EXPLORING OPAL BEARING CLIFFS AT TSEHAY MEWCHA IN WOLLO, WELO, PROVINCE

church of Saint George lalibela
Wegel Tena is not far from Lalibela and the monolithic churches.
Arriving at Tsehay Mewcha ( Sun Gate) 17 km from Wegel Tena. 3200m on the Abyssinian high plateau. Not a desert at all!

tsehay mewcha wegel tena delanta

In mid April 2009, we did our first exploration, descending in the opal bearing Tsehay Mewcha cliffs, in Wollo or Welo province. There, over 100 minors in 2 cooperatives of locals allowed by the government to mine opal were working. Full info on this volcanic rock opal in the Summer 2010 issue of GEMS & GEMOLOGY

Purchase the 15 pages pdf :
http://www.gia.edu/research-resources/gems-gemology/gemsgemologycurrentissue.html
Abstract :
http://www.gia.edu/research-resources/gems-gemology/issues/summer2010-contents/summer2010-rondeau.html

 

OPALIZED FOSSILS

Fossils of plants, vegetals tubes, are found in the ignimbrite level. This opalized wood is a crystal opal with red play of colour. Might say that opal formed during a period of teasing volcanism, in pounds and forests.

delanta wegel tena tsehay mewcha
Download to read the maps.

cliff miners mining welo wollo opal
Miners on the spot.

a group of miners with their tools in wegel tena
Down the canyon, miners with their tools and findings.

shepards in tsehay mewcha
Young shepards at Tsehay Mewcha. This potography was taken by Thomas as we climbed back to the top of the cliffs.

 

 

 

 

This was published in April 2009. At September 2009 the situation improved and no new accident is reported.


HERE A TRAGEDY : MINING THERE IS DANGEROUS. OVER 10 LOCALS LOST THEIR LIVE IN FEW MONTHS, CRUSHED BY ROCKS. BECAUSE THEY DIGG WITHOUT BASIC SAFETY METHODS. WE IMEDIATELY STARTED AN ACTION WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE ETHIOPIAN MINISTRY OF MINES AND ENERGY TO PREVENT THESE ACCIDENTS. MINING SHOULD BE STOPPED AS LONG AS SECURE BEHAVIOURS ARE NOT REACHED.


Opal is mined all along the first horizontal line (vire) (from bottom) in the cliff. The top is 3200 m high.


Zooming in a nice Wollo white opal parcel ...

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