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PETRIFIED FOREST

Geotrade Bohemia, in cooperation with the Prague Botanic garden, prepared an exhibition of the Petrified Forest. You may see it at the Botanic garden.

Petrified Forest






5 Norwegian localities

Once again the golden rule of collectors - do not leave an unfinished cavity thinking the samples will sit there and wait for you - they will invariably end up in the collection of someone else, who will be happy to mine them out! So we are left with nothing else to do but find a new cavity. With a bit of prospecting talent and experience it's not as difficult here as it might seem at first sight. The largest cavities can be found at intersections of quartz dikes, you just have to choose the right spot. We found it and after a few minutes of clearing the rubble Jirka already held his first crystal druse in his bloodied hand. To be followed by many others with clear to lightly smoky crystals up to 12 cm, the cavity size was growing, the sun was shining, young eagles in the nest above chirped hungrily and the black flies were feasting. All in all a wonderful northern idyll. One easily loses track of time here, to everyone's surprise we finished work past nine PM. Milda is expecting us in the cabin with freshly caught arctic char and trout, along with Arne, who would like help extract an adherent, more than a meter large druse of smoky quartz from his private "mine". Why not, we have the equipment and the energy too. So after a few hours of sleep we gather by his nearly five meters deep pit and after pumping out the water I start the gasoline drill and pull out a set of expansive wedges. The first hole is bored within seconds, but while drilling the second the motor suddenly stops and won't start again. We determine the defect is electric (cracked magneto) and can't be fixed on the spot. Oh well, even modern technology has its whims, anyhow Jirka still managed to pull out several lovely smoke quartz druses. That's why we are getting back to our work on the crystal cavity. The samples are piling up and as work progresses we find smaller cavities with neat crystal druses, the bucket is practically full of clayed loose crystals from the bottom of the cavities. We see other promising spots, but everything has to end sometime. Last day - that means taking away the samples and equipment, careful packing into crates and saying good-bye to the wonderful locality and its owner. Perhaps we shall return one day.

But now up and away northwards to the area around Hattfjeldal, renowned for its alpine dikes with crystals. The wonderful sunny weather is getting a bit cloudy, but our morale stays high. We are accommodated at a farm near a trout river and love it there, first thing in the morning we head for the parking lot near the village Kruta, from where we are to hike about five kilometres to a crystal locality. We are pretty disappointed on spot - all the cavities are mined out, the crystals' size and quality hardly corresponds to that of the samples we have in our car. That's usually how it is on publicly accessible localities in Norway. So we do a bit of prospecting and the result is soon apparent: in the outcroppings by the road we find a rich stone sequence with chloritic schist and serpentine. Chloritic schist contains plentiful phenocrysts of magnetite crystals up to 1 cm, near the contact area with serpentine we find lovely stalks of cyanite, rich aggregates of deep-green actinolite, the serpentine is full of asbestos fibres (stalks up to 20 cm long), which are locally silicificated (chatoyant and hawk's eye), plenty of foliated talcum and what made me happy the most - finding a three meter talcum schist location. Not really material for mineralogists, but a priceless material for gourmets. Why? Not to eat, but for preparation of food. Every Norwegian geologist will tell you there is no better material for roasting meat. Talcum schist retains heat wonderfully and the surface behaves like teflon - so you just need the right format stone (thanks to its hardness of formation it is easy to shape with an ordinary hand saw), heat it up to about 300°C and you can use it as a grill for marinated meat.

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