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: MSAClub1935@msaaz.org

May 9, 2019 Dual Programs:
Presented by Erin Delventhal, Manager Mindat.org
MINERALS FROM COOKES PEAK, Luna County, New Mexico. Presented by Philip Simmons, B.S. Mining Engineering, M.S. Exploration Geology

Our May 9th program will be a DUAL presentation by Erin Delventhal on MINDAT.ORG: DATA MINING MINING DATA: The Scientific Applications of Big Data” and Philip Simmons on “MINERALS FROM COOKES PEAK, Luna County, New Mexico.”

Erin’s program reviews Mindat.org database as mineral exploration research tool.  Mindat.org has been recognized and utilized as a valuable tool for mineral collectors, but the vast quantities of information contained in the database have also opened the doors to many scientific applications exploring the past, present, and future of mineral resources.  The potential for future discoveries is immeasurable, but already several projects have made remarkable progress in unlocking many of the earth’s mysteries.

The Past: The Mineral Evolution Database has been developed, based on mindat.org locality data, as a tool to help explore the changing mineralogical conditions of historical Earth, seeking to reveal important records of geophysical, geochemical, and biological events.

The Present: The use of Social Network Analysis methods to build visualizations exploring the relationships between minerals through patterns of coexistence, phase relationships, and more, has offered a new method to studying and solving problems in mineralogy and petrology.


Philip’s program reviews minerals of Cookes Peak, New Mexico known for fluorite as well as quartz, calcite, smithsonite, barite and rare molybdenum oxides with new specimens being discovered every year.  The Cookes Peak deposits were first discovered by prospectors in the late 1870’s and early 1880’s. Lead ore was first recognized by Ed Orr in the form of silver-bearing galena in the large canyon northeast of the peak for which the mountain range was named, and soon after his discovery, two other prospectors named Taylor and Wheeler located the first economic orebodies in 1880. During these early years, Apaches under the leadership of Cochise and Geronimo continually harassed the prospectors, and it wasn’t until the surrender of Geronimo in 1886 that the mines could settle down and start producing larger quantities of ore. Production reached its zenith around the turn of the 20th century at 1.5 million pounds of lead and 70,000 ounces of silver, but decreased substantially until 1905 when the majority of the small, high-grade lead deposits were exhausted (Jicha, 1954). However, halos of oxidized zinc ore were found rimming the lead-rich pods and mining picked back up until 1925 (Jicha, 1954). From this point forward, mining was sporadic until the district closed completely in 1965. Overall, the Cookes Peak districts produced ~8.5 million pounds of lead, ~6.5 million pounds of zinc and ~71,000 ounces of silver.




Erin Delventhal photo.

Illustration by Mindat.org.

Illustration by Mindat.org.

Philip Simmons photo.

FLUORITE CaF2, 7.1cm, Cookes Peak (Watercourse Pocket-2017),
Luna County, New Mexico, USA; (Second generation magenta
octahedra with small colorless third generation cubes),
Philip Simmons Collection, Philip Simmons & Mike Sanders photo.

FLUORITE CaF2, 10.6cm, Cookes Peak, Luna County, New Mexico, USA;
(First generation cubic blue fluorite with triangular fluorite & quartz
growths covered by second generation green and purple octahedra),
Philip Simmons Collection, Philip Simmons & Erin Delventhal photo.

The Future:  Models based on Predictive Mineralogy have begun to examine existing minerals and predict minerals that are plausible but, as of yet, undescribed, as well as the environments they may be found in.

The applications of scientific exploration of big data have far-reaching consequences to our understanding of the Earth, its history, its mineral resources, and our usage of them.

Erin Delventhal grew up collecting minerals with her family – long road trips were frequently punctuated with detours where she and her brothers could get dirty (and very tired) while collecting crystals.  Art, photography, and design took precedence as both a hobby and a profession for many years, but a visit to the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show rekindled her love of minerals.  She rejoined the mineral community with enthusiasm and has since been an active member in several mineral-related organizations ranging from local to international – she currently serves as a board member of San Juan County Gem & Mineral Society, National Board Director, Friends of Mineralogy, and as a Mindat.org manager.  She has also been involved in mineral museums, symposiums, and other educational programs, and has joyously returned to a life punctuated by getting dirty (and very tired) while collecting crystals.


