One of the most colorful materials in Oregon is the pastel jasper found in an ever deepening pit on the Marston Ranch near Ashwood, Oregon. This material forms in a seam that is often a foot or more thick. It's principal colors are red, green and gold - but you can find just about every pastel shade in between in the best pieces. Many people believe that this is a petrified bog of some sort, and the limb shaped intrusions near the edges, as well as the scalloped plumey edges that look like algae, tend to support this observation - but I don't know of anyone who can say for certain.

The pit is worked almost exclusively by the the owner, John Marston, and his very large bulldozer. He moves several tons of overburden per scoop working about 15 feet below the surface to pull big "chunks" of the prized jasp-agate from the seam.

The pit is quite large and unsafe for handtools. The overburden is very loose stone that appears to be a fractured up wall of perlite or some related rock formation. It comes tumbling down like unmortared bricks and could easily kill those foolish enough to turn their back. I'm posing here well away from the wall. The agate is found at about the level my hat is at.

This is one of the finest slabs I've ever seen of this material. It was exceptionally solid, full of fabulous patterns (some of the swirls make it look like folded bog or a partially decomposed log) and contains every color I've ever seen in this material. It can also be cut into lovely bookends and I have a good supply that I've been working with so drop me a note and check availability.

Tour the rock shop
Ever wonder how we do all this neat stuff? Here's a glimpse at part of the Sticks-in-Stones Rock Shop!

Back to the field trip page