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Volga region 2020

Vodinsky sulfur deposit (Samara region) - Simbircite, pyrite (Ulyanovsk region) - Palygorskite, red gypsum, selenite (Nizhny Novgorod region)

Last year, it was not really possible to travel to the fields. And this year, another evil is self-isolation. But as soon as her regime in Moscow softened, it became important to break out somewhere. Especially since I bought an SUV a year ago - I need to check it and myself in action. For such purposes, I had prepared a simple route along the Volga region: Vodinsky sulfur deposit (Samara region) - simbircite (Ulyanovsk region) - palygorskite (Nizhny Novgorod region). I can’t say that these objects are particularly interesting, but you have to go somewhere ... Especially since I have never been to Vodinka, and it is relatively close - why not go?

The route passed through many regions, each with its own isolation regime, and there was a danger that somewhere we would be turned back or locked up for a two-week quarantine. But it worked out. True, at the entrance to one region there were yellow information boards that only residents were allowed to enter, and the cops standing next to them in masks were actively waving sticks. In our direction, the policeman made some unintelligible gesture with a stick, which we did not understand. And I, without stopping, drove past. By that time, the back number on the car had already fallen off, and there were no consequences. This ended the issue of isolation. But back to the beginning of the journey.

So, go! My friend and I started from Moscow early in the morning in my SUV. The comrade is an experienced man: a hiker, an off-road driver and a rock-lover. A very valuable combination for a partner in a car trip behind a stone. But he is not a public person and does not like it when his name is declined in reports. Henceforth, with his approval, he will be referred to simply as Comrade.

1 day. Road.

Everything was going well, the weather was good, only after Ryazan an oncoming car with a trailer jumped out into the median lane, not having time to complete overtaking. And since I was driving behind a fuel truck, I did not see her. First, the fuel truck shied away from her to the right, and then I did. It all took one second, so I didn’t have time to get scared. But the Comrade said that it obviously didn’t pass in size if I hadn’t turned it away ...

We stopped for the night on the border of a mowed field and a forest. All around is quiet and calm. This is where you need to isolate!

2nd and 3rd day. Vodinsky sulfur deposit.

We arrived at the deposit quite early, having driven by car straight into the quarry.

The deposit has long been abandoned, but not because the sulfur has run out there. It's just that they began to extract it in a different way - from waste during oil refining. But since there are no fresh openings by heavy equipment for a long time - there are no new outcrops either. You have to do everything yourself...

Unlike Italian native sulfur, which is of volcanic origin, as you might guess, the origin of Vodino sulfur is completely different. Where do volcanoes come from among the Central Russian plain? The origin of Vodino sulfur is exogenous. The deposit itself is a series of separate quarries located quite close to each other. They have long been used as active landfills that exude a specific smell. But we were lucky: the temperature was only 15 degrees, and the wind was blowing in the right direction - there was no smell in our parking lot. We quickly found the right quarries from the map and preliminary instructions from my local friend.

What can I say about the deposit?.. Sulfur is still there.

The problem is to extract unweathered sulfur in crystals on the rock: when disassembling the walls, both with the help of hammers and with the help of other tools, it falls off the rock.

Two days were devoted to these attempts to separate samples with minimal damage.

On the second day in the quarry, the sound of a motorcycle was heard. The motorcyclist, without noticing us, stopped about 150 meters away and started burning something actively and smokyly. Is he hiding the body? We thought after watching the movies. In this case, the motorcycle had to be with a sidecar. And he did end up with a wheelchair. We did not specify what he was burning and waited until he left, trying not to knock with hammers. We did not find the corpse on the fire, and we did not understand what he was burning.

By the end of the second day, we went to another quarry, which is currently in operation. They mine gravel there. There are fresh openings and dumps, but this quarry has always contained little sulfur, but calcite geodes with crystals of various shapes come across there.

There I also met the largest crystal of light blue celestite during the trip, approximately 15 * 15 * 7 mm in rock, which, however, was lost when trying to remove excess rock.

We also came across the so-called "Zhiguli agates" - gray-blue siliceous-chalcedony formations. However, they are so strong and difficult to process that we did not bother with them.

And some already "studio" photos:

Day 4 Ulyanovsk. Sengile manifestation.

To the south of Ulyanovsk, on the right bank of the reservoir, there is the Sengilei occurrence of iridescent pyrite. Pyrite from this manifestation is a scattering of small crystals with a film of tint on them, which gives it a decorative look. Such pyrite is found in clay-carbonate concretions, which, in turn, are found in black clays of the steep banks of this occurrence.

According to the binding of a known site, this manifestation stretched along the right bank of the reservoir for 60 km to the south of the city of Novoulyanovsk. During this day, we drove all 60 km, examining the coast at several points. At the beginning of the manifestation, we did indeed find several nodules of iridescent pyrite.

In all other points of the search to the south, we did not find them. Moreover, at the southernmost point of manifestation, we did not even find black clays. The cliffs were not black, but yellow. But later we found iridescent pyrite north of Ulyanovsk. Therefore, the correctness of this binding on a respected site raised doubts in us.

There were no adventures either. In the middle of the manifestation, we descended to the water's edge and walked along the shore for about two kilometers. We did not want to return by the same route along the barren shore, and we climbed up the steep loose cliff, cutting out steps for ourselves with a sapper's shovel. The top meter of the cliff (by the thickness of the turf) was vertical, and I had to strain a little to get out. This moment is captured in the photo. Kind of like Jumanji.

Further, along the strawberry field over the hill, we began to return to the car. The hill turned out to be inhabited. On it, marmots stood in columns near their holes and, whistling, looked around. Quite large - up to half a meter. And let them get relatively close.

Having passed through the hill, we approached the installed sign from the back side that it was impossible to walk here. Thanks for warning...

