1996
Delta
Rockhounder's Dream: Dugway Geodes, Sherry Colored Topaz, Wonderstone
Come to Utah’s renowned Great Basin for a rocking-good time. You’ll join experts to search for unique specimen pieces, attend lapidary demonstrations and collect ancient fossils.
Rating (5)
Program No. 1996RJ
Length
7 days
Starts at
1,469
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7 days
6 nights
17 meals
6 B 5 L 6 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Delta, UT
D
Days Inn

Afternoon: Check into your room at Days Inn Hotel. Rooms may not be ready until the 3:00 PM check-in time. At 5:45 PM, come to the hotel front lobby, for our Road Scholar Registration, you will receive your name badge with participant list and detailed itinerary for the week.

Dinner: Around 6 PM, we travel to a local restaurant for dinner.

Evening: Following dinner, we will cover all the details for the week, show samples of specimens you will be finding on field trips. We will discuss preparations needed for each day and items to bring.

DAY
2
Japanese Relocation Camp, Beryllium, Gemstones Lecture
Delta, UT
B,L,D
Days Inn

Activity note: Most of the day will be spent in a classroom setting learning all about the geologic history of the are so you gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of what we will be finding and collecting the remainder of the week. Visit West Desert Collectors and see a cutting and polishing demonstration.

Breakfast: A continental breakfast is provided by Days Inn in the front lobby. You can eat in the lobby or take your breakfast to your room.

Morning: Travel to the Delta Community Center for educational classes. Start the morning with a presentation and learn the fascinating history of the Topaz Relocation Japanese Internment Camp established in Delta during WWII from the Topaz Camp Historian and examine the artifacts from the site. During World War II the federal government forcibly relocated 110,000 Japanese-Americans from their West Coast homes to special camps. Topaz, a relocation center near Delta, the number of people processed through the camp was over 11,000 with a peak population of about 8,100, while in operation from September 11, 1942 to October 31, 1945, and Delta was once the 5th largest city in Utah. Visit Museum & Barracks The Topaz Museum Board received a Japanese American Confinement Sites grant to manufacture and install the permanent exhibits for the Topaz Museum which is located at 55 West Main in Delta, Utah, 16 miles from the original site of Topaz. Photographs, artifacts, and displays depicting the Topaz internment experience will inform and educate visitors. Further, former internees will take comfort in the fact that the hardships they endured will not be forgotten. Construction on the Topaz Museum began on June 2013 and was finished in May 2014. The exhibits will include a 20' x 20' barrack room, an art gallery, displays about camp life, a model of the camp, and text about the Constitutional issues of internment. Learn about the modern Day Beryllium Mining from a representative from Materion Mine and learn how Delta provides one of the richest pockets of Beryllium which when processed becomes the lightest weight and strongest metal in the world. Learn how it is used in military applications and other applications needing this high strength and light-weight properties. Watch and Learn about the “Gemstones of America” and understand where and how they are mined, and made into beautiful jewelry through a wonderful video presentation.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a Local Restaurant

Afternoon: Learn the fascinating Geology of the Great Basin area from a Geology Professor. The Great Basin is a region of interior drainage bounded prominently on the west by the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Range and on the east by the middle Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau. In terms of geological plate tectonics, the Great Basin may be viewed as a series of north-south trending, linear, fault-block mountain ranges occupying the distance between the Sierra crest and the Wasatch Front.The Great Basin is effectively cut off from the westerly flow of Pacific moisture. By the time air masses reach the Basin's eastern edge they get another lift, creating extra moisture and highland climates that support Utah's population corridor below. High-level, low-pressure systems affecting Utah weather at the precipitation maximums in spring and fall are often referred to as "Great Basin" or "Nevada" lows. During the break, visit the Great Basin Museum, where the past meets the future in a unique way not be apparent anywhere else, such as: from the oldest rocks to fossils and from Native Americans to early Settlers, explore them all in one historic place. Where you can gaze into the distant past at some of the oldest rocks to be found in Utah or anywhere else in the world; see fossils that actually took part in the "Cambrian Explosion" - that unexpected flowering of life that is still a puzzle and still explored by leading paleontologists today. Get a glimpse into the world of the Fremont - a time when Native Americans inhabited our valleys in surprisingly large numbers, foreshadowing the agricultural development that would become the mainstay of later pioneer life. Learn about the early explorers of Millard County - the Spanish who came first, to be followed by the Mormon settlements. Browse through our collection of artifacts representing the Pioneer Period and extending into the 20th Century.Then, Geology of the Great Basin, continues and organizing and labeling your collection.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a Local Restaurant

Evening: Visit West Desert Collectors Rock Hound Shop and learn and discussion on "The Rare and Beautiful Red Beryl,” also known as Red Emerald, this gem is found only in Utah and is more valuable than diamonds. And learn about the ups and downs of owning a large rock hound (mining) business in Utah by the Harris family of Delta. Then, enjoy a rock cutting and polishing demonstration and see how specimens evolve from a rough rock or gemstone to a beautiful finished product ready to sell for top dollar in rock shops and gift stores. Explore the gift shop at leisure.

