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Norman King's Mindat Home Page

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Norman King's Mindat Home Page

Registered member since 20th Apr 2010

Norman King has uploaded:
1382 Mineral Photos
676 Locality Photos
71 Other Photos

Norman has published 3 articles on  RSS Link to blog for Norman King
I first learned about mineral collecting in 1950, when I was five years old, from my neighbor (and landlord), well-known southern California collector Earl Calvert who had given my mother two small crystals (quartz and apatite) in cotton-padded box. After that, as time went on, I spent a lot of time in the sparsely-settled northeastern corner of California, learning to appreciate the out-of-doors, and eventually deciding I would become either a forest ranger or geologist. I was impressed by the career pamphlets showing geologists trekking across deserts and fording jungle streams. I also discovered that forest rangers aren’t paid very well, but geologists can get rich practicing their profession. Coming from a poor family and getting tired of poverty, that clinched it. One of the geo-things I enjoyed while still in elementary school was collecting minerals. I tried to collect them myself, but never found anything that looked like what I was seeing in museums and in picture books, so I learned early on to buy the specimens I liked. My budget wasn’t big, but I acquired perhaps half a dozen decent specimens while still in high school, using money I earned doing my bicycle-powered paper route (I never had an allowance). Then came college, which kept me busy and cost a lot, so that ended my activity in mineral collecting, at least for the time being. Being an introverted nerd, I found myself suited to academics, and went on to post-graduate work, ultimately earning a Ph.D. in geology from Indiana University. From there I took an academic position at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, staying until the oil boom of the 1970's when I found that I could do a lot better financially in the oil industry. I went to Getty Oil first, then to Ladd Petroleum (a General Electric subsidiary), where I eventually became Geological Manager for the Western United States. Oil crashed in the 1980's, and after a few years running a technical writing company, I had the opportunity to return to academics at the University of Southern Indiana. I stayed there from 1988 to 2009, retiring as Chair of the Department of Geology and Physics. With more time on my hands (not a lot, but just more), I went back to my roots in the geological realm, going to some local mineral shows and buying a few specimens here and there. That’s when I began to learn the ropes of serious mineral collecting (for the first time, actually), and jumped in with both feet. And here I am today, collecting systematically and looking especially hard for ideal and otherwise interesting crystals.

At 100% width

These photos show what 51 years can do to a person--1963 in California, on the day I left for college to study geology, and 2014 presenting my poster on the minerals of Lookout Pass, Utah at the National Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Vancouver, BC.


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