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September-October 2013

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Connoisseur's Choice: Buergerite (Fluor-buergerite) Mexquitic, San Luis Potosí, Mexico

Mexico has been the source of a wide variety of exceptional mineral specimens for many decades. However, the geologic occurrences producing today's specimens are not especially broad, and many of the country's best specimens come from base- and precious-metal mines, somewhat limiting their species diversity. Unfortunately, pegmatite localities in Mexico are rare, although certainly present, and do not often yield good specimens. Consequently, minerals of the tourmaline supergroup are not typically seen from Mexican occurrences, and it is somewhat surprising to learn that one important tourmaline species, buergerite (recently renamed fluor-buergerite), has as its type locality a pneumatically altered rhyolite flow in San Luis Potosí. Buergerite is almost unique to that locality, a site that is now lost after having produced hundreds if not thousands of attractive specimens in the early 1960s. It was described as a new species by Donnay, Ingamells, and Mason in 1966 and was named in honor of the eminent Massachusetts Institute of Technology crystallographer Martin Buerger.

Guest columnist Dr. Robert B. Cook, an executive editor of Rocks & Minerals, is a professor emeritus in the Department of Geology and Geography at Auburn University.

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