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Diameter, mm (1mm - 0,039inch)

Agates and chalcedony of Staraya Sitnya. Moscow region. Review 2010-2019



              Looking at the past years, I realized that my relationship with the Old Sitney already has its own history, which can be summarized and told about it. Moreover, this year I got in Sitna the best sample that I managed to get there on my own. Interested in a sample? Then we read on.

              In the beginning, I was just lucky. It was 2010. Oleg Lopatkin and Timofey Pashko found a large agate lens about half a meter in size there. They found it, and I was lucky. Because they didn't have a car, but I did. And Oleg suggested that I go to Sitnya. It was 2010, and at that moment I had not yet been to Sitna. It is always useful to go to a new point for the first time with those who are well oriented there. And Sitna was no exception. And although Oleg and I visited only one point (and there are several in Sitna), I had some idea of ​​u200bu200bthis famous place. But in order...

                We drove up to the forest, left the car there and went on foot to the ravine known to Oleg, where they began to dig in the place indicated by him. I had to dig quite shallowly, the agate lens lay at the very surface. The spring waters washed away the last centimeters that separated it from human eyes, thanks to which Timofey, on his previous visit with Oleg, drew attention to the release of chalcedony. We raked the top layer of earth, literally a few centimeters, and began to extract large pieces of the agate geode one by one. The lens was not whole, but split into several parts, which was even convenient. Since Oleg knew better where it lay, I found only one piece.

But on the other hand, it turned out to be not the smallest, and, perhaps, the most original: after processing, it turned into a beautiful agate with several “windows” in a blue-gray chalcedony geode made with quartz crystals.


                These were ideal mining conditions: we knew that we were looking for where it lay, and it lay very well. Therefore, the process took us only half an hour. Then research began: I began to dig a hole in the area where this lens was found. I dug 70 centimeters deep, and found two large limestone blocks in the soil.


They were heroically brought to the surface and shattered. In one of them, two geodes were found, made of gray chalcedony, covered with a fine brush of quartz. This was my first independent discovery in Sitna. Now I react calmly to such finds, but at that moment they aroused a lot of emotions in me.

On this, our mineralogical searches ended, we took the mined to the car and started searching for another kind - mushrooms! Many of them were born that year, and we returned to Moscow with stones and mushrooms.

                After this first visit to Old Sitney, I only had one year where I missed and didn't go there. Sometimes I've been there twice a year. In early spring - look at fresh scours in the hope of seeing something first. And then, in the summer, walk around in detail, search, explore new places and dig. Now I don’t remember exactly what year exactly what I found, but it’s not so important. My second major find was a relatively small agate, about the size of a woman's fist. The story of his discovery was original. Digging the side of the ravine, I found a vein of chalcedony in the limestone, walked along it and soon discovered a small geode of sintered chalcedony. The geode was removed along with a large piece of host rock, taken home, washed, and sold along with the rock. When it was already sold, I suggested that the buyer cut off the excess. And then I noticed that there is an excess of swelling with the release of chalcedony to the surface. "Uh-uh…." I thought. "This bloat is not just like that ...". The rock was blown off, and the agate was revealed to me. For the Moscow region, it had a very uncharacteristic color, more corresponding to Brazil - with clear concentric closed rings around the inner geode. The chalcedony went to the buyer, and the agate took its place in my collection.

                But let us turn to the history of the discovery of the manifestation of agates in Staraya Sitna. It was "officially" discovered and described by V.I. Stepanov and B.Z. Kantor in the early 70s of the last century. And they were told about it by a certain speleologist who led a group in those parts along karst limestone outcrops. B.Z. Kantor says that when he and Stepanov arrived in that area and went up the stream, Stepanov lingered at the waterfall, and he turned into the nearest ravine, where he discovered interesting chalcedony outcrops. Those. he was actually the first to set foot on the moon, sorry, he discovered this manifestation, - Boris Zinovievich still proudly talks about this. Although later they found a rusty crowbar hidden there. Those. someone was the first before the first ... Yesterday I was visiting Boris Zinovievich, and an interesting moment sounded in the conversation: he was in this ravine for the last time when I was 5 years old. And now, by the way, I'm 50 ....

                After the discovery of the manifestation became known to the Moscow stone-lovers, they ran and took everything out! The "fertile" places have long been chosen, the current finds are one-time, and the time and labor costs for one find have become so great that commercial interest is very doubtful, but we do not live by commerce alone!

