Welcome to the Mineralogical Society of Arizona!

MSA, along with a Coalition of Rock & Gem Clubs, offer several fun and unique Field Trips throughout the year. We host many interesting Programs & Speakers and you are certain to meet new friends among our Rock and Mineral membership.

Refreshments are served at all MSA meetings and attendees have an exciting opportunity to win Great Mineral Raffle Prizes awarded to one Junior, one Adult, and one Visitor. Members who wear their MSA Name Badges to general meetings are also eligible for an additional raffle.

MSA participates in the annual Flagg Gem and Mineral Show in January, Arizona State Fair and Earth Science Day event in October. We look forward to Exploring, Sharing, and Inspiring your participation in our hobby.

Check out the NEWSLETTER for information on meetings, field trips, and other events of interest to Mineralogists and Rockhounds of all ages.

ALERT!!! Be sure to check out MSA website under MSA CLUB for meeting location and time details. Click here for a printable meeting schedule. Meetings are held the second Thursday of the month, except as noted in the meeting schedule at Franciscan Renewal Center, 5802 E. Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale‎ AZ‎ 85253.

New Meeting Format

Junior Members should arrive by 6:40 PM for Junior Education program starting at 6:45 PM.
All other Members can arrive at 7:00 PM with presentation starting at 7:30 PM.
Meetings are held the second Thursday of the month, except as noted in the meeting schedule.
Brief business meeting and raffle after the program, with Refreshments, Silent Auctions, and Buy/Sell/Trade Event.

Contact us via Email: MSAClub1935@msaaz.org


February 15, 2018 Program: “Exploring Mexico’s Caves" Presented by Mr. Bob Jones

Our February 15th program speaker is the great Mr. Bob Jones about "Exploring Mexico’s Caves."  Bob will discuss four Mexican caves finishing with the giant crystal caves at Naica.

Bob is an MSA Milestone Life Member, MSA President 1964, generous donor, volunteer and oldest founding member of our sister organization Flagg Mineral Foundation. He is a world-renowned collector, lecturer, host and author. He authored Nature's Hidden Rainbows Fluorescent Minerals of Franklin, NJ 1964, The Collector's Book of Fluorescent Minerals 1983, Twenty-Fifth and Fifth Year History of the Tucson Show, The Frugal Collector, Volume 1 2011 and over 1800 articles in The Mineralogical Record, Rocks and Minerals, Rock & Gem, Lapidary Journal, Monde et Mineraux and Arizona Highways. Bob is co-host for BlueCap Productions DVD series of “What’s Hot” filmed at premier gem and mineral shows in Tucson, Arizona and Munich, Germany.

Bob earned his MS in Science from New Haven Teacher's College, taught Science for 32 years, and is Senior Consulting Editor of Rock and Gem, 1992 inductee into National Rockhound and Lapidary Hall of Fame, 1998 Carnegie Mineralogical Award recipient, honoree of mineral species: Bobjonesite, recipient of Flagg Mineral Foundation 2012 A. L. Flagg Lifetime Achievement Award and Mineralogical Society of Arizona 2014 Hall of Fame Inductee.

Chris Whitney-Smith photo









Mineral of the Month SPHALERITE
By Dr. Raymond Grant

Mineral of the Month for February is sphalerite, zinc sulfide ZnS Color is very variable. It can be colorless to black (iron content can be from 0% up to 26% and some manganese can be present) and brown, gray, yellow, green or red. The name is from the Greek for treacherous (hard to identify) and my mineralogy students would agree. A good test is the streak: the powder is always a lighter color than the solid color. The hardness is about 3.5 - 4. It is isometric often forming tetrahedral crystals. It has good dodecahedral cleavage (cleavage in 6 directions) although usually just seen as a lot of cleavage. It can be fluorescent and triboluminescent (a flash of light given off from friction by rubbing something hard across the surface of the mineral).

Sphalerite, the main ore of zinc, is abundant in Arizona. Mindat.org has hundreds of localities in the state. Over 2 billion pounds of zinc have been produced in Arizona from billions of pounds of sphalerite. Yavapai County has produced half of the total and every county except Apache County has produced some zinc.  With all the zinc mined and all the localities, you would expect an abundance of specimens.  Unfortunately, good crystallized sphalerite specimens are quite rare in Arizona. The best came from the Iron Cap Mine, Graham County and Magma Mine, Pinal County with minor crystallized specimens from a few other localities. The fine-grained black sphalerite from Bisbee is fluorescent and is triboluminescent.  


SPHALERITE, ZnS, 7cm, Las Manforas Mine,
Aliva, Picos de Europa, Cantabria, Spain;
Spirifer Mineral Collection, © Jeff Scovil.


Mineral of Month
SPHALERITE, ZnS, 1.97mm, Lengenbach Quarry,
Fald, Binn Valley, Wallis, Switzerland;
Domenico Preite Collection, © Chinellato Matteo

Members are invited to bring one sample from their collection of the mineral of the month and give a brief story about where they collected it or something about the specimen.

***Unknown minerals for identification can still be brought to the meetings***





Visiting Mineralogists & Rockhounds, please get in touch with us!

Trade Minerals
Members please feel free to bring minerals for trade to next MSA meeting.

The Rules of Etiquette
From Rockhound Record 1942

At the risk of seeming impertinent, exhibitors of minerals will provide good insurance to specimens if they will display, in a prominent place on their exhibit, the rules of etiquette:

1. Never pick up a piece of material unless it is handed to you by the owner.

2. Always handle carefully – as many specimens are valuable and cannot be replaced.

3. If you cannot see the specimen well, ask the owner to show it to you.

Membership Dues are Due!

Please pay at the next meeting or mail to Mineralogical Society of Arizona, 5533 E. Bell Road Suite 101, Scottsdale, AZ 85254.
Membership form & dues amounts are on website under MSA CLUB tab.

arizona, minerals, rock collecting clubs

New MSA Commemorative Pin

Designed by Chris Whitney-Smith, one of our members, in commemoration of MSA's 75th Anniversary in 2010. 

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Mineralogical Society of Arizona
5533 E. Bell Road
Suite 101
Scottsdale, AZ 85254

Member of the Rocky Mountain Federation of Mineralogical Societies
Member of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies

Last Modified Jan 10, 2018 by Ron Ginn


Mineral logo photo courtesy of Jeff Scovil.

website by Rock Dog

©2008-2017 Mineralogical Society of Arizona