Where to Begin......

April 21, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

I guess that I will begin this blog with some shots of some of my recent activities.  I have always been intrigued by geology and natural history; recently I began collecting agates in the Laredo area.  Laredo has a lot of jasper, moss, plume, fortification, sagenitic, and dendritic agates.  Below I will attempt to describe the differences and post some examples of each of these types of agate.

 

After cutting the above agate with a Highland Park 18" diamond blade slab saw this is what we find....

good

Fresh out of the saw and still covered with mineral oil, which is used to keep the diamond blade cool while cutting.

A wonderful red moss..reminiscent of mountains and a valley full of blue sky, which has some fortification banding.

 

 

Agates with inclusions are some of the rarest and most beautiful agates in the world. These inclusions may be sagenitic (sagenite)plume, dendritic, or moss. A description of each of these most common types of inclusions is important here.

Sagenite, or more accurately, sagenitic agate is any agate having acicular or needle like mineral growths. These hair like filaments are often arranged in fans or sunbursts. The inclusions come in a wide array of colors.  For example:

Gold Stars

 

 

 

Plume agate has fluffy inclusions which often appear to be soft and have depth. Sometimes plume agate inclusions resemble feathers, plants, or flowers. Colors may vary as in sagenite.  For example:

 

 

Dendritic agate has thin, two-dimentional, treelike growths, usually black or dark brown, as is the case with Montana Agate. Often dendrites form between flat "waterline" bands of agate. Dendrites may also occur in limestone, talc, and sandstone, and in beryl, corundum, and other minerals.

 

 

 

When inclusions in agate are random in pattern, often creating the appearance of seaweed or moss, we have moss agateMoss agate comes in many colors and is often green. Moss is the most common type of inclusion in agate.

 

 

Fortification Agate:  Fortification Agate:  This is the most common and distinctive type of agate.  In these agates, bands crystallized into concentric layers that more or less follow the shape of the cavity.  The banding resembles an aerial view of a fort.

Huge Fort

Even in it's rough/uncut form this is an excellent example of a fortification agate.

 

 

 

I am unsure about the technical term for the following agate but I think it is most likely Crazy Lace or Mexican Crazy Lace, so named for the many colors, it's usual origin, and crazy haphazard designs.  It is very beautiful.

It was obvious even before the cut that there was going to be a lot of color and varied design within.  This piece is about 5 inches long.  I was able to cut several slabs off this one.

 

 

Well This is just a preview of the agates I have collected.  I have only cut a few of them.  The 18" Highland Park slab saw that I have been using is at my brother's house...only a 6 1/2 hour drive away...ugh.  The photos above were taken quickly not long after cutting and still have oil and debri on them.  None are polished yet.  Some of these photos were taken with my iPhone.  I say quickly because I was cutting agate after agate all while building the forms for my kitchen concrete countertops.  The cutting is rather a slow process and I was anxious to snap a few photos to show what I was finding.  Later I will conduct nicer, cleaner, studio shots.

I am very glad that i did not get any oil on my camera.  Here is a shot of the saw, after a cut was made, with an agate still clamped in the vise.

This shot actually looks rather clean as the saw sat over night and the oil ran down into the reservoir.  Once you clamp the rock into the vise and adjust the width of the cut, the saw will automatically move the vise forward as it cuts the agate.  You can set the saw to automatically shut off when the cut is completed.  Yes, it is a very expensive saw!  But what a smooth cut.

 

 

An example of creative lighting....

 

 

 

And I think I will finish today's blog with a mystery rock!  Can you identify it???  It is a petrified....well there is the mystery.

Topside:  Above--dry, below--wet.

 

Bottom.

 

It weighs approximately 7 1/2 pounds.  It was very porous and had an outer skin or layer that seems to have mostly deteriorated.  The bottom has what appears to have been roots (my best guess).  Laredo is well known for it's petrified palm wood, however, this does not look like the palm stumps/roots that I have seen.  I found this in the bottom of a wash on the side of a hill.  It was approximately 3-4 feet below the surrounding topsoil.

 

Well that's it for today.  I think that my next blog will showcase the home improvement projects that have been keeping me so busy.  Yep, thats me, jack of all trades--master of none.  Haha.  I am happy with my life, family, hobbies, crafts, photography business, and that is what counts.


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