Past Field Trip Details - Sugar Grove WV - Oct 2016

Official Field Trip Notice of the Shenandoah Valley Gem & Mineral Society:

SVGMS Sponsored Field Trip to Sugar Grove, WV
Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 9:00 am

Meet at the parking lot of the Waynesboro Church of the Brethren, 364 Bridge Avenue, Waynesboro, VA 22980.

This is a Field Trip designed for those who like Micro Minerals and want to learn and collect them.

Please let trip leaders Scott Duresky ( or Mike Pabst ( know you are planning to attend. We will leave the parking lot in a caravan, trying not to lose anyone.

The trip is about 60 miles, and will take about 1.5 hours.

DIRECTIONS: I-64 West to I-81 North; take the 2nd exit going north towards the Woodrow Wilson Parkway; there is a sign here directing you towards Monterey. After exiting off the Interstate, turn left on the Woodrow Wilson Parkway.
Or, from the church, take Bridge Street to Hopeman Parkway to VA 254 to Woodrow Wilson Parkway.
Continue for several miles, then exit towards Churchville
Turn right on U.S. 250 West, continuing in the direction of Monterey.
After passing into Highland County, cross the bridge over the North Cow Pasture River, then turn right on Rt. 614 towards Sugar Grove
After driving about six miles, you'll pass into West Virginia; the road becomes Pendleton County Road 21 or Sugar Grove Rd; shortly after that, you'll see an outcrop of Devonian shale on your left.
Just after that, and before the next outcrop of Devonian shale, is an extrusion of Eocene-age basaltic rock, the youngest rock formation east of the Mississippi

It is in the vesicles of this rock that a wide variety of minerals in the Zeolite family are found, along with the world-famous filiform Pyrite crystals and other minerals; look for these vesicles in the rock itself, as well in the loose rock in the shale to the right of the extrusion, and in the small gully beneath both the extrusion and the shale.

WHERE TO PARK: A couple of hundred yards up from the collecting site there is a group of construction equipment that has been idle every time I've visited; park anywhere in that area. Bear in mind that the collecting area itself is right along the road, so watch for any vehicles passing by.

  • Analcime
  • Aragonite (rare)
  • Barite
  • Calcite
  • Chabazite -(Ca) var. Phacolite
  • Harmotome
  • Mesolite
  • Natrolite (rare)
  • Nontronite
  • Phillipsite - (Ca) (rare)
  • Pyrite (filiform crystals and unusually shaped micro crystals)
  • Thomsonite -(Ca)

  • Sturdy Shoes (essential)
  • Garden tools, for reaching and digging
  • Rock hammer, plus small or large sledge (not required during the collecting phase, but useful)
  • Knapsack, Bucket, or Jacket with deep pockets (many of the samples you'll collect will be small)
  • 10x lens or 20x illuminated lens (these are absolutely essential, and are available at Excalibur Mineral in Charlottesville)
  • Water and snacks

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS: Although the minerals that are found here are extremely interesting, most of the crystals are quite small, and best studied under a loupe or a microscope. Consequently, this trip will primarily be of interest to members of the current Rock Rappers group, or to those who may have an interest in learning more about the beautiful world of micro minerals. Scott will be getting in touch with members of the Rock Rappers group specifically about this trip after he returns from Iceland, but in the meantime, you may either leave an email for Scott when he returns, or contact Michael.

At some point before the Christmas holidays, everyone who participated will get together for the second half of this field trip, which involves meeting at a place to be determined to "break big ones into little ones", and to otherwise learn how to identify what's been collected. In the meantime, here are a couple of general guidelines:
1) Look for rocks, large or small, that have at least a fair number of vesicles. The bigger ones with few vesicles tend to be "dry holes."
2) Smaller pieces with vesicles that have been smashed or crushed over time are not worth picking up
3) On the other hand, even very small pieces with open vesicles potential contain interesting minerals, and should be checked with a loop, preferably in the sunlight
4) Both the Devonian Shale outcrop and the basaltic rock are at relatively steep inclines - that's where the sturdy shoes and garden tools come in!

WEATHER:   The trip will be canceled due to safety concerns in case of hard rain or a thunderstorm. Call to confirm if there is any question.

Wayne Petersen
Field Trip Coordinator