FrOg On-Line #2000-04

Welcome to FrOg On-Line #2000-04, Friday, June 30, 2000.


1. Introduction
2. Questions from John Jaszczak
3. From the Home Labs
4. The Glowing Future
5. Collecting Reports
6. Miscellaneous
7. Featured Specimens
8. "Subscriber" List

1. Introduction

Greetings.  We've got some interesting home mineralogy, and some thorough
collecting reports.  The schedule of future events is short this time, but
hopefully there will be more in the next issue.

Meanwhile, have a great Independence Day, but remember: he who goes forth with
a fifth on the fourth may noy come forth on the fifth!


2. Questions from John Jaszczak

  From Sun Jun 18 17:42:41 GMT 2000
  Subject: Sterling 900' level
  To: (William C. Mattison)
  Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2000 13:42:34 -0400 (EDT)

  Dear FrOg participants:
  I'm wrapping up work on an article for the Picking Table about the Bauer/
  Palache assemblage of graphite/realgar/arsenopyrite/pyrite/diopside/arsenic
  etc. from the 900' level from 1937.  I've got some holes in my understanding
  of the history of the occurrence I'd appreciate help in straightening out.

  1. Did L.H. Bauer leave any information about where on 900' level he found
     the material Palache studies & published in 1941 Am. Min.?

  2. This occurrence or a similar one was discovered by J. Kolic and perhaps
     others later in the 1970's and again in the 1990's on the 900' level and
     also on the 800 and 1100 levels (though the looks of this material seems
     texturally different.)  Does anyone know when these other discoveries
     took place? Is it known for sure that the 900' rediscovery of realgar was
     in the same place in the mine?        

  3. Somewhat similar material contains molybdenite and some realgar and
     arsenopyrite from this area. Samples I've seen with molybdenite have no
     graphite, and again, seem to be texturally different from the original
     material (based on a Harvard sample and some Pinger samples I've seen of
     what appears to be original material).  Any one seen both togeather?

  John Jaszczak

3. From the Home Labs

Chris Thorsten submitted the following:

  Date: Tue, 16 May 2000 14:32:34 -0400
  From: Chris <>
  To: Bill Mattison <>,
  Subject: pyrrhotite or arsenopyrite?  how about both.

  Hi Earl and Bill,

  I was thinking about something...  sometimes I find pieces on the Buckwheat
  Dump which contain a metallic, silvery mineral surrounded by dolomite or
  marble.  It looks like arsenopyrite.  I've been told, without reservation,
  that this is none other than pyrrhotite.  I know that pyrrhotite is mildly
  magnetic, and that small fragments will stick to a magnet.  I also know that
  arsenopyrite gives a garlic odor when struck with a hammer, and that
  arsenopyrite is harder than pyrrhotite.

  So I decided to try something.
  I have a samarium-cobalt magnet that is extremely powerful for its size.  In
  fact, it can pinch you if you get between it and a piece of iron...  larger
  magnets of this type are quite dangerous because of this...  suffice it to
  say, if a sample displays magnetism, this little powerhouse will attract it.
  Even pieces of dark pyroxene I've found at Franklin and Oxford appear to have
  small amounts of magnetite mixed in with them which I otherwise wouldn't have
  been able to detect.

  I crushed up a small bit of "pyrrhotite / arsenopyrite" from the Buckwheat
  and found two things:
  1. there is a garlic odor on a fresh break.
  2. only the smallest, dust-like particles of the broken sample are attracted
  to the rare-earth magnet.  Once they approach the size of a pinhead, they do
  not stick.

  I might add...
  3.  the mineral is somewhat harder on the Moh's scale than pyrrhotite.
  It will put a scratch in things that pure pyrrhotite will not, based on my
  understanding of what I've read in the field guides.

  What I'd conclude from this, although it's entirely qualitative and is only a
  suggestion for further study, is that these pieces might actually be a
  mixture (or solid solution?)  of both pyrrhotite and arsenopyrite?  How could
  I find out more?  I read the pertinent info in the Dunn monograph, but it
  didn't have a whole lot about the distinction.


Chris later added the following:

  Date: Wed, 17 May 2000 09:30:54 -0400
  From: Chris <>
  To: "William C. Mattison" <>
  Subject: Re: articles.

