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Sep 9 / Dave Schumaker

50 Minerals for Fun and Profit

Yes! It’s a new day and a new meme is spreading across the geoblogosphere like a forest fire. I’m always game to participate in a new meme and this one sounds like it could be especially fun. Chuck at Lounge of the Lab Lemming posted a list of 50 great minerals that he believes everyone should see.

Below is my list of 50 minerals that I’ve seen and think others should see. Bold minerals indicate those that I’ve seen in the field, while italicized minerals have been seen in a museum or laboratory. Where available, I’ll try to include some information about where I observed the mineral (thanks to old field notebooks and school reports). You’ll notice a lot of these locations are very similar. That’s mostly because many of these minerals were observed on many mineralogy class field trips.

Pegmatite hunting

Anyway, let’s have some fun!

1. Actinolite
Observed in Wrightwood, CA

2. Agate
Observed at Olmsted Point, Yosemite, CA

3. Amanzonite
Observed in pegmatite found in White Mountains near Lone Pine, CA

4. Andersonite
It’s a radioactive mineral. And it fluoresces. If that isn’t cool, I don’t know what is.

5. Apatite
Made from the same stuff that makes up your teeth!

6. Borax
Observed at Searles Lake, Trona, CA

7. Beryl
Observed in pegmatite found in White Mountains near Lone Pine, CA

8. Beta Quartz
Observed in Bishop Tuff, Owens Valley, CA

9. Biotite
Observed at Olmsted Point, Yosemite, CA

10. Calcite
Observed at Dolomite Loop near Lone Pine, CA

11. Chrysocolla
Observed in Darwin, CA

12. Cinnabar
Observed at Olmsted Point, Yosemite, CA

13. Cordierite
I might have seen this in the field, but I’m not sure. Definitely seen in lab.

14. Corundum
Observed at the mouth of the Russian River, near Jenner, CA

15. Cummingtonite
I can’t think of a single person (geologist or not) who snickers when they hear the name of this mineral.

16. Dolomite
Observed at Dolomite Loop near Lone Pine, CA

17. Fluorite
Observed in Darwin, CA

18. Epidote
Observed at Dolomite Loop near Lone Pine, CA

19. Galena
Observed in Darwin, CA

20. Garnet
Observed at the mouth of the Russian River, near Jenner, CA

21. Glaucophane
Observed at the mouth of the Russian River, near Jenner, CA

22. Gypsum
Observed in Darwin, CA

23. Hanksite
Observed at Searles Lake, Trona, CA

24. Hornblende
Observed at Olmsted Point, Yosemite, CA

25. Ice
Everywhere. I’ve seen this in New Zealand, California, Utah, Colorado, Oregon. Even in my kitchen (though I don’t really count that as being in the field… no matter how scarce food or a good beer may be). And it fits the definition of a mineral: “A naturally-occurring, inorganic homogeneous solid with a definite chemical composition and a unique and ordered crystalline structure.”

26. Jasper
Observed in San Francisco, CA

27. Kyanite
Observed at the mouth of the Russian River, near Jenner, CA

28. Lepidolite
A really beautiful looking mica mineral that is generally rose colored.

29. Limonite
Observed in Darwin, CA

30. Microcline
Observed at Olmsted Point, Yosemite, CA

31. Molybdenite
A boring mineral. At least from what I remember from mineralogy lab. I probably associate this with sleeping in the back of class.

32. Muscovite
Observed at Olmsted Point, Yosemite, CA

33. Olivine
Observed in basalt flows near Independence, CA

34. Opal
Observed at McLaughlin Gold Mine near Napa, CA

35. Orthoclase
Observed at Olmsted Point, Yosemite, CA

36. Pink Halite
Observed at Searles Lake, Trona, CA

37. Plagioclase
Observed at Olmsted Point, Yosemite, CA

38. Pyrite
Observed in Darwin, CA

39. Quartz (var. Rock Crystal)
Observed at McLaughlin Gold Mine near Napa, CA

40. Quartz (var. Smokey)
Observed at Olmsted Point, Yosemite, CA

41. Realgar
A beautiful mineral. And another one that we would always joke about when we realized that it’s chemistry was “AsS”.

42. Romanechite
Observed at Dolomite Loop near Lone Pine, CA

43. Sanidine
Observed in Bishop Tuff, Owens Valley, CA

44. Serpentine
Observed in San Francisco, CA. Easily my favorite mineral and a key ingredient in California’s State Rock.

45. Sphene
Observed in pegmatite found in White Mountains near Lone Pine, CA

46. Staurolite
A beautiful dark colored mineral. I remember this one specifically from asking our petrology professor what his favorite mineral was. He instantly answered “staurolite” before we even finished the question.

47. Stibnite
Observed in McLaughlin Gold Mine near Napa, CA

48. Talc
Observed at Dolomite Loop near Lone Pine, CA

49. Travertine
Observed in Owens Valley, CA

50. Tremolite
Observed at Dolomite Loop near Lone Pine, CA

More Information

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