Tuesday, December 14, 2010

High Park Area Yields New Tourmaline Deposit

A deposit of black, specimen-quality tourmaline has been discovered in the High Park area of Teller and Fremont County, Colorado. The deposit is located north of where Fourmile Creek drains into High Creek in Fremont County. High Park Road parallels High Creek and the tourmaline prospect.

High Park, at an elevation of 9,800 feet, is a rolling mountain grassland cut by gullies. Soil conditions, low precipitation, and cold temperatures are unsuitable for tree growth, nevertheless a few ponderosa and piƱon pine dot the countryside. An occasional mule deer will wander by, and wild turkeys can be heard gobbling in nearby brush. People seldom visit the area where the tourmaline is. In the past, American Indians hunted here. Today, livestock grazing is the principal land use.

The black tourmaline occurs in a granite formation that juts out into High Creek. A huge mass of white quartz formed at one end of the granite. Embedded in the quartz are clusters of radiating crystals of black tourmaline. A number of the crystals are as long as pencils.


Black tourmaline, or schorl.  This specimen is 1.5 cm in diameter and is 6 cm long.  Photo by Mike Estlick.
The tourmaline at this deposit is known as schorl—one of the 10 members of the tourmaline mineral group. In addition to the High Park prospect’s tourmaline, a number of Indian artifacts were unearthed. The artifacts included a flint knife, several projectile points, and pieces of broken Ute pottery.

Further exploration of the prospect is planned. This area has the potential, with the application of skilled collecting techniques, to produce good mineral specimens in the future.

4 comments:

  1. Does this mean the average rock hound won't be allowed into this area?

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  2. I am looking for information on Black Tourmaline in Jefferson County... I think I found some ;)

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  3. That would not be surprising. It is a common mineral found in several Colorado sites.

    ReplyDelete