  Hi Bill,


  Another tidbit regarding arsenopyrite:  I took a Lime Crest sample in to John
  C.  that had a very small crystal of silvery-white mineral.  When I pointed
  it out, noting the crystal structure, John said yes, that looks like
  arsenopyrite, especially because of that crystal shape.  Now don't we wish we
  could always find crystals of these unidentified minerals...  would make
  things 100 times easier.  Dunn's monograph indicates that arseno.  is fairly
  common in the Franklin marble, and that it frequently occurs together with

  Talk to you later,

Earl Verbeek provided the following comments regarding Chris Thorsten's

  From Wed Jun 28 18:08:10 GMT 2000

  Good morning Chris and Bill!

  Not much to add to your pyrrhotite-arsenopyrite discussion beyond the

  1.  Pyrrhotite is one of the very few minerals listed in most mineralogy
  texts as perceptibly magnetic.  That means with magnets of the type we have
  been used to since we were kids, not the fantastically powerful new ones.
  If you go into the technical literature and read about the magnetic
  susceptibilities of minerals you'll find that many, many minerals are, in
  fact, somewhat magnetic--you just need an instrument more powerful than a
  standard hand magnet to detect it.  With the new samarium-cobalt magnets we
  should find many more minerals attracted to our hand magnets than before.  It
  would be interesting to go through a systematic mineral reference collection
  and document the results.  Meanwhile, try some powder from a documented
  arsenopyrite specimen and see.

  2.  Pyrrhotite normally has a bronzy color, whereas arsenopyrite is
  tin-white.  On fresh surfaces this is a useful discriminant, though both
  minerals tarnish readily.  A bigger problem is in distinguishing arsenopyrite
  from lollingite.  Both are common minerals in the Franklin-Sterling Hill
  area.  It is generally assumed that it's lollingite if you find it in ore and
  arsenopyrite if it's in marble, but the foundation upon which this popular
  local belief rests is a mystery to me.  I know of no proof.

                                          Cheers-  Earl

Mark Boyer e-mailed me some interesting fluorescence observations using middle
wave ultraviolet:

  From: "Mark Boyer" <>
  To: "Bill Mattison" <>
  Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2000 19:58:21 -0400


  Greetings.  Here's some new info for FrOg Online.

  With the acquisition of a midrange UV lamp, I'd like to offer a report on
  recently collected midrange-fluorescing specimens.

  The altered calcite from the Fill Quarry, Sterling Hill, is especially bright
  under midrange UV, still fluorescing bright creamy yellow-white, along with
  the more typical orange calcite.  The hot spots of sphalerite are also vivid.

  The longwave blue-fluorescing Trotter calcite, along with similar material
  recently found on the Buckwheat Dump, fluoresces bright blue and orange
  together midrange.  Some of this material is outstanding in pattern and

  I've also gone back to some other material collected at Limecrest Quarry,
  Sparta.  It seems that Limecrest calcite, with dull or no response either
  long or short wave, comes strikingly to life under midrange.  Midrange color
  is a moderately bright lavender, and it gives the classic orange-red
  phosphorescent flash (or BIP, if you prefer).  Specimens with meionite that
  fluoresces shortwave hot orange-pink will fluoresce a somewhat subdued butter
  yellow under midrange.  Specimens that have the yellow meionite surrounded by
  violet calcite offer a stunning color combination and are enough reason alone
  to consider buying a midrange lamp, I think.  Calcite crystals from Limecrest
  that fluoresce dull creamy white shortwave also come alive midrange in a
  translucent bright orange.

  That's all for now,

  Mark Boyer

4. The Glowing Future

Sunday, July 30:
  mineral collecting, Sterling Hill Mining Museum mine run dump.

Saturday, September 23:
  "Pond" (outdoor swap and sell), 6:30am to 6pm, Franklin Elementary School.
  Franklin Show, 9am to 6pm, Franklin Elementary School.

Sunday, September 24:
  "Pond" (outdoor swap and sell), 8am to 5pm, Franklin Elementary School.
  Franklin Show, 10am to 5pm, Franklin Elementary School.
  mineral collecting, 10am to 3pm, Sterling Hill Mining Museum mine run dump.

Saturday, Novenber 04:
  Fall Night Dig and Mineral Sale, 7pm to 10pm, Buckwheat Dump.

Sterling Hill Mining Museum
  starting April: open seven days a week 10am to 5pm.
         weekday tours at 1pm.
         weekend tours at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm.

