Chipping away for treasure

Super Digg benefited Sterling Hill Mining Museum


Make text smaller Make text larger



Photos



  • Photos by John Church Rock hounds searching through the Mine Run Dump for specimens.




  • Browsing the tables at the museum garage sale.




  • The fluorescent outcropping is illuminated by UV lights.




  • Thomas Hauck, property manager of the Sterling Hill Mining Museum modeling a restored mining hat lamp. The bright acetylene flame is produced by water dripping onto carbide chips inside the body of the lamp. Hauck said the lamp was preferred by older miners as they could light dynamite fuses and their cigarettes with the open flame.



The clinking of hammers on rocks echoed around the Sterling Hill Mining Museum pits Saturday as 281 rock hounds chipped away at the rock piles in search of fluorescent mineral specimens for their collections.

“We had 281 people for the Super Digg alone and another 200 for general admission. It was a banner day.”
— Bill Kroth, President and CEO of the Sterling Hill Mining Museum

Less physically inclined collectors browsed the museum garage sale tables for specimens.

Rock hounds from as far away as Boston, Illinois and Virginia joined other collectors for the Super Digg in the open pit area of the museum property. It resembled the old penitentiary stereotype as people used sledge hammers to break big rocks into small rocks. They only difference was these rock hounds were toiling by choice not by judicial decree.

Collectors hauled buckets of specimens to the scales and paid $1.50 a pound for their prizes.

The garage sale was an opportunity for the museum to share their extra specimens with collectors and raise operating funds.

“We may have bought a collection and there was a whole bunch of what we wanted and we didn’t need the rest,” said Robert Hauck, museum staff member. “When you buy a collection from someone you don’t necessarily need it all for museum displays or for museum workshops. Some of it is extra so you sell it off.”

The museum has held the sale for the last 10 years.

Tours

Special tours of the upper property included the conveyor belt system and bins where crushed ore was stored before being hauled away by train to Pennsylvania for processing.

The newly opened Trotter Tunnel was part of the lower mine tour. After dark the fluorescent wall in the pit was illuminated by powerful UV lights.

“It is 9 p.m. and it is still going strong,” said Bill Kroth, President and CEO of the Sterling Hill Mining Museum. “We lit up our outcrop of glowing minerals and people are still digging like crazy. They’ll dig until 11 p.m.”

Collectors worked under the glow of their own portable UV lamps as they made a last search of the pit area.

Kroth and museum staff members planned to be there until after midnight.

He said it makes a long day, but “it is a good feeling when the funds come in to keep us going. That is what it is all about.”

Make text smaller Make text larger

Comments

Pool Rules



MUST READ NEWS

Healthy You 2018





Read more »
Image

2018: A health calendar
The best way to guarantee a long and healthy life is to choose your parents carefully. Second best? 12 sensible suggestions to keep you humming month after month, right through...
Read more »
Image

Teens and smoking: Looking beyond the cigarette
If you are a parent who's recently discovered that your adolescent has been smoking cigarettes, chances are you're not thrilled. Will he get lung cancer? Has she been mixing with...
Read more »
Image

9 easy tweaks to improve your nutrition
The hustle and bustle of life can take a toll on your health. We work long hours, eat on the run and are stressed to the max. This can lead to poor energy levels in the short term...
Read more »
Image

VIDEOS



* indicates required
Community Newspapers


MOST READ

Local News
Bayer provides STEM Day at Rev. Brown
  • Jan 15, 2018
Features
Healthy You 2018
  • Jan 19, 2018

MOST COMMENTED



Find more about Weather in Andover, NJ