But he didn't, after New Orleans lost in the play offs, he really wasn't interested in the Super Bowl as to which team would win - he liked certain players on both teams; so he decided to surprise me with an early Valentines day gift. We had been talking about going up to Hot Springs Arkansas for quite awhile, but never seemed to find a good time to go. He decided this weekend would be the perfect time for us to get away, and scheduled a stay at the Arlington Hotel.
The Arlington Hotel has always been a special place for us. When my eldest child was just a baby, my husband had to go to a business meeting at that hotel, and we came along too so we could start our vacation from there. My son was teething at the time and was very fussy and was not going to sleep that night. To quiet him down, I took him down to the lobby at 2 a.m. and was letting him crawl around in the sitting area, only problem was he finally decided he wasn't going to crawl anymore. He took his FIRST steps there!! I was so excited. I wished I had my camera but it was packed away in my luggage and never did get those shots. The next morning I couldn't wait for his daddy to see what he could now do, by then he was walking all over the place and there was no stopping him. We were so busy watching him that neither one of us thought about taking any pictures, and the opportunity was lost forever.
That was about 24 years ago and we have only made it back there one other time - again with children. We both felt like we were long overdue for another visit there for just the two of us. This time it was so much nicer because we were not on such a tight budget and could take advantage of the hot baths and other amenities the place offers. After all that was what the area was always famous for its Hot Springs and rejuvenation properties. The Bathhouse row is now part of a National Park.
|Hotel Arlington, Hot Springs National park|
|The Arlington Hotel lobby, Hot Springs AR|
But this is what got me really excited about being there. Is seeing this as we pulled into the parking garage.
|The folded rocks behind the Arlington parking garage|
Here's one of the springs anyone can get water from.
|Noble Fountain, Hot Springs AR|
|Bath House Row, Hot Springs National park, AR; Arlington in background.|
|Fordyce Bathhouse National Park visitor center & Maurice Bathhouse to its left|
Here's the tower.
|Hot Springs Mountain Tower|
|The north view from the Hot springs Mountain Tower|
The one thing I don't like about the area is the vegetation is so prolific you don't get to see a lot of really fresh outcrops unless an area has been recently cleared away.
|East View from the Hot Springs Mountain tower|
Years and years before, I had been to the area with a friend that was a geologist. He had been here before on a field trip. One of the things they did was to collect quartz crystal from the Coleman mine. He took me to this mine and we had a great time collecting some crystals. Through the years and with moving, I either gave away or left behind most of what I collected. I always thought that I would be back here some day and never really worried about not having the stuff anymore.
Well with this trip I thought I would see if I couldn't find that mine again. I got on the internet and found out that there's now two Coleman mines --Jim and Ron. It turns out they are brothers. I remembered I could see the mine from the shop and figured I must have gone to Ron's mine.
My husband knows how I'm with rock shops and things like that. He knew I wouldn't be happy until I went and visited the area and see if things were the way I remembered them. I wasn't so keen on going because the night before there had been a terrible thunderstorm and the weather was foretasted to be bad all weekend long. I was hesitant about going since conditions were predicted to be so miserable and I'm to the point now I hate being cold, wet and miserable. We decided that we could at least go to the rock shops since they would be mostly inside. So the first thing we did Saturday was head out to find them.
Boy was I glad we decided to do that. I could not have asked for a prettier day. It was in the high 60's, mostly cloudy sky's with the sun occasionally poking through. Since it had rained so much the day before everything was nice and wet and easy to see.
As we drove along Highway 7, I saw some interesting things. Near Mountain Valley, and the Glazypeau Mountain I saw a piece of land that was cleared away and was for sale. Since we had nothing better to do we decided to turn back and look at it. Here's what it look like from the road.
Finally we got to the Coleman rock shop. I thought we were at Ron's but it turned out we were at Jim's. Just look at the crystals they have sitting out front. If you look really carefully you can see the penny on it for scale.
|Quartz Crystals in front of the Jim Coleman Rock Shop|
|Ron Coleman quartz mine|
|Ron Coleman quartz mine, Jessieville, AR|
From my observation the sandstone is pretty fine grain and there is a lot of red clay associated with it. All of which leads me to believe it was deposited in a fluvial to sub-aqueous environment, but I didn't have enough time to really study this and figure it out on my own. Everything I was looking at was in the tailing piles and thus were out of place.