Franklin Mineral Museum
  April thru November: open daily 11am to 4:30pm.
  Sunday, April 23, 2000 (Easter): closed.
  Thursday, November 23, 2000 (Thanksgiving): closed.

5. Collecting Reports

Three good collecting reports were submitted.  First, this multi-part report
from Mark Boyer:

  From: "Mark Boyer" <>
  To: <>
  Date: Fri, 5 May 2000 13:56:38 -0400

  Hi Bill,

  Something for a future FrOg Online:

  Collecting Report

  Please note:  The following is a field report and as such implies that
  species reported are unconfirmed.

  Night Dig, Sterling Hill, Ogdensburg, N.J., April 15, 2000

  A dreary, drizzly evening, but a good collecting event nonetheless.  Claude
  Poli, Chris Thorsten, Dave Slaymaker, and I worked over the wall that
  separates the Fill Quarry from the Passaic Pit, looking for "crazy calcite,"
  i.e., bright orange-red-fluorescing (SW) calcite in blotchy, irregular
  patterns in non-fluorescent dolomite.  A good amount of this material was
  recovered with chisels, wedges, hammers, prybars and other toys.  After
  collecting my fill of crazy calcite, I ventured off with my SuperBright,
  lamping the wall of the Fill Quarry.  I stopped at a small patch of bright
  yellow fluorescence, which at first I thought could be wollastonite.  This
  patch was heavily weathered and consisted of vuggy, crystalized and friable
  material sandwiched between harder layers.  After scaling off some very
  delicate hand-size slabs, I brought them back to show the other guys.
  Claude, a master of the chisel, returned with me to this unusual find, and we
  were able to remove several more respectable pieces.

  The specimens in daylight range in color from chalky white to light tan to
  brown, with areas of chestnut red and vitreous gray.  Virtually all of the
  specimens have small spots of light blue malachite.  Under the SW lamp, the
  specimens have a creamy, yellow-white fluorescence, often with lacy patterns
  against dark, nonfluorescent areas.  This stuff fizzes like calcite with
  muriatic acid.  It does not appear to have a "flash" or phosphorescence.
  (When Claude later showed some of this material to John Cianciulli, John
  offered a tentative identification of calcite.)  There are also bright
  sections of pure, light orange-fluorescing calcite (these are usually the
  vuggy, botryoidal sections) as well as the more typical
  orange-red-fluorescing calcite exhibiting the crazy calcite patterns.  In
  some areas (as streaks in fractures and as coatings in the vugs) there is a
  mint-green to white fluorescence and phoshorescence, probably aragonite.
  Many pieces also have intense, bright blue hydrozincite and equally intense
  spots of yellow-orange sphalerite.  Under LW lamping, the sphalerite is still
  strong, as is the creamy yellow-white calcite.  There is an odd LW
  phosphorescence of orange and blue speckles of sphalerite.  The blue speckles
  are apparent only as phosphorescence, as likely the hydrozincite and/or
  aragonite drowns out its fluorescence.

  These specimens are quite beautiful LW and SW fluorescent pieces and they
  have aroused some degree of interest as word of mouth reports spread.
  Unfortunately, Claude and I were able to recover only about 40 pounds of it
  (about a garden tote bag full).  Efforts to uncover more of this material
  hiding behind adjacent fractures in the rock wall proved unfruitful.  A small
  patch remains on the wall with no easy way to remove it short of John Kolic
  popping off a 500-pound chunk of the wall with his rock drill.

  Trotter Dump, April 29, 2000

  From the north end of the dump, there was lots of green willemite, which I
  collected mostly for its daylight appeal.  From the footings of the old
  Trotter shaft, exposed by the recent trenching, I removed some salmon calcite
  with bright white-fluorescing barite.  Also found there was crazy calcite of
  the bright and dim flourescing variety (unlike the Sterling Hill stuff
  mentioned earlier).  Also found nearby some nice specimens of hardystonite
  with lots of good old red and green for good measure.  Some had small traces
  of clinohedrite as well.  From this spot, I also recovered some hyalophane
  (fl. violet) with phlogopite (fl. yellow), rhodonite (non-fl.), andradite
  (non-fl.), calcite (fl. red), and wllemite (fl. green).  Also collected from
  the trench several pieces of calcite that fluoresces blue longwave!

