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Kentucky's Strange Rocks

Old mining workings in Elliot County
     Ask any geologist that knows anything about the geology of Kentucky and they will quickly tell you this state is composed nearly completely of sedimentary rocks, primarily limestones and shales, with sand particle sized stone in many places. The key word here is nearly.   There are exceptions dispersed through out the state. One such anomaly can be found in Elliot County.  Here an igneous intrusion surfaced exposing a ruby/garnet producing rock called peridotite.  This stone is known to produce diamonds around the world.  In fact, the
the Kentucky Kimberlite Diamond Mining
Peridotite found in Eastern Kentucky
Company established a mining operation here in 1907.  Over the years others explored the area until the last serious mining effort was conducted by the Kentanna Minerals Company in 1965-70.  For
 many years the remains of apparatus used in the mining operation set on the outcrop of strange and hopefully rich mother load of diamonds and rubies.  The rock is a black, dense rock, composed mainly of olivine with fragments of garnets and an occasional ruby dispersed throughout the  material. The workings are on private property, and since this post, I have discovered that this property belongs to the family of Matthew Sellers.  Mr. Sellers was one of the first pioneers in aviation.  In fact, he made the first powered flight in Kentucky in 1908.  And actually, flew a glider before the Wright Brothers!  Matthew Sellers' granddaughter, Barbara Sellers has written a wonderful  book entitled "A Moment in Time" that should be read by every Kentuckian.
     There were many other operations following specifically the trail of the legend including this one on the South Fork of the Red River.  Mr. Tipton, in the construction helmet, convinced that he had isolated the vein of silver ore thought to be that of Swift's. The site did produced silvery minerals, but no major discovery was ever reported.
Unidentified rock from the diggings above appears to be pyrite

     Out in western Kentucky deposits of fluorite have been mined for many years.  These deposits are thought to be the result of igneous activities depositing the minerals in the sedimentary rocks that comprise much of the area. People have collected many beautiful flourite crystals from around the region over the years.  The Ben E. Clements Mineral Museum in Marion, Kentucky is said to have the largest collection of fluorite crystals on display in the world.

Fluorite Crystals found in Livingston County
Basically, there are exceptions to the most common geological materials in Kentucky.  While the states' mineral resources are primarily coal and limestone, there have been unusual anomalies discovered across the area.  With that in mind, one cannot positively rule out the possibility that out there somewhere, hidden from detection, still remains buried treasure.  To put in Swift's words, "...don't ever stop looking for a peculiar rock that stands near a stream with three forks, it's near the richest mine I ever saw."


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