Mineral symposium brings rock lovers to Socorro

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Bringing people to Socorro from all across the country this weekend, the 33rd annual New Mexico Mineral Symposium is held Saturday and Sunday and provides a forum for both professionals and amateurs interested in mineralogy.

The meeting allows all to share their cumulative knowledge of mineral occurrences and provides stimulus for mineralogical studies and new mineral discoveries. And the informal atmosphere allows for intimate discussions among all interested in mineralogy and associated fields.

“This event brings over 200 people in every year,” said Virgil Lueth, curator of the New Mexico Tech Mineral Museum.

Lueth has been organizing the event for the past 17 years.

“It’s a really good time and they come from all over the country and some from Canada,” Lueth said. “It’s one of the biggest in the country.”

This year’s symposium consists of a day and a half of formal papers presented in 30-minute time blocks. Papers will focus on mineral occurrences from New Mexico and adjacent states, as well as Mexico. One paper from Australia is planned as well.

At 4 p.m. Saturday, Dr. Jean DeMouthe will speak on the ancient and modern uses of gems and minerals: talismans, tools and medicine. According to symposium information, DeMouthe is a geologist in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Geology at the California Academy of Sciences. She is the senior collection manager for geology.

DeMouthe is interested in innovations and advances in collection management and in the educations of professionals in that field.

Lueth said participants can register at the door. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and opening remarks begin at 8:30. The $35 registration fee ($30 for seniors and $15 for students) includes a copy of the abstracts, two continental breakfasts and coffee breaks. A cocktail hour and dinner will be held tonight. A cash bar will be available and the cost for the dinner is $25 for adults and $10 for children.

An auction to benefit the symposium will conclude the evening’s activities.

On Sunday the public is invited to a silent auction in the upper lobby of the Macey Center sponsored by the Albuquerque Gem and Mineral Club for the benefit of the Mineral Museum. Lueth said this is the chance for collectors to share and show off what they have.

Contact Lueth at 835-5140 for more information.