1.15 miles from the stop sign.

Collecting: The pyrite crystals are imbedded in the shale and easy to break out with a rock hammer. For the hardy working the exposed shale ledge can produce well formed cubes with over 1" faces, this can require considerable work as one must wedge off slabs of the shale to get to the pyrite. For the less hardy there is a dump area on the downhill side of the road near the creek that produces very nice crystals with faces between 1/4 and 1/2 inch. The easiest way to find them is to set pieces of shale on end and tap the edge with a hammer until a separation forms. Pry open the separation which usually can be done by hand and hope. The diligent can find pieces with a portion of the crystal already exposed however, these crystals are usually damaged. But, there is a good chance that the matrix will contain more so work it a little.

Suggestions: Gloves and goggles are highly recommended and make sure that you have a good insect repellent as the black flies are vicious.

Garnet & Staurolite: The Garnet and Staurolite crystals are both imbedded in a Dolomite matrix and more difficult to dislodge without damage. The Garnets range in size from grain of sand size up to 1/2 inch in diameter. The Staurolite crystals can be as long as 3" however, very few crosses are found. The collecting site is a ledge adjacent to Pearl Lake.

Directions: From the town of Lisbon on State route 302 head up the hill directly across from the bank building in the center of town. Take the second left after crossing the Railroad tracks (about 200 feet). Follow the road sign to Savageville then continue on for approximately 1.5 miles. Pearl Lake will be at the second right turn off of this road. An alternative approach would be from the town of Sugar Hill on State route 117. Heading west out of town look for Pearl Lake road on the left at the bottom of the hill. The ledge is on the south west side of the lake and right beside the road. Pick a spot and have fun.

Collecting: The Garnets are reasonably easy to pop out of the surface of the rock by using a chisel and crack hammer. Start about 1/2 inch from the one you want to recover and chisel at about a 45 degree angle. Some areas of the ledge have dolomite that is slightly more deteriorated and will be easier to work. The Staurolites must be recovered by undercutting the matrix. Attempting to break out the crystals without taking considerable matrix will most likely crack them as they are very brittle.

Suggestions: Gloves and goggles are highly recommended and have a good insect repellent. There is an excellent restaurant in Sugar Hill called Polly's Pancake Parlor where you can stock up on pancakes and the best cob smoke bacon and ham around.

Credit: Thanks to the members of the Nashua Mineral Society for providing the locations of numerous sites that this collector has submitted, including this one.


White Mountain National Forest near Conway, New Hampshire

Smokey Quartz, Fluorescent Milky Quartz, Pegmatite Minerals

Source: Rocks-and-Fossils Mailing List 5/18/95
Jhbnyc@aol.com
John Betts
NY, NY

Visit the forest Service Ranger station just west of Conway, NH. They have maps to two designated mineral collecting areas in the White Mountain National Forest.

One is nearby on Moat Mountain west of North Conway where you can collect smoky quartz.

The other location is Lord Hill north of Fryeburg, ME. where you can get all kinds of pegmatite minerals if you work the hard rock (if you just dig in the dumps you will find milky quartz crystals that fluoresce bright green under UV light due to hydrocarbon inclusions/coatings). This is a harder hike than Moat Mt.

While you are in the area be sure to visit Olivers Bottle and Rock Shop on Rt. 16A in Intervale, NH. Mrs. Oliver is the widow of John Oliver, the discoverer of the Moat Mt. diggings. She has for sale some beautiful specimens her husband collected over the years at very reasonable prices.

There used to be another rock shop up on Hurricane Mt. Road where Bill Ross had his lawn filled with smoky quartz for sale. Unfortunately Bill died last year and his entire collection was sold for back taxes at $.50 per pound.

Good Luck!


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bkeller@rockhounds.com 11/17/97