The Cookes range consists of a granodiorite intrusive complex of late Cretaceous-early Tertiary age that intruded Proterozoic to Cretaceous sedimentary rocks. This intrusion resulted in the introduction of ore-bearing fluids into the overlying sedimentary rocks, creating replacement- type ore deposits (Carbonate Replacement Deposits, or CRD’s) mostly confined to the dolomites of the Fusselman Formation. The small ore bodies are commonly lenticular in shape, and form “under broad arches” (Lindgren, Graton and Gordon, 1910) that were created by the upwelling of the igneous magmas. The presence of the overlying Percha Shale inhibited fluids from ascending further, and the mineralized bodies were concentrated near the contact between the dolomite and the shale. Once the primary (hypogene) ore bodies had been deposited and uplifted through extensional rifting, they were subjected to oxidizing fluids and formed a broad suite of secondary (supergene) minerals.

To collectors, the Cookes Peak deposits are not famous for their metal production, but for the gangue minerals associated with ore minerals. Cookes Peak has long been known for being the source of exceptional fluorite, and just recently a find of microcrystalline sidwillite has created much excitement within the micromounting community. Other species such as quartz, calcite, smithsonite, barite and rare molybdenum oxides are found in collectible specimens. Current collecting is underway on several mining claims, and exciting new specimens are being discovered every year.

Philip Simmons has been collecting minerals as long as he can remember. He started collecting at age 3 and has never looked back, 31 years later. His first love will always be field collecting in New Mexico, and he has many fond memories of collecting at localities such as the Magdalena district, San Pedro mine, Lincoln County, Blanchard, Cookes Peak, the Carlsbad Potash district and many, many more.  He graduated from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology with a Bachelor’s degree in Mining Engineering and a Master’s degree in Exploration Geology.  Since completing his Master’s, he has started a full-time mineral business called Enchanted Minerals, LLC that focuses on New Mexico specimen collecting.  He is excited to give a talk for Mineralogical Society of Arizona and hopes to impart at least a little of his love and enthusiasm for New Mexico minerals to others that enjoy this great hobby.


  • Jicha, H.L. 1954. Geology and Mineral Deposits of Lake Valley Quadrangle, Grant, Luna and Sierra Counties, New Mexico. New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources Bulletin 37.
  • Lindgren, W., Graton, L.C., and Gordon, C.H. 1910. Ore Deposits of New Mexico. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 68.


Mineral of the Month: RUTILE - TiO2₃ By Dr. Ray Grant and Chris Whitney-Smith

Mineral of the Month for May is rutile, titanium oxide, TiO2. It is tetragonal and crystals are common. The color is brown, reddish brown, red, and yellow (gold looking in rutilated quartz). The hardness is 6 to 6.5.

It is a common high-temperature, high-pressure mineral in igneous and metamorphic rocks. There are many Arizona localities, mindat.org has about 40 for the state. It has photos of small crystals from Childs-Adwinkle Mine, Pinal County and from the Santa Nino Mine, Santa Cruz County. Good crystals are reported from near Quartzsite, but this locality has not produced anything recently. Overall good specimens of rutile have not been found in Arizona.

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***


RUTILE : TiO2, 12mm, Fazenda do Vadi claim,
Diamantina, Minas Gerais, Brazil;
Aleksander Recnik Photo

RUTILE : TiO2, Hematite : Fe2O3, 4.8cm,
Novo Horizonte, Bahia, Brazil;
McDougall Minerals Photo.

RUTILE : TiO2, 9mm, “rare 16-ling cyclic twin,”
Perovskite Hill, Magnet Cove, Hot Spring County,
Arkansas, USA; Kelly Nash Collection & Photo.

RUTILE : TiO2, 4.6cm, Graves Mountain,
Lincoln County, Georgia, USA; Rob Lavinsky 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

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