FrOg On-Line #2000-03

Welcome to FrOg On-Line #2000-03, Thursday, April 20, 2000.


1. Introduction
2. Trotter Dump Questions
3. The Glowing Future
4. Specimen Analysis
5. Collecting Reports
6. Miscellaneous
7. Featured Specimen
8. "Subscriber" List

1. Introduction


A few additions and corrections have been made to the FrOg On-Line Archive.  My
thanks to John Jaszczak for providing the material that allowed these.  The
archive of material prior to this issue is now as complete as it is ever likely
to be.  All published issues are there; only the invitations to subscribe are

I will be in northern New Jersey from late afternoon Saturday, April 22 thru
early afternoon Sunday, April 30.  One of the main purposes of the trip is, of
course, the NJESA Show.  I look forward to seeing many of you there.  Because
of this trip, I will not have any access to e-mail from 4pm Friday, April 21
thru 8am Monday, May 01.

The editing and moderating of this newsletter / discussion forum has until now
been all my doing.  The absence of reviewers has contributed to some serious
mistakes and much grief on my part.  So I have asked two readers to serve as
reviewers for some material starting with this issue.  Earl Verbeek and Dick
Bostwick have consented to review contributions in hopes of upgrading the
quality of FrOg On-Line.  Not all contributions will be reviewed; that decision
is mine, but contributers are free to request review, and it is nearly certain
I will honor such requests.  I may call on others to review contributions as I
deem helpful and/or appropriate.  I look forward to better FrOg On-Lines with
Earl's, Dick's, and others' help.


2. Trotter Dump Questions

Unfortunately, no-one offered up any answers to Dave Slaymaker's questions
about the Trotter Dump or swapping.  However.....

Don Halterman, Jr. published an article "A Field Trip to the Trotter Mine Dump"
in the March/April 2000 issue (Vol. 75, Number 2) of "Rocks & Minerals".  This
article includes a list of some of the minerals found on the Trotter Dump
during the April 1999 field trip.  The minerals listed in the article are:
andradite, aragonite, arsenopyrite, biotite, bustamite, calcite (including
crazy calcite and salmon calcite), chalcopyrite, copper (some crystallized),
franklinite, galena, greenockite, hydrozincite coatings, pyrite, rhodonite,
silver, sphalerite, and willemite (including very phosphorescent secondary
willemite).  The aragonite was considered "tentative".

3. The Glowing Future

I asked Steve Misiur a few questions about the coming NJESA Show.  He added one
item of information not previously published: "The food will be a catered
affair of hot food like we had for the Warren event last year.".

The year 2000 Pennsylvania Mineral Symposium will be held at Penn State
University in State College, Pennsylvalia May 19 thru 21.  The theme is
"Fluorescence: Color and Light in Minerals".  Some of the talks focus on FrOg,
such as Dick Bostwick ("Fluorescent Minerals of the Sterling Hill and Franklin,
New Jersey, Ore Deposits"), and Earl Verbeek ("Thomas Warren Museum of
Fluorescence").  For more information, contact Andrew Sicree at e-mail address

The Franklin Show this year will be two days only, no Friday evening hours.

I am not aware of anything else new in the FrOg schedule, so rather than
reproducing the whole lengthy schedule here, I refer you to the schedule in
FrOg On-Line #2000-02, which may be found in the FrOg On-Line Archive (url is

4. Specimen Analysis

Chris Thorsten submitted an e-amil report of some mineral identification
analysis work he did at home.  He also sent a copy to Dick Bostwick.  The
discussion has been reviewed by Earl Verbeek.  The discussion, following, has
been edited.

  From Wed Apr  5 19:53:35 GMT 2000
  Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2000 15:58:52 -0400
  To: Bill Mattison <>,
          "Richard C. Bostwick" <>
  Subject: interesting mineral test results- Buckwheat "orchid" material

  Hi guys,

  Here's something you can print in the FrOg newsletter or wherever it may be
  of help to collectors...


  The "orchid" fluorescing material from the Buckwheat has been sitting on my
  display shelf, unidentified since the time it formed aeons ago... so I was
  thinking: how can I narrow down the possibilities without paying / waiting to
  have it analyzed or simply relying on visual ID?

  I got out the acetylene torch.

  Time for a fusibility test.  Note that this is a regular acetylene / air
  mixture-- essentially, standard blowpipe temperature-- not an oxy-acetylene
  rig.  I took a tiny shard of the mystery mineral and placed it in steel
  forceps.  Donning my safety goggles and firing up the torch, I put it to the
  flame.  Here are the results:

  FLAME COLOR:  Yellow.  The flame took color immediately upon touching the
  mineral chip (not the forceps) to it.