                The occurrence of agates in Staraya Sitna is described in a well-known book. However, it was not clear to me how the author determined the winding passage of the agate strip. After all, he did not drill. With this question, among others, I came to Boris Zinovievich. He looked at the diagram from the book and said: “How did he determine this? After all, for this you need to drill. Mdya ... I feel that I will not get answers to my questions. “Although I knew the author,” continued Boris Zinovievich, “he was a very serious person. He used to be here with me.”

                During my first visits, I became aware of only one point. But where are the rest? Where is the very famous Stepanovsko-Kantorovsky ravine, called by them Starovsky after the village of Staroe, where the road closest to it led? And somehow in the spring, after asking Boris Zinovievich and other stone lovers of the older generation, he went to Sitnya in search of him. The day was sunny, everything shone in its rays, I walked up the stream, watching the fresh scours in a new place for me. And in the sun in the sand, a wet honey translucent chalcedony really lit up. I stood over it, admiring and detachedly thinking about the fact that it was not in vain that I came and at least found something. But stop contemplating! I pulled on it, and this came out of the sand! A huge chalcedony the size of a child's head with an internal passage and pimples the size of a large hazelnut, perfectly preserved!

It turns out that he only protruded from the sand with his hat. "Found!" - overwhelmed with feelings, in delight, I immediately called Boris Zinovievich.

And, probably, because of this find, I decided that this is exactly the ravine that he described, although at the same time I wondered why it was so wide. And it was not a ravine, but simply a valley of a stream. I realized this later, when I had already returned to Moscow.

                The famous ravine itself I found only the following year. Moving up from the stream along a stream with melt water flowing into it, in the bed of this stream I found a piece with broken, but still pseudo-stalactites of chalcedony, which is what this ravine was actually famous for. It was as if someone had put it on purpose for me, suggesting, “comrades, you are on the right path!”.

This right way I got to the ravine. He struck me with a huge number of abandoned pits. It can be seen that an army of stone lovers passed through it. Everything is pitted like a battlefield. To be honest, looking at this ruin, I had no hope of finding something. After all, it was not in vain that people dug, dug, and stopped. But I was present at a historical place!

But there was no need to be such a skeptic! Even a few years later, I saw how people found pseudostalactites there, turning the stones turned upside down a hundred times. And Boris Zinovievich said that they were not looking for them there at all. They came, took what they could carry, and left. Yes, there were times...

                In addition to these places, over the years I have visited ravines near the village of Reeds, and ravines in the depths of the forest. There were finds, but not such that they would be described. Particularly not pleased with the finds and the initial point. Several years ago, a hurricane swept through the Moscow region, and a large tree fell exactly on it, making it difficult to dig. I had to bring a chainsaw to the forest, saw the tree, throw the chocks aside so that we could continue the work. Since then, I believe that this point is rightfully mine. On one of the visits, a fragment of a geode with crystal, the size of half a head, was found in the old dumps. The crystal was terrible, black, covered with a thick glandular coating.

But after etching, it played in the sun as crystal should. If such samples had been thrown away before, there really was plenty to choose from. Unfortunately, during the polishing of the ends, the geode broke into three pieces. But they were also very pleasant.

Separately, I want to mention how, while examining the spring gullies, I found in a ravine in a fresh collapse a nodule the size of almost the core of the Tsar Cannon.

It was hoped that it might contain agates. As a result, it turned out to be a banal solid flint, but I still managed to create a feat - to split it with just a two-kilogram sledgehammer.

               But one day I heard the phrase "The amount found is directly proportional to the amount of excavated rock." This phrase sunk into me, and I decided that it was enough to explore - it's time to dig. For this purpose and with a shovel, I once again came to Sitna two years ago. But I managed to forget the mosquito repellent. And there are a lot of them in the ravines, and they all attacked me in unison. I really didn't want to go back. And then something read somewhere in the story surfaced in my memory, that if you don’t pay attention to mosquitoes, then it doesn’t itch. The main thing is not to start scratching. I had to check it out for myself. Really! I spent a day in the forest with an overnight stay, ignoring mosquitoes. They bite me and I ignore them. At the end, I was all bitten, my arms and legs were all red, slightly swollen. But it didn't itch! And I could work in peace. I stubbornly hit the pit, biting into the side of the ravine, pulling out and pecking stones.

