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Sunstone Field Trip, Plush Oregon



June 19- 21



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On Friday June 22nd in the morning Garwin will be going to the claims and putting our yellow

flagging on the upper part of the road into the claims. There will also be yellow arrows pointing

the way to the claims. Watch for the yellow arrow on the main road. You are welcome to come out to the claims at any time.



Camping at the claims are dry camping with no hook-ups available. If anyone wants to bring along a porta-potty you are welcome to do so. The area around the claims is mostly sagebrush. There are very few rattle snakes, scorpions and black widow spiders. Garwin has never seen a rattle snake on his many trips to the claim, but always be careful and aware of your surroundings when at the claims. Restroom and regular camping are available at the public dig area if there is space available.



If you have never been to the claims make sure you have good tires and a good spare – flat tires can be a problem. The road is 10-15 miles of rough gravel which makes for dusty travel. When driving down the road help keep the dust out of your car by keeping your windows closed and open vents or turn on air conditioning to pressurize the inside of your ve­hicle and keep the dust out.



The collecting area is about 56 acres and there are several ways to collect sunstones. You can just pick up sunstones on the surface (having polarized sun glasses will help you to see them on the surface). You can hard rock mine the stones trying to get a larger piece or the brighter colors. Plan on bringing shovels, sledge, picks, hammers, wedges and screens.

Bring plenty of water and other cold drinks, lunch, sunscreen, bug spray, gloves, chairs and shade if want to make a day trip of it and your camping gear if staying overnight. You are welcome to come out at any time to the claims.



Road to the claims begins in Plush, OR. Take the road heading north out of Plush. First 8 miles is good blacktop chang­ing to gravel. Turn right on road 3-11 going about 1/2 mile. Turn left on 6155 heading north going about 9 miles of rough gravel road. Turn right where road 6155 and 7145 split. (Road 6155 goes to public dig area, do not take this road) Follow 7145 for 2.3 miles to yellow arrow on left side of road. Turn left and continue on this side road about 3.4 miles. If you get lost stop at other mines in the area and ask for directions. Don’t follow road 7145 north of road into claims or it will take you 100 miles into Burns, OR.



About 4 sq. mi. of the Lake County sunstone area have been withdrawn from mineral entry and established by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as a free public collecting area. This sunstone area is located off the northeast flank of the Rabbit Hills about 25 mi. north of Plush and 80 mi. northeast of Lakeview. Maps, directions, and information on road conditions are available from the BLM District Office in Lakeview.



Medical help is available at the Dust Devil commercial mine on the road to the public area.



If you have never gone to the claim or dug sunstones, it is a long drive but well worth the trip for a fun day for all ages and skill levels, bring a friend and open their eyes to fun of rock hounding. If you have any questions call Garwin at 541 ­882-8276 and we hope to see you there.




Pale yellow stones have a copper content as low as 20 parts per million (ppm) (0.002 percent), green stones contain about 100 ppm per million (0.01 percent), and red stones have up to 200 ppm (0.02 percent) copper. Some of the deeper colored stones have bands of varying color, and a few stones are dichroic, that is, they show two different colors when viewed from different directions.
Many stones appear to be perfectly transparent at first, but when they are viewed in just the right direction, a pink to red metallic shimmer flashes from within the stone. This effect is called “schiller” or “aventurescence” and is caused by light reflecting from minute parallel metallic platelets suspended in the sunstone. When viewed along their edges, the plate­lets are invisible to the naked eye; when viewed, however, perpendicular to their surfaces, they reflect light simultane­ously from each platelet, creating a mirror effect. Earlier studies of the Lake County feldspar suggested that the platelets were hematite (iron oxide), but the most recent research concludes that they are flat crystals of copper metal.
The terms “sunstone” and “heliolite” (from Greek helios, meaning sun, and lithos, meaning “stone”) have been used for at least two centuries for feldspars exhibiting schiller. The Lake County occurrence was first reported in 1908, and the presence of the schiller effect was the original reason for naming the stones sunstones. For decades, however, the term “sunstone” has been used for these Oregon gem feldspars both with and without schiller.
Oregon sunstones are a calcium-rich variety of plagioclase feldspar named labradorite, a common mineral in basaltic lava flows. All three known sunstone occurrences are in small basalt flows that superficially resemble basalt flows else­where in the state that contain large feldspar phenocrysts or megacrysts. However, feldspars in those flows are typically cloudy to opaque and relatively small compared to those in the sunstone flows, which are clear, glassy, and can be up to 2 or 3 in. in one dimension.
-No detailed information has been collected on the geology, petrography, or chemistry of the known sunstone flows, so no meaningful comparisons can be made between them or with other flows in the area. The sunstone flows appear to be small; the Lake County occurrence covers about 7 sq. mi., and the two Harney County occurrences are probably less than 1 sq. mi. each. Considering the regional geology and the wide separation between the flows, it is probable that there are more sunstone occurrences in the area.
Sunstones are mined from the soil and partially decomposed rock formed by weathering of the lava flows. The surface debris is dug with pick and shovel and sieved through a quarter-inch screen, and the sunstones are separated from rock fragments by hand. In some local areas, the lava flows are weathered to a depth of several feet, and good stones have been recovered from pits dug into these zones. Hard-rock mining techniques have been used on unweathered parts of the flows, but the sunstones are often shattered along with the lava, and recovery of large unbroken stones is difficult.

Oregon sunstone, also known as heliolite, is a  transparent feldspar with colors ranging from water clear through pale

yellow,  soft pink, and blood red to (extremely rare) deep blue and green. The color appears to vary systematically with small amounts  of copper and may depend on both the amount and the size of individual copper particles present in the stone.


The Mines…..


Explore some of the other sunstone mines that are located in the same area as the Club’s claims, or at least check out their websites. (all info taken from their websites)


 The Spectrum Mine

 www.highdesertgemsandminerals.com/html/spectrum _sunstone – mines.html

High Desert Gems & Minerals currently owns over 40 sunstone mining claims in the Plush and White Horse Ranch area of Oregon. We are very active in prospecting and exploring the Plush sunstone area for new sunstone deposits and have discovered more Oregon Sunstone mines than any other company in the world.


The Dust Devil


 Dust Devil Mining Co. was founded by rock hounds who believe everyone should have access to good quality cutting rough at a reasonable price. We believe the Oregon Sunstone is on the threshold of becoming a very popular gemstone and that demand will cause the price to increase considerably over the next few years.


Double Eag1e Mine


We are one of only a few full time mining companies of Plush Oregon Sunstone, which is a rare top gem quality Cop­per Bearing Labradorite, Feldspar. Giving the world a great opportunity to buy direct from the mine one of the rarest gemstones.

The Sunstone Mining Companv


The Sunstone Mining Company produces natural Oregon Sunstone from the High Desert of southern Oregon. We op­erate an extensive number of Bureau of Land Management mining claims. The sunstone mining area is ap­proximately 27 miles northeast of Plush, Oregon. Sunstone Mining Company is owned and operated by Gary Kratoch­vil.


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