SEARCH
ADVANCED SEARCH
STORE AUCTIONS
ALL SPECIMENS MINERALS AND MORE
RULES REGISTER LOGIN
ABOUT US CONTACT US
MAILING

JOIN

 

SPECIMENS
now available:

AUCTIONS STORE


III 2014 – Morocco, part I

 
      This was a long trip through almost the whole country. This time I was with Andrzej, my friend from Strzegom - famous pegmatite area in Southern Poland. As usually we flew to Casablanca from where we drove to Tata in Anti-Atlas.
      The Bou Oudi quarry where hourglass amethyst are mined is located not far from Tata. They are used as gemstones, for cutting. They occur in sedimentary Precambrian rocks. Quarry is rather small and operates with usage of simple excavators etc. Soon after our visit the quarry got closed and probably there will be no more amethysts from that locality. It was closed mostly because of very low number of high quality amethysts in good color. Also frequent inclusions worsen the quality of amethyst from Bou Oudi as gemstones.
      From Tata we drove to Bou Azzer area. We did not have too much time but we visited Ait Ahmane famous for gersdorfites, Agoudal quarry, and recently re-opened Oumlil Est quarry. Oumlil started producing some karibibites and we can expect more rare species from this location in the nearest future. Agoudal mine has been closed for 2-3 months and there is not much recent production of the co-calcite. All available pieces came from the older finds. Bouismas mine was the biggest surprise this time. Beside of some yellow barites, well crystalline skutterudites the most important find were new proustites. Some of the crystals reached up to 2,5 cm, were completely gemmy, flawless with incredible ruby-red color and great luster. Just imagine if they were not broken from white calcite matrix... Other news from the area was new type of erythrites from Mechui mine. They are good quality but still far from the top ones produced in Bou Azzer area in the past. For sure there is a big potential in this mine.
      From Bou Azzer we drove along Anti-Atlas to Taouz. Surprisingly we experienced heavy rains on desert, our car stuck in the river and mud in the middle of Sahara! After liberating our car we finally reached Taouz mines. During underground visit we hit a nice pocket with cherry red vanadinite crystals. After 2 hours of digging we had two quite big specimens. Among pieces offered for sale there where interesting novelties. First of all for the first time from vein no 12 big smoky quartz crystals were recovered. Some of them reached up to 20 cm and some had big gas-fluid inclusions. Even more exciting novelty were a few specimens of well crystalline aciccular malachites, including one very nice matrix specimen. Other novelty from the area, not exactly Taouz (details can not be told yet), where orange color well formed crystalline wulfenites.
      After visiting mine we drove to Erg Chebbi area, the biggest sandy dunes in Morocco, and spent a night in charming Yasmina Hotel.
      Next day we drove to Hameda quarry near Jorf, which has been closed for the last 2-3 years. During our visit we confirmed that quarry is still closed and will remain so for longer time. As usually we collected some nice fluorite crystals which are very frequent in the outcrops.
      Next on our way was Todra gorge and drive through High Atlas to Imilchil. Weather was beautiful and we had a chance to contemplate extraordinary landscapes on our way. From Imilchil we continued our way crossing High Atlas. On the Northern slopes of Atlas we spent some time looking for fossils, and we found several new locations with spectacular dinosaur trackways.
      From High Atals we drove directly to Kerrouchene. Workings in that locality went recently underground and some of them are several meters long tunnels. Surprisingly not much high quality specimens have been produced recently, we bough only a few azurites and malachites.
      We spent the next 2 days in Mineralogical Capital Of Morocco – Midelt. Beside of buying some specimens we had time to visit Mibladen area and to make some underground collecting. We were lucky to see freshly opened pocket in Les Dalles mine with great wulfenite crystals on barite. After almost 3 years break finally Coud`a produced pocket with high quality vanadinites. Some of crystals reached up to 7 cm, and one of the matrix specimens was really superb in terms of color, luster and size of crystals.
      After leaving Midelt we drove close to Algerian border to visit Touissit - Bou Bekker area. We spent almost whole day visiting underground workings in Bou Bekker next day. Mine has been closed since mid 2000`s but it still has accessible upper levels and many local people work there illegally mining the ore. For transport they use donkeys, some of the mine tunnels look like busy streets – there are sometime crowds. While digging for ore miners from time to time find pockets with specimens, sometimes high quality. During our visit we examined over 20 pockets, some of them over 1 m wide! Majority of the pockets are lined by dolomite crystals sometimes associated with malachite. Some pockets produce rams-horn gypsum, other ones azurite and malachite combinations. Crawling and digging in car size pockets was great experience!
      Next day we went to Nador, the most recent mineral producer in Morocco. Huge quarry located on the highest mountain in the area – Ouichane - is the source of superb blue barites. In that place Fe ore has been mined for about 50 years. A few years ago barite crystals were found in old quarry wall by accident by the local people. At the beginning just 3 people worked there but soon number of diggers increased to about 100 people who now dig day and night! The vertical wall looks today like a swiss cheese with tens of holes, in each of them miners are digging for specimens. Whole operation is illegal, visiting quarry and taking photos is forbidden. Miners are not very polite to strangers.
      Barites occur in big pockets with brecciated rocks usually coated by black Fe oxides, sometimes calcite crystals. Some of the big pockets do not have any barite crystals, others are filled with specimens. Size, color and luster of the crystals vary between cavities. The best ones are big, reaching 20 cm, blue barite "flowers" with great shape, luster and contrast and black matrix. Unfortunately majority of the specimens are heavily broken, usually because of the unprofessional extraction. Future potential of the locality is quite big, unless illegal mining will be stopped by the police.
      Thanks to our good relationship with miners we could visit quarry and even see freshly opened pocket with numerous barite crystals. Taking photos was more problematic, when we took out the camera everyone was hiding in their holes ...
      From Nador we flew to Casablanca and than came back to Poland.

