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Holcim Quarry - June 2009

Trip Report – Holcim Quarry Sunday, May 24, 2009 By Jim Schatzman

Holcim Quarry, near Florence, Colorado, is a great collecting location, as all present for this field trip can testify. The processing plant and kiln are huge, the trucks are huge, the pits are huge, the piles of quarried limestone, the mountains of tires waiting for burning are huge – everything at this location is on a grand scale. After Eva S, the trip leader, rounded us up, we received some safety instructions and equipment from Joe Lamanna, quarry manager. We then traveled to the floor of the largest quarry pit. Here we hunted over piles of limestone blocks ranging from baseball size to trash can size for pyrite balls, of which we found quite a few. As is sometimes the case, the largest (about 1” by 2”) was found by this author after about 10 minutes, but many others were found by the group. Joe told us to look for shark’s teeth on the flat quarry floor, but the teeth were playing hard-to-get. Next time we will bring a broom to help brush off the loose dust to aid in the search. Next, we traveled to the base of a tailings dump, for some of the easiest collecting of the trip. The slope was littered with chucks of beautiful dog-eared calcite crystals, ranging from a few ounces to hundreds of pounds. One collector found a fossil fish in the shale at this location. We wrapped up the day at the bottom of another pit, again hunting for pyrite balls. They were even more plentiful at this location than at the first, so it is too bad we didn’t have more time here. We could have productively spent many more hours at the quarry, but it was time to go. Access was easy (we drove right to the material), the material was moderately plentiful (pyrite balls) to extremely plentiful (dog-eared calcite crystals) and easy to obtain (no digging and minimal rock breaking). All-in-all, collecting at Holcim was very successful, and we highly recommend that members who could not make this trip try to make the next one. Many thanks to Joe Lamanna for hosting CMS on this trip.

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