Dig your own rock and minerals - who knows what you will find.
The Cheney quarry is not open to the public, do not attempt to trespass. The Kalamazoo Geological & Mineral Society was lucky to attain access, if you wish to visit this site join the society.
Calcite, pyrite, gypsum and some nice marcasites was found this day. In my collecting I focused on the Calcites.
It was a cool and cloudy day as my friend Dennis and I arrived at the F.G Cheney Limestone Quarry in Bellevue, Michigan.
As a teenage I have visited the old Cheney Limestone Quarry, now a nature study park known as the Keehne Environmental Area. It has not been an active quarry for many years. The few Bellevue mineral specimens being sold on-line likely date from this original quarry. Which can make it confusing when you are searching for examples of what you might find now, in the new quarry. Here is a link to the Mandat photos for the Cheney Quarry, the map shows them as coming from the new quarry but at least one of the minerals is from an older collection (it must be from the original quarry).
At the bottom of this page is a link to the photo page featuring KGMS field trip finds from the Bellevue Quarry.
My expectations for this field trip was fairly low. I figured I would find some shinny pyrite druzy and some tiny calcite crystals, likely in really small vugs. I was not expecting any crystals over an 1/8 of inch and was basically thinking I was collecting for the KGMS show's specimen table.
We started in the northern side of the quarry. This part of the quarry had been cleared in the center and had various sized blocks of limestone push up along the blast walls . Blast walls the field trip coordinator made clear we were not to climb or collect from. We would visit the southern end of the quarry later in the day. The thinking being, that this part of the quarry being recently blasted was filled with jumbled rock and would be difficult to navigate. No sense letting the most unhealthy of us (me) wear themselves out in minutes, when we had hours of collecting planned.
Working myself down in to the quarry, I tried to spot anything worth collecting. My first few locations were not promising. The sun was not out, so there was no sparkle to the few druzy pyrites I found. While I could see some small calcite vains in the rock, none of them had voids. Finally, at the foot of the ramp that led in to the quarry, and just a little beyond, I spotted my first calcite hunk; worthy to be called calcite. Not long after that I found a vug with tiny calcite crystals. Now that I was on the scent I started seeing large rocks with vugs all over the place. But, now a new dilemma, I had brought a small bucket for hauling minerals and I was now looking at bolders with vugs attached. I needed to trim down this limestone with out breaking up the calcite vugs.
With a 3 pound mallet I hammer at the rock with the goal of turning them in to manageable carrying size, with vugs still intack. The rock split and the calcite vugs broke in half or shattered. Working my way 1/2 way up the rock pile, I carried down the pieces still worth keeping. Looking back, I realized I had to go back to retrive my hammer. At this point I was rather fatigued, nevertheless I went back up, grabbed the hammer and decided to turnover one of my rock shards. There was the largest calcite vug I found, around 5 inch long and about 2 inch wide.
Talking with other members I soon realize they have been making their own nice discoveries. On the other side of the pit people had been pulling out marcasites, pyrites and gypsum. Near where I was working, one of our junior members made an exceptional, deep golden colored, calcite find.
The talk about marcasite got me thinking about a bolder I had passed up earlier. It was a huge bolder which I know I did not have the tools to break up, so I had not looked closely at the mineral plate on its side. The sun was shining now and I could clearly see a golding druzy of pyrite (maybe gold marcasite) transition to some red colored marcasite crystals about 3/16 of an inch in length. Pointing the specimen out to a friend with a large maul, I offered it up to his collection. Unfortunately, as we suspected, the hammering split the specimen. Still, he was able to take home a nice red marasite.
Moving to the second quarry we discover the bulldozers had been to work making access routes for the hauling trucks. We had easy access to the rocks. I only found one specimen here worth keeping.
Field Collecting Rocks at a Bellevue, Michigan, Quarry