Moorpark College Geology Dept. Field trip to
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Blue approaches the mine entrance.
The giant steel door opens with a deep clunk and groan that reverberates like the door to a cathedral.
We leave the outside world behind and enter the dark, damp, and earthy realm of the mine.
Although brightly illuminated by the camera flash, the dark cavern of the mine is foreboding by dim lamps.
Everywhere we look there is the red clay, the black shorl, and sparkling mica.
As we descend deeper and deeper into the mine, the pink deposits become more apparent.
Here is an approximation of the actual visibility in the mine. You can only see dimly what is close by.
The same scene illuminated with flash reveals our surroundings.
Extensive tunnels run through the tourmaline rich layer. Alas, all the tourmaline has been mined here.
This pocket shows more of the pink mineralization that occurs here.
Students get a close-up look at the spot where gemstones were once found.
This close-up shows the pink tourmaline crystals that did not form gem quality material.
Exploring the labyrinth of tunnels that wind through the pegmatite lens.
Keeping the mine reinforced, sounds like a great idea to me!
This small hole is about 6" in diameter. We are told that gemstones formed within.
Deep in the mine we see the zones of the pegmatite displayed dramatically.
Knowing which way the layer is oriented is important in determining where the gems are.
The small exit sign points back to where we came from as we venture deeper down into the mine.
Finally, at the midway point, water blocks our path.
The intrusion of water into the mine is from miles below. It must be pumped out regularly.
Too bad we couldn't go all the way down!
So ends our adventure in the Stewart Mine. Thanks, Blue, for the excellent tour!
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