DAY
3
Explore Fossil Mountain, Collect Obsidian & Sunstone
Delta, UT
B,L,D
Days Inn

Activity note: Van ride for several miles on dirt roads to collect Fossils, Mahogany & Snowflake Obedsidian and Sunstone. Wear clothes that can get dirty and dusty. Rock Hounding tools are provided or you can bring your own.

Breakfast: A continental breakfast is provided by Days Inn in the front lobby. You can eat in the lobby or take your breakfast to your room.

Morning: Travel to Fossil Mountain and discover and be the first to collect some old fossils from the past such as: Brachiopods, Echinoderms and Cephalopods. Fossil Mountain is located at the southern end of the Confusion Range in the western Utah desert. Named after the numerous fossils that can be found on its’ slopes, Fossil Mountain is the second highest named summit in the Confusion Range next to King Top (elev. 8350 ft.). Some of the best early Ordovician fossils in this area can be found on Fossil mountain. A variety of shells and other invertebrate fossils including trilobites, brachiopods, cephalopods and echinoderms can be found here. The Fossils are completely legal to collect, since its BLM land. Aside from the many fossils that can be found on the slopes of this mountain, the summit of Fossil Mountain is a worthy goal. The east face of Fossil Mountain is impressive and rugged; from the summit and down is a 300 foot cliff that begs for you to stand above it. Expect solitude and excellent views of the west desert from the top of this peak. Rock Hounding tools are provided or bring your own.

Lunch: Enjoy Lunch at Fossil Mountain

Afternoon: Collect Mahogany obsidian is a natural volcanic glass and can be found in areas with volcanic activity and is a deep reddish-brown with black inclusions. The distinctive coloring comes from high concentrations of iron and magnesium. Afterward, collect Snowflake Obsidian, a rock - a natural volcanic glass containing white 'snowflake' crystal patterns of the mineral cristobalite. It may contain patterns of gas bubbles remaining from the lava flow, aligned along layers created as the molten rock was flowing before being cooled. These bubbles can produce interesting effects such as a golden sheen (sheen obsidian). An iridescent, rainbow-like sheen (rainbow obsidian) is caused by inclusions of magnetite nanoparticles. Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock. It is produced when felsic lava released from a volcano cools without crystal growth. Obsidian is hard and brittle; it therefore fractures with very sharp edges, which were used in the past in cutting and piercing tools, and has been used experimentally as surgical scalpel blades. Pure obsidian is usually dark in appearance, though the color varies depending on the presence of impurities. Then on the way home collect Sunstone at Sunstone Knoll. Hunting and collecting sunstones glittering in the sun atop Sunstone Knoll is a great way to spend an afternoon. Some of the sunstones (golden labradorite) are the size of small fingernails. Others are larger and yellow in color. The Golden labradorite is believed to increase inner strength, vitality, courage, mental clarity, endurance and spiritual focus. The sunstones are easy to find on sunny days. The sunstone here is transparent, yellowish labradorite plagioclase feldspar mineral) found as crystals in volcanic rocks and on the flats surrounding the knoll.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a Local Restaurant

Evening: An Evening of exploring the small town on your own.

DAY
4
Drum Mountain Range, Ghost Town Visit, Topaz Relocation Camp
Delta, UT
B,L,D
Days Inn

Activity note: Van ride for several miles on dirt roads to collect Trilobites, Wonderstone, Agate and Jasper. Wear clothes that can get dirty and dusty. Rock Hounding tools are provided or you can bring your own.

Breakfast: A continental breakfast is provided by Days Inn in the front lobby. You can eat in the lobby or take your breakfast to your room.

