Amelia, Va. Morefield Gem Mine article from: The Collecting Bag
For those who are familiar with the Morefield Mine in Amelia
County, Virginia, this article appears in the January 1997 issue
of The Collecting Bag, the newsletter of the Richmond Gem &
Morefield Gem Mine
by Sandra Childers
The Richmond Gem Club was privileged to have Sam Dunaway and his wife Sharon, the new owners of the Morefield Mine, as guests for the December meeting. They graciously told us about their plans and answered our eager questions.
Sam, a newly-retired mining engineer from Anchorage, Alaska, first
visited the Morefield when he was twelve and living in Newport News. But that recollection is more his mother’s than his own. He remembers meeting Mrs. Morefield when he was in his twenties and going into the mine. It looked like a water hole then. In the years since, his mining career has taken him to California, Tennessee, and most recently Alaska. Why is he here now? Because he’s a miner, and he’s always wanted to have his own mine. And both Sam and Sharon believe God wants them here.
The Short Range Plans
The Morefield is now open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 to 4:30 for
collectors. For June, July, and August, it will be open Monday through
Saturday, 9:00 to 4:30.
In January the adult admission will be $8, children under 12 the same
$5.00, and little ones three years old and under are free.
There will be as separate area for “sure finds” for children or others
new to collecting who have only a short time to hunt and need a reward for
their efforts. In other areas, he says he wants to move a lot of rock and he
intends to have a much larger dump. In the spring, there will be buckets of
enhanced material also available.
He wants to get a web site, too, but at the moment he has not even had
time to set up a computer. My guess is that this will happen soon.
The Long Range Plans
The present mine is 45 feet below the surface and 279 feet long. Sam’s
plans are to increase the mine to 770 feet in length. Sam also wants to go
down to the hundred-foot level to see what is there. Other plans are to
explore more of the deposit, and tunnel northeast to a possible intersection
with a quartz vein and tunnel southwest into a basalt dike swarm where there may be some interesting mineral chemistry. Though it was asked by one of our members, Sam has no plans to tunnel to the Rutherford.
The Long, Long Range Plans
Underground tours. Liability is the greatest problem and an interested
insurance company is yet unknown, but the eventual plan, or maybe a dream, is to be able to offer tours of the mine. What a wonderful way to fascinate and delight the old folks and to inspire the budding geologists who now scavenge the dumps as Mini-Miners.
We know all who love the Morefield will be as delighted as our club to
meet the Dunaways and to get back in and hunt.
Minerals of the Morefield
Mineral list from Virginia Geologic Survey Bulletin 33, Arthur Pegau USGS Bulletin 248B 1952.
Dr. Lance E. Kearns, James Madison U. 1992
Dr. Michael Wise, Geologist, Dept. Mineral Sciences, Smithsonian Institution
Prepared by Fred Magnusson, Northern
Virginia Mineral Club