Mining News from Mt. Mica, Maine

Gary Freeman has offered PIG some updates of gem and specimen mining in the pegmatite at Mt. Mica, Maine. Much of the history of recent mining at Mt. Mica, including 2004 activities through September, are described and well illustrated on Gary’s website ( Here’s the latest, just in time for the holidays…

December 15, 2004, mining note and photos

Mt. Mica Pocket #28 (300 gallons of water and rising in pocket)

Yesterday, Dec 15, we saw into another chamber of the pocket. We were able to insert our 8' loading pole all the way in. This brings the down dip dimension to 5m. We spent the rest of the day dropping the adit the floor yet again to attempt to drain the cavity.

The top of the debris pile in the pocket was covered with parallel overgrowth quartz crystals that had apparently dropped from the roof. This is very similar to the first chamber. The main difference though, from the up dip chamber, was the presence of large elbaite fragments on the debris pile. The elbaite color theme continues. Red grading to colorless and then finally green.

Today we will remove the muck from the floor operation and remove a small quartz dam. This should partially drain the pocket and allow us to investigate further.

Here are a couple of pictures. The wooden object is a 4' hoe. The tourmaline is, if memory serves me, similar to the large Merrill tourmaline now at Harvard.

In the image with the large quartz crystal in water, there is an elbaite embedded in the side wall just to its right. It is hard to see.


Figure 1: pocket adit

Figure 2: pocket 28 portal


Figure 3: quartz and elbaite base (right side just above water line)

Figure 4: quartz crystal groups


Figure 5: cleaned quartz crystal

Figure 6: polychrome tourmaline


Figure 7: tourmaline in quartz


December 16, 2004, mining note and photos

Today we went from simply peering into the main chamber of pocket #28 to actually digging it a little. The promise of the elbaite stubs in the sidewalls did not disappoint. Mixed in with the large parallel-growth quartz crystals on the debris pile were a number of large elbaites. The color theme for the elbaite persists from the first crevice of pocket #28. That is to say, pink base, white center, and a green termination.


Figure 8: pocket #28 portal


Figure 9: small elbaite


Figure 10: large elbaite


Figure 11: elbaite crystals