Nantahala Talc and Limestone Quarry
Swain County, North Carolina
October 25, 2003
By Mike Streeter

Our October 25, 2003 field trip to the Nantahala Talc and Limestone Quarry was great! The trip was held in conjunction with the McRocks get-together and with cooperation with the Southern Appalachian Mineral Society (SAMS).

There was barely a cloud in the sky and the temperature rose into the middle 60's during the afternoon - perfect weather for scampering around a quarry. The fall colors were just past peak, but still beautiful.

Nantahala River

After meeting in a rest area parking lot at 9:45 AM, we drove in a caravan to the nearby quarry.

Planning the day!

We stopped briefly at the quarry office to receive our safety training and to sign the appropriate forms before proceeding into the quarry. We parked in a level spot in the heart of the quarry and proceeded to spread out like ants looking for rocks.

Everett and Celia Harrington

Jeff Deere

We all found plenty of pretty pink, yellow and gray banded marble. Also found were calcite, dolomite, pyrite, goethite after pyrite, graphite and quartz. A pyrite crystal found by Everett Harrington was just about the best that I had ever seen come out of the quarry.

Pyrite in marble

Pyrite in marble close-up

Joe Enderle, field trip chairman for SAMS, pointed out an acicular white mineral to me and asked me to identify it for him. I told him that the mineral looked like aragonite but I had not seen this particular mineral in that form or as good there before.

Aragonite on marble

Aragonite on marble close-up

After retrieving some of the aragonite that partially covered some loose boulders that were laying about, I decided to see if I could find where these boulders had originated. I located a crevice in low wall that was lined with fine radiating acicular aragonite - WOW! With the help and encouragement of others, I was able to liberate some very nice specimens on matrix - plenty for everyone who stood around helping and watching me dig!

Mike Streeter

Aragonite on marble

Aragonite on marble close-up

Aragonite on marble

Aragonite on marble close-up

Rockhounding at the Nantahala Quarry isn't always about what you find - it is also about what you see and feel, as Jeff Deere discovered while gazing at the spectacular view of the upper Nantahala gorge.

Jeff Deere and the Nantahala Gorge

It was a relatively short day of digging as we had to be out of the quarry by around 2:30 PM. An abundance of smiling faces were proof that we all left satisfied with our finds and for our wonderful shared experience.