NOVA Mineral Club field trip to JMU mineralogy lab

Field Trip ‐ Mineralogy Laboratories and
Museum at James Madison University
February 18, 2012 at 9:00 AM
By Tom Tucker
Dr. Lance Kearns has again invited MSDC, along
with the MNCA Micromounters and the Northern
Virginia Mineral Club to visit the mineralogy labs
and the fabulous mineral museum at James
Madison University, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. We’ll
“pass the hat” so everyone will have an opportunity
to make a small donation to the mineralogy
department for the furtherance of their activities
and acquisitions, and to pay for the hot coffee and
breakfast buns or donuts that Lance will have
awaiting our arrival.
The Museum alone is worthy of a trip to
Harrisonburg, being the finest collection of minerals
in the State. There are a dozen or so large wall
cabinets filled with minerals from around the world,
but with an obvious emphasis on Virginia
specimens, like the turquois from Lynch Station, or
apophyllite from Centreville or aragonite from
Buchanan. After your visit I’m sure you will have
selected your own favorites. There is also a small
room with a stunning fluorescent mineral display.
During the morning Lance will be available to
identify those unknown specimens you have
accumulated over the years. I’m sure he will
demonstrate the use of the x‐ray diffractometer for
crystal determinations and the Ramen
spectrometer. The lab has enough stereo
microscopes for all those interested to examine
their specimens, or perhaps those that others have
brought to share on a “freebie” table. Bring
anything you have to share.
There will be various mineral specimens in all
size ranges from micro to cabinet sized, and
numerous books available for purchase at unusually
reasonable prices or free will donations ‐ acquired
from various donations to the labs. Arrive early for
the best selections.
We will probably go out for pizza at lunch, and
return in the afternoon to visit the “micro probe”
and scanning electron microscope laboratory on the
other side of the campus. We might use it to
determine the chemical make‐up of our unknowns,
or to see close‐up the crystals at hand.
The mineralogy labs are in the Geology
Department which is in Memorial Hall (the former
Harrisonburg High School building), on South High
Street. For a map of the campus, go to the
University website: On the
index map, the Memorial Area is an inset at the
upper right. Click the small map, and a detailed area
map will appear.
Driving directions: It takes approximately two
and a quarter hours to reach JMU from the DC
Beltway. From the Beltway, go west on I‐66
approximately 65 miles to its intersection with I‐81.
Take the left fork, and go south on I‐ 81
approximately 54 miles to Harrisonburg. Take Exit
245, Port Republic Road, and go right about a mile
to High Street. Turn right, and proceed north about
a half mile to a light at Cantrell Avenue. Memorial
Hall will be to the left, with abundant parking. Being
a weekend, parking passes will not be needed, but if
you do have a problem, Lance can probably take
care of it.
If you plan to attend, please let Tom Tucker know the
number in your party, so that we can let Lance know
how many to expect for coffee and buns. Email:, or phone: 540‐347‐9098.


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