Beware!  "Rock Pox" has been detected!
It's symptoms...You can't stop thinking about rocks and minerals,
you start thinking about all the specimens you don't have yet and you just
have to get more rocks!!!

Welcome to our "Rock Talk" Page

July 2009
Well we finally made it back out on the old "rock trails" road again. This year we headed up to ELY, Nevada in the
eastern side of the Nevada Great Basin area where the Steptoe Valley meets the Egan Mountain range at an elevation of
between 6400 ft to 7400 ft. Ely is an old town which was originally established in the 1870's as a stagecoach station and
post office. In the early 1900's after the faltering of the gold rush era, the copper in the Ely area (The Robinson Mining
District) became an attraction and by 1906 a copper boom had developed and the Northern Nevada Railroad was built to
connect the Pit mines in Ruth (west of Ely) to the smelters in McGill (east of Ely). In the 1915 to 1958 time frame the
Kennecott Copper Company had bought up most of the copper mimes and had control of the mining of copper in the
area. Up to 22,000 tons of copper ore were removed daily until 1978 when the copper mines were closed. In 1991
Magma Copper Company reopened the mines, but they also closed down again in 1997. With the demand for copper
rising in China, the mining was reopened recently by Quadra Mining Ltd of Vancouver Canada. The ore is crushed and
concentrated at the mine and is trucked to Wendover, Nevada where it is loaded onto railroad cars and shipped to the
west coast where it is sent by ships to China for smelting and refining. In 2008, the Robinson Mine produced 160,000,000
pounds of copper and 130,000 ounces of gold. Copper minerals occurring in deposits large enough to mine include
Azurite, Malachite, Chalcopyrite, and Bournite. Other metals in this area include gold, silver, lead, zinc, manganese and
molybdenum with rhenium.  

Rockin' & Rollin' Geology Special
" 2009 marks the first year of the Nevada Northern Railway's Rockin' & Rollin' Geology Special. You're invited to board
our time machine on one of four trips up to the Sunshine siding near the Robinson mine to learn about the geology that
made the Robinson district a top copper producer for more than seventy years during the twentieth century.
The Rockin' & Rollin' Geology Special pulls out of East Ely only four times in 2009; scheduled at 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays
June 13, July 18, August 15, and September 12. Join this rare trip as far as the Sunshine siding near the mines.
Reservations are suggested; seating is limited. Call the museum toll free at 1-866-40STEAM (or 775-289-2085) or order
online." Below is a link to their website for much more information!

On this wonderful trip we had a geologist ride the train (which was pulled by a diesel engine instead of a steam engine so
we could see the surrounding areas without the smoke from the steam engine). The geologist was very informative and
explained everything to any level you requested. He taught the area geology and mining history to amateurs as well as
professionals. There is an open flat car available for better viewing as well as enclosed passenger cars. Although the trip
costs $42.00 per adult (age 13 and older), or $25.00 for ages 4-12, (ages 3 and under are free), The trip is well worth
the fare! It was almost a 2 hour trip on which you are served a dinner  that included a pasty (pronounced pass - tee) The
pasty is a baked meat pie comprised of beef (sometimes fish), onions, potatoes, parsley, and parsnips, all wrapped in a
flaky pastry covering.  These pasties were carried deep underground in the miner’s lunch box and occasionally reheated
over an open fire on shovel blades. Truly a memorable and educational trip!
Most of the mountains around this area are limestone and dolomite with a few exceptions....One exception is a mountain
that has tertiary volcanic rocks (mostly rhyolite) overlaying the sedimentary rocks. Formed within this volcanic rhyolite
were gas pockets that allowed the formation of garnets. Welcome to Garnet Mountain! The garnets here have been well
picked over for many years but there are still garnets to be found with some perseverance and a good eye! Chris and I
found several small specimens just hammering the rock on the surface or slightly below the surface. We did not however
find some of the larger specimens. We found a Trading Post in Ely run by a Shoshone woman. She had several good
specimens of garnet on rhyolite matrix which came from deeper digs than we were prepared to make...especially at 7,200
ft elevation....digging takes your breath away at that altitude! We have listed these specimens on our new Garnet page
through our mineral list page.

