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May-June 2016

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Fluorapatite from the Foote Mine, Kings Mountain, North Carolina

The Foote Lithium Company mine (Foote mine), Kings Mountain district, Cleveland County, North Carolina, is well known for its numerous rare phosphate and silicate minerals, twelve of which were first discovered there. Although the area had been previously explored and mapped from 1938 to 1940, mining began in 1952 (Hess 1940; Johnson 1960; Kesler 1961). In addition to the rarer minerals found there (Marble and Hanahan 1978; White 1981; Hanahan 1985), the Foote mine has produced many fine fluorapatite specimens in a variety of colors and habits (Francis and Dallaire 2013). Fluorapatite is found in two distinct paragenetic stages in the deposit: as dark green anhedral to euhedral masses and crystals in the unaltered spodumene-bearing pegmatites and as a hydrothermal mineral found along fractures and in solution cavities throughout the pegmatites and surrounding country rocks.

Dr. John Rakovan, an executive editor of Rocks & Minerals, is a professor of mineralogy and geochemistry at Miami University.

Blake Barnett is a mineral collector and proprietor of Barnett Fine Minerals.

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 of the Smithsonian Institution.

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