  Sterling Hill, April 30, 2000

  Beautiful weather and bright sunny skies didn't deter me from hunting for
  fluorescent minerals.  I made another attempt to recover more of the creamy
  yellow-white fluorescent calcite from the wall in the Fill Quarry, but all
  pieces I removed had little or none of this material.  Nearby, I joined Chris
  Thorsten and we collected some nice diopside and phlogopite that resembles a
  snowstorm of blue-white and bright yellow when lamped SW.  Also collected a
  massive chunk of beefsteak willemite (or chuckwagon or dogfood willemite, if
  you prefer) with calcite, which weighs 42 pounds.  This came from the pile of
  stuff that John Kolic removed from the foot of the short tunnel in the East
  Limb of the ore body.

  Will file another report if I have a good day on the Buckwheat on May 6.

  Mark Boyer

>From Chris Thorsten:

  Date: Tue, 16 May 2000 14:05:45 -0400
  From: Chris <>
  To: Bill Mattison <>
  Subject: FrOg on-line material

  Hi Bill,

  here's a write-up for you I made:


  The recent turning-over of a significant area of the Buckwheat Dump attracted
  quite a few collectors on Saturday, May 6, 2000.  We were finding a number of
  interesting rocks, including the wine-colored fluorite that loses its
  fluorescence upon exposure to sunlight.  However, that first weekend the
  rocks were still covered in red- and green-fluorescing grit, making it tough
  to guess what was inside.  Chipping a fragment off a "promising" boulder
  could just as easily reveal a chunk of barren "camptonite" as it could yield
  something good.

  By the following weekend, the situation had changed.  The rains had washed
  the boulders off, making for much better collecting; still, there were so
  many rocks, I didn't even know where to start.

  There was one area that had a bunch of rocks full of larger, rounded grains
  of "shot-ore" franklinite, accompanied by willemite and calcite.  Breaking up
  a few of these and taking the pieces under my tarp with the Superbright, I
  found a pleasant surprise...  there were grains in two or three of the pieces
  that fluoresced a pleasing, pale blue-white color, surrounded by the intense
  orange-red glow of the calcite!  Its identity was puzzling...  barite?
  hardystonite?  some odd form of another mineral?  I don't recall having found
  this on the surface of the dump, whatever it was.

  John Cianciulli did optics on it, and after some careful analysis with the
  scope, declared it to be fluorapatite.  He said that, based on the optical
  properties, there's nothing else it could be.  I'm no exception, I'm sure, in
  liking those definitive answers that make labelling much simpler.  Something
  else John noted about this material is that it fluoresces a peach color when
  it is removed from the calcite matrix.  Its apparent "blue-white"
  fluorescence must be the result of some optical illusion produced by the
  overpowering orange-red of fluorescent calcite.

  It's unusual finds such as these that keep me returning to the Buckwheat all
  spring and summer, nearly every weekend, despite the heat and humidity that
  often send the casual visitor right back up those stairs to the comfort of
  the museum...

  happy collecting!

from Paul Shizume:

  Date: Mon, 22 May 2000 22:13:16 EDT
  Subject: Lime Crest


  Being new to Lime Crest and just finding my way around, I can only report on 
  some of the items I saw being collected:

  1.  Steve Misuir:  a chip with a large almost fully exposed spinel crystal 
  and a very large well exposed chondrodite crystal (I'm told, I can't tell the 
  difference between that and a norbergite) crystal -- both nicely exposed and 

  2.  One pair of people spent a good part of the day extracting some corrundum 

  3.  a nice 1.5 inch long tremolite crystal

  4.  nice drusy micro crystals of norbergite coating.  Some nice larger 
  crystals too -- both fluorescent

  5.  Phlogopite -- yellow fluorescence

  6.  Non-fluorescent norbergite but intensive dard red speckling.  Some pieces 
  with three colors red going to orange going to a green, another red/brown 
  with a sharp gradation to a band of greyer speckles going back to red/brown.

  7.  Nice purple/green piece of fluorite (collector found in in the road)

  8.  "Popcorn?" dolomite

  9.  Microcline (fushia fluorescent)

  10.  A green micaceous material (natural light)

  11.  Some people were splitting some gneissic rock for garnets

  As for all the others, I hope they contact you.

  I got one interesting one, the smaller of my two "eggs".  It has a fluorite 
  shell (glows purple).  A phlogopite mica (glows a dull yellow green) on the 
  inside of the shell.  More fluorite inside.  One has a yolk -- a rectangular 
  chunk of something that glows orange (parts are remind one of the orange that 
  they used to make the old 60's bathroom tiles/sinks).  The orange 
  phosphoresces for over 30 seconds.

