Diamonds and Rain
By Margi Jenks
Last Saturday, the 17th, we had what my mom used to call a “humdinger of a thunderstorm” come through. I read the weather service alert notice for a severe thunderstorm warning over the loudspeaker. We only make this sort of announcement when the alert notice covers the area of the Crater and is a warning rather than a watch. When a bad storm like Saturday’s is approaching, we hope that our visitors out on the search area will heed the warning and head for shelter.
In recent years people have become more aware of the dangers of a thunderstorm, especially as it relates to golf courses and other park-like settings. We now understand that lightning can strike as much as 15 miles in front of a storm and before the weather becomes windy or it actually starts raining. We also now know that open sided buildings as well as trees are not good places to shelter and ride out the storm. Our washing/sluicing pavilions are those sorts of buildings, so we hope that when a storm is coming, our visitors will head in before the storm actually hits, and shelter at the Diamond Discovery Center. On the hot days that we have been having this summer, a storm can be a welcome break to use the restrooms, grab a cold drink, or just sit for awhile. We do our best to make our visitors as comfortable as possible.
Storms like Saturday’s also offer a golden opportunity for diamond searchers. Many of our bigger diamonds are found right after we have had a major downpour. Savvy diamond searchers know that diamonds are heavy. Therefore, a good rain will remove the dirt and soil from around or above the diamond, but the diamond will stay put. When I go out and look at the field after a good rainstorm, I find the tops of our plowed rows are covered with little pieces of gravel up to ¼”. The gravel is also heavier, so like the diamonds, it stays put, rather than washing away. So, I tell our visitors that the best place to look for diamonds is also the same place that we find those gravel pieces—on the tops of the plowed rows.
If a diamond is washed off of the rows’ surfaces, it will be carried along by the little streams of water flowing in the ditches between the rows. When the stream water reaches a flatter spot in the ditch, the diamonds and gravel pieces will settle out in the same spot. So, I also tell our visitors to look for those little gravel bars in any area that the water looks like it may have flowed—ditches along the roads and walkways, or the little streams that drain the search area. Any area of gravel could also have that diamond you’ve been searching for.
Every week, as you can see below, we record in our e-newsletter the date that we last plowed the field and the date of the last major rainstorm. If you live nearby you can use these two facts to help you plan your visit to a time that offers the search area conditions providing the greatest opportunity for you, our visitor, to find your own diamond.
Search area last plowed: June 18, 2010, Last major rain: July 17, 2010
Total diamonds so far in 2010 – 336
Diamonds registered July 11th to July 18th (100 pts. = 1 carat):
July 11 – Eddie Reed, Walker, LA, 35 pt. yellow; Mike Mason, McKinney, TX, 47 pt. white
July 12 – Allyssa Herrin, Blanchard, OK, 93 pt. white; Curt Bork, Arbela, MO, 93 pt. white, 1.68 ct. white; Maria Cavallaro, Brooklyn, NY, 6 pt. white
July 13 and 14 – No diamonds were registered
July 15 – Warren Family, Slidel, LA, 99 pt. white
July 16 -- No diamonds were registered
July 17 – Maria Cavallaro, Brooklyn, NY, 27 pt. white; Stephanie Herington, Spring, TX, 86 pt. yellow; Glenn Worthington, Hot Springs, AR, 0.3 pt. white, 1 pt. white, 4 pt. white, 4 pt. white, 6 pt. brown, 8 pt. white, 14 pt. white
July 18 – No diamonds were registered