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November-December 2017

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Chips from the Quarry

MINERAL HONORED: Two years ago the International Mineralogical Association (IMA) started a new initiative, Mineral of the Year, which recognizes a single new mineral species published in the previous year as the most interesting and outstanding among all others. The mineral selected for 2016 was merelaniite, Mo4Pb4VSbS14, new molybdenum-essential member of the cylindrite group, from the Merelani tanzanite deposit, Lelatema Mountains, Manyara region, Tanzania. It was first described in Minerals (vol. 6, page 115) by John A. Jaszczak, Michael S. Rumsey, Luca Bindi, Stephen A. Hackney, Michael A. Wise, Chris J. Stanley, and John Spratt. The article can be read free online at http://www.mdpi.com/2075-163X/6/4/115. For more information on the mineral, see John A. Jaszczak's article, “Merelaniite, Merelani (Mererani), Manyara Region, Tanzania” in the July/August 2017 issue of Rocks & Minerals (The Where of Mineral Names, pages 382–385).

Merelaniite whiskers (part of the holotype specimen), to 5 mm long, with stilbite and graphite. It was originally associated with additional merelaniite whiskers on an 11.2-cm alabandite crystal. John A. Jaszczak specimen and photo.

Merelaniite whiskers (part of the holotype specimen), to 5 mm long, with stilbite and graphite. It was originally associated with additional merelaniite whiskers on an 11.2-cm alabandite crystal. John A. Jaszczak specimen and photo.

COLLECTORS HONORED: Presentations of the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum's (MMGM) Mineralogical Heritage Awards took place 12 May at the annual banquet, held in Newry, Maine, in collaboration with the New England Mineral Conference. Recipients of the award for 2017 were Raymond G. Woodman of North Auburn, Maine, and Terry Szenics of Oyster Bay, New York. The Mineralogical Heritage Award recognizes individuals who have significantly contributed to developing, preserving, or communicating Maine's mineralogical heritage.

The 2017 recipients of the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum's Mineralogical Heritage Award. Left: Raymond G. Woodman. Right: Terry Szenics.

The 2017 recipients of the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum's Mineralogical Heritage Award. Left: Raymond G. Woodman. Right: Terry Szenics.

Woodman, a retired geologist, is a lifelong collector, having built a collection of some four thousand specimens of Maine minerals that is perhaps the most comprehensive ever assembled by an individual. It is the foundation of the MMGM's systematic collection of Maine's minerals. The specimens are used in permanent and temporary exhibits, for photography to support lectures and publications, and for research.

Szenics began his legendary career mining the world-famous purple fluorapatite crystals from the Pulsifer quarry on the west side of Mt. Apatite in Auburn, Maine. At age eighteen he obtained the mining lease and hired blasting contractor and pegmatite miner Frank C. Perham of West Paris, Maine, to help him work the historic Pulsifer quarry. Together they produced a plethora of new purple apatite specimens, making them available to museums and collectors for the first time in decades.

JOURNAL REVIVED: After a hiatus of a couple of years, the Australian Journal of Mineralogy (AJM) is once again being published, as of June 2017 (volume 18, number 1). The nonprofit periodical is a joint publication of the Mineralogical Societies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia. Although the format is basically the same, it is now under a new management team in Western Australia. For subscription, advertising, and editorial information, see www.facebook.com/AJMpublications. Those who enjoyed the gold articles in recent issues of Rocks & Minerals will find the AJM's “The Golden Mile,” by Robert J. Noble, of special interest.

TRIPS AHOY: For the fourth consecutive year, this past summer Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, offered one-day geotours of the five geoelements of Upper Michigan's geoheritage sites in the Keweenaw Peninsula. Best of all, although university-sponsored, the trips were open to the general public, and participants didn't have to be students to sign on. These tours included lunch, short walks, and ground and boat transportation using the university's research boat, the RV Agassiz. Field trip options were Keweenaw Glacial Geology, Lavas and the Keweenaw Rift, the Keweenaw Fault, Jacobsville Sandstone, and Copper Mining Waste of Lake Superior Today. In addition, a five-day boat trip to Isle Royale was offered. For further information regarding future dates and cost, see http://www.geo.mtu.edu/KeweenawGeoheritage/Geotours.html.

All aboard, but never bored, were those on Michigan Tech's research vessel, RV Agassi, taking the Keweenaw Peninsula's geotours being offered every summer by the university.

All aboard, but never bored, were those on Michigan Tech's research vessel, RV Agassi, taking the Keweenaw Peninsula's geotours being offered every summer by the university. Photo courtesy Dr. William Rose, Michigan Technological University.

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 (on tsumcorite in this issue); Laura Delano of LLD Productions, Inc. did the same for the Museum Notes column. Donors to the Color Fund and to the benefit auction held in conjunction with the Dallas Mineral Collecting Symposium this past August contributed toward color in the remaining columns and articles. All are thanked for partnering with Rocks & Minerals to support color photography in the magazine.

M.E.H.

 

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