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Picture this: Fluorescent rocks (NJ)
North Jersey Newspapers--The Record ^ | 05.30.05 | THOMAS E. FRANKLIN

Posted on 06/08/2005 5:29:04 PM PDT by Coleus

Picture this: Fluorescent rocks

alt

It could be argued that New Jersey is the rock capital of the world - just ask any Springsteen fan.

But did you know that the Garden State is also the fluorescent rock capital of the world, long regarded as the "Promised Land" of fluorescent minerals by rock collectors worldwide?

Stuart Schneider has written a book about it called "Collecting Fluorescent Minerals." He has an extensive collection of fluorescent rocks, with more than 800 species from around the world, but mostly his rocks are New Jersey-grown.

The photography darkroom in his basement has been converted into a mineral room, with shelves lined with rare fluorescent rocks, such as Esperite, Willemite, Hardystonite, Bustamites and other "rare Franklin's." There's even a Roeblingite.

"Found only in New Jersey," Schneider says. "It's super-rare. Named after George Roebling. A piece the size of your thumb is worth $300."

Collecting for four years, Schneider got interested after a Scouting trip by his son.

"Ben came home with some rocks, fluorescent rocks. So we went to a rock show and bought a light. Then another show, and another. My son said, OK Dad, this can be your collection."

Schneider was hooked.

"What are they good for?" he asks aloud. "They are good for nothing. But they look good. I equate it to fireworks. It's like indoor fireworks."

Rocks, in general, are made of minerals. Some rare minerals actually glow with magnificent color when viewed in the dark with ultraviolet light. Under these "black lights," seemingly ordinary rocks transform magically into a spectacularly radiant glow of greens, reds, yellows and oranges. The basic process is that they absorb ultraviolet light and lose some of the absorbed energy as heat, and the rocks emit the remaining heat as light that we can see.

Many of these magical rocks can be found at Franklin, in Sussex County, where old zinc mines created an excess of unneeded mined rock from deep in the earth. That rock turned out to be filled with fluorescent minerals. The Franklin-Sterling Hill region contains 361 different mineral species, 25 of which are found nowhere else on earth.

"It has produced 86 different fluorescent species," says Dr. Earl Verbeek, the resident geologist at the Sterling Hill Museum in Ogdensburg.

"The species tend to contain two or more minerals, sometimes as many as seven. That's very rare. And the colors of fluorescent tend to be rich, pure colors."

"Basically, northern New Jersey has some old rocks with zinc deposits," Verbeek explains. "In all the rest of the world, there are thousands of zinc deposits, but none have the similarities of Franklin.

It has a huge number of minerals that "fluoresce."

"People come from all over the world to dig in Franklin," says Schneider. "It's known for having the brightest fluorescents."

Schneider and Verbeek agree that fluorescent rock collecting is in its infancy. They cite the rise of mineral prices and the availability of rocks in New Jersey.

"It's one of the last available places to find rare minerals," Schneider says.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; Technical; US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: bustamites; esperite; fluorescentminerals; fluorescentrocks; franklinmines; frankllin; gardenstate; geology; hardystonite; minerals; njfarms; rocks; rocksandminerals; sussexcounty; willemite
This Rocks!

The photography darkroom in his basement has been converted into a mineral room, with shelves lined with rare fluorescent rocks, such as Esperite, Willemite, Hardystonite, Bustamites and other "rare Franklin's." There's even a Roeblingite.

"Found only in New Jersey," Schneider says. "It's super-rare. Named after George Roebling. A piece the size of your thumb is worth $300."

njfarms

1 posted on 06/08/2005 5:29:05 PM PDT by Coleus
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To: Coleus
Hardystonite

Now we're talking! I want royalties!

2 posted on 06/08/2005 5:31:03 PM PDT by IllumiNaughtyByNature (If Islam is a religion of peace, they should fire their P.R. guy!)
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To: Coleus

"What are they good for?" he asks aloud. "They are good for nothing. But they look good. I equate it to fireworks. It's like indoor fireworks."

Someone seriesly needs a life.


3 posted on 06/08/2005 5:35:22 PM PDT by Xenophobic Alien (OK gang, you know the rules, no humping, no licking, no sniffing hineys.)
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To: Coleus

Do rockhounds really refer to the "species" of rocks?


