Mining at the Orchard and GE Quarries
Oxford County, Maine

Coromoto Minerals
The 2002 Season  at the Orchard Mine
March April

More apatites in vugs
Apatites, quartz crystals and microclines  April 2002

.     April  2002.

We have invested 15 days of mining in our attempts to shed light on what the pegmatite is doing and of course find the hidden awesome gem beryl. Our results are mixed.

Taking a few benches off of the headwall has yielded more beryls and rose quartz. Currently the 60' test boring, that encountered pegmatite its entire depth, is just 2' behind the wall. We have removed a small portion of the pegamtite to the east of this bore  hole and it appears that the core zone is descending deeper as the pegmatite deepens.
Apatites...closeup in matrix

Our work has shown that the apatites, which we continue to find, are most abundant in the portions of the pegmatite that are undergoing a displacement and not nearly as abundant when the vein settles down in an unperturbed path. Last Fall we encountered excellent prismatic manganoan-apatites whereApatite on Albite the pegmatite was first being displaced towards the footwall. Again we are  finding well developed apatites as the pegmatite curves back into country rock  channel on the eastern end of the schist zenolith. In addition, the pegmatite is making pockets in these disturbed areas. Depicted at the right, a well developed apatite 1 cm long sits on albite. What these apatites lack in color they compensate for in form.

As we removed more of the schist xenolith, we were surprised see the extent to which it is permeated by feldspar and quartz stringers. At times I doubted we were even drilling schist. Our goal has been to remove this schist as quickly as possible for we considered to be only nuisance rock. As we mucked out at the end of this tedious work, we were to receive a pleasant surprise (for a change). As Richard bailed the schist muck down into the lower pit in order make a road for our NEW 1973 Mack dump truck to come up to this upper level , I watched the digging in hopes of seeing something of interest in the spoil.  As Richard removed the broken schist from the hanging wall side, a large stringer emerged. With the schist gone, a large pocket wall plate dropped out onto the pit floor. 

Allbite and Microcline Plate from The Orchard Pit
Epidote (?) and Albites on Microcline- 15cmx10 cm

 The walls of this pocket were lined with microclines and albites with the occasional quartz crystal. See jpeg above . The albites, if that is indeed what they are, are the size of golf balls and are white and translucent. The crystals are unetched...a rarity for the Orchard. A possible new mineral for the Orchard was also in this pocket. Some of the crystal plates appear to have  epidote. These crystals are on both sides of the plates.  Well developed and terminated mm sized epidote(?) crystals occur in the spaces between the albites and microclines on the front. Finding this pocket was a surprise and these stringers now will be more closely examined. Perhaps, if they occur adjacent  to a zone enriched in beryl, something akin to a Pakistani Epidote (?) on Albitetype beryl plate may be found. ....beryls standing unetched on microclines and albites.........mmm what the hay...throw in a few well formed schorls. 

Another  interesting occurrence of quartz and feldspar of appreciable  dimensions is emerging to the right of the hanging wall and well within the country rock.  This mini pegmatite is about 20' long and as much as 5' thick. Its eastern extent is unknown at this time.

An appealing speculation by some credible observers is, that as we mine to a point adjacent to the Bennett Mine, and since both pegmatites are in the same hill, the Orchard mineralization may take on more complex characteristics. Unfortunately there are no zoning laws in pegmatite land. A chemically impoverished pegamtite can take up residence next to its better heeled neighbor. So far the Orchard's ship hasn't come in and has stubbornly remained mired in the beryl-columbite-apatite classification. The size of the Bennett pegmatite dwarfs the Orchard as well. Perhaps a factor of 10 separates them. Another  hope is the Orchard may broaden as well.  Perhaps these stringers are hinting at something.

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June 2000 Beryl Group