 

Tomasz Praszkier

 

Morocco. Google Maps.

 

First we went to western Anti-Atlas. Google maps.

 

Landscapes in the area close to Bou Oudi. T. Praszkier photo.

  

Road to Bou Oudi quarry. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Bou Oudi quarry in the desrteous area of Anti Atlas. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Bou Oudi quarry. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Heavy equipment in Bou Oudi. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Amethyst quarry in Bou Oudi. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Visiting Bou Oudi quarry. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Amethyst in situ in Bou Oudi quarry. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Amethyst in situ in Bou Oudi quarry. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Freshly collected amethyst crystal. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Miner in traditional Berber headgear with gemmy amethyst. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Miner in traditional Berber headgear with gemmy amethyst. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Selected high quality amethysts from Bou Oudi. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Selected high quality amethysts from Bou Oudi. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Big amethyst cluster from Bou Oudi. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Big amethyst with hourglass zonation from Bou Oudi. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Gemmy and top color amethyst from Bou Oudi, 4 cm wide. J. Scovil photo.

 

As far the best known matrix specimen of the hourgls amethyst from Bou Oudi, 3.6 cm high. J. Scovil photo.

 

Our next aim was Bou Azzer area. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Small shaft and dumps of the Agoudal mine - world main source of co-clacite. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Agoudal quarry is unfortunatelly still colsed. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

But Oumlil Ouest quarry has been re-opened! World best source for karibibite and several other species. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Specimens presented in miner`s house. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Nice co-calcites from the Agoudal quarry. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Skutterudite from the new find in Bousimas mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Skutterudite from the new find in Bousimas mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Realgar on calcite from the new find in Bousimas mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Barite from Bousimas mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

New superb proustites from Bouismas mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

One of the new proustites from Bouismas mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

One of the new proustites from Bouismas mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

This is THE proustite from Bouismas mine. Alex Shauss collection. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Superb color co-clacite from Agoudal mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Well crystaline co-clacite from Agoudal mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Well crystaline co-clacite from Agoudal mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Botryoidal co-clacite from Agoudal mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Well crystaline co-clacite from Agoudal mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Well crystaline co-clacite with great color from Agoudal mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Well crystaline co-clacite with great color from Agoudal mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Unusual clacite crystal from Agoudal mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Roselite-beta from Agoudal mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Erythrite from Mechui mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Erythrite from Mechui mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Erythrite with probably picropharmacolite. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Erythrite with probably picropharmacolite. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

After Bou Azzer we moved to Taouz. Google maps.

 

Charming hotel near Agdz. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Charming hotel near Agdz. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Charming hotel near Agdz. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Charming hotel near Agdz. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Charming hotel near Agdz. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Desertous landscapes on the way along the Anti-Atlas. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Desertous landscapes on the way along the Anti-Atlas. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Desertous landscapes on the way along the Anti-Atlas. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Desertous landscapes on the way along the Anti-Atlas. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

 Kasbah-style restaurant in K`Nob. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

 Kasbah-style restaurant in K`Nob. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

View to K`Nob and oasis. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

View from K`Nob to the oasis and High Atlas in the background. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

We visited new mining operation for barite close to the M`cissi area. T. Praszkier photo.

 

We also visited some of the outcrops of Devonian limestones very rich in fossils. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Visiting outcrops of Devonian limestones very rich in fossils. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

 Upper Devonian fosiliferous limestones. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

  Orthoceras in Upper Devonian limestones. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

  Goniatite in Upper Devonian limestones. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

  Orthoceras in Upper Devonian limestones. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

View to the desert and our car from the oputcrop. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Close to Taouz we found river (!) in the middle of the desert. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

And our car stucked in it ... A. Korzekwa photo.

 

After short work we liberated our car, but it was not the same as before :-). A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Andrzej is opening pocket with vanadinite in Taouz mine. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Pocket with vanadinite in Taouz mine. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Pocket with vanadinite in Taouz mine. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Pocket with vanadinite in Taouz mine. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Working on pocket with vanadinite in Taouz mine. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Working on pocket with vanadinite in Taouz mine. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Finally we got 2 nice big pieces with vanadinite. T. Praszkier photo.

 

Happy and dirty Andrzej with his prize! T. Praszkier photo.

 

Vanadinites from Taouz mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Vanadinite from Taouz mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Vanadinite from Taouz mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Pseudostalactites of the Mn-Fe-oxides with vanadinite from Taouz mine. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

New quartzes found in the same vein where Taouz mine is located. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Calcite from Taouz. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Galena with pyromorphite from Taouz. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Another novelity from Taouz - well crystalline malachite. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

And here another novelity from the Taouz area, but not from the same vein - orange wulfenite. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Moon over the desert in Taouz area. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

As always when we are in that area we spend a night in Yasmina hotel. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

View from the dunes to Yasmina hotel and Berber tents. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Berber tents on desert. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Erg Chebbi dunes. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Erg Chebbi dunes. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Erg Chebbi dunes. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Erg Chebbi dunes. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Erg Chebbi dunes. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Erg Chebbi dunes. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Erg Chebbi dunes. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Camels on dunes. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

Flowers on desert showed up after the rain. A. Korzekwa photo.

 

GO TO:    Part II




  Comments

What an awesome life you have!
angela
2015-06-26 11:09:49


Creative Commons by SpiriferMinerals.com
Created by: ewipo.pl