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September-October 2012

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Chips from the Quarry

OUT OF AFRICA: The forty-ninth annual Munich Show (Mineralientag München) celebrates the Minerals of Africa at its internationally acclaimed event scheduled for 26–28 October. That theme is also the focus of this issue of Rocks & Minerals, with several articles on its minerals and localities, private and public collections, and personalities.

Readers will recall that back in 2002, when African minerals were featured at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, our January/February issue was devoted to this topic. In fact, the coverage was so extensive (it included gemstones, type minerals, geology, and fossils in addition to locality articles) that several articles spilled over into the March/April 2002 issue. Then, as now, Dr. Bruce Cairncross, head of the Department of Geology at the University of Johannesburg, helped plan the issue and wrote several of the articles. (By the way, those 2002 issues can be ordered online at

Caption: The January/February 2002 issue that focused on African Minerals.

With approximately thirteen hundred dealers filling four great halls, with its grand museum-style, professionally planned exhibit area, and with more than forty thousand attendees, it is easy to see why Munich has been hailed as Europe's biggest and best show.

BOUND FOR MOROCCO: For some, the Munich Show is just the first leg of a trip that has Morocco and the second annual Mindat Conference as its next destination. The trip's one hundred places filled up quickly, and no wonder. Billed as “the ultimate mineral adventure,” it beckoned with such enticing localities as Bou Azzer, Jebel Issimour, Taouz, Jorf, Kerrouchen, Sidi Ayed, Aouli, and Mibladen. Plus it offers a full schedule of prominent speakers at the conference itself.

Caption: The immense New Munich Trade Fair Centre, home of the famed Mineralientage München.

DVDs AVAILABLE: For those deciding that an armchair visit to the Munich Show is the next best thing to being there, Bryan Swoboda of Bluecap Productions is offering What's Hot in Munich: 2011, a DVD covering last year's show, with Peter Lyckberg as his co–host. See for details.

Caption: A portion of the throngs lined up on opening day of the 2011 Munich Show.

Another DVD sure to be of interest, this one just now hitting the streets, is Mineral Explorers—Bolivia, produced by Thomas Nagin, of Crystal Springs Mining Company in Hot Springs, Arkansas. This is the second in the Mineral Explorer series, the first being on Colombia. For more information see

NEW MEXICO CENTENNIAL: Arizona isn't the only state celebrating its centennial this year (see the 2012 January/February issue of Rocks & Minerals); New Mexico is also. And what better place to join in the festivities than in Socorro at the thirty-third annual New Mexico Mineral Symposium, planned for 10–11 November at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Abstracts for talks are due by 15 September. For details on the event, see

EARTH SCIENCE WEEK: Two thousand twelve is the fourteenth year for this annual event, which is hosted by the American Geological Institute, a nonprofit federation of fifty geoscientific and professional associations that represent more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. The week was established to give students and other citizens new opportunities to discover the earth sciences and to encourage stewardship on our planet.

Earth Science Week 2012 will be observed 14–20 October; its theme is Careers in the Earth Sciences. For the latest information on the many associated activities, in general and also state-by-state, visit

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: The Houston Gem and Mineral Society, in memory of Arthur E. Smith, and the Cincinnati Mineral Society underwrote color costs in the Connoisseur's Choice column; Maryanne and John Fender (Fender Natural Resources) did the same for the Museum Notes column. Donors to the Color Fund contributed toward color in the remaining articles. All are thanked for their generosity in partnering with Rocks & Minerals to support color photography in each issue of the magazine.

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