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March-April 2014

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Mineral Mysteries: The Missing Smokies

In June or July 1986 an extraordinary discovery occurred at what came to be called the Ten-Percenter mine in Teller County, Colorado, by Don Smith Sr. (Bartsch 1987). In the pegmatite, Smith opened a very large pocket of amazonite with an odd configuration, leading him to refer to it as the "Key-Hole vug," variously written as Keyhole Pocket and Keyhole vug. Initially, the pocket was some 8 feet high and a few feet wide, very much in the shape of a bullet, or keyhole (fig. 2). It seems clear that at one time the ceiling of the vug was covered by a continuous layer of large, richly colored microcline variety amazonite crystals with interspersed snow-white clusters of albite.

John S. White, a consulting editor of Rocks & Minerals, operates Kustos, a museum/collector consulting business. Now retired, he is the former curator-in-charge of the National Mineral and Gem collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

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