So I had an adventure this past Saturday. * *On a field trip with the rock club I am a member of, I got a rare opportunity to enter Morefield Mine in Amelia, VA. *Amelia sits on top of a pegmatite and produces many fine minerals. *This mine tour was a special opportunity because the mine might be closing and if it closes, it closes forever. *Morefield Mine is a pay-to-dig business although the digging is all done on the surface. *You are not allowed in the mine as its still an active working mine. *You can find garnet, clevelandite, amazonite, quartz, smokey quartz, amethyst, ametrine, star quartz, moonstone, kyanite and unakite to name a few minerals. *Its a great place to take kids to play in the dirt and mud. *
So...I was very nervous about doing this because I knew we had to descend and ascend 60 feet of vertical ladders. *I'm not too keen on heights. *I also knew this was a physical challenge.
I am decked out in the required gear...steeltoed boots (brand new $120 LaCrosse boots for $19 on eBay!), hard hat and head lamp. *We had to take oxygen units with us. *I had to stuff mine in my pocket because nobody told me to bring a belt or pack. *Hmmph! *So I was pretty bulgy. *We have to sign all kinds of papers and have all the rules read to us. *Then off we go. *We go to the smaller entrance and I see where I have to go. *I'm terrified!! *lol *A small wood platform with a hole cut in it...and a ladder disappearing into the dark. *From this point on...it is only fear-produced adrenalin that moves me.
We actually didn't enter here but its one of the mine shaft entrance/exits. We exited here at the end of the tour.
We had to descend a vertical wood ladder to a wood platform...turn around...descend another ladder to a platform...turn around...descend another ladder to a platform. *Down, down, down. I was TERRIFIED! *lol *I discovered that mine ladders were not built for short people. *Some of rungs were spaced rather far apart and I could barely reach them with my arms and legs. *But...it was too late. *It was do it or die! *On this first round we descended about 50-60 feet into the earth.
Once in the mine corridor...I was fine. *It was cool and very wet. *Some areas were lighted but most of it was dark and you needed your head lamps. *The mine was awsome! *It was beautiful with all the many minerals in layers and veins.
Seven club members went in...and we had one mining engineer as a tour guide (he's in the black Tshirt). *The rest were wimps and stayed outside to dig. hehe *(Yeah, I'm a wimp...just a wimp down in a deeeeeeep hole.)
There were more ladders down. *This is one of the shafts going dow another level. *At this point water was pouring down like rain. *I actually opted out of this one descent as we were warned about the water and our cameras. *I stayed on this level and tried to avoid the falling water. *Amazingly I saw a tiny frog and a lizard! *Yup, I was alone in a dark tunnel with creepy crawlies...
This is a terrible photo but my camera doesn't focus well in low light. *This little guy never moved a muscle. *Anyone know what it is? *I wondered if it were blind. *Maybe it was after the little frog...