Diopside and calcite from a rocky crag on Route 327.
Source: Mindat.org - Photographer: JR Montgomery
The Laurel area has been known to mineralogists for over a hundred years. The first samples taken at the end of the 19 th century identified several minerals including diopside, scapolite, sphene and augite, which suggested hidden treasures that excited geologists and landowners.
'One of the remarkable mineral riches of Wentworth Township are the deposits of shell marl seen at Silver Lake and elsewhere, and these deposits, I am told, are of considerable strength. The settlers in the vicinity use them to whiten and cement the walls of their dwellings. It may be believed that with this, the farmers of the township will not need gypsum or other artificial fertilizers to enrich the soil.' Le Nord, July 14, 1881.
In the first half of the 20th century, a small number of men worked in the mica and chalk mines of the Charles Guertin, William and Thomas Argall and Laurel Mining companies. However, after 1950, several unprofitable mines in the region were closed.
Some wells, which were at only an exploratory stage, became overgrown with vegetation as well as the clusters that border them, but this did not discourage amateur mineralogists hoping to find beautiful specimens there.