Story posted May 01, 2012
Image above: Beryl
On a sunny day in April 2012, the EOS 315 – Mineral Science – class was privileged to visit a private Maine quarry.
Course Description: Minerals are the earth’s building blocks and an important human resource. The study of minerals provides information on processes that occur within the earth’s core, mantle, crust, and at its surface. At the surface, minerals interact with the hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere, and are essential to understanding environmental issues. Minerals and mineral processes examined using hand-specimens, crystal structures, chemistry, and microscopy. Class projects emphasize mineral-based research.
Students collected tourmaline, beryl, feldspar, muscovite, and quartz. We learned about the history of quarries in Maine, the formation of granite pegmatite, and how to find minerals. Here are a few photos.
Finding beryl pieces in gravel
Looking for 'color' to find tourmaline
Many of the rocks in the quarry were removed historically for ceramics, and more recently for gravel roads
Pegmatitic muscovite and feldspar
Sifting through gravel to find gems
Using a fire hose to wash away gravel and uncover finds