The annual Winter Gathering got off to a start with early arrivals showing
up Wednesday February 24. The main group mostly arrived on Thursday
afternoon and evening. By Friday we had 15 attendees and 17 microscopes in
This year we missed a half-dozen regular participants who could not make it for a variety of reasons. Even with the somewhat lowered attendance, we had an enthusiastic and active group of micromounters.
There was not a formal program this year; however, Henry Barwood provided updated lists of minerals from the Arkansas syenites and Friday afternoon showed a Power Point presentation on the syenite minerals grouped by the lithology of their host rocks. Because of the informal nature of the talk, there was a great deal of discussion as the images were presented.
Saturday, there were additional presentations on phosphate minerals (Henry), mounts prepared from the give-away table (titled: Free is Good) by Earl English and the minerals of the Benjamin Prospect near Cragford, Alabama (sulfides and arsenates) by Bob Stevens.
There was agreement that the group would work on developing a catalog of the minerals found in the Arkansas syenites. John Whatley provided the initial annotated list of minerals from the Granite Mountain syenite quarries. Data was taken from files of Henry Barwood, Art Smith (deceased) and Karl Estes (deceased) and from data posted to Mindat by Chris Stefano. The Granite Mountain syenites (3M, Granite Mountain #1, Granite Mountain #2, Granite Mountain #3 and the Holiday Inn quarries) have 91 reported minerals (one TL) with 5 of those of questionable status.
The Jones Mill Quarry at Magnet Cove had 87 reported minerals with 5 of those of questionable status.
The nearby Diamond Jo Quarry had 56 minerals (two TL) with 2 questionable identifications. All participants agreed that the localities need a great deal of investigation!
As in previous years there was an enormous amount of give-away material available. Henry brought two buckets of unexamined pegmatite from the 3M Quarry and Jones Mill Quarry that was distributed among the participants. There were at least 50 egg cartons of minerals provided for examination. By late Saturday evening, the group began to disperse and pack up for their trips home.
Saturday we had our usual luncheon as part of the program and, as always, there were abundant snacks (much of them homemade) available throughout the meeting. Martha and Ed Cunningham did, as always, a magnificent job of organizing things, and the Lodge at Advent Christian Village is a wonderful site to host the event from.