On Sat. April 15th we had a field trip to a private operation near Biggs Junction, Oregon for Biggs Jasper and Agate. Jay Carlson of Sherman County Rocks in Rufus, OR, manages the operation and is doing field trips for rock clubs only. We had calm beautiful weather, in contrast to the usually windy conditions experienced in that area due to it’s proximity to the Columbia River. This was the largest group I’ve had in the last 5 years of doing trips. We had 30 people and 17 vehicles collecting at 2 sites. The large group being evidence of the reputation Biggs Jasper has on the rock hounding community and the rarity of being able to collect it.
Jay took us first to a site he calls Beers Mtn. and secondly to a site called China Hollow. A few things I picked up from Jay’s explanation of the material is that it’s a mudstone formation formed millenia ago by thick mud pools under and over basalt lava flows. There were gas bubbles burping through the thick goo causing the intricate patterns to form as it was going through a hardening process. Bands of limonite (a type of iron) form the intricate patterns. It’s highly metamorphed which also helps to create the intricacy of the patterns and over time some agate and jasper formed in seams and pockets in the stone. The material takes a great polish. Mostly in brown tones, there are some hints of bluish and greenish coloration. The sites were easy to pick. A few people chiseled out chunks from the hard rock, but mostly it’s walking around and collecting loose material. The hardest part is deciding what to take home. The Beers Mtn material was $5/lb and the China Hollow material was $2/lb. We started out at 8:45 AM and finished by 3:00. One of the rules Jay had was that we had to go in as a group and leave as a group since we were going in through closed gates and crossing another land owners property. Although a few people left as we were transitioning from Beers Mtn to China Hollow.
Jay had some beautiful pieces for sale in his shop down by the highway and I’m looking forward to cutting and polishing the material I collected.
Afterwards a few of us went to the land owners rock shop in Wasco where he had more Biggs Jasper. That would be a place anyone not on the trip could get some of the material, although not as great a selection as at the site.
You can thank Scott Miles for instigating this trip as he sent me an article from Rock and Gem.
Members who joined me were:
Scott & Laurie M., Kamera M. and dog Gracie, Ananda C., Christina & Russel & Rose L,, Nik & Michelle B., Paul A. & Peggy S., John & Dave C. & Terri G., Rich & Jennifer R., Angie & Brian M. & dog Beans, Shannon & Paul S., J.T. & Cara B., Joye E & spouse, Aaron D., Kari C. & David, Scott M. & spouse,
Submitted by Roger Danneman Field Trip Guide (email@example.com)
425-757-3506 cell and texts