The 2021 agate hunting season was a little better than the 2020 season. It became clear this year that there is still a large gap in skill between those who exert the effort to get up the learning curve, spend considerable time agate hunting, and maximize their patience. One couple who has visited the museum in the past came in with their agate treasures. I took a couple of photos of their agates, but they did not want to be identified. They spent between eight and ten hours a day for a whole week at the end of August, which is significantly more time than most agate hunters spend. Because of their time commitment and patience, they were able to walk to beaches that other people do not go to. Thus, they were rewarded.
In July, Lugina Roberts from Swartz Creek, MI, visited the Grand Marais area. She found this nice carnelian agate.
However, there are many great agates included with this webpage update. Let’s begin with a repeat agate finder, Auden Lloyd, from Northville, MI found a couple of other nice agates in the Grand Marais, MI area the first week of August. I had photos on my IPad, which decided to not work anymore. The Lloyd family sent me some more images including a picture taken of Auden right after he found the agate. One side of the specimen appears to be mostly quartz and amethyst – the other side is clearly agate. Nice find, Auden!
I had two people send me photos of what appears to be cold-water agates. What are cold water agates, you ask? Well, there seem to be different opinions on the subject. This may be because the term is loosely used to identify agate-like rocks that are not as definitive as traditional Lake Superior agates. There may be at least two different categories. Some cold-water agates formed in limestone rock cavities when ancient seawater with a high concentration of silica was absorbed into the sedimentary rock. It is called a “cold water agate” because water from the ancient seas originated from the Earth’s surface making it “cold water.” This water source differs from the hot, silica-enriched water that formed traditional Lake Superior agates. Other cold-water agates may be chert-covered stromatolite fossils wherein drusy quartz and/or chalcedony agate replaced some of the fossil remains.
The two photos below are cold-water agates found by Annemarie Hams in her yard in northern Wisconsin.
Samuel R. Erven found this 10.2-pound specimen in Grand Rapids, MN. This is clearly a mixed silica rock that most likely is a type of cold-water agate.
In the fall, Debbie Drovdahl found this nice water-washed, skip-an-atom agate in the Grand Marais, MI area. Information about these specimens is included in one of the Mineral of the Month posts on this webpage.
This past summer, Kristin Howard, found this intricate Lake Superior agate in the western Upper Peninsula. It is a very complex agate with hurricane-like banding as well as possible tubes and other structures.
In late September, the Dintemann family from River Falls, WI made an appointment to visit the museum. All three kids (Edgar, Nina, and Hattie) found an agate!
Congratulations to everyone who found agates in the Grand Marais area this past summer!