Replacing an Original Stone with a Modern Monument

Posted By Eugene Kooper on 10/19/2008 at 7:11 PM

A few days ago "rankin file" posted an example of another surveyor replacing an original stone 1/4 corner with a #6 rebar and cap. His question was, "Why would you do that?"

Given the facts presented by Mark, I would ask the same question. As perplexing to me, are folks that drill a hole in the top of the stone and set a cap. In Colorado, the PLS is obliged to upgrade monuments under certain conditions. From the AES Board Rules, an original monument is exempt from being upgraded as long as, "the monument is readily identifiable and reasonably durable" (Rule

In addition to the Board's minimum requirements, I believe that original monuments should be preserved whenever possible, even if it is not always practicable. Preserve the original so the next surveyor feels the same thrill of finding that original stone! If the only reason for upgrading the stone is to add a "magnetic signature" to the monument then toss a ceramic magnet or two along the scribed side(s) of the stone.

There are, however, times when in the professional judgment of the land surveyor, a modern monument should replace the original. Back in 2001 I found the first corner set in an alpine valley. However, when I gave it a quick shake to check if it was firmly set, the top 8" popped off in my hand. Chemical weathering had created a plane of weakness.

I was still disinclined to replace it, so I placed the "top" back on, referenced the stone out, and hauled the remains of the stone back to town. Part of my client's business is the restoration of mineral specimens, so I had them professionally epoxy the pieces back together, and fill in any remaining gaps with epoxy. I reset the stone in its original position in 2002 and filed a monument record.

This summer I had occasion to revisit the stone and found that the repair job was not holding up to the severe winters. Because the stone is above the toe of the scree slope, I did not bury it inverted as a memorial, but instead set a second monument in the center of the 2-foot diameter remains of the original bearing tree.

Initially I thought that my measurements missed the record by 1.5 feet. It is normal for mineral surveyors to measure to the blaze face (specifically to the scribed "X") instead of to the center of the tree. Since this was the first mineral survey done in this valley (August 20, 1873), the surveyor was actually a U.S. Deputy Surveyor, NOT a U.S. Deputy Mineral Surveyor. Because of that, I believe that he did what he was familiar with; he measured to the center of the tree. When I measure from the center of the tree, I'm still on the rounded top of the stone!

There are rare situations where replacing an original stone is the appropriate action to take. In Colorado, durability is a prime consideration when making that determination.

Dave Karoly knows how much I "cherish" original evidence and esp. its preservation for the next surveyor to find! Yep, Dave, it was more than hard for me to remove that stone. There will be an official wake in mid November when John Stahl, Loyal Olson and Dave Doyle come to visit for the PLSC Fall Technical Conference. JB and Dave are two of our speakers.


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