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November-December 2013

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Chips from the Quarry

WHERE THE ACTION IS: A big part of the appeal of collecting minerals is the social aspect, the opportunity to mix and mingle with those who are like-minded, especially when the mixing and mingling take place at an important mineral event. Three such recent events are the subject of articles in this issue: the first-ever China Mineral and Gem Show, held in Changsha, Hunan Province, in May; the 6th International Granitic Pegmatite Conference, held in Maine and New Hampshire in May and June; and the Heritage Auction of the Hoppel Mineral Collection, held in Dallas, Texas, in June.

Of course, the summer provided several other occasions to catch up with mineral friends, share collecting tales over dinner, and see what's new on the mineral market, which made it all the more difficult to choose three to feature. Coming to mind, among others, are the popular Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines Show in France (in June), with its worldwide drawing power; the international Mindat Conference in Poland (in July); the collecting-oriented Copper Country Mineral Retreat in Upper Michigan (in August); the East Coast Show in West Springfield, Massachusetts, pulling in its share of West Coasters also (in August); and the Second Annual Dallas Mineral Symposium, with two days of talks and parties (in August). Except for the constraints of time and funding, the collector could literally travel the world following a full calendar of mineralogical events, each offering its own brand of hospitality and camaraderie.

But getting back to the three events described in this issue, two are written by husband-and-wife authors. Peter and Allison Megaw, of Tucson, Arizona, capture their experiences in China, and Jim and Gail Spann, of the Dallas, Texas, area, recount the Heritage Auction and the days leading up to it. Given that social events are part of the tie that binds the mineral community together, sharing those activities with a spouse makes them doubly enriching.

PEGMATITES APLENTY: This issue also has three articles about pegmatites. The first is David London's theory on pocket formation in granitic pegmatites. The second, as mentioned already, is a short report by John Rakovan on the 6th International Granitic Pegmatite Conference. The third, by Steven Chamberlain, Marian Lupulescu, and David Bailey, describes the Scott farm pegmatite in New York State, a pegmatite of a “different color.” Whereas most pegmatites are granitic in composition, the one at the Scott farm is not.

THE POJETAS HONORED: Dr. John Pojeta, paleontology editor of Rocks & Minerals, and his wife, Mary Lou, were recently honored by the Paleontology Society by having an award established and named after them: the Pojeta Award. They were also selected as the award's first recipients. The award was created “to recognize exceptional professional or public service by individuals or groups in the field of paleontology above and beyond that of existing formal roles or responsibilities.” The Pojetas have organized the running of the Paleontological Society exhibit booths at professional meetings since the mid-1980s. Mary Lou Pojeta has won numerous awards for her volunteer work with both the U.S. Geological Survey and the Smithsonian Institution. John Pojeta, a research associate in paleobiology at the Smithsonian and a scientist emeritus with the U.S. Geological Survey, has received the Meritorious Award of the U.S. Interior Department and the Paleontological Research Institution's Gilbert Harris Award for excellence in systematics.

John and Mary Lou Pojeta, recipients of the first Pojeta Award, named in their honor by the Paleontology Society. John is the paleontology editor of Rocks & Minerals.

LICENSE PLATES, ONE MORE TIME: Jeffrey Starr's article on collectors' specialty license plates in the May/June issue (pages 231–235) brought more examples to light. Mineral photographer Jeff Scovil sent a photo of his Arizona plate (MINFOTO), Tom Wilson wrote that his wife, Linda, has a North Carolina plate that reflects her interest in aragonite (ARAGONIT), and Keith Mychaluk's Alberta, Canada, plate lets it be known that sapphires are his specialty (AL2 O3, the corundum chemical formula). For a collector story based on license plates, see the Letters column in this issue (page 499).

Mineral photographer Jeff Scovil's license plate.

Sapphire collector Keith Mychaluk's license plate.

MINING MERIT BADGE: Under development is a new Boy Scout Merit Badge, the Mining in Society badge, that will focus on the importance of mining and its key components of exploration, permitting, extraction, processing, production, safety, and reclamation. After almost a decade of advocacy, the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME) is moving forward with preparation of a comprehensive program of instruction to motivate Scouts to fulfill all of the requiements necessary to earn this badge.

Part of the badge's pre-launch was its introduction at the 2013 National Boy Scouts of America Jamboree in West Virginia this past July. The formal launch of the badge will take place in February at the SME Annual Meeting.

The proposed Mining in Society Merit Badge.

WEIS MUSEUM AWARDS: Andrew Fredericks, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, has been named the 2013 recipient of the Donna Nolte Award that is presented by the Weis Earth Science Museum in Menasha, Wisconsin. The award is given to those who have been inspirational or innovative in encouraging others, especially young people, to appreciate Earth's mineral and fossil treasures and to enjoy geological hobbies. Fredericks helped to found both the Oshkosh and the Appleton gem and mineral clubs and has taught lapidary to countless people during his ninety-eight years.

In a second announcement from the Weis Earth Science Museum, Dr. William Cordua, of River Falls, Wisconsin, was chosen as the 2013 recipient of the Katherine G. Nelson Award, also presented by the museum. The award honors those who have made outstanding contributions to earth science in Wisconsin or Wisconsinites who have made outstanding contributions to earth science in general. Cordua, a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, is the discoverer of the Rock Elm impact crater in Pierce County, Wisconsin, and the author of the Minerals of Wisconsin database (

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 columns and articles. All are thanked for partnering with Rocks & Minerals to support color photography in the magazine.


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