In Barstow California in the late 60's, Robert Strapp and a friend discovered an agate that was so difficult to mine that he said you need "Paul Bunyan" & his Blue Ox to get the stuff off the mountain. Before that story was told to me by his son who was quite upset that I was getting it so wrong by telling the story of the telephone lineman who discovered it. Turns out that guy got his hands on some of Roberts new find and named it "Mojave Red Agate" because I don't think anyone filed a claim on the site. Anyway, he told me his father ran <Strapp's rock shop> in the 60's and discovered the famous agate while prospecting with a friend. There was piles of Paul Bunyan slabs in the shop when it closed and he doesn't know what happened to all that rough Paul Bunyan his dad mined. He said that no one knew it would be worth money then - BAM- the Internet opened the rocks to the world. To get an idea of what an agate prospector does when he looks for float you need to understand when a seam agate is first formed, it is a solid tube (seam) and over millions of years of ground movement and shifting the seam breaks at stressed areas along it's length. Broken pieces and shards are pushed to the surface over the years and are spread out over an area from floods and so on. Those pieces are called float. The prospector looks for the area where the most float is and then digs there thinking he's close to where the seam is. He could dig countless times over the years and never find anything. Go to Prudent Man Agate Mining and watch the film of Steve Howard getting his gem (seam) out of the ground. If I remember right, he prospected for over 30 years before finding his dream. Anyway, the Bunyan agate mine area has been gone over with a fine tooth comb for any float that remains hidden. An abandoned campground is all that remains of the once fevered digging area. Hey, maybe those recent stories of a new seam found have something to do with the rise in activity from the newbies out looking for the new mother lode. The original main seam is carved out of solid rock and is now about 10 feet deep. There are no solid chunks of agate on the matrix walls that someone might chisel out and slab. If you could free the remaining agate, it would make fine tumbling specimens. There are other places on the mountain where the seam could pick up again allowing someone access to it and there are sightings of exploratory digs that would confirm this idea. The way it looks now, it will take major equipment to get anything substantial out of the Bunyan mine. Many believe its still there somewhere under the tons of host rock. Until then we thank Robert for his passion that lead him to this beautiful and famous find. -WET pic.-(5 oz.) no fractures>>>great cutter
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