Morning: Travel to Trilobite Quarry. Digging for Trilobites at Antelope Springs. Privately owned quarry, good quantity and quality. Requires sitting on rock and splitting layers of rock using small picks and wedges. Rock Hounding tools are provided or bring your own. Western Utah is one of the best-known Cambrian fossil localities in the world. The Wheeler Shale and Marjum Formation, strata of Middle Cambrian age, exhibit various exposures throughout the House Range and nearby mountain ranges west of the town of Delta, Utah. The Wheeler Shale is named for a major feature in the House Range, the Wheeler Amphitheater. The most famous Wheeler Shale fossil is the trilobite Elrathia kingi; so common at some sites that specimens are commercially quarried and are made into novelty accessories, as well as sold to collectors and institutions all over the world. However, Elrathia is just one of about fifteen trilobite genera of the Wheeler Shale. Bathyuriscus fimbriatus is also relatively common at certain sites. Even more abundant are several species of agnostid trilobites, such a Peronopsis interstricta. These are typically less than a centimeter in length.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch at the Trilobite Quarry in Antelope Springs

Afternoon: Travel to quarry and Collect Wonderstone (beautiful red, pink, purple, cream, and orange swirled-unique to area) at Drum Mountain Range. Wonder Stone a type of Rhyolite. Through pressure and time this ash became rock hard as the colorful chemicals such as iron in the earth seeped through and swirled into a glorious design producing a smooth texture for a soft, desirable cutting material.Explore & Learn about the Ghost Town of "Joy" Joy was a small mining settlement in the Drum Mountains near Mount Laird, southeast of the Fish Spring Range. Today it is a ghost town site thirty miles northwest of Delta, UT. Harry Joy was a mining engineer from Detroit, Michigan. In 1872 he and his partner, Charles Howard, organized the Detroit Mining District with the new town of Joy as its center. Isolation and the cost of transporting ores and supplies and also the lack of water forced the mine to shut down. Agate is a silica, associated with volcanic rocks and certain metamorphic rocks. With White, Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Pink, Purple, Gray, Black and Multicolored, Agates have many distinctive styles and patterns, and unique, no two Agates being the same. Agate is the birth stone for the Zodiac sign of Gemini and is the accepted gemstone for the 12th and 14th wedding anniversaries. Jasper is an opaque, variety of chalcedony quartz, rock of virtually any color, impure variety of silica, usually red, yellow, brown or green in color; and rarely blue , stemming from the mineral content of the original sediments or ash. The common red color is due to iron inclusions. Patterns arise during the consolidation process forming flow and deposition patterns in the original silica rich sediment or volcanic ash. It can be highly polished. Jasper (green with red spots) is one of the traditional birthstones for March and also is the mystical birth stone for the month of October. Visit the site location of the WWII Topaz Japanese Relocation Camp on the way back to the hotel.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a Local Restaurant

Evening: An Evening of exploring the small town on your own.

DAY
5
Collect Apache Tears, Topaz & Dugway Geodes
Delta, UT
B,L,D
Days Inn

Activity note: Van ride for several miles on dirt roads to collect Topaz and Dugway Geodes. Wear clothes that can get dirty and dusty. Rock Hounding tools are provided or you can bring your own.

Breakfast: A continental breakfast is provided by Days Inn in the front lobby. You can eat in the lobby or take your breakfast to your room.

Morning: Travel for Apache Tears near Topaz Mountain. Explore and collect Apache Tears which originate from obsidian lava flows or lava domes. If water is present during cooling of the obsidian lava, the obsidian may hydrate (i.e., water enters the obsidian glass converting it to perlite). If the central core does not get hydrated, that fresh obsidian core ends up being the Apache tear, rounded nodules or curved onion-like fractures,(can range from black to red to brown and looks opaque by reflected light). They are often found embedded in a greyish-white perlite matrix. Search for and excavate Sherry-colored Topaz on privately owned claim. Rock Hounding tools are provided or you can bring your own. (Dental-type excavation tool recommended). Topaz, Utah's state gem, is a semiprecious gemstone that occurs as very hard, transparent crystals in a variety of colors. The topaz crystals at Topaz Mountain are naturally amber colored, but become colorless after exposure to sunlight. The crystals formed within cavities of the Topaz Mountain Rhyolite, a volcanic rock which erupted approximately six to seven million years ago (Tertiary Period) from volcanic vents along faults in the area. The Topaz became the State Gem in 1969. This hard gem is an aluminum fluorosilicate and is next in hardness to carborundum and diamonds (two of the hardest natural minerals around). A favorite location for the mineral collectors and rock hounds is called "The Cove" on the southern end of the Thomas Range. Wear topaz only if you wish to be clear-sighted: legend has it that it dispels all enchantment and helps to improve eyesight as well! The ancient Greeks believed that it had the power to increase strength and make its wearer invisible in times of emergency. Topaz was also said to change color in the presence of poisoned food or drink. Its mystical curative powers waxed and waned with the phases of the moon: it was said to cure insomnia, asthma, and hemorrhages. Topaz is the birth stone of November.

