After meeting for a briefing at the Barton Mines rockshop, we drove to Pit
#1, which is the pit open to tourists for fee collecting. Because we had
special permission to visit pit #8-9, which not normally open to the public,
we parked above Pit #1 and walked down the access road.
Here are some "tourists" at work using the buckets provided to
wash gravel left from loading the trucks when the mine was in operation.
The idea was to wash the gravel and then dump it out to look for gemmy garnet
Jutta standing next to a garnetiferous amphibolite boulder on display
at Pit #1. This boulder is a fine example showing the large pyrope / almandine
garnet porphyroblasts that the Gore Mountain mine is famous for.
These garnet crystals from these ancient Adirondack rocks have been subjected
to considerable stress since their formation thousands of millions of
years ago. Consequently they are highly fractured and flawless fragments
large enough to facet into gems are difficult to find. Here Jutta is searching
for some good quality shards.
Paul decided to try using a mine-supplied bucket to wash gravel and then
dump to search for gem garnets as instructed by the guide. After one bucket
full, he decided to go back to hunting on the surface.
The Barton Mines Company closed the Gore Mountain mine for industrial
garnet production and moved their operation to nearby Ruby Mountain. The
garnet masses at Ruby Mt. is much smaller, but some of the rock can be
slabbed and polished to make tables and countertops. Here is a large
slab brought in for display from Ruby Mountain.