  FUSIBILITY:  Melts rapidly to globules of whitish to clear, glassy material.
  Very much reminds me of the time I tried making homemade glass with sodium
  silicate solution when I was a kid. In fact, the mineral chip acted the same
  way under the acetylene torch flame.

  FLUORESCENCE:  in the part that was fused, the "orchid" fluorescence is now
  brighter and more uniform under SW.  Under Longwave, the parts that were not
  fused (but which received a great deal of heat nonetheless) are now
  fluorescent a bright yellow-orange to orange color.

  Note that  Pough's _Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals_ indicates this latter
  condition as a test for marialite / meionite.

  SUSPECTED ID:  Well, it's not a feldspar (they are difficult to fuse).  It's
  not quartz (forget trying to melt that).  It's not an apatite (which is
  generally infusible and melts only around the very edges in a flame).  It's
  not sphalerite (also practically infusible).  Of the minerals a person can
  find at the Buckwheat, I think it is scapolite;  i.e.,  some mineral of the
  marialite-meionite series.  The flame test suggests there's sodium present,
  but that alone is inconclusive, since sodium is such a powerful contaminator
  of flame tests and tends to obscure other flame colors.  All I can say about
  the specimen is the sodium content is greater than zero... (which doesn't say
  much)... would need quantitative analysis to determine more."

  NOTE (2): There are apparently two Buckwheat minerals that fluoresce the
  weird pink / purple / blue or "orchid" color;  the one is this "mystery
  mineral" (scapolite, I think), and the other is what appears to be
  microcline.  This suspected microcline has a fluorescence that's more on the
  pink side.  I've found pieces at the Buckwheat that have both the pink and
  the light blue, giving a pleasing but subtle color combination.

  Just something to think about on this April day (3 days until our next
  Buckwheat collecting trip).

  Talk to you soon,
  Christian R. Thorsten


  From Thu Apr  6 01:39:09 GMT 2000
  From: Richard Bostwick <>
  To: Chris <>
  CC: Bill Mattison <>
  Subject: Re: interesting mineral test results- Buckwheat "orchid" material

  I agree that your results are interesting and powerfully suggestive but I
  would still feel better if your diagnosis were verified by either a good
  sight-ID person or optics (both appropriate for Cianciulli). If those all
  lined up I don't know that some form of X-ray analysis would be necessary.
  As with your Buckwheat "cuspidine" I would also love to see this mystery
  mineral myself, in daylight and under UV.  I don't know enough about blowpipe
  analysis and its merits and pitfalls to say whether you're right on (which
  you may very well be), but am uncomfortable with only your observations as
  presented.  The blowpipe technique is a powerful one but is certainly
  undervalued and underutilized at present.  Like fluorescence it is better
  when integrated with other tests and information.

  Dick Bostwick


  From Thu Apr  6 02:46:47 GMT 2000
  Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2000 22:52:04 -0400
  To: Richard Bostwick <>,
          Bill Mattison <>
  Subject: Re: interesting mineral test results- Buckwheat "orchid" material

  About the "cuspidine" :  I checked for BIP.  None to speak of;  it's probably
  a bright johnbaumite specimen.  Then again, as you said, fluorescence alone
  is not a complete indicator.

  I'd still like to show you the specimen anyway... it has a very bright
  yellow-orange fluorescence unlike anything I've ever hauled off the

  Cuspidine is a silicate and apatite is a phosphate.  This should leave the
  door wide open for some chemical tests on specimens that might be either of
  these.  Ammonium molybdate reagent, while expensive, is handy for phosphate
  tests;  now all I need to do is get some of that plus an analytical balance
  and a used Beckman color spectrophotometer...

  As for the "orchid" fluorescing material:
  I agree that it's not conclusive to rely on one test...

  I should have told you a few additional properties of the mineral:

  1. the blowpipe reaction is identical to a piece of Noble Pit scapolite which
  I also tried (including the longwave orange-yellow color after heating)  Have
  tried blowpipe analyses of other minerals including quartz, feldspar,
  calcite, and sphalerite- reactions are completely unlike this one.
  2. hardness is around 6
  3. luster is kind of silky / unevenly striated on broken surfaces (looks much
  like other "scapolite" specimens)
  4. associations: the "orchid" fluorescing mineral appears in regions where
  feldspar meets calcite, and also occurs with garnet, quartz, and some
  dark-green member of the pyroxene family.

  Scapolite (meionite-marialite) from the Buckwheat Dump would certainly be no
  surprise, of course.
  Using my chemistry background for something other than tutoring college
  students, I might come up with a few qualitative and even quantitative tests,
  if for nothing else than to have some fun.  : )

  I think that blowpipe analysis is definitely underused in the collecting
  world today.  While I would make no claims that it is a be-all, end-all test,
  certain minerals are fairly easily ruled out by a quick application of the
  torch.  Now there's always a possibility I've got some _other_ mineral which
  is neither quartz nor apatite nor scapolite nor sphalerite, etc... that's
  where other tests come in.

