rock sitting on the larger rock is an example of something we commonly
find. Namely, the inside of the rock is already weathered before
it's even broken by someone.
I didn't take a close-up, because all I
had at the moment was an old Konica C35 from a yard
sale. This was a test roll just to see if the old CdS light meter
still worked (looks like it does). I had brought this little 35mm
down to the Buckwheat, one fine day this 2012.
dark portion in the right-hand half of the small rock. It has a
slightly purplish undertone to the brown, which is typical of Franklin
ores when they weather. You're looking at what many field
collectors refer to as a "weather fracture". Over the years,
freeze-thaw cycles and rain cause micro-fractures to become larger,
often criss-crossing the rocks with oxidized, permanently dark
seams. Gradually the big rocks crumble into
smaller ones. This happens even when the rocks are covered with
earth. In fact, this kind of weathering can happen down to at
least several tens of feet in the ground.
Many mine rocks already have existing cracks due
to the blasting that was used. This accelerates the weathering
process. The relatively soft, calcite-rich rocks-- which
contain most of the good fluorescent minerals-- also have the most
Cordoning rocks off from human activity doesn't really
preserve them for future generations. It simply ensures they'll
weather away until those mythical "future generations" have a bunch of
pebbles and silt. Of course, those generations won't be allowed to have
a go at the rocks, either; this mythical "future
generation" always seems to be the infinity-th one. That's why
I'm always skeptical of extreme "cordon-it-off" environmentalism;
we're saving these things for someone in the future, but who,
precisely, is that "someone"?
The rock cycle is constantly at work. Good rocks are out there, but the weather is inexorably breaking them down to sand and gravel, and finally silt. Since it seems to attack the better rocks more quickly, you might as well get out there and collect!
Franklin, NJ / Buckwheat Dump