Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ruggles Mine

Six weeks ago, Wingnut and I made a short visit to Ruggles Mine in Grafton. This is an old mica, feldspar, beryl and uranium mine that is now open to the public (for a hefty fee). You can freely “mine” your own rocks there. You should bring lunch and plan to spend a whole day here. We only had less than two hours because we didn’t know that what there was to do. Bring our own geological picks and hammers and a rucksack to take your samples home. The gift shop sells jewelry and trinkets but not the essential picks, sacks and rock and mineral guides that they should sell.

Ruggles Mine is at the top of Isinglass Mountain (1,739 feet or 530.05 meters) and you can see Mount Cardigan (3121 ft or 951.3 m) in a beautiful panorama. After you pay your money ($23 for an adult), you enter the mine through an ancient tunnel of granite.

There is a sign in the tunnel saying that “Ruggles Mine is a pegmatite mine. It is about 350,000,000 years old. This has been determined by the radioactive decay method.” The tunnel ends and you are amazed to see the mine tunnels before you . . .

Wingnut is the tiny figure on the left.

Northern juncos were nesting in the cliffs of the mine and perching upside down. Wild roses and phlox grew on the cliffs.

The tunnels of the mine are just huge. Above, Wingnut walks into a typical tunnel.

The long shadows of late afternoon .

The marks of drills from two hundred years ago. Wingnut can be seen above with his red shirt as he collects samples.

Above: “The pegmatite was formed under great pressure and intense heat forming a magma that pushed up into the surrounding granite.”

Above: “Dark streak thru white rock is a basalt dike formed by lava forced into a crack in pegmatite long after it had cooled and hardened.”

A mine employee drove out most of our samples on his ATV. Here, Wiingnut leaves, hot and dirty, lugging the rocks he was able to carry out of the mine through the entrance tunnel of iron laden granite.

Ruggles Mine Set



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