It was another good year agate hunting in the Grand Marais area this past season. For the second year in a row, the ice break-up in spring resulted in a lot of rock on the beach. I was so busy this summer I did take photos of all the agates brought into the Gitche Gumee Museum, but I did take a few. Many of the agate photos included in this post are not the largest agates or the best agates. However, they represent what is typically found on the Lake Superior beaches.
First, on July 13th Auden Lloyd, from Northville, MI, came into the museum to show off his agate found in the Grand Marais, MI area.
On July 23rd Bruce and Elizabeth Cumberworth (father and daughter) from Dorr, MI stopped by the Gitche Gumee to show off their agates. The membrane agate found by Bruce is a great specimen showing off what happens when an agate pocket starts to fill in (from the outside in), is subjected to geologic forces causing the beginning bands to break off the inside of the vesicle pocket, only to later be recycled and incorporated into the final agate. Elizabeth found the nicely banded paint stone agate.
Two days later Mark and Brandon from Deerton, MI brought two agates into the museum. The agates were found in the Keweenaw. As many of you know, when people bring specimens into the museum that are Lake Superior agates – I ring a bell. Mark and Brandon enjoyed hearing the bell ring.
On August 5th Julie Scheer from DePere, WI brought the agate shown below into the Gitche Gumee. I took photos of the different sides to show what this raw agate looked like on the beach.
The middle of August brought Dick Boyer into the museum. He found this very unusual 4-ounce amethyst seam agate.
The next day on August 15th Jesse Chickening from Mears, MI came up to the Grand Marais shoreline to agate hunt by himself. He usually comes with his family, but this time he wanted to maximize his effort. That he did. In five days he agate hunting along 20 miles of shoreline east of Grand Marais. I did not get a chance to take photos of all his agates. He found one of the best large quartz balls I have ever seen. It was five pounds and more intricate and interesting than most quartz balls. He also found a very interesting seven-ounce agate with beautiful crystal impressions. There are two photos of this agate below, including one showing the crystal impressions. I was only the third person to see this agate. The photos do not show the beauty of this specimen. The first two people who saw it offered Jesse $1,000 on the spot. In total I estimate he found $3,000-$4,000 worth of agates during his week of searching. I have also included a few photos of the South Dakota agates he found earlier this year. He met a guy in South Dakota who took him out to special spots. Jesse is going to return the favor and sponsor his new friend on the Lake Superior shoreline.
When I was out and about one day, an agate hunter shared the specimen shown below. The person declined to be photographed.
A museum visitor shared the cut agate below. I believe it could be a Mexican agate.
One of my friends, Claudia, who stays in Woodland Park most of the summer, was out Syenite hunting before she and her husband left for the season. With her 365-wavelength light, the specimen below glowed pink. She was surprised when she arrived back at their RV that the pebble is a polished dyed agate. Some kids most likely dropped the rock on the beach.
During the inaugural Grand Marais Rock-On Festival, an agate collector shared this incredibly large Lake Superior agate with me. I cannot remember what it weighs, but it is big! The agate is from the Keweenaw and was found decades ago.