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Denver Symposium and Field Trip

Last Updated: 2nd Oct 2011

By Jolyon & Katya Ralph

Denver Symposium and Field Trip

Last month I was fortunate enough to be invited to talk at a symposium in Denver about Russian Mineralogy. Here is a quick photo-report from the symposium and the fieldtrip that the invited speakers went on afterwards.

The Symposium was held by the Colorado Chapter of Friends of Mineralogy, the Colorado School of Mines Museum and the Denver Gem and Mineral Show. It was held in the Colorado School of Mines on a beautiful September Saturday.

The School of Mines

Some of the attendees

Igor Pekov from Moscow, Russia gave two talks, one was on the unusual iodide mineralization at the Rubtsovskoe deposit in Russia.

Igor giving his presentation.

Peter Modreski gave a talk entitled "A Comparison of Kola Peninsula Mineral Localities to those of North America"

Peter Modreski's presentation

John Watson talked about Anatoly Skrigitil, a Russian mineral collector and dealer who went missing (presumed dead) in suspicious circumstances in 1999

John Watson presenting

I gave two presentations.

Mineral Museums of Moscow

Russian Mineral Classification Systems

After the conference we went on four days of field trip.

Driving away from Denver

First stop, Turkey Creek Canyon, Jefferson County.

Where we collected Sillimanite

Driving into the mountains

We took a group photo, left to right: Igor Pekov, Anna Turchkova, Claudia Watson, Pete Modreski, John Watson and myself

Group photo with the collegiate peaks in the background.

11,312 feet (3.4km) up

First collecting stop was the Powerhorn carbonatite, near Gunnison.

A hill made of carbonatite

Perovskite crystals to 1cm were found in this roadcut

Igor makes a new friend

Igor's friend

The next day we head east to the Pike's Peak batholith, where we have permission to visit the Smoky Hawk amazonite claim.

Digging on the claim


After a successful day in the Lake George area, we head off towards Cripple Creek.

As dusk arises, the scenery is even more beautiful

There's a pot of gold (tellurides) at the end of the rainbow

Next day, we arrive in the town of Victor ready for our tour of the Cripple Creek gold mine.

Mostly not much happens in Victor.

Telluride specimen in the company office display.

Before we were allowed in the gold mine, we were given a safety briefing and a brief geological guide to the deposit.

Map of the underground workings at Cripple Creek

Ally, company geologist and our guide for the day.

The mine workings are huge

We didn't find any tellurides, but the visit was great

One of the many abandoned underground gold mines in the area, now right at the edge of the open pit.

For the final day, four of us (Pete Modreski, Igor, Anna and myself) went to South Platte, a famous pegmatite region.

"... but it had positive reviews in Tripadvisor"

Sense of achievement after clibming up a hill

Walking towards the White Cloud pegmatite workings

The quarry was worked for feldspar and quartz, but is especially rich in REE minerals

We sit on a pile of slightly radioactive rocks drinking vodka from a flask.

Lots of REE rich rocks. These specimens are rich in Synchysite and possibly Gadolinite

Straight after collecting, we drove back to Colorado to attend the annual open-night at the Colorado School of Mines museum.

The Museum entrance

Museum director Bruce Geller thanks people for attending

On loan to the museum, this incredible Rhodochrosite from China

Kerith Graeber with her display of Minerals from Mexico at the museum

Live music

Visitors enjoy the displays

Colorado minerals

Super rhodochrosite

From slightly farther afield, a caledonite from Arizona

From slightly farther afield still, a piece of moon rock on loan from NASA

Article has been viewed at least 31105 times.


Looks like you had a good time with everything! Too bad that the field trips were limited to the speakers, I'm sure that quite a few attending the symposium would have loved to join in. I was actually looking into collecting at your first collecting location since schorlomite is listed from there, I wasn't just sure if the area was still accessible since a large part of the Powerhorn White Earth district is within the Powerhorn Wilderness Area where no collecting is allowed.

James Pool
2nd Oct 2011 1:35pm
Excellent report as always Jolyon, and great sense of humour in the captions! Do you by any chance know if they are planning to make the speakers' presentations available online for those who couldn't make it to the syposium?

David Parfitt
2nd Oct 2011 8:45pm
I would like to know where you found out that there is no mineral collecting allowed in the Powderhorn Wilderness Area. You are allowed to collect on any wilderness area as long as there is no special prohibition that is listed in the Forest Service or BLM plan for the area. 75% of the wilderness area is on USFS land and the remainder on BLM land. Strangely enough non of the links for the forest service plan work and I can't find anything on the BLM websites.

Jim Gawura
7th Oct 2011 4:23am

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