But no hints of anything interesting. However, the quantity still turned into quality. After five hours of excavation (excluding breaks), a new stone was exposed. And without splitting, it immediately became clear that this was the right stone - there was a strip of gray chalcedony along its side. It was extracted and ... it didn’t even have to be split. He somehow opened himself in his hands, revealing a geode the size of a fist, made of pimples of gray-blue chalcedony the size of a large hazelnut, covered with small quartz crystals.

This sample still sits on my shelf. I bring his photo for the first time. No wonder I bled! Or rather, fed mosquitoes.

                Last year, I am ashamed to say, I did not visit Sitna even once, having changed it with other points. This year I was in the early spring on exploration, I found something, for example, a gray kidney-shaped chalcedony the size of a plate, but nothing that would be a significant event.

              So the season is already ending, and I didn’t go to Sitna anymore this year ... However, on Saturday they promised the last day of good weather, and from Sunday it was already cold and autumn rains. Why not jump on the bandwagon of a departing train? And jumped up. Rise on Saturday at seven in the morning, at 11-30 has already begun to dig in the ravine. The task for the day - no intelligence, maximum land work - we will give the country chalcedony! After an hour of work, a stone was exposed ... A blow with a sledgehammer on a protruding corner - so that it would loosen and be removed more easily - a chip ... Opanki! It gleams like quartz, there is a chance ... The stone was extracted - limestone with varying degrees of silicification. And here is the chalcedony vein on it. Splitting… Successfully split. Two halves. It can be seen that inside is a void filled with clay. It can be seen that on one side there is brown chalcedony, and on the other, blue chalcedony around the geode, and something pricks through the clay. It is clear that this is something - quartz crystals. But the degree of beauty will become clear only after washing. But not in vain. And as it turned out later - not in vain ...

                I keep digging. Another three and a half hours of continuous waving with a shovel, which, by the way (or rather inopportunely), broke in two hours, but I continue to poke a piece of iron into the ground. The stone does not go ... Suddenly there is a rattling. Someone is riding right through the forest on a big ATV. And drive straight to me. Do I need it? I don’t know who it is, but away from sin and out of habit it’s better to hide. Prior to that, he was in Ulyanovsk, in Lovozery, in the polar Urals - there is experience. I curl up in a fetal position in a dug trench, hide a shovel and a sledgehammer with a bright handle. A man on a quad rides directly above me, two and a half meters away. Half an hour passes - the situation will be repeated in the opposite direction. He wears all sorts of things here when people are doing normal business! However, the forces suddenly end at once, as if the battery was taken out, and the sun is already sinking ... I take the mined and wash the food home. And only at home, having washed off the clay, I understand what I found. This is the best sample I have obtained on my own in Sitna! A fist-sized geode of gray-violet chalcedony, made with five millimeters of brilliant rock crystals, which, due to its transparency, also appears gray-violet. And outside - a thick vein of brown-blue chalcedony and a geode of sintered brown chalcedony. And all this is compositional on a piece of bright brown limestone. Now the main thing is to prepare well. Wash off clay. But you can’t really get into the geode with a brush, clay remains between the crystals. I put everything in the dishwasher. After it, the clay became much less. I pour hydrochloric acid into the geode. During the day, the clay deoxidizes and is completely washed out on the second attempt. I lower the protruding outer vein into a solution of a different acid - against glandular deposits. In four days, brown in it becomes much less - a gray-blue base begins to break through. I was afraid that the host rock would dry out and fade. But no, she was still bright. And now I am showing you my best find, the result of many years of trips to Sitna. 26 centimeters.

    But let's not stop there! After Boris Zinovievich told me where the exits of pseudostalactites were located in his ravine, I began to suspect that they could still be found there if you dig in the right place in the right direction. It will be necessary to test this hypothesis next season + look for new ravines + dig well in the old ones. Maximum program.

PS: I will add the best of 2019 to the report. Only now the hands have reached to process: agate with a geode made of sintered chalcedony in perfect preservation. And ideal because I got it not split with not weathered inner surface. And what's nice: I got it in a place I personally found, a new place for me. True, Sitnya did not want to give it to me, and I had to pay for it with blood (a piece of flint flew off unsuccessfully),

But the result was worth it:

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