Friday, May 17, 2013

Getting Back On The Rockhounding Saddle

Late this afternoon after nearly talking myself out of doing it as I have often done this Spring I finally made myself drive down to rockhound for petrified wood and biconiods in Templeton in a relatively-recently disked field that in recent years had gotten overgrown despite its annual mowings per the local fire codes. Someone not only brought in a tractor and disking attachment but also used a backhoe to dig out some rather heavy brush.

From the looks of it this field was probably cleared over a month ago, perhaps even two. However, between my delay in noticing this development and my being too busy and/or under-motivated to actually drive down to Templeton (the next town to the south of where I live) it didn't happen until today. Better late than never!

Over the course of the less than one-hour visit I managed to find one petrified whale bone chunk but no biconoid material. I seem to remember having better success here in the past than I did today. I suspect some fellow members of the Santa Lucia Rockhounds (I won't mention Chris Driesbach by name) got in there before I did. This was only the first or second time I have searched this field since I last visited it with my ex-girlfriend in 2008 or 2009.

By the way, this was my first rockhounding excursion of any size thus far this year! It felt good getting out and getting dirty after such a long drought (for me). However, this year school and work and my own poor time management at times have conspired to keep cooped up inside much more than I'd prefer.

Tomorrow I will miss a significant multi-club rockhounding excursion to southwest Fresno County. I had hoped to carpool to it following cancellation of my CPR & First Aid class set for the same day. However, I have been invited to come in and work a security detail all day at the Paso Robles Wine Festival at Paso Robles' downtown park, and thus will mess out on rockhounding in a new location (for me).

This is the field to which I refer and I'm sure locals will recognize this location west of Highway 101.
What attracted me to come check this field today was the relatively recent diskng of it for fire code purposes. This is in contrast to its usual annual mow job which is much less likely to expose fresh Templeton treasures.
After much searching I managed to find this solo segment of petrified whale bone which I photographed in situ. This specimen is highly silicated and will take a beautiful polish. Whenever it smacked another stone it made a very distinct clank due to all the silicon dioxide (SiO2 which is quartz) within it.
This is the general area of the field in which I found the above chunk of highly silicated whale bone. Yellow star thistle is rapidly growing back so it is good I visited today before that plant could hurt my besandled feet any more than it did.
Here is a closer-up view of the specimen.
The field in question contained a fair amount of colorful Franciscan Melange jaspers of various colors such as this red one I found today. I also saw some nice brecciated jaspers as well as radiolarian chert.
All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

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