  8.  Scapolites

  9.  Various pyrites/chalcopyrites/arsenopyrites

6. Miscellaneous

  From: Herb Yeates []
  Sent: Sunday, May 14, 2000 8:23 AM
  To: William C. Mattison
  Subject: FLASH: Trotter dig pix !

  Bill -
  FYI, Terry Wilson of the Delaware Valley Earth Science Society (DVESS) has
  just posted a write-up with some great photos from this past April's Trotter
  night dig.

  Suggest you'll want to include a mention in the next issue of FrOgies..


  All best,
  Toyko, Japan

7. Featured Specimens

Chris Thorsten submitted two featured specimen write-ups.  These were actually
submitted in April, in time for FrOg #2000-03, but I opted to save them for
this issue.  Since both write-ups are relatively short, I am publishing both
together.  Enjoy...

  Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2000 15:01:48 -0400
  From: Chris <>
  To: Bill Mattison <>
  Subject: featured specimen write-up

  Hi Bill,

  Here's a write up on a [possible] featured specimen...

  SPECIMEN:  Pink, crystalline vein of willemite in weathered calcite &
  franklinite matrix
  LOCATION:  Mine Run, Sterling Hill
  DATE FOUND: last Sunday in March, 2000
  DESCRIPTION:  Though it's one of the smallest specimens I've brought home
  from Sterling Hill, measuring no more than an inch and a half across, this
  specimen is one of the most unusual willemites I've collected.

  I've found many different varieties of willemite on the dump:  "swirly",
  "gemmy", tan, red, brown, "chuck wagon" (my designation for "troostite"),
  serpentinaceous, "caramel", secondary, white, and phosphorescent specimens...
  but not one like this.

  I was digging in the piles of rocks on Mine Run when I picked this one up--
  at first I thought it was a small piece of rhodonite because of its pink
  color.  Close inspection showed it to have tiny, bladed crystals grading into
  massive material which formed a vein in the calcite.  Bladed pink willemite-
  a sort of micromineral collector's thumbnail specimen.  Just the weird sort
  of thing that would end up taking a prominent place in my collection.

  When I checked it with shortwave UV, it turned out to be one of the brighter
  specimens of willemite I'd found that day.  As a tiny piece, it most likely
  came from a larger rock-- but I didn't see the rock anywhere in sight.
  Perhaps it's still sitting there somewhere on the dump...  I'll be sure to
  check at the end of the month.

  Bill, if a willemite is too tame to be a featured specimen, there are like a
  dozen other interesting things I've brought home from the F/SH dumps that I
  could do a write up on.  In fact, I might do a couple more and let you pick
  which one you want to print.


Here's #2:

  Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2000 15:16:55 -0400
  From: Chris <>
  To: Bill Mattison <>
  Subject: featured specimen write-up #2

  Hi Bill,

  another entrant for the featured specimen write up:

  this one has a bit of scientific interest to it

  SPECIMEN:  Franklin ore vein in dolomite
  WHERE FOUND:  Buckwheat Dump
  DATE:  this past Saturday... 4/5/00?
  DESCRIPTION:  I was digging on the Buckwheat with Mark Boyer, Dave Slaymaker
  and Claude Poli.  The four of us were uncovering some nice sphalerites,
  fluorites, rhodonites, and red & green specimens when Mark and I uncovered a
  curious rock the size of a small potato.

  There it was:  a good example of where ore meets dolomite...  finally, one
  that wasn't lopsided, ugly, or too heavy to carry home.  Claude said "Keep
  it!  Some guys _live_ for that sort of thing".  Guys like us, I suspect, the
  ones who keep examples of every odd variant of Buckwheat rock we've ever
  found, sitting in willemite-dusted flats stacked along the basement walls...

  What makes this specimen even more intesting is that it's the odd-looking,
  tan, crystalline type of dolomite that is much less common on the dump than
  the dense, gray stuff.  Though the tan color may arise from some kind of
  weathering, it's not the typical surface weathering-- the dolomite is tan all
  the way through.  The ore vein appears to be mostly franklinite and is about
  3/4 inch thick.  The rock is roughly triangular in shape, several inches
  across, with the vein going across the "top" of the triangle (depending upon
  how you display it).

  P.S.  Mark has the specimen in his collection...  hopefully he will label it
  and put it on his display shelf of 'daylight' minerals.

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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