  I have a drawer full of specimens that are waiting until I'm ready to pay the
  45 bucks apiece or whatever it is to have them analyzed by Excalibur.  It's
  not a question of who's right or wrong about a mineral ID;  it's just that I
  like my labels to be as close to the correct identity of the mineral as
  possible.  Helps me sleep better at night.  : )

  Thanks for your help and suggestions,

Earl Verbeek adds the following comments, which are extracts from his review,
reproduced here with his permission.

  Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 17:25:49 -0400
  From: "Earl R. Verbeek" <>
  To: "William C. Mattison" <>
  Subject: Re: 20 fav.'s; Chris's analysis.


  [...]  Yes, the mineral identity has not been established beyond doubt, but
  that doubt was explicitly noted.  Even if the mineral identity remains
  unknown the discussion still goes a long way in showing how easily other
  possible minerals can be eliminated from consideration, and certainly
  narrowing the list of potential IDs of FrOg minerals is worthwhile.  Most
  people by now have forgotten that blowpipe analysis and flame tests even
  exist, much less know how to use them--but they are powerful, and available
  to us all.  That, rather than conclusively establishing the identity of a
  Franklin mineral, is the real value of Chris' contribution.

  [...]  Bottom line: Dick is right that nothing is added to our Franklin-
  Sterling Hill mineralogy, but the message has value in reminding readers of
  some powerful techniques they should be using to identify their own minerals
  and thus rely less on pure guesswork.

5. Collecting Reports

  From Mon Apr  3 18:34:34 GMT 2000
  Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 11:33:53 -0700 (PDT)
  From: David Slaymaker <>
  Subject: Re: request.
  To: "William C. Mattison" <>

  Hi Bill,

  Been doing some collecting on the Buckwheat and once at Sterling Hill so far.
  At Sterling Hill picked up a few nice franklinite crystals in calcite (small
  though - and one found by Chris), a few cool calcite/willemites and some
  different types of wollastonite pieces (fl yellow, rich yellow, yellow in
  pink matrix, and some of that blue/green stuff mixed with the pinkish

  At the Buckwheat, Mark Boyer and I picked up a few fluorite pieces, and some
  sphalerite and the next week Chris and I actually found some small pieces of
  hardystonite on the Buckwheat.  Small but very rich color... with willemite
  and calcite of course.  And we all got a bit more sphalerite, some white fl.
  microcline, and a few more fluorites.  My personal prize find though is a 1.5
  inch wide vien of calcite/willemite/franklinite that intrudes about 6-7
  inches into a piece of limestone and the vien stops with about 2 or 3 inches
  of limestone remaining on the end of the piece.  It's like sticking a
  fluorescent finger partially into a black plastic block and then taking a
  cross section.  Kind of an academic interest piece.  I like it!

  Now I'm just looking forward to more digging!

  All the best,


Chris Thorsten e-mailed me the following report on his Saturday, April 08, 2000
Buckwheat collecting:

  From Sun Apr  9 16:52:47 GMT 2000
  Date: Sun, 09 Apr 2000 12:58:39 -0400
  From: Chris <>
  To: "William C. Mattison" <>
  Subject: Re: photos of Dave's specimen.

  Hi Bill,


  I dug up a boulder that, when split carefully with a chisel, yielded two of
  the biggest and best faces of Buckwheat sphalerite that we've ever seen- even
  Claude agrees.  My specimen weighs 42 lbs!

  It is gray, snow-covered and cold here today, but hopefully tomorrow will get
  the chance to photograph it both under daylight and under uv light.

  talk to you soon,

6. Miscellaneous

  From Mon Mar  6 04:09:01 GMT 2000
  From: "John A. Jaszczak" <>
  Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2000 23:08:56 -0500 (EST)
  Hi William,
    I sure do enjoy being on the FrOg list.
  I was recently given some graphite in calcite collected by Wayne Cokely at
  the Trotter Dump this past spring. Two of the crystals had nice growth
  spirals. Photos can be seen at my graphite web site at
    I am also working on a paper for the Picking Table regarding Charles
  Palache's descriptions of the arsenopyrite/realgar/graphite/pyrite/arsenic/
  zinkenite assemblage he got from L.H. Bauer starting in 1937. I've been
  examining acid residues of thiers in the Harvard collection and have some
  nice photos of some tiny micro crystals of arsenic, realgar, graphite,
  pyrrhotite, sphene, diopside, zinkenite, arsenopyrite (star-shaped trillings)
  and more. I'll have photos available on my web site once I'm closer to being
  done with the article.
  John Jaszczak
  Michigan Technological University