4 posted on 06/08/2005 5:36:11 PM PDT by prion (Yes, as a matter of fact, I AM the spelling police)
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To: Coleus
I grew up in the gemstone industry. My family's business created a mineral museum with a fluorescent mineral room and all of the displays were New Jersey specimens. The fluorescent room ranked right up there with the dinosaur bones/eggs and the meteorites as the kids favorites.
5 posted on 06/08/2005 5:36:57 PM PDT by DocRock
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To: Coleus
The Stone Museum has a nice dark room too for those in Central Jersey.
6 posted on 06/08/2005 5:39:06 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: prion
"Do rockhounds really refer to the "species" of rocks?"

Gemologist refer to Species and Variety as technical terms of gemstones, but rocks have Types.
7 posted on 06/08/2005 5:39:39 PM PDT by DocRock
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To: prion

[edited in later] To clear up any confusion, Minerals also have species and varieties.


8 posted on 06/08/2005 5:42:36 PM PDT by DocRock
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To: prion
Do rockhounds really refer to the "species" of rocks?

No, but they refer to species of minerals and rocks are made up of one or more minerals. Minerals are divided into groups, species, and varieties.

9 posted on 06/08/2005 5:43:16 PM PDT by rockprof
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To: Calpernia

THere's a whole exhibit of NJ glowing rocks in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington.


10 posted on 06/08/2005 5:49:02 PM PDT by Strategerist
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To: Coleus

I grew up in Ogdensburg. We picked so many rocks out of the garden and cursed them as we threw them away. Everyone had a blacklight, and that was fun, the there were rocks everywhere.


11 posted on 06/08/2005 5:50:34 PM PDT by kdot
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To: Coleus
Under these "black lights," seemingly ordinary rocks transform magically into a spectacularly radiant glow of greens, reds, yellows and oranges.... A piece the size of your thumb is worth $300....

Dang. I got some seemingly ordinary velvet posters of tigers and other animals around here somewhere. They magically transform into spectacular radiant colors under a black light also. I could be rich!

12 posted on 06/08/2005 6:52:39 PM PDT by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Leftists would have no standards at all)
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To: Coleus

Ooohhhhh! I want some of those!! They're so preeeeettty!


13 posted on 06/08/2005 7:14:14 PM PDT by samiam1972 (Live simply so that others may simply live!)
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To: Coleus

I saw that stuff years ago on tv...Kryptonite was it???


14 posted on 06/08/2005 7:31:27 PM PDT by Iscool (You mess with me, you mess with the WHOLE trailer park!!!)
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To: Calpernia
Franklin Mineral Museum in New Jersey Northwest Skylands

FRANKLIN MINERAL MUSEUM

15 posted on 06/08/2005 7:31:37 PM PDT by Coleus (God doesn't like moderates, Rev 3:15-16)
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To: Coleus

Bump!

Franklin is a great trip!


16 posted on 06/08/2005 7:39:37 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: Coleus
I still remember the blacklight display room at the Museum, I haven't been there in 15+ years in elementary school. Somewhere in my parents' attic I have a fractured fluorescent geod I found in the slag heap at Franklin.
17 posted on 06/08/2005 9:41:35 PM PDT by JerseyHighlander
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Norbergite (yellow SW) Limecrest Quarry, Sparta, NJ Esperite  from a Retired Miner, Franklin, NJ Bustamite, Willemite, Franklin, NJ Geode, SW, Phosphorescent
Norbergite (yellow SW) Limecrest Quarry, Sparta, NJ Esperite  from a Retired Miner, Franklin, NJ Bustamite, Willemite, Franklin, NJ Geode, SW, Phosphorescent




Calcite, Willemite, Franklinite, Sussex County, NJ Hardystonite (purple), Willemite (green), Clinohedrite (orange), Collected 10-3-96, Parker Area, Franklin, NJ
Calcite, Willemite, Franklinite, Sussex County, NJ Hardystonite (purple), Willemite (green), Clinohedrite (orange), Collected 10-3-96, Parker Area, Franklin, NJ

18 posted on 06/18/2005 2:06:11 PM PDT by Coleus (God doesn't like moderates, Rev 3:15-16)
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Business is looking up at Ogdensburg mine
Museum adds an observatory 

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Sterling Hill Mining Museum in Sussex County has gone from the Stone Age to the Space Age. 