Lehman Caves, in the Great Basin National Park
Lehman Caves is a beautiful marble cave ornately decorated with stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, flowstone, popcorn,
and over 300 rare shield formations. Click on link below or center photo for Lehman Caves site

The cave (for there is only one with multiple chambers) is located behind an iron door set into the hillside close to the
Great Basin National Park visitor center, and most people come to the park only to see the underground features. These
speleothems are a wonder to see! There is a wide variety of delicate limestone formations including unusual large shell-
like structures known as shields.

The Lehman Caves cavern may only be seen as part of a ranger-guided tour. This costs (2009) $8 per person for 60
minutes or $10 for 90 minutes - although entry to the national park is free - and begin every hour during summer, or less
frequently at other times. The temperature underground is a steady 50°F all year; noticeably cooler than that outside in
summer, although at an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet, the park is never particularly hot.

August 2012

Well we finally quit doing those other pesky jobs that kept interfering with our RockShop! We call it a well deserved
change, others call it our retirement. Although we originally had not intended on retiring at this point, the economy and
housing market in Las Vegas forced issues that left us no real choice. So we loaded all into storage and began our quest
for where we would settle. We looked strongly at Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Oregon, Missouri,
Tennessee and North Carolina...well North Carolina won...So we have now relocated to a town south of Asheville called
Hendersonville, North Carolina. We took a long "Vacation Trip" getting here, visiting many great places en route to our
new home. We will be posting much information in the next few months so check back...

September 2012

Made our first discovery, research and rock and mineral specimen purchasing trip to the Smithsonian
Museums on the Mall in Washington DC. If you have never been it is worth the trip to see the Rock, Mineral and
Jewelry displays at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. They have the hope diamond on display along
with historic jewelery from Napoleon and other historical people. The Mineral and Rock display section is large
and pretty well covers most of the 4000 known minerals with nice specimens of each. A true learning and visual
experience not to be missed.  There is also an excellent display and explanation of Stromatolite formation
SpiritRock Shop
Rock Talk Corner ...Page 2 A place to Learn and Share
( please e-mail us your comments, stories etc)
from Garnet Mountain to the
Copper Pit at Ruth, Nevada
April 2014

Chris and I were touring through beautiful Transylvania County(...yes it's really called Transylvania
county and yes...they have a wonderful Halloween Festival) and we ran across a really wonderful Rock
Shop. So many "Rock Shops" are full of dyed agates and "tourist rocks", you know...the stuff no
rockhound or collector is interested in. It is a breath of fresh air when we find a REAL Rock Shop like
the one we found 1 mile West of Brevard, North Carolina.
Ernie's Rock Shop
99 Rosman Highway
Brevard, North Carolina  28712
If you are ever visiting the DuPont Forest (where the movie Hunger Games was filmed), or the
Pisgah Forest, or are driving the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway or visiting the Cherokee Village in the
beautiful Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina there is one place you should not miss! That is
Ernie's Rock Shop in Brevard, North Carolina. Ernie's Rock shop is operated by Linda Roth and her
faithful companion "Mia" who will greet you as you enter the store. Mia is a very gentle K-9 assistant
who loves people. This wonderful rock shop holds many treasures and surprises for rockhounds and
collectors of all ages. The shop has been operating for 25 years now. It was opened in 1989 and has
a very nice selection of rocks, minerals, precious gems, crystals, fossils, geode-cracking and lapidary
supplies. Linda makes custom jewelry and does jewelry repairs as well. She has a very special
collection of her work on display for sale. If you remember the old time rock shops like those in
Deming, New Mexico, and remember the "Geode Kid" you will really like visiting Ernie's Rock Shop!
Chris and I go to Brevard weekly and we always stop and see Linda to see what exciting treasures
she has on display for sale. It's a trip well worth making and there is even room for RV parking! You
can contact them at