The springsummer 2000 issue of the Franklin Mineral Museum Newsletter reports
(1) that Jack Baum has decided to step aside as curator, and has become curator
emeritus, and (2) John Cianciulli has been promoted from Assistant Curator to

7. Featured Specimen

The following was submitted by Dave Slaymaker:

Accompanying the text are 4 pictures:  (smaller one's load faster, but bigger
one's give much better detail)

Front side detail (ca. 1 MB) at
Back side detail (ca. 1 MB) at
Front side small version (ca. 0.1 MB) at
Back side small version (ca. 0.1 MB) at

The piece was found on the Buckwheat Dump in March 2000 (surface find).

The piece is a 1.5 inch thick, 5 inch long vein of willemite, franklinite, and
calcite that occurs in a non-fluorescent blackish camptonite matrix.  The
entire piece is a 6 X 4 inch rectangle, 2 inches thick at its widest point.  If
stood upright on a long edge, the ore vein starts at the right edge of the
piece and runs straight across through the middle, such that 1.5 inches of
matrix are above the vein and 1 inch below it, nearly even all the way.  The
vein stops unevenly ca. 1 inch before reaching the left side leaving 1 inch of
matrix to the left.  So the vein is surrounded by matrix on three sides (2 long
and 1 short side).  The upper edge shows evidence of "slip-and-slide" and where
a piece of the matrix has broken away at the contact zone above the vein on the
right side of the piece, there also appears to be evidence of "slip-and-slide"
(see picture of front of piece).  The "grain" direction of the slip-and-slide
is the same in both locations, but this could not be included in the pictures
since I was using a scanner.  There are also some rust colored surface deposits
just around some portions of the vein/matrix contact areas, which is most
evident in the picture of the back of the piece.

The composition of the vein is calcite, willemite, and franklinite as far as I
am able to id.  The willemite and franklinite occur as granules of ca. 1 mm;
coverage in the vein is ca. 30% willemite, 10% franklinite, and 60% calcite,
seemingly random in distribution, except that the willemite is noticeably more
abundant in the right (outer) half of the vein in this piece.  Fluorescence
under SW is typical of this association (fl not shown due to scanner).  Nothing
under LW except very faint reddish from the calcite.  Furthermore, there is one
small 1 X 1 cm (ca. quarter inch) patch of camptonite about 1/3 in from the
left on the middle of the vein (see picture of front), which is at least
suggestive that this face of the vein was originally enclosed in matrix as
well.  From the back of the piece, the vein is not seen, except where a piece
of matrix has chipped off at the "entry" end of the vein.

The camptonite matrix is very fine grained and charcoal in color.  Present is
the matrix are a few microfractures filled with a very dull reddish SW
fluorescing white material (probably calcite).  The matrix contains abundant
micro-biotite (?) (1 mm or less) and very sparse 1 X 2 mm white non-terminated
crystals some of which show a very dull pinkish SW fluorescence.  In addition,
there are also sparsely distributed 1 mm black sphericals, and pits left by
their removal upon breaking, but these sphericals do not differ much from the
color and surface texture of the surrounding matrix, even when viewed at 10X -
that is, no metallic luster, or other distinguishing characteristics other than
their shape.

Except for Chris Thorsten's telling me the matrix is camptonite, this piece has
not been examined by anyone with a real eye for minerals and geology in any

8. "Subscriber" List

NJ   Larry Berger
NC   Alan Borg 
NY   Dick Bostwick
NJ   Mark Boyer
CA   Kevin Brady         kbrady@cslanet.cals
PA   Bob Carnein
VA   Peter Chin          Peter.Chin@USPTO.GOV
NJ   John Cianciulli
NJ   John Corsello
NY   Howie Green
MD   Gary Grenier
MN   Tim Hanson
NY   Tema Hecht
CA   Andy Honig
CA   Mark Isaacs
MI   John Jaszczak
NY   Carl Kanoff
NJ   Steve Kuitems
FL   Roy Lambert
PA   Jay Lininger
PA   Mike Logan
MD   Bill Mattison
CA   Dan McHugh
VA   Curt Michanczyk
CA   Doug Mitchell
CO   Pete Modreski
WA   Don Newsome
NJ   Jeff Osowski
AZ   George Polman
NJ   Nathan Schachtman
NY   Paul Shizume
MD   Steve Shramko
NJ   Dave Slaymaker
CA   Jane Grover-Smith
CA   Kent Smith
NJ   Chris Thorsten
NJ   Jim Tozour
NJ   Earl Verbeek
VA   David Woolley
     Herb Yeates             Japan
CA   Wayne Young

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