Mineral Mondays #50 - Walking In Their Footsteps

in #gems11 months ago


It is every person's goal in life to leave behind a legacy. When you have children and reach a certain age this becomes incredibly clear. I am on that path now, walking behind giants whom have changed mineralogy world.

This past February I attended my first Mineralogical Society of Southern California's 2020 Pacific Micromineral Conference at the Fallbrook Gem & Mineral Society museum.



It is an annual event put on by some of the top mineralogist & geologists from around the US. I honestly didn't know what to expect because I was new to the MSSC and this event. I'm very happy to report it was amazing and I came back with a new respect for mineralogy, geology and the people who have pushed the sciences forward.

Day 1 was Friday. It started in the afternoon with registration, $1 specimen tables, free mineral tables, and a talk on titanite by a Belgian geologist, Herwig Pelckmans.

IMG_5383 (1).jpg

I had initially been interested in attending so I could speak with Robert Housley and ask him for help in identifying minerals I had just collected at the Blue Bell mine off Zzyzx Rd. in California. Robert is an expert on the mine and co-discovered 5 new mineral types at the Blue Bell mine in 2013-14.

After registering I was immediately introduced to Robert and he gladly helped me confirm what I thought I had, dioptase, hemimorphite, fluorite and a few others. He congratulated me on my ability to correctly identify what I had which was praise I really needed after spending days going through mindat.org specimen photos and looking through my loupe pulling my hair out wondering if I had correctly identified my specimens.


That's Robert back to the right in the mint green polo shirt.

I thanked him for his time and moved over to the second reason I had come, the $1 specimen tables. This was very important for me as well because I could pick up specimens from some of the mines I have collected from and use them to help aid me in further identifying the many, many other specimens I have. Not only that though, I could then take many of these specimens back to Japan for our shop and upcoming shows.


Screen Shot 2020-05-18 at 7.47.50 PM.png
Me taking my time going through the $1 minerals. I ended up buying about $90 worth.

After 6pm everyone called it a day and went off to dinner or home.

Day 2 - More minerals, more presentations and making friends.

I got there bright and early the second day to once again dig through the minerals both at the dollar table, the free table and the auctions. I made sure to bring a rare specimen of cerasite(sakura ishi) from a newly discovered locality in Japan.

The free tables were incredible. I spent hours digging through all of the specimens the other collectors had brought from all over the country and a few from overseas. One of the reasons they do this is so the other collectors have a chance to inspect the minerals from rare and odd localities. That is actually the point of the conference. I forgot to mention, everyone brings their own microscope just for that purpose. I think many of them are hoping to find that stray crystal on a specimen that is out of place and possibly a new species.

Here's a look at the freebie table along with some of the freebies!





Around lunch it was time for Paul Adams' presentation on the Santa Rosa Mine in Inyo, County.

IMG_5393 (1).jpg

The mine produces a lot of beautiful copper/lead/zinc/silver specimens amongst others.



Paul discovered a new mineral there and named it after himself, the green mineral in the picture above.

Which brings me to the first picture I posted.


Minus Paul Adams,(not pictured) each of those men discovered their own mineral. I don't remember most of their names, but on the left, mint green polo, is Robert Housley. Robert has discovered/co-discovered 5 new minerals including Houselyite - https://www.mindat.org/min-39559.html

Source - https://www.mindat.org/photo-425099.html

Then there is Al Wilkins on the right in the cream shirt. Al has taken me under his wing to teach me what he can. He is who I got the microscope from. Al discovered a new uranyl(uranium) sulfate mineral, Alwilkinsite - https://www.mindat.org/min-47025.html


Source - https://www.mindat.org/photo-1007803.html

Unfortunately MSSC hasn't had any meetings of field trips since this meeting due to Coronavirus. Luckily Al lives nearby and I've been able to meet up with him several times. We are talking about doing a trip to a mine shortly, just trying to find the right place at the right time. I'm hopeful everything will pick back up in June as the severity of the pandemic is behind us.

Towards the end of the evening everyone talked about were day 3 would be spent. Day 3 was to be a field trip to one of two mines. Leadhill out in Barstow was what everyone settled on. I did a post about that trip here: https://steemit.com/rockhound/@rt395/exploring-a-lead-mine-looking-for-barite-and-other-minerals

If you are interested in more information on the Mineralogical Society of Southern California you can visit our site https://mineralsocal.org
There are chapters all over the world so if you are not in California you can do a search for one near you!

Sorry, it's getting late so that's gonna be the end for this post.
Thanks for reading!