LA FLUORITA DULCITA PROSPECT Tombstone Hills, Cochise Co., Arizona, USA

Write By: tmmadmin Published In: Classic Mineral Localities Created Date: 2017-06-21 Hits: 2293 Comment: 0

In February 2014, in the last week of the usual rush of a Tucson Show, Bob Jackson invited me to join him for a dig at the La Fluorita Dulcita claim. Bob is a well-known field collector from Washington state, perhaps best known for his work at Spruce Ridge in the Cascades and the Rock Candy Mine in British Colombia. In 2010, a rancher in Cochise Co., Arizona had invited Bob to check out a fluorite prospect on his family's property. The result was a mineral lease, and from 2011 to 2014, Bob mined the property for fluorite specimens, using an air drill and explosives. One of the conditions of the lease was that the exact location had to be kept secret, to discourage trespassers. I was duly sworn in, and made the trip without a blindfold.

by Eric Greene

In the course of mining, several notable pockets were discovered in the karst limestone bedrock, the largest of which measured 4 x 1.5 x 1 meters. The pockets were lined with quartz casts after calcite, which were coated with lilac to dark purple fluorite octahedrons and cube-octahedrons, as well as ochsenaugen (ox-eye) crystals, a rare form of rounded fluorite crystals. 

Close up of an ochsenaugen crystal:

Specimens at the prospect are heavily encased in caliche, which had to be removed with acid to expose the crystals.

In a recent issue of Rocks & Minerals magazine (May/June of 2017), author Barbara Muntyan revealed more about the secret location of the site. She states that it is "…located about 8 kilometers (5 miles) southeast of Tombstone, just east of State Highway 80 running between Tombstone and Bisbee…near Government Draw." The locality consists of two open pits, one on private ranch land and the other on adjacent public land both reachable by a dirt trails east of State Highway 80. According to Muntyan, the area on ranch land was reclaimed in fall of 2015. Today, the site is closed to collecting. 

In late June, 2017, Bob sent me this clarification and update on La Fluorita Dulcita:

I promised the ranch owner not to reveal the site location and I haven't.  Barbara reportedly got her info from a guy who raided my camp there to steal specimens. I think I showed you the large prospect pit on state land (Barbara's supposed 'public site') west of where you & I parked.  That pit was blasted into a large block of jasperized limestone, by a prospecting company looking for gold.  They still hold the mineral rights on that pit and adjacent state property.  There is not a trace of fluorite in the pit, but it was a convenient place for use as a cover story for people trying to snipe at Fluorita during our project.  Dave Eisenbeil and I used an excavator to completely reclaim (bury) the site in 2015.  The now-exhausted deposit was composed of 3 separate breccia bodies which were rotated in relation to each other, perhaps the cause of the abundant open space available for fluorite crystallization.  My last visitors there were a mineralogical group from UofA.  We all agreed that there was no evidence of further mineralization before burying it.  Barbara wrote "it is reported that he used insulating foam [to make collecting difficult]."  Not true.  We use removable foam to protect specimens during shipment and occasionally to protect previously opened pockets during blasting.

Good specimens from Bob's mining are still available in our inventory:

8.3" Lavender FLUORITE Octahedral Crystals w/Quartz La Dulcita Claim AZ for sale $350  
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6.1" Lavender FLUORITE Crystals on White Quartz La Dulcita Claim AZ for sale   $300  
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3" Fine Grape Purple FLUORITE Crystals La Fluorita Dulcita Claim Arizona for sale  $275  
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6.1" La Dulcita Claim Purple FLUORITE CRYSTALS on Quartz Near Tombstone AZ for sale  $250
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6.6" Purple & Lavender Modified Octo FLUORITE CRYSTALS Tombstone AZ for sale   $200
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