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The Adams County Record
Council, Idaho
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April 5, 2012     The Adams County Record
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The Adams County Record Wednesday, April 4, 2012 The Diamond Legend, Recleux Although I don't have much to add to the dia- mond mystery, that I wrote about a few weeks ago, I did receive more info about the Rock Flat area. Rock Flat is the area where Highway 55 reaches the top of Goose Creek Grade. Most of the flat is south of the highway and extends past the Little Ski Hill. q-he flat is probably so named because it is scat- tered with rocks--some of them very large--that were left there by glaciers. One huge boulder just west of the Little Ski Hill was used as a "Post Office" by early mail carriers. Mail was left in a recession in the boulder. This boulder used to be easily seen from the highway, but the concrete barrier there now blocks that view. Al Becker told me about a Canadian company that did some exploratory drill- ing there in the 1990s. They said they were drill- ing there because Rock Flat is at a unique geological spot where ancient basalt flows meets the area where granite is prevalent. It is a similar to the geologic locations where diamonds are found in Africa. A1 said his contact with the company said their drilling showed some promise, but the company would not reveal the results of their exploration. Al never heard more about it, so they must not have found anything too exciting. Cecelia Brown loaned me a copy of "Gem Minerals of Idaho:' printed in 1972 and again in 1974. It has some interesting things to say about Rock Flat, which I will quote for the remainder of this article. The aluminum oxide mineral, corundum, is widespread throughout the world. Next to diamond it is the hardest known nat- urally occurring mineral. Prior to the manufacture of carborundum, com- mon corundum, known as emery, was extensively used as an abrasive. Gem quality corundum is comparatively rare and is limited to a few world- wide localities. It occurs in all shades and tones of practically every color. Transparent material of medium to dark tones of red to purplish-red hues, popularly described as pigeon-blood red, is ruby. In its finest qualities, ruby is the most valuable of gemstones. Corundum gemstones of all colors other than pigeon-blood red are sap- phires. The most desired color is cornflower blue. Perfection in this color lies in a hue between violet- blue and violetish-blue. Corundum has been dis= covered in several locali- ties in Idaho. All are in alluvial deposits; none in situ, probably because all discoveries have been inci- dental to gold placer and dredging operations. Only a very small percentage of the corundum discovered is of gem quality. In Clearwater County near Pierce, in the locality where gold was first dis- covered in Idaho, corun- dum is found in the gold- bearing gravels, particu- larly along Rhodes and Orofino Creeks. Opaque dull-gray material pre- dominates as usual, none of which approaches gem quality. The crystals are rough, imperfect, worn' and occasionally coated with muscovite, a pearly white mica. In Custer County, corun- dum has been discovered in many of the gold plac- ers of the Stanley Basin. In Valley County, it occurs in the gold placers of Gold Fork and other tributaries of the Payette River. The tailings of old gold placer workings at Paddy Flat on Gold Fork creek, north- Page 7 by Dale Fisk To Weiser-----> To Riggins m l_.._. C . l_,-, I eu Ski A  ORUNDUM (SAPPHIRE \\; mo,y RHOO"ITE 4' Don. nelly 11 Mi. This map from "Gem Minerals of Idaho," shows the area near Rock Flat where gems are present and have been mined. east of DonneUy, are a popular and productive hunting locality. Near the old town of Resort in Idaho County, on Secesh Creek between Warren and Burgdorf, com- mon corundum is abundant in the gold placers at plac- es where cleanups were made. In Adams and Valley Counties between McCall and Meadows, on the headwaters of Goose Creek, is perhaps the most widely known and most explored corundum local- ity in Idaho. "Ihe area, known as the Rocky Flat plac- ers, has been exploited for various minerals. Extensive development work has been done. A tunnel was once drilled through the mountain that extends as a spur between the upper reaches of Goose Creek and the canyon leading to Meadows. Sluice boxes were placed in the tunnel and much material was washed. This tunnel is now partly caved in and aban- doned. A large glory hole, filled with water, marks its head at the placer area. This photo from "Gem Minerals of Idaho" shows people at Rock Flat screening the creek gravel for gems in the 1960s. According to report, crystals of several non-gem the company that did this varieties. Although some extensive work was mining of the corundum crystals for diamonds. Rumor says display the hexagonal pris- that a few octahedron dia- matic habit of corundum, mond crystals were recov- most are broken and water ered. If any were recovered, the number was not suffi- cient to warrant continued working. The corundum here is abundant in association with numerous garnets, quartz crystals, and occa- sional crystals of many other such minerals as topaz, tourmaline, spinel, and hematite, as well as worn, indicating the long presence of these very tough and hard crystals in the gem gravels. A few ruby crystals of poor color have been recovered--all are either too light red or too red-brown to be accu- rately classified as rubies. Mining methods are primitive. Because of its high specific gravity corundum concentrates in pockets near bedrock with other heavy minerals. It can be further concentrat- ed by running the crystal- bearing material through a sluice box, but eventually each crystal must be hand picked from the gem grav- els. q-he Rocky Flat area, a few miles northwest of McCall, has been much worked, but it is still pos- sible to recover small rolled pebbles of crystal quartz, spinel, and broken pieces of corundum. FISK COMPUTERS: Complete systems, new and used Specializing in laptop repair and rvice Laptop LCD and Motherboard replacement Networking wireless and conventional Virus and spyware removal, data leovery Larry Fisk 208-253-6073 lnfisk@ctcweb.net +, 253-6077 ,o,',o,+,:;+:++,,+,+ +,+,::+ !y,++ ++o,+ :+  illlLlmllliail[Jla;lE[l[ l 11 I]IILILIILX]IIfl] ]ltJml]munru+mmi[.l  UllldF:[tu ,m BLmm=nnam-- --1 IIII!1 'dll!lltfllllll)lllhTlil/lll| I i If ,hlI[lll I I hllllflll IIltl ,'It II i Ill tTit lull Iltlllll Iglari ltaall+dlilnti,llrl'nmam. n,i., ........  ,.'. .........  ....... 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