Rochester Mineralogical Symposium (RMS)

This past week I had the pleasure of attending the Rochester Mineralogical Symposium at the Rochester Radisson Motel and Conference Center.  It was the 41st annual such event, but it was my first!  What a fine way to welcome spring weather and add encouragement and motivation for an active collecting season. Imagine well over 200 mineral enthusiasts converging for three days to share mineral stories, discuss technical learnings, sell/buy minerals, and otherwise just enjoy the company of others in the hobby.

Invited talks included talks on famous locations in Europe (The Cairngorms in Scotland by Roy Starkey, The Sulfur Mines of Sicily by Dr. Renato Pagano, The Volodarsk Chamber Pegmatites of Ukraine by Peter Lyckberg, The Branchville Pegmatite of Connecticut by Ted Johnson, and The Mount Antero Pegmatites in Colorado by Mark Jacobson.  You may be familiar with that last one, a site that has been publicized of late by the Prospectors TV show on the Weather Channel.  These talks included much more than minerals, and in most the historic information or personal experiences shared was every bit as interesting as the geology and mineralogy.

Sections of the meeting are also devoted to shorter submitted papers, many by graduate students studying mineralogy or related topics.  The best student paper was awarded to Sean Kelly from Miami University of Ohio for an excellent talk on apatite halogen chemistry.

The keynote address Thursday evening was a humorous discussion entitled “Grenville Grunge – Dispelling the Myth”.  Canadian Michael Bainbridge “examined this self-depreciating tendency local folks seem to delight in perpetuating” by highlighting some of the finer specimens the region around Bancroft has produced.  And, of course, a highlight of the show was the annual one hour presentation of “What’s New in Minerals” by Jeff Scovil, wonderful not only for the terrific geographically organized review of new finds, but also for the stunning photography Jeff produces of the specimens.

As if the talks and technical sessions were not enough a full floor of the Radisson was devoted to dealers where quality mineral specimens were available for purchase.  Add auctions (both silent and called) and the chance to meet both local and worldwide collectors for a fully packed mineral event unlike any other.  It was my first RMS, but it will not be my last.  Those of us fortunate to live so close to such an event are most fortunate.  If you have any interest in the mineralogy, the geology or the history behind the world’s more famous collecting sites, you may wish to mark April 23rd-26th on your 2015 calendar and consider attending.

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