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“... Morgan Stream and Woolshed Creek are in the Mount Somers region of Canterbury.   Agate collection at this site has occurred for over the past 100 years.  A days fossicking at this site typically involves an early morning drive from Christchurch to a car park that is 15 minutes from Mount Somers Township. After leaving the cars there is a one and a half to two hour walk over terrain that at times is very steep and slippery.  Once at the collection site a pleasant day can spent wandering amongst the tussock looking for agate nodules poking through the soil surface. One has to be selective in what is picked up as there are large quantities of material sitting on the soil surface and much of it is fractured and second rate. However agate nodules that are found just breaking the surface can be flawless.  Besides it is a long tiring walk back to the cars if one has been too greedy. If you are patient and selective you can be lucky enough to pick up a number of nice sized nodules that will be both flawless and spectacular.

Agates collected in the Morgan Stream and Woolshed Creek area are varied in both size and type. Typically the majority of agates found at this site are grey blue and any moss present is green. Many agates when initially cut fall into two types; plain grey “ghost” agates or mediocre moss agates.  However, spectacular examples of both moss and fortification agates (and a combination of both) and, amethyst geodes though uncommon can also be found. Agates with crystalline centres and geodes and carnelian can also be encountered.   Cut “ghost” agates that are left in the sun more often than not than develop grey white fortification and other markings; however, these markings will never be as strong as those that occur in freshly cut agates. Typically the best nodules are “cannon ball sized” and below as these tend to be fracture and flaw free.  Large spectacular agates of over 50 kg have been found in this collecting area.

This area has recently been transferred into the ownership of the New Zealand Department of Conversation estate. As a result collecting of agates is currently forbidden in the Morgan Stream and Woolshed Creek area..”.

written by Scott Hardwick, Christchurch