Past Field Trip Details - Faber Lead Mine

Official Field Trip Notice of the Shenandoah Valley Gem and Mineral Society

We have two trips for March 23rd, 2013.

1) Vulcan Materials in Manassas. I will not lead this one. I was just there in December. I need a leader for this trip.

2) Faber Lead Zinc Mine. Limited invite from Roanoke/Lynchburg clubs. We can only take one car load. First to respond will be put on list. UPDATE - all available spots have been spoken for.


When: Saturday, March 23, 2013

Time: 8:30 A.M.

Directions: See below

Notes/comments: I can only take three or four on this trip because of space. First to respond will go on list. Please don't sign up if you have been there before. UPDATE - all available spots have been spoken for.

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Hello Folks,
Attached and below is the information on our upcoming field trip. Please note that you must sign up at the March meeting , email or call me to get on the list. Do not just show up! Parking is very limited and we may need to car-pool. If you receive this e-mail, you are invited but you must still contact me to get on the list. Also contact me for an alternate meeting spot.
Thank you,

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Saturday, March 23, 2013
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Sign-up required, call me, email me or sign-up at the meeting—parking space is limited

MEETING TIME AND PLACE: We will meet in Amherst, VA, Saturday morning, at the Hardies Restaurant on US 29 business no later than 8:30 A.M. We will decide if we need to carpool. We can leave cars here if needed. We will depart from there promptly 8:45 A.M.

From Lynchburg and Roanoke, follow US Rt. 460 east / US 29 north by-pass several miles east of Lynchburg. Take the new US Rt. 29 north by-pass across the James River and proceed north to the Amherst US 29 business exit. The Hardies is in the Ambriar Shopping Center at this exit. Come early and have a bite to eat. We can determine if carpooling is necessary and leave any cars here. From this point, it should take about 45 minutes to arrive at the parking area along Rt. 6. Be sure that you are fueled up and ready to leave by 8:45 A.M. If you are coming from the north, the US 29 business exit will be about 2 miles south of the US 60 exit. If you live in Lynchburg, it might be closer to just follow US 29 business thru Madison Heights to Amherst. The Hardies will be on your left at the new US 29 bypass interchange, just before you arrive at the town of Amherst.
Dress for the weather that day and be sure to bring food, water, bug spray and warm clothing. Wear boots, gloves, long pants and safety glasses. Hard hats will not be required.

Due to the restricted parking along Route 6, we must limit attendance to 10 or 12 cars maximum. Only those that call to reserve your place, or sign up at the meeting will be allowed to attend. Car-pooling is recommended. We will arrive at a small parking area at the intersection of Rt. 29 North and Rt. 6 East about 9:30AM. We can leave some cars here if necessary and pick up those that will meet us here.

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THE TRIP: I have received permission from the landowner and he has some rules that must be obeyed. NO SMOKING (extremely dry and a high fire hazard could exist). Keep away from the 3 open shafts and collect only geologic specimens, not historic pieces, and leave NO TRASH. This is a beautiful, classic and historic site and the owner has graciously allowed us to collect there.

The mine is about 1.5 miles (a good 45 minute walk) along a mostly level, rutted dirt road. Recent logging in the area has made the road rough and possibly muddy in places. Since we must walk in and out, and lead is very heavy, you might want to bring a wagon, hand truck or at the least a good back pack. Good walking shoes are a must and be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks. You'll also need safety glasses, hammers, chisel, a tool to scratch thru the dirt and overburden and turn over rocks, buckets or bags with newspaper to wrap your delicate specimens.

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COLLECTING: Expect to find galena (Lead), sphalerite (Zinc) and fluorite (white and purple). Other minerals that exist there are chalcopyrite, pyrite, pyrrhotite, magnetite, quartz, calcite, cerussite, chalcanthite, pyromorphite, kaolinite, azurite, chlorite and hydrozincite. Many of these are fluorescent under ultraviolet lamp.

HISTORY: The mine was discovered in 1849, and operated off and on by the Confederates during the Civil War producing an excess 7,000 pounds of lead, but abandoned when General Sherman crossed the Blue Ridge at Rockfish Gap. In 1905, it was again opened for Lead and Zinc but closed again about 1919. Several other unsuccessful attempts to reopen the mine were short-lived. The 3 shafts are now partly choked and caved and the audit reopened in 1958 is now caved. A large dump still exists and will still yield beautiful specimens after much searching and digging.

We must arrive and walk in together, but you may leave any time you want and walk out by yourself. This is a unique collecting site and we are fortunate to have it in our area and have a landowner who is willing to share it with us.

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CONTACT: David Callahan, Field Trip Chairman. The Gem and Mineral Society of Lynchburg, VA, Inc. and The Roanoke Valley Mineral and Gem Society, Inc. Web sites: and (rvmgs is currently under construction)
E-mail Phone 540-297-1853 Cell 540-874-5201 (let it ring and leave a message please)

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Dean Hostetter
Field Trip Coordinator