Here's some rocks that lined the road to the tailing piles.
|veined sandstone, Ron Coleman quartz mine|
|quartz veins in a sandstone @ the Ron Coleman mine|
|Ron Coleman quartz mine where you are allowed to hunt for quartz crystals|
While we were there another family was there also. My husband and I would chuckle every time we heard the young girl scream at the top of her lungs, I've found another lucky rock.
I mused upon the Lucky Rocks she found and realized she'll remember this the rest of her life, just like I have all those years ago when I wasn't much older than her when I first saw this mine. I wonder if she'll become a geologist too.
If you ever get a chance you should definitely check out the Hot Springs area, and the Coleman mines.
And I forgot to include what Wikipedia has to say about it Hot_Springs,_Arkansas.
Here's the geology of it from Wikipedia
GeologyThe thermal springs are situated in the Ouachita Mountains of central Arkansas. The springs emerge in a gap between Hot Springs Mountain and West Mountain in an area about 1,500 feet (460 m) long by 400 feet (120 m) wide at altitudes from 576 to 683 feet (208 m). The springs predominantly are composed of hot water from thousands of feet underground mixed with some shallow cold ground water. Currently, there are 43 thermal springs in the park that are presumed to be flowing. Thermal water from 33 of the thermal springs is collected and monitored at a central reservoir, which distributes the combined discharge for public use and consumption. Rock types in the area include shale units which generally impede ground-water movement, while fractured chert, novaculite, and sandstone units generally support ground-water movement.
The heat comes from the natural heating of rocks as depth increases. The composition of the water indicates it is heated rainwater which has not approached a magmatic source, so no volcanic action is involved in the formation of these hot springs. The result is the mildly alkaline, pleasant tasting solution with dissolved calcium carbonate.
 Rock types
sedimentary rocks of Mississippian to Ordovician age, with the exception of younger igneous rocks (Cretaceous age) exposed in two small areas about 6 and 11 miles (18 km) southeast of the thermal springs (Potash Sulphur Spring and Magnet Cove, respectively), and in many small dikes and sills. Most dikes are less than 5 ft (1.5 m) wide. There have been 80 dikes noted about 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of Hot Springs, on and near the Ouachita River. There is no indication that igneous rock occurs where the thermal springs discharge.
The sedimentary rocks in the vicinity of the thermal springs consist of shale, chert, novaculite, sandstone, and conglomerate.
- The Stanley Shale is predominantly a clayey, thinly fissile, black to green shale, with large amounts of sandstone interbedded throughout the formation. The sandstone, when freshly exposed, is a hard, fine-grained, feldspathic, silty sandstone, but weathers easily to a soft, clayey porous material ranging from green to brown in color. Almost all of the low-lying areas in the city of Hot Springs are composed of the Stanley Shale, and it surrounds Hot Springs Mountain on the south, east, and west sides.
- The Hot Springs Sandstone Member of the Stanley Shale, hereafter referred to as the Hot Springs Sandstone, consists of fine- to medium-grained sandstone with some shale and conglomerate. The sandstone is gray, hard and quartzitic, reaching thicknesses up to 6 ft (1.8 m) The shale predominantly occurs at the top of the unit, and the principal bed of the conglomerate occurs at the bottom.
- The Arkansas Novaculite consists of lower, middle, and upper members. The lower member is a massive fractured novaculite, and is the dominant member on Hot Springs Mountain, with a thickness of about 275 ft (84 m) The middle member is a black clay shale interbedded with novaculite, about 10 ft (3.0 m) thick on Hot Springs Mountain. The upper member is chiefly a massive, highly calcareous light gray to black novaculite. It reaches a maximum thickness of 180 ft (55 m) in the area.
- The Polk Creek Shale and Missouri Mountain Shale overlie the Bigfork Chert and generally consist of shale with minor thin layers of quartzitic sandstone. The Polk Creek Shale is a black, fissile, graphitic shale. The Missouri Mountain Shale varies in color, and is soft and argillaceous.
- The Bigfork Chert overlies the Womble Shale and consists almost entirely of chert and silty chert in layers 2 to 12 inches (300 mm) thick, separated by minor thin beds of black shale. The chert is very brittle and intensely fractured from folding.
- The Womble Shale is the oldest geologic unit that underlies all other exposed units. It is black, hard, and argillaceous shale.