Geodes from Ikiss in the High Atlas
I was lucky to meet up with the
right team for a day of geode hunting in the village of Ikiss.
A 40 minute walk from the village of Ikiss up into the High Atlas Mountains, was just what I needed
after a few days in Marrakech.
The steep sides of the valley got my heart racing as I climbed
from the village to the "Geode Zone", where for generations
the village people have been mining these beautiful crystals.
The red rock bands of the valley floor changed to a mustard
yellow as we gained height before topping out on the plateau.
Here scattered across the ground, pieces of shattered quarts
reflected in the morning sun...
Stage 1 : Find the mines
entrance hole. These mines are situated on the sides of the
mountain and can only be reached by foot.
Stage 2: Darkness ..bring a lamp. The
hole will drop down into the earth. You will have to crawl on
your stomach through certain sections. Last views of day light.
Check that you know the way back. Some shafts will be over 250m
long, cutting into the rock at angles of up to 30'.
Stage 3: Find your Geode. Hammer carefully
the surrounding rock to release the crystal. A prime Geode can
take 1-2 days to recover. This is done by candle light as there
is no electricity down here.Once on the surface the geode will
be hand carried down to the village, where it will be cleaned
before being put on sale.
With the industrial revolution
missing the country the natural resources found under ground
have not yet been eaten by the industrial machine..
Phosphates, which account for 75% of world
reserves, are the main mining resource. Annual output is 22.2
million tons. Other minerals include lead, copper, barytes,
zinc, manganese and fluorine which are found in abundance through
Morocco's mountainous regions.