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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, Tucson Gem & Mineral Show in February, Pinal Gem & Mineral Show and Minerals of Arizona Symposium in Spring, and Earth Science Day events in Fall.  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:

March 14, 2019 Program: “Mysteries of the Mineral Kingdom Revealed: Collecting Fluorescent Minerals.” Presented by Mrs. Mardy Zimmermann

Our March 14th program will be presented by Mardy Zimmermann on “Mysteries of the Mineral Kingdom Revealed: Collecting Fluorescent Minerals.”  The program will explore the beautiful & hidden world of fluorescent minerals.  Ultraviolet lamps were being developed for a number of applications in the 1930s. Eventually, portable UV lamps were developed for tungsten prospecting. The bright blue fluorescence of scheelite, a major tungsten ore, helped locate the tungsten required for World War II.

  Later, in the 1950s, the UV lamp complemented the Geiger counter as the bright green fluorescence of uranium ores helped locate fuel for nuclear power. The availability of portable lamps also initiated fluorescent mineral collecting. Initially, they were very expensive, but recent developments have produced low cost UV light that now support the fluorescent mineral collecting hobby.







Photo courtesy Mardy Zimmermann.

Xianghualing Sn-Polymetallic Ore Field,
Linwu, Chenzhou Prefecture, Hunan, China;
© Heritage Auctions.


The first part of the presentation will review the science of UV light and fluorescence, and the causes of fluorescence in minerals. This will include inherently fluorescent minerals and minerals that fluoresce due to impurities or defects.  The difference between long wave ultraviolet light (black light) and short wave ultraviolet will be explained, as will the reasons that only about 15% of minerals fluoresce, and, of those that do, only a few fluoresce under long wave.

The second part of the presentation will present photographic examples of various fluorescent mineral specimens, as well as some actual specimens illuminated with UV light. The focus will be on minerals from various locations in Arizona and South West New Mexico. While the fluorescent minerals initially found in Franklin, New Jersey are generally considered to be the most desirable by collectors, Arizona specimens are becoming a close second.

Mardy is a founding trustee and Vice President of Education and Outreach Coordinator for Earth Science Museum (ESM), an educator of Earth Sciences, previous claim owner of Midnight Owl Mine producer of fluorescent mineral Eucryptite (lithium-aluminum silicate) and tireless advocate for an Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum in Phoenix.  About ESM: Arizona kids & schools need ESM’s Education & Outreach program since funding has been slashed, and teachers are limited in resources when it comes to teaching about the earth sciences.  ESM starts its programs by teaching the fundamentals, the scientific process of rocks and minerals – elements, then minerals, then rocks.  ESM presents outreach programs to Arizona teachers, community leaders and newly formed earth science centers.  When ESM does present to a school, they leave the teaching kits as a school resource.  Most are left in the school libraries, so that “every child has a chance to learn about earth sciences.”  ESM’s classroom outreach programs are FREE! 

Mineral of the Month: CUPRITE Var. CHALCOTRICHITE - Cu2O By Dr. Ray Grant and Chris Whitney-Smith

Mineral of the Month for March is the chalcotrichite variety of cuprite (the mineral is cuprite and the name chalcotrichite is used for fibrous cuprite). Chalcotrichite (cuprite) is copper oxide, Cu2O. The mineral cuprite is isometric and forms cubes and octahedrons. Fibrous isometric minerals are rare, as the crystals should grow equally in all direction as shown by a cube. Because of the fibrous habit, chalcotrichite was thought to be a distinct mineral and early studies had it as an orthorhombic mineral. The name chalcotrichite comes from the Geek words for plush copper ore or hairy copper (both are given in the literature). Additional studies showed that it was really fibrous cuprite

Cuprite is a fairly common mineral in Arizona’s copper deposits and it is found as both crystals and fibers at many localities. Good specimens of chalcotrichite have been found at Bisbee, Ray, Morenci, and many of the other copper mines.  At the New Cornelia mine in Ajo, there are stories of such large masses of chalcotrichite, that the miners would make baseballs from them. At the Mission Mine chalcotrichite was found as inclusions in gypsum.

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***

Ray Mine, Dripping Spring Mts., Pinal County
Arizona, USA; Marty Rex Collection, © Jeff Scovil.

Selenite CaSO4 · 2H2O, Mission Mine, Pima
County, Arizona, USA; Bill Williams Collection,
Dr. Ray Grant Photo.
























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 May 30, 2017 by Ron Ginn


Mineral logo photo courtesy of Jeff Scovil.

website by Rock Dog

©2008-2017 Mineralogical Society of Arizona