A group of members traveled to Lake Pleasant Regional Park in search of calcite. View the slide show to see our pictures.
Sun Lakes Rock, Gem & Silver Club / Field Trip to Lake Pleasant for calcite on January 12, 2016
On Tuesday, January 12, 2016 fourteen members of the Sun Lakes Rock, Gem and Silver Club took a field trip to Lake Pleasant for calcite. The views of the Lake and the mountains, some of which were snowcapped, were awesome. We found plenty of veins of calcite and loose smaller stones throughout the collection site area. Some had natural small crystals on them, others were phosphorescence or fluorescence. Linda collected some nice size specimens of these stones from a small cave (she was the only one brave enough and small enough to fit in the cave). Sledge hammers were used to extract larger stones.
Lake Pleasant is 10,000 acres (40 km² or 15.6 mi²), and is one of the important artificial reservoirs surrounding the Phoenix metropolitan area. When the original Waddell (Pleasant) Dam, which was finished in 1927, the lake originally had a surface area of 3,700 acres (15 km² or 5.8 mi²) and served as a private irrigation project. At 76 feet (23 m) high and 2,160 feet (658 m) long, the original Waddell Dam was, at its completion, the largest agricultural dam project in the world. The lake was filled by the Agua Fria River, capturing a large watershed throughout Yavapai County.
Construction of the Central Arizona Project Aqueduct, which began in 1973, soon diverted water from the Colorado River to the lake, converting the lake from an agricultural project into a storage reservoir for the rapidly growing region. Completed in 1994, the New Waddell Dam tripled the surface area of the lake, submerging the old dam beneath its waters. Lake Pleasant is used as a major water sports recreation center for the Phoenix metro area.
Lake Pleasant park covers a total of over 23,000 acres (93 km²) of mountainous desert landscape, including the lake, and boasts a number of other recreational activities, such as mountain biking, camping, and hiking.
Calcite is a rock-forming mineral with a chemical formula of CaCO3. It is extremely common and found throughout the world in sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks. Some geologists consider it to be a "ubiquitous mineral" - one that is found everywhere.
Calcite is the principal constituent of limestone and marble. These rocks are extremely common and make up a significant portion of Earth's crust. They serve as one of the largest carbon repositories on our planet.
The properties of calcite make it one of the most widely used minerals. It is used as a construction material, abrasive, agricultural soil treatment, construction aggregate, pigment, pharmaceutical and more. It has more uses than almost any other mineral. High-grade optical calcite was used in World War II for gun sights, specifically in bomb sights and anti-aircraft weaponry. Also, experiments have been conducted to use calcite for a cloak of invisibility. Microbiologically precipitated calcite has a wide range of applications, such as soil remediation, soil stabilization and concrete repair.
We had fun, saw some awesome sights, even saw two coyotes crossing AZ-74, and collected some nice calcite stones. The weather turned out great. Overall, we had a great day.