Day 5 Ulyanovsk. Undors.

To the north of Ulyanovsk, on the right bank of the reservoir in the Undor region, there is a manifestation of simbircite. Simbircite is a proprietary commercial local name for honey calcite.

I have already been here 11 years ago, so I will not tell you in detail, but for those who are interested, you can look at the link Ulyanovsk for Simbirtsit 2009.

It would seem that I know everything here, even my own report is at hand, however, we could not find the last, very prolific point. They turned onto all the roads leading to the coast, asphalt and dirt, field and forest, but everything was not the same. Out of desperation, they even drove along almost impassable fields and slopes, but alas ... Nevertheless, somewhere there was nothing, but somewhere there was still something. So, going down the sewer pipe of one of the sanatoriums to the water, we more or less collected simbircite. Even a couple of rather large samples for balls.

Satisfied with this, we decided to take a break. I relaxed on the shore, and Comrade began to swim, praising the water and teasing me about my indecision. And he joked like that until I remembered that fifty meters from the place where he praised the Volga water so much, a sewer pipe flows into it ... Then the Comrade somehow became less smiling and talkative .... And the current is in the other direction! He finally found a soothing argument. Let it be.

Having finished fruitless attempts to find the lost road, the Comrade outlined the last point, which is no longer related to this road. While we were driving to it, we took a wrong turn twice, and we had to drive through the entire Presidential Bridge through the reservoir four times (twice in one direction, and twice in the other direction). In addition to this, the exit from the bridge was being repaired, and we could not turn around immediately after the bridge. As a result, we drove an extra 28 km and got to this point only by eight in the evening. And, lo and behold, it turned out to be my very point. On it, we collected the most interesting samples.

The comrade got a preserved ammonite with a diameter of 30 centimeters, all mother-of-pearl, successfully three-quarters protruding from the rock. Kilogram 15. And for me - two non-weathered hollow septaria, into which the piece of simbircite I noticed successfully split in mudstone, and more modest ammonites.

I also got and brought home a three-beam composite sample of gypsum on the rock.

There were also large pieces of red mother-of-pearl on mudstone. At first I was very inspired by this, but then I realized that this is not an ammolite at all. Unlike ammolite, this mother-of-pearl is only about 0.1 mm thick. And the clay on which it is located, when dried, will crack and destroy the mother-of-pearl. So I didn't take it.

There were also belemnites. But the "explosion at the match factory", as it was with them on the last trip, was not seen. But Comrade and I each came across a belemnite 25 cm in size and 5 centimeters thick, half the thickness embedded in a stone that was not deep under water. True, it turned out to be the same sample, which we later boasted about to each other, because. none of us managed to extract it, with or without a stone.

This time the water was high, there was practically no beach, which hindered the search. There were no large symbircite concretions on the shore, photographs of which are presented in my last report. Apparently, in 11 years they had an owner ... In general, there was less material.

Nevertheless, satisfied with what we found, we began to climb up to the car left behind the barrier - two kilometers from the water. And then I was convinced that indeed "knowledge is power!". Since my last trip, I knew what kind of climb I would have, therefore, prudently, to the surprise of the Comrade, I took a cart with me. Having loaded a thirty-kilogram backpack of simbircite on it, I generally overcame a two-kilometer ascent along an asphalt road without any problems.

We packed up and moved towards Nizhny Novgorod. We stopped for the night in the middle of the steppe. Freshness and smell of wormwood! Don't breathe! As soon as we set up camp and prepared dinner, such a downpour with a thunderstorm began that from everything my experienced friend said here, only one word can be quoted - “Tin!”. But the tent did not leak.

Day 6 Okulovo, Nizhny Novgorod region.

On the steep bank of the Oka near the village of Okulovo there is a manifestation of pylygorskite - an unusual mineral that has another name - "mountain skin". So it was named for its softness and structure, reminiscent of natural leather.

The village of Okulovo, a small village with 100 inhabitants, is still a hole. A bypass road passes around it - a broken primer. But the main road to it is also a broken primer. You probably won't find a tractor there if you get stuck. The locals said that we would not be able to go down to the river, but we still took the risk. After all, there is a forest winding road, and someone is descending along it. But long and cool. Then we conducted an experiment on my car: we tried to climb back on the two leaders and on the four leaders. On the two leaders, even my highly experienced comrade did not succeed, neither on a lowering, nor from acceleration, nor with my pushing. The car skidded helplessly even on dry grass. And on the four leading - just took off. So it was not in vain that we went down by car to the very edge of the water.

In the upper part of the cliff there are gypsum-selenite outcrops. The slope there is 70 degrees. Of course, I was again drawn to exploits, and I climbed up, digging steps for myself with a sapper. Selenite is like selenite, without palygorskite. But pleasant - translucent.

Started going down. Going down is always harder. A couple of times I fell off in crumbling soil - the slope is not weak and the height of the cliff is decent. But I foresaw this, so I descended over separately growing stunted birch trees - driving past on my back, I managed to grab them.

Palygorskit was found further - not far from the water's edge.

But what is strange, earlier I saw photographs of palygorskite sticking vertically along the coast. Now, no root outcrops of palygorskite were visible. But in their place, two parallel furrows stretched along the shore, as if all the palygorskite had been dug up.

But still, individual pieces lay around, and I scored quite a lot. Already at home, I read that palygorskite is used together with indigo to create a mineral blue pigment according to the Mayan recipe. Perhaps this paint manufacturers have tried.

I also came across a nice translucent red gypsum. Didn't pass either.

While I was filling my backpack, Comrade was fishing. But the fish were biting worse than mosquitoes...

That's actually all. I was at home in the middle of the next day. I hope there will be sequels.


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