April 15th, 2023, Biggs Oregon Field Trip Report

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 (roger.danneman@gmail.com)
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Updated: April 21, 2023 — 8:04 pm

Presidents Message

  • From the Top of the Rock Pile …. by Kat Koch Table Lamps – Remember we are looking for new table lamps for our show ‘n tell tables. If you go to Goodwill, a similar store, or would like to donate, the lights must fold up easily for storage. Save the receipt and the club will reimburse you. Our June meeting is Rock Bingo! Rock Bingo is always a fun night for all members, young and old. The Kent kids are out of school, so they don’t have to worry about school the next day.  The club is looking for

Meeting Announcements

  • Topic: Mount St. Helens, Paul Ahnberg will be giving the presentation. Paul has been taking a months-long class on Mount St. Helens. It has included not only in-class studies but also a few trips to see Mount St. Helens. Paul says, “One thing I quickly recognized is that there is a lot more to the Mount St Helens story beyond the geology and eruption aspects.” So mark your calendar now, as this should be a fascinating lecture. Show ‘n Tell: Bring a sample of volcanic rock from your collection. A few samples of volcanic rock are Obsidian, Rhyolite, Pumice, Basalt, and Andesite.

  • Topic: Our annual club picnic at Lake Wilderness. Our picnic is always a friendly event on the lawn among the trees. For lunch, it is a potluck picnic. So bring a dish to share. If you don’t cook, pick up something from the market. If you are unable to bring anything, that’s okay too. We would rather have you join us for lunch than not. We generally have around 25 to 35 members attend. Bring your plate and silverware. Setup is 11:30 am, and lunch is at noon. We usually wrap things up by 3 pm. The Arboretum has plenty of free parking. Following, we have a club auction. The auction is a great chance to pick up items at a fraction of their retail cost. You are welcome to donate items to the auction. All proceeds go to the club treasury to cover expenses. Our Young Tumblers can also spend their saved “Rock Bucks” at the auction just like cash for items they want. Afterward, Lake Wilderness is nearby for swimming, plus various play areas for the younger kids. Our annual picnics are always a great family event!

  • Topic: Pre-Gem Show Rally and then “I Made It,” “I Found It,” and “I Bought It.” This meeting is a fun new activity on our calendar. “I Made It,” “I Found It,” and “I Bought It.” You may bring up to 3 items for each category. Items must have been made, found, or bought within the last year. Winners of each category receive a prize. Members will vote for their favorites in each category, and then only 1 prize per adult and 1 prize per Young Tumbler for each category will be awarded. Plan on bringing items, as this should be a fun evening as we get to mingle with each other and talk rocks! Show ‘n Tell: They are your above entries.

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