Here, miners once descended 2,550 feet -- or nearly two Empire State Buildings -- to tap the richest body of zinc ore in the world. 

Now, the former mine in Ogdensburg, which became a museum in 1989 and is listed on the state and national registers of historic places, has added a telescope observatory to its repertoire of tunnels and fluorescent minerals. 

Touring an underground mine and gazing at stars may seem to be contradictory pursuits, but they actually can be complementary, said Bill Kroth, a member of the museum's board of directors and amateur astronomer behind the observatory project. 

"It seemed to be a natural progression, from underground geology to astronomy," Kroth said. "It's all science. Everything (in the universe) is composed of the same elements. It's the same stuff, just in different combinations." 

Visitors who come to the mine to see rare fluorescent minerals found in meandering tunnels also will be able -- on certain nights -- to peer at the heavens through telescopes in the observatory. 

The white dome built a few months ago contains three telescopes -- a 20-inch and a 12.5-inch reflector telescopes for typical night-sky viewing, and a hydrogen-alpha solar telescope to see fiery flares dancing off the sun. 

The idea for the observatory arose about four years ago, when Kroth conducted a tour at the mine for a school group and brought along one of his own telescopes for a mini-astronomy lesson at night after the mine tour was over. 

"I said, 'Gee, it would be nice to have an observatory' there, recalled Kroth, a Wood-Ridge, Bergen County, resident who works as a civil engineer. 

The project began more than two years ago. Along the way, Kroth was joined by Ogdensburg resident Gordon Powers, who works as a mechanical engineer at Picatinny Arsenal in Rockaway Township and also is an amateur astronomer. 

Earlier this year, the two men and other volunteers constructed the observatory from a kit. It took about seven weekends to build the 170-square-foot stainless-steel and fiberglass structure that has a rotating dome and retractable shutter on the roof. All of the work, including building a concrete pad for it and installing electricity, was donated by museum volunteers. 

On a recent stargazing night last month, Kroth trained a telescope on the Ring Nebula 2,000 light-years from Earth, which means the light seen through the telescope at that time left the nebula 2,000 years ago. 

The mining museum also has meteorites on display, including chunks of the moon and Mars that were blasted off their surfaces by asteroids and sucked in by Earth's gravity. 

"I think it's exciting to hold a piece of Mars or the moon in your hand when you're looking at those bodies" through a telescope, Kroth said. 

The museum's thousands of visitors each year are mostly schoolchildren who walk through dank, craggy tunnels to glimpse fluorescent minerals that glow eerily under ultraviolet light. 

Now, the observatory is envisioned to be another attraction for school or scouting groups, as well as for various other events or celebrations, such as birthdays or anniversaries, Kroth said. 

"We're just trying to plant the science spark," Kroth said. "It's all part of getting kids interested in science. If you get the science bug when you're young, it stays with you." 

Or, as Powers put it, "Once a science geek, always a science geek." 

A new astronomy club at the museum also has formed and has about 30 members. The Sterling Hill Astronomy Group tries to meet twice a month, when the moon is not out and it's not raining or cloudy. They have held three sessions so far. 

The cost for regular monthly viewing is $25 per person, or $35 for a family membership, and stargazing will take place year-round. For more information, see the museum Web site at www.sterlinghill.org .

19 posted on 08/22/2005 5:28:11 PM PDT by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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To: Coleus

What's it look like under regular light?


20 posted on 08/22/2005 5:30:29 PM PDT by CJ Wolf
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To: RockDoc


21 posted on 08/22/2005 5:33:13 PM PDT by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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To: Darksheare

ping


22 posted on 08/22/2005 5:33:30 PM PDT by null and void (Pssst! Suicide bombing causes eternal impotence. Pass it on...)
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To: CJ Wolf

A rock.


23 posted on 08/22/2005 5:34:46 PM PDT by null and void (Pssst! Suicide bombing causes eternal impotence. Pass it on...)
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To: Coleus

It's those rocks that glow WITHOUT a light source that you gotta watch out for.


24 posted on 08/22/2005 5:36:43 PM PDT by mercy (never again a patsy for Bill Gates - spyware and viri free for over TWO YEARS now)
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