Subject: Report on the 12th Winter Micromount Gathering

Report on the 12th Winter Micromount Gathering at Dowling Park, Florida


The 13th Annual Winter Micromount Gathering kicked off on Wednesday 2/20/13, when eight early arrivals checked in at the Advent Christian Village Lodge, site of the meeting. This meeting is arranged for by Ed and Martha Cunningham who have been organizing it for 12 years now! Tables for scopes and give-away specimens were set up in the Conference Center. Martha Cunningham hosted the early birds at a dinner at their home that evening. Most of the remaining attendees came in on Thursday and by that evening there was brisk traffic at the well-stocked give-away tables (always a high point of this meeting).


Friday morning, the official start of the gathering, saw over 22 scopes set up and 24 attendees from as far away as Canada and Arizona. After a busy morning and early afternoon of examining specimens, the program kicked off with a talk by Ron Gibbs on the minerals in the miarolitic cavities of the Belmont Granite, Belmont Mountains in Maricopa County, Arizona. Attendees had a group dinner at the Café and then returned to the Conference room for more micromounting. Around 10 PM most of us drifted off to bed.


Saturday morning started off with two talks by Ron Gibbs on: Microminerals of the Evening Star Mine, Big Horn Mountains, Maricopa County, Arizona, and Mines and Minerals of the Georgetown District, Grant County, New Mexico. Everyone agreed that they were excellent and we enjoyed hearing about these areas that are new to collectors from the Southeast. Steve Watts followed Ron with a talk on an easy way to take photos of micromounts. He demonstrated how to take images with an integrated USB digicam with built in microscope. These are widely available, and as Steve showed, they can produce quality images at low cost and are very easy to use.


At Noon, we walked over to the Youth Lodge where Martha and the other spouses had prepared a great lunch for us. Sandwiches, chips, stuffed eggs, grapes, chips, drinks and deserts were in abundance and everyone left satisfied!


That afternoon we continued to work on the piles of give-aways and examined unknowns for each other. Around 3PM, Julian Gray gave a talk on: The hard way to make mineral photos. The title is tongue-in-cheek and refers to the work that Julian has done on perfecting his stacking process for producing superb images. We all learned from Julian’s efforts, including both stacking for depth-of-field and stacking for exposure modification/compensation using High Dynamic Range (HDR) software. Henry Barwood gave a short presentation updating folks on some of his preliminary SEM/EDS data on minerals from Granite Mountain, Arkansas.  Mid-afternoon our guests from Arizona had to leave, and by dinner other members of the group had begun to pack up and disperse. The remaining die-hards had supper at the café again. Activities went on until around 8PM when we started to pack up the conference room.


This was another great micromineral event. On the give-away table were specimens of churchite and other goodies from Girard, Georgia, burbankite, lavenite, pyrophanite, fersmite, fersmanite, and helvite from the Arkansas syenites, and a host of smaller parcels of unusual minerals from all over. No one went home empty handed. Identifying specimens is an integral component of these meetings, and lots of “unknowns” were passed around.


While we have many new people in attendance some of our long term members were too ill to make the trip and we missed Jimmy Sheehan, Bob Rothenberg and John Whatley. We hope everyone will be back next year. Mark your calendars for the Gathering dates next year (Wed. Feb. 19, Thurs. Feb. 20, Friday Feb. 21st and Sat. Feb 22nd). This is a not-to-be missed event!


Henry Barwood