Friends of Mineralogy Visits Sylvania Minerals Quarry

Sylvania Minerals hosts the Friends of Mineralogy group annually. Specimens are collected and photos are taken of the different benches, minerals, and fossils. Below is a letter from Geologist Reggie Rose describing the trip:


Friends of Mineralogy Trip to Sylvania Minerals Quarry is a Success!


A total of 29 Friends of Mineralogy collectors were in attendance July 15, 2017 at our field trip to the Sylvania Minerals Quarry in South Rockwood, Michigan.  Unlike our 2016 trip, temperatures were easily bearable rising to only the low 80’s by the end of our time there (last year it was 93!).  Although the temperature was cooler than a year ago, the collecting heated up this year.  A lot of our collectors found nice specimens to take home.  I saw more worthwhile specimens this year and took more pictures than in any single year, and maybe as many as all the years we have been there totaled together.  We spent about 75 percent of the day on the upper bench where there is mostly calcite.  Celestite was hard to find on the upper bench, but when it was found, the upper bench celestite specimens made the most attractive specimens.  The upper bench celestite manifested itself in pockets that were filled with fine clear celestite blades.  Before this article concludes, all photographed finds will be mentioned, but the real celestite dazzler from the upper bench was found by Pam Lauer (Crestline, OH). During the last part of the day Friends of Mineralogy collected on the middle bench where the rocks encased larger blue masses of celestite which was blocky, rather than in fine blades like on the upper bench.

My camera lens was treated to images of three types of specimens: (a) Calcite, (b) Celestite, and (c) combo specimens of Calcite & Celestite.  Keep in mind that during the course of a field trip, due to time constraints, I only get photos from a few collectors, so there are more members in the “clubs” below.  I just did not get to see what everyone collected. Collectors in the “Calcite Club” were: Mike Royal (Defiance, OH), Tom Bolka (Xenia, OH), Cliff Harness (Columbus, OH), Marty Povirk (Franklin, MI) & Mick Pinka (Bellville, OH).  In the “Celestite Club” besides Pam were Jeff Schaumberg (Columbus, OH), Mike Royal, Lawrence Hull (Lexington, OH) and Mick Pinka.  The lone member of the “Combo Club” that I saw was Cliff Harness.

As aforementioned, the weather and collecting on this trip to South Rockwood were markedly different than last year.  What was not different from last year to this year, was the excellence of our host.  Bill Begley is a veteran plant manager who is not only a quarry employee, but at MSU, earned a geology degree.  What is noticeably special about him is his warmth as a host, knowledge of his quarry, and safety awareness.  His warmth is evident as he enjoys talking to our member collectors.  His knowledge his quarry is important with regards to logistics – Bill knew when to move the Friends of Mineralogy group to the lower bench, and that is important – he knew there was not as much material for inspection as on the upper bench, so he knew when to move the group.  Our move was like an orchestral conductor waving the baton at the right time.  Last, but not least important, Bill is a safety expert – although we claim to have the best training of any club in the region, and some of our group members are pretty sharp on safety, Bill showed he was the sharpest safety guy in the quarry, checking on finer details like wheel chocks, condition of our equipment and positioning of collectors.  Thank you for keeping us safe Bill, and thanks to Great Lakes Aggregates having FM as guests.  It is through what we collect we can support the recipients of our charitable efforts.  Mining companies like Great Lakes Aggregates have an interest in education in mineralogy and the geological sciences.  Because of their supportive view of education and their belief that they can have a positive on the community outside the quarry through public relations efforts, it is easy to see why Bill Begley, Sylvania Minerals Plant Manager and Chris Kinney, President, Great Lakes Aggregates in a period of a few short years, become Friends of Mineralogy favorites. To view the full article in the Friends of Mineralogy Newsletter click here.


Reggie Rose

Friends of Mineralogy