Recently, a well-traveled smoky quartz specimen was found in a section of land in South Park. The collection site was once a part of Sam Hartsel’s sprawling ranch that he started to build in the 1860s. This single piece of smoky quartz (Figure 1) was washed out from a nearby mountain by glacial melt-waters. The smoky quartz chunk was tumbled and abraded many times during its journey by stream. Once it was washed out on a vast South Park field, fierce Pleistocene dust storms blew small particles of sand which struck the smooth surface of this tumbled mineral, leaving a frosted appearance on the surface. An examination of the smoky quartz specimen under a petrographic microscope revealed the pitted surface.
Figure 1. This smoky quartz specimen traveled many miles during the later part of the Ice Age until it finally came to rest on land that was once part of the Hartsel Ranch. From the J. Doolittle collection. Photo date 3/04 © by
|Jeff is an avid outdoorsman that enjoys Colorado's geology|