Lunch: Enjoy Lunch at Topaz Mountain

Afternoon: Load Van. A brief glimpse of the Historic Pony Express Trail en route Pony Express, an early attempt at an express mail service, started in 1860. The Pony Express used the technique of riders changing horses at stations approximately 10 miles (16 km) apart to maximize speed. Some of the towns along US 50 were stops along the Pony Express. Riders were physically small men, 120 pounds or lighter, because that body weight and 20 pounds of mail were all the horses could carry. Averaging seven miles per hour day and night over rough terrain there were 80 Riders at the peak of operations, using 420 horses at 190 stations. The men wore a uniform consisting of a bright red shirt and blue pants. The journey across this vast, untamed landscape was both physical and metaphysical. Management issued a Bible for all Riders. Said Bible was a constant companion when faced with Indian attacks, bandits, vicious blizzards, and killing heat. After riding 60- to 120-mile relays, a Rider received compensation per month of $120-125 uninflated dollars. Unearth the beautiful and world-famous Dugway Geodes Dugway geodes are composed of ryolite, agate, and quartz. These beautiful hollow geodes were formed from volcanic activity. Over thousands of years, the trapped gas inside the cavity and moisture seepage caused continual crystal formation to grow. Dugways occur from 1 inch to 12 inches in diameter. They are found in western Juab Co., UT. Return to hotel.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a Local Restaurant

Evening: An Evening of exploring the small town on your own.

DAY
6
Rock Hounding Family Business, Cut Geodes & Clean Trilobites
Delta, UT
B,L,D
Days Inn

Activity note: Visit "The Bug House" to cut and polish geodes and other treasures found during the week. Wear clothes and shoes that can get dirty and dusty. For dinner, dress casual. Bring your favorite rock, gem or mineral from your collection at home to show and share the rest of the group or show your best specimen found during the week.

Breakfast: A continental breakfast is provided by Days Inn in the front lobby. You can eat in the lobby or take your breakfast to your room.

Morning: Travel to "The Bug House" (350 East 300 South). An introduction to the Bug House. The Bug House is a family owned business and has been providing superior quality fossils and minerals to individuals and dealers for over 30 years! Each fossil and mineral is cut, polished, cleaned, and packaged with great attention and care and pride. A hands-on experience at a local Rock and Mineral shop called "The Bug House," learn the Rock Hound Business from a local distributor and wholesaler and see a cutting and polishing demonstration. Then, cleaning, cutting and polishing your Dugway Geodes. Program fee includes cutting all of your geodes and one of your favorite Geode for polishing up to a Cantaloupe-size. You may choose to have all of your Geodes polished or at least pick out the best ones for polishing. The fee varies for polishing your geodes ranges from a golf ball size geode to a basketball size geode. Cleaning and cutting our Geodes and other Treasures with the Crapo Family.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a Local Restaurant

Afternoon: Continue cleaning, cutting and polishing your geodes. Learn how to clean, polish, catalog, classify and store your trilobite fossils collected earlier in the week. Spend the afternoon participating in this hands-on Trilobite cleaning and preparation class (involves use of dremel tool and safety glasses which are provided). If applicable, polishing Brachiopods, Echinoderms and Cephalopods from Fossil Mountain.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a Local Restaurant

Evening: Travel to a local restaurant. "Sharing samples" around tables in the restaurant Marvel at each other’s collections, special finds or specimens from home and/or found in Delta. Bring samples of something from your home state or something you have collected in the past to share with the rest of the group. Please enclose your specimens in baggies with a label or piece of paper describing what the rock or fossil is where it was collected and the date. You can also include any geologic history of your specimen on the piece of paper. This is a fun but completely voluntary activity and if you do not have any specimens to share, at least you will go home with other participant's samples to add to your collection. Receive Certificates and Passport Stickers, Say our Good Byes.

DAY
7
Program Concludes
Delta, UT
B

Breakfast: A continental breakfast is provided by Days Inn in the front lobby. You can eat in the lobby or take your breakfast to your room.

Morning: Program ends after breakfast Saturday morning. Check out of rooms by 11:00 AM. As listed in transportation information, the shuttle van will leave about 9:00 AM or otherwise to the Salt Lake International Airport and then downtown Salt Lake City to the Plaza Hotel for anyone staying an extra night or have a later flight.






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