Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 9.24.42 PMAt the southern end of the plateau, which lies at the top of Echo Rock, more than 500 tonnes of opaque quartz protrude from the surrounding soil.

Less than fifty yards west, on the other side of the Solitaire Lake Trail, five or six smaller quartz outcrops are located, with others presumably hidden by the top soil and leaf mould.

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 9.25.19 PMOne kilometre southwest, over 100 tonnes of highly crystallized quartz outcrops, partly covered by the decayed roots of dead trees. This outcrop also hosts sheets of mica between its seams.

The quartz outcrops on the west side of Lake Solitaire suggest that a quartz vein runs in southwesterly direction on this section of the reserve.

Quartz is formed when silicon and oxygen, two common elements in the earth’s crust, come together under immense pressure. Gold is often trapped either as specks or seams within the quartz.

When in the form of individual crystals, quartz is generally clear, while in large masses such as the Echo Rock deposit it is more milky white. Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 9.24.57 PM

Quartz is extremely hard and can easily scratch hardened steel. It generally does not break along regular straight lines, as crystal-type faces are rare within their formation.

Because of its hardness, quartz was used by earlier humans to create cutting tools and weapons, long before it was used for decoration, jewelry, charms and more recently, in natural healing devices.