Delaware mineralogical society

A Delaware 501(c)(3) non-profit earth-science educational organization


Willis Mountain Kyanite Mine, Dillwyn, VA

An official Field trip of the Delaware Mineralogical Society, Inc.



If the mine is working, we may have to limit our collecting areas.

September 29, 2018, 9:00AM to 1 PM

Sign-up is required, call me, email me or sign-up at the meeting. If you cancel, notify me to be taken off the list as space may be limited due to the expanded list of clubs now participating in this annual event.

The quarry is about a 5 hour drive from Newark, DE.  It’s almost directly west of Richmond, VA.
Please contact me (Tom Pankratz) at if you are interested in attending this trip.   Additionally contact David Callahan, Field Trip Chair for the Lynchburg Club email

All club field trip leaders send me a list of your total collectors so that I can compile a list and forward to the mine management by 9-19-17.   There is a limit of 150 collectors from all clubs for this event so there will be room for everyone.

SAFETY:  Everyone must arrive at the office parking lot no later than 8:30AM to sign the release form and hear the required safety briefing.  Each Club field trip leader, or their appointed replacement, will act as safety observer while in the mine and will be expected to be on the lookout for and correct all safety infractions from any collector from any club.  Keep in mind that this site is one of the very few that are still open for collecting.  Not obeying all the safety rules will cause this site to be closed to all future collecting.

DRIVING FROM THE ROANOKE AND LYNCHBURG AREA:   From Roanoke, follow US 460 East to Lynchburg, to the Sheets Station on US 460 and Rt. 811 in New London.  Continue on the US 460 East by-pass around Lynchburg thru Appomattox and take Rt. 24 North to its end at US 60, Mt. Rush. Continue on US 60 East to Sprouses Corner.  Turn right on US 15 South and drive 4 miles to Willis Mt. Plant Road.  Turn left and stop at the stone mine office. Park out of the way as not to block traffic. Do not park along Rt. 15.  Allow 1 1/4 minimum hour driving time from New London west of Lynchburg to the mine office.

GENERAL LOCATION and ASSEMBLY TIME:    Everyone will meet at the mine office for sign-in and safety instruction so be there no later than 8:30am. The mine is located north of Farmville, Va. on Rt. 15 North, James Madison Highway.  Proceed from US 460 North on Rt. 15 for a little over 12 miles to Willis Mt. Plant Rd. The stone mine office is on the right.  If you approach from Rt. 60 at Sprouses Corner, then go south on Rt. 15 for 4 miles to Willis Mt. Plant Rd. and the office will be on your left.  Wait in the parking lot and do not block traffic.  Many trucks may be using the road.  While you’re waiting, be sure to enjoy the beautiful blue kyanite bolder in the front yard from the old closed Baker Mountain.

COLLECTING: Willis Mountain is what's known as a monadnock. The kyanite exposure resisted weathering and, as the surrounding area was eroded and weathered away, the mountain outcrop was left standing. This is very much like the famous Graves Mountain kyanite mine in Georgia. The center of the mountain has been mostly mined away. We should be able to find plenty of white kyanite blades in the massive kyanite quartzite; pyrite; quartz; hematite with some iridescence, red mica, green mica, apatite and possibly some blue kyanite and pale green trolleite. Some of the white kyanite and quartz here have a beautiful light blue fluorescence and the apatite is yellow so bring your short wave lamp and blackout cloth.

EQUIPMENT:  The standard quarry safety gear required is a hard hats with a mfg. date of 5 years or less (everyone must have an approved hard hat….no bicycle helmets.  Small heads can wear a ball cap under the hard hat), safety glasses, respiratory protection from rock dust you may encounter, a pair of wheel chocks ether purchased, home made or even a rock is acceptable. Every time you leave the car, turn off the engine, put in park and apply the hand brake and wheel chocks.  ONLY STEEL OR MSHA (Federal Mine Safety and Health Act)  APPROVED REINFORCED FIBERGLASS TOED BOOTS WILL BE ALLOWED,THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS!!!  No low quarters or sneakers even if they have steel or composite toes . If you do not have all the required safety equipment, you will not be allowed to enter the quarry. Also required are long pants, gloves, hammer and chisels, wrapping paper, buckets, water as It is very important to stay hydrated as it may be very hot. If you have any medical condition that would put you in any danger, do not attempt this trip. For your own safety, let your field trip leader or collecting buddy know if you have any medical condition that could be a problem for you. Be prepared for windy, hot or wet weather. We will be on the mountain top and it's always windy. We can drive to the designated collecting area, so hand trucks should not be needed. Bring a camera, as the view is awesome.

AFTER THE DIG SOCIAL:  This year, the pavilion beside the office will be available immediately after the dig ends at 1PM to relax, cool off eat your lunch.  This will also be a social get together so that we can have a chance to become better acquainted with the members of our rock club neighbors and to provide some time to relax before their long ride home. You might want to bring your own lawn chair.  There may also be other groups there as invited guests of Kyanite Mining.

AGE LIMIT:  There is no age limit, but no toddlers please. All children must be signed for, closely supervised by an adult and never left un-attended. They must also have all the required safety equipment.  No Exceptions!!! If parents have any questions about what is acceptable for your child, please call me and we will discuss it.

WEATHER:   The trip will be canceled due to safety concerns in case of hard rain or a thunderstorm. Call to confirm if there is any question.

CONTACT:      David Callahan,     Phone 540-297-1853:    Cell 540-874-5201 (day of trip only please)   Field Trip Chairman for the Lynchburg and Roanoke Clubs,  email  web sites  and