The regions to the north and northwest of Bancroft are stunning, but we have not seen too many spectacular mineral finds here in recent years. Granted, the stillwellites are not easy to find, but they are cool for the mineral. But it also meant that there is one thing that all experienced Bear Lake collectors would dread. After two days of major digging (by hand), we had exposed walls of sharp ferri-fluoro-katophorite crystals up to about 10 cm. For over 100 years, specimens from the “Bancroft Area*” have been added to collections around the world, gracing the display cases of museums and private collectors. The Diggings™ accepts no liability for the content of this data, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. I’ve been collecting at this locality since I was a kid, and have found many great things there over the years, but this year was more about scouting and test trenches – it did not yield much in the way of fine specimens.
Thanks to Michael Bainbridge and Bob Beckett for the great photos, and thanks to both of you and Herwig Pelckmans for great times out in the woods this year. Some of the individual euhedral crystals at Bear Lake were huge: fluorapatite to 45 cm, biotite to 60 cm, orthoclase to 30 cm and ferri-fluoro-katophorite crystals to 30 cm.
This year the Miller Property was the destination for a well-attended club field trip by the Walker Mineralogical Club and the Kawartha Mineral Club. The salt is also sold in bulk to manufacturers that make plastics, detergents, disinfectants and other important products. Mines. The “Bancroft Area” has variously been considered to include parts of the Haliburton Highlands, Algonquin Highlands, Hastings Highlands and Madawaska Highlands, and I use it inclusively, as many of us do.) Most were attached and could not be collected (they shatter). Early Holiday Savings Start Now. Very rarely in the past this property also produced nice zircon crystals. However, part of the reason the bugs are gone is the cold – by fall, it can be pretty chilly in the mornings. Out of interest, here are two specimens I acquired from the collector who inspired us to go scouting at this locality in the first place.
DEALS . It’s always worth going out in the woods, and you never know what lies around the next corner. At the bottom of a two-day hole at Bear Lake, dug together with David Joyce. I had an additional interesting find at the Desmont this year – a beautiful, sharp, complete euhedral crystal of albite, variety peristerite, with as bright a schiller as I have ever seen in an Ontario peristerite. To the further northwest lies Algonquin Park, which is an amazing place (it’s also huge, at 7,653 sq km). It was fun though!
The salt is also sold in bulk to manufacturers that make plastics, detergents, disinfectants and other important products. Keith Miller, this property’s owner, is as generous and gracious about mineral collecting as I have ever seen – for club trips, he has opened the property up, including with heavy equipment, and the fees he collects per person are then donated to a local children’s hospital. If you have landed on this post without having explored our website, please have fun looking around – there are tons of photographs of minerals from all over the world that are available for purchase (you can surf through by using the “Browse” options (click here , and you’ll see the Browse options at left). If you are interested in more information relating specifically to Bancroft, Ontario and minerals, have a look – there is a post about the Bancroft Mineral Museum (the Bancroft Gem and Mineral Club Museum) and also one about our annual Bancroft Mineral Shows. Other blog articles are under the tabs Adventurers and What’s New Blog (you may wish to scroll a bit to explore within the What’s New Blog, as all of the weekly specimen updates are under this tab too).
It has in the past been classified as fluor-magnesiokatophorite. Unfortunately, even down to depths of about 2 metres from surface, the crystals were either frost-fractured or otherwise weathered/damaged, and so although it was a cool crystal cavity to see, it did not yield fine specimens.
The data are dynamic and may change over time. Discover mining activity in your area and find new regions of opportunity. M. Bainbridge specimen and photo. R. Beckett photo.
PLUS, IT’S FREE. The salt is shipped to hundreds of communities around the Great Lakes and along the St. Lawrence Seaway.
The intense colours also make for beautiful more intimate scenes. There are no claim results to be filtered in this view.
On the bright side, the frost can be a nice compliment to the scenery. Herwig Pelckmans and Michael Bainbridge at the Desmont Mine property. H. Pelckmans photo. The rock salt produced at the mine is used to keep citizens in North America safe as they travel through winter snow and ice. For over 100 years, specimens from the “Bancroft Area*” have been added to collections around the world, gracing the display cases of museums and private collectors. A small group of us opened up a good vein dyke containing a large number of fluorapatite crystals. We need festive cheer & twinkling lights more than ever. (Tempting to offer editorial thoughts on amphibole nomenclature, but I digress… we’re all going to be tempted to revert to the incorrect “hornblende” pretty soon!) Home. Diopside with Scapolite, North Baptiste Lake Road, Hastings Highlands, Hastings Co., Ontario – 5.1 cm, Titanite (1.8 cm crystal) with Diopside and Scapolite, North Baptiste Lake Road, Hastings Highlands, Hastings Co., Ontario.
Fluorapatite, Miller Property, Sebastopol Township, Renfrew Co., Ontario. This is another calcite vein-dyke locality, and this one is particularly known for the classic large red-brown fluorapatite crystals and excellent titanite crystals. 245 Regent StreetGoderich, Ontario N7A-3Y5519.524.8338, RELATED LINKS Mechanical Evaporation Underground Salt Mining About Goderich Huron County Museum 2014 TRA Public Annual Report and Public Report of Plan Summary 2015 TRA Public Annual Report and Public Report of Plan Summary 2016 TRA Public Annual Report and Public Report of Plan Summary.
Information hosted on The Diggings™ is based on publicly available data through the Bureau of Land Management.
In the area north of Bancroft, and not as far as Algonquin Park, one spot that has produced interesting mineral specimens in very recent times is a forested locality known as the North Baptiste Lake Road occurrence (on private land, permission/arrangements are required). Herwig Pelckmans, about to start in on a Bear Lake vein dyke. Indexes of Maps (in map format) The maps indexed here represent more than 100 years of geologic mapping by the Mines and Minerals Division, the Ontario Geological Survey (OGS) and its predecessor organizations. It is not a mineral collecting area, but just to deviate from the minerals for a short moment, if you are a first time visitor to this part of Ontario, a drive through the park (and a stop at the interpretive centre) provides great scenery and a super introduction to the wildlife native to the region. Nonetheless, they can be field collected. Emery (at upper left) supervised. The Diggings™ is a resource for locating where mining claims are and have been. ), and the fine mineral specimens are usually crystals under 10 cm. INFO . Land Tenure and Geoscience Resources - The Mines and Minerals division collects data about Ontario's geology.
Ferri-fluoro-katophorite crystals to 10 cm exposed on calcite vein-dyke wall after two days of excavation. (Note: ferri-fluoro-katophorite is a black amphibole, sometimes locally just called “hornblende”, but confirmed by electron microprobe analysis (Robert Martin and I did at McGill University) to be ferri-fluoro-katophorite. Of course, this meant that we had to be careful not to fall into any holes that had become obscured from view. Bear Lake is a classic “calcite vein-dyke” occurrence that produced specimens of many minerals but it is best known for excellent lustrous brown titanite crystals (formerly named “sphene” – crystals can reach sizes over 20 cm), green to reddish fluorapatite crystals (in some cases Beak Lake fluorapatite has been faceted into beautiful green stones), very fine crystals of biotite, and the world’s finest crystals of ferri-fluoro-katophorite, for which Bear Lake is the type locality.
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