Morefield mine

Screenshot 20210328 161848Morefield mine, or "Mm" QuickLinks

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Photo credit: Karen Smith-Will, 2018

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Screenshot 20230315 124032I can scarecely go a week without seeing an article about the international race to find--and mine--rare earth elements. That begs the question: since Morefield mine has been up for sale, why hasn't it been snapped up, to acquire its minerals with rare earth elements? 

If you are new to rockhounding, this should definitely be your first Betsy Martin video to watch. She summarizes her 40 years of experience, while emphasizing the fact that anybody can be a Rockhound.


When your uncle owns Morefield mine, what do you use for fireplace stone? In this video 📽️, Silas Morefield's nephew's wife shows the quartz, amazonite, and even amethyst in their one-of-a-kind fireplace.

20160202 Betsy Martin 095305I met Betsy Martin virtually, by email, and then by phone. This video was from the first day I met her. She had an uncanny capability of helping a person be at ease--especially one like me, who had no experience in mineralogy.

IMG 20210530 151038Sam Dunaway sent me some updates on May 23, 2021:

We are here, Mark and I are shooting old powder and headed for a mysterious second pegmatite in USBM (United States Bureau of Mines) drill hole 1. On 60' level. Opened up drift into USBM stope photo attached.

Sharon doing outdoor projects, things at mine...much maintenance.

Also working to get our Norfolk & Western RR "position light" signal up, been working on it and ready to lift.

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For decades, Betsy Martin has been an advocate for Morefield mine, during its ownership by Bill & Joan Baltzley, and later through the ownership by Sam and Sharon Dunaway.

This map provides an alternative view of the core drill samples at the 100' level.

Seeing this video is clearly a bit of deja vu. On 2/2/2016, Betsy was talking about how Sam Dunaway strategically cares for Morefield mine for the long haul. There were 2 things that Betsy mentioned is that were forward-looking:

  • One was mining at an area that she thought may have a specific new element
  • The second was exploring the 100-ft level

It's exciting to know that both of these things progressed in the intervening five years.

20170919 101114Rudy Bland has been a lovely supporter of this project, by giving me interviews and answering other questions by email. Additionally, he invited me to tour the specimens at the Virginia Division of Mine, Minerals, and Energy (DMME) office in Charlottesville on September 19, 2019

Rip knew Silas Morefield for years--in fact, at one point, Silas was his boss. Later, Rip was his barber for decades. Sam & Sharon Dunaway helped me catch up with Rip Willis on November 30, 2017.

This was an early sketch by Sam Dunaway, using the previously-created core drilling plan. The coloring and annotations provide a visual of the previous findings.