The Seventh Annual Micromounters Winter Gathering Report

Thank all of you who participated, and especially our hosts
Ed and Martha Cunningham,
and the speakers who gave such informative talks.

Following is Henry Barwood's email report about the gathering:

Report on the 7th annual Winter Micromount Gathering

The Winter Gathering, hosted by Ed and Martha Cunningham, has grown into a major micromount meeting over the years, and this year was no exception! The meeting is held at Advent Christian Village and the facilities are absolutely top notch. Micro enthusiasts began arriving on Wednesday, and viewing, swapping and rummaging through the give-away boxes was in full swing by Thursday evening. There were 20 participants from the US and Canada, and more than 20 scopes were set up (one regular had the flu and couldn't make it).

Friday, Ed and Martha organized a field trip to Suwannocoochee and Falmouth springs for those who needed a small break from the scopes. By Friday evening, the meeting was completely under way. Julian Gray was the program organizer and on Friday "informal" talks were presented. Dr. Lance Kearns of James Madison University presented a program on the Sugar Grove, Pendleton County, West Virginia zeolite and wire pyrite collecting area. Bob Rothenberg gave talks on some interesting micro syenite minerals collected from a location near Buck Hill in Augusta County, Virginia, and some interesting images of fibrous crystals of burbankite from the Jones Mill Quarry, Magnet Cove, Arkansas. Henry Barwood reprised his talk on Indian Mountain phosphates that was presented at the Arthur Roe Micromount Symposium in Tucson. After these presentations, everyone went back to the scopes until fatigue set in and the group dwindled.

Saturday morning, the actual symposium got underway. Lance Kearns led off with a program on the unusual mineralization found at the Buck Hill syenite, Augusta County Virginia. His talk was really interesting and he presented nice images of the minerals and excellent information on the chemistry and mineralogy of the location. Bill Lechner gave a great talk on the Aris Quarry, Namibia and the many unusual minerals being found there. Earl English gave a presentation of images from material gleaned from previous Winter Gathering give-away specimens (and it was an impressive array of free specimens). Earl had processed the images using CombineZ and they were excellent photographs.

One of the bonuses of this meeting are the tables of food that are provided by Ed and Martha and their family. Participants also bring goodies, and we couldn't get along without Jimmy Sheehan's cookies! Snacks abounded throughout the meeting. The atmosphere is very informal, and because the meeting is only loosely structured, the sessions often go on well into the night

A real bonus of the Winter Gathering is a chance to exchange notes on specimens. Many of the group are die-hard fans of syenite minerals and there was a brisk interchange of specimens to be identified from the Aris Quarry, from the Arkansas syenites and from Mt. St. Hilaire. Recent collecting trips to Arkansas yielded quite a few unidentified minerals that were passed around and tentatively identified. Don Reems brought some 3M Quarry material that had excellent helvite. Bob Rothenberg brought some specimens from Jones Mill Quarry that had tiny blue benitoites, and at least three platy crystals of joaquinite. Some odd crystals in an epidote-rich brecciated lamprophyre from the 3M Quarry were identified as prehnite by Jason Smith.

Saturday evening the meeting began to wind down and a few people departed for home. The remainder of the participants departed on Sunday morning with good memories of the meeting and many, many give-away specimens and trades. All of us are looking forward to next year.

Henry Barwood
Professor of Science, Earth Sciences
Department of Math and Physics
Troy University
Troy, Alabama

Field trip to Suwannocoochee and Falmouth Springs

Friday, Feb. 29 2008:
We met Carlos Herd of the Suwannee River Water management District ( at Suwannacoochee Spring. We were given a little of the history of the location, and departed for a visit to Suwannee River State Park to see the confluence of the Withlacoochee & Suwannee rivers, then to Falmouth Spring, followed by a trip to the District Offices for an informative briefing and photo slide show presentation about the water resources in the state. At each of the locations Mr. Herd gave us a briefing on the area, and answered a lot of questions. Of interest to some was the fact that due to heavy rains in Georgia several days before, Falmouth Spring was running in reverse, as the river was higher than the level of the aquifer, so the drought depleted level of the aquifer was being replenished.
We had a buffet lunch at the District Offices, and afterward, returned to Dowling Park.

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