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May-June 2013

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Thirty-ninth Rochester Mineralogical Symposium: Contributed Papers in Specimen Mineralogy—Part 1

THE TWENTY-NINTH TECHNICAL SESSION of the Rochester Mineralogical Symposium was held on 20 April 2012. Submitted abstracts were reviewed by a committee consisting of Dr. Carl Francis, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Dr. Marian Lupulescu, New York State Museum; Dr. George Robinson, Michigan Technological University; Dr. Sarah Hanson, Adrian College; and Dr. Steven C. Chamberlain, New York State Museum. Eighteen abstracts were submitted, accepted, and scheduled for platform presentations. The accepted abstracts follow.

DESCRIPTION AND IDENTIFICATION OF MOUNTAIN LEATHER SAMPLES FROM NEW YORK STATE. D. G. Bailey1, J. R. Chiarenzelli2, M. V. Lupulescu3, M. A. Hawkins3, and K. M. Bart4. 1Geosciences Dept., Hamilton College, Clinton, NY 13323; 2Geology Dept., St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617; 3New York State Museum, Albany, NY 12230; 4Biology Dept., Hamilton College, Clinton, NY 13323.

Mountain leather is an old term that has been used to describe a variety of fibrous minerals that form leatherlike mats and masses. Related terms include leatherstone, mountain cork, bargkoark, mountain paper, mountain veil, mountain hair, and mountain flax. Dana (1837) defined mountain leather and mountain cork as “white varieties (of actinolite) composed of minute fibrous particles interlacing one another and forming a mass that will float on water” (p. 310). Subsequent studies (Heddle 1878; Von Fersmann 1908; Macksoud 1939) revealed that samples of mountain leather belong to a number of distinct mineral species, the most common being asbestiform varieties of tremolite, chrysotile, kaolinite, sepiolite, and palygorskite. The goal of this project was to examine the sixteen samples of mountain leather currently in the New York State Museum mineral collection to correctly identify the mineral species represented. Eleven of the samples are from the Balmat-Edwards mining district in the Adirondack Lowlands, one from the Hudson Highlands region, two from the Taconics (Stockbridge Dolostone), one from the Manhattan Prong (Briarcliff Marble), and one from an iron deposit in the northeastern Adirondack Highlands (see table).

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