This locality deserves its own gallery because it has been among my favorite places since my interest developed in 1981. I will post articles and site photos elsewhere on my website. Check below or drop me a note to find out what’s new.
Many photos are self-collected specimens from Hastie’s Quarries, Cave in Rock, Hardin Co., Illinois. I was introduced to Don & Bob by the late Gill Montgomery back in 1983. The mining area today scarcely resembles its appearance in the 1980s. Smaller mine locations within Hastie’s include: Austin Lead mine, Cleveland mine, Green-Defender, adits that led to the Victory mine, and the Lead Hill mine. These old mines date from the 1920s to the 1950s and were largely mined through as the quarry’s chief product has always been limestone and sandstone. This location is the south side of “Spar Mountain” – a escarpment about 1 mile north of the Ohio River in the Cave in Rock area.
Other Hardin Co. Illinois localities where I found minerals include the dumps of the Rosiclare Lead & Spar Co. mill (site closed in the 1950s) – it’s now the location of the American Fluorite Museum, the Annabel Lee mine, Minerva No. 1 mine, and the Barnett mine Conn’s mine, a surface pit near the Gaskin’s mine and the Henson mine, in Pope Co., Illinois.
Kentucky localities include mine dumps and diggings in Crittenden and Livingston Counties. I collected my first hemimorphite at the Hickory Cane in 1987. The mine dumps were turned for the early Clement Mineral Museum field trips and shows and produced small but spectacular examples of the species for the fluorspar district. I had the pleasure of roaming with Bill Frazer, of Marion, Kentucky, who worked in Kentucky mines and who’s land contains the Old Jim and Columbia mine and Eureka prospects, the latter two being specimen producers, the Columbia is well-known for its fluorescent minerals.
While my award-winning article published by the Mineralogical Record in 1997 is a good history of the area, I have found so much more since that I could rewrite that article. And one of these days, I will!
Like my website, this gallery is a work-in-progress. Specimens will be posted in alphabetic order: Azurite, Barite, Calcite, Celestine, Cerussite, Chalcopyrite, Fluorite, Galena, Hemimorphite, Hydrozincite, Kaolinite, Malachite, Quartz, Petroleum, Smithsonite, Sphalerite, Strontianite, & Witherite. Alstonite & paralstonite and benstonite are reported and I have a photo or two of those. Maybe even marcasite, pyrite & sulfur!
Calcite – Calcium carbonate – is a common mineral. Some mines produced some distinctive crystals (Denton, for instance). Hastie’s calcites were mostly barrel-shaped with negative rhomb terminations, but scalenohedrons were found. I have an odd-shaped 50 pound crystal in my garden collected around 2015 or 16, but most are much smaller.
Fluorite – Calcium Fluoride – became an important mineral in the 1880s when it was found to be an ideal flux to purify molten iron. Since then, it has found thousands of other industrial uses. During World War II, miners and anyone associated with the fluorspar mining industry were not allowed to join the fight in Europe or the Pacific. They had to produce ore for the war effort. Anyone who slipped away to join the army were sent home to work the mines!
Fluorite occurs in many colors. In the district, shades of purple and yellow were most common in the bedding replacement deposits, while white and brown were common in the veins. Blue is well-documented and highly sought by collectors. Green was found in a mine in Hick’s dome. I found pink crystals at Conn’s mine in Pope Co. In general, most fluorite doesn’t fluoresce in the fluorspar district, except from oil inclusions. Fluorite around Hick’s dome has enough rare earth elements that it doesn’t glow bright blue.