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Tucson Show 2009 Review - Part 2 (or Air Mindat takes to the skies)

Last Updated: 21st Feb 2009

By Jolyon & Katya Ralph

Tucson 2009

Report by Jolyon Ralph

First, wrapping up some of the interesting things I saw at the Hotel Shows:

Russian Minerals in the Quality Inn show had slices of Clinochlore or "Seraphinite" from Russia, as many of the russian dealers did, however they also had what they claimed is the last complete stalactite in existence of the material, so here's a photo:

Now let's wander over to the Inn Suites show...

Inn Suites

This is one of my favourite shows, mostly because it's a relaxed venue where most of my friends and contacts from the mineral world appear with regularity, so hanging around in the center of the Inn Suites during show days means you're guaranteed to meet up with a bunch of people you know (and quite a few new people too).

Alfredo Petrov had his usual room at the Inn Suites, and one thing he had that I thought you'd like to see was this fake cuprian Aragonite from Spain. Made in the same way as the copper-stained glauberite specimens you've no doubt seen from the US.

Dyed Aragonite from Spain

Jordi Fabre had a few new things to show me, including this Vesuvianite from China - as blocky prismatic crystals

and this rich Shigaite from the Wessels Mine, South Africa

Air Mindat

Those of you looking for me at the main show on Friday morning will have figured out I was missing - that's because I was out collecting - and what better way to go collecting than to go to two virtually inaccessable sites by helicopter in one day.

A few of us from the Mindat Chatroom clubbed together to organize this (and if you've never been in the mindat chatroom now you know what you're missing!). Here we are loading up Air Mindat flight 001 for our day's collecting:

Mindat Airlines Inaugural Flight

Here's Jim Bean sitting in the helicopter looking very excited:

Jim Bean on the helicopter

And me looking quite excited too! Now you see the lengths I'll go to for research!

Your Webmaster on the Helicopter

En-route we flew over the Air Force 'boneyard' I mentioned in my previous report. This was a much better view than the coach tour I paid for!

Tucson 'Boneyard' from the air

Our first stop was the Grand Reef Mine, famed for Linarite in particular:

Landed at the Grand Reef

Here's a view of the Reef itself, and the collecting area in the scree to the left:

We all did pretty well there, but Mike Rumsey did especially well with his haul of Linarite:

Mike Rumsey with his haul of Linarite

Here's a view of one of the pieces he found

Rumsey showing off one of the Linarites

After this, it was back in the helicopter en-route for our next stop. We flew over some beautiful and totally deserted parts of Arizona:

Flying over Arizona

Our next stop was the Table Mountain Mine, famed for Dioptase, The helicopter landed on a remarkable small strip of land - which proved to be the slag pile from the smelters! Here we are looking over the drop next to where the helicopter is parked.

Mike Rumsey wasted no time in building a snowman - he thought it was hillarious that he could build one in Southern Arizona.

And then onto the serious business of looking for Dioptase in the dumps. Here's Mike again exploring, but Jim found the best piece, sharp dioptase crystals in a quartz cavity.

A last photo-call before our return flight. From Left to Right - Roy "Digger" Lee, Me (Jolyon Ralph), Maria Alferova, Mike "Rumz" Rumsey, Everett "E" Harrington, Jim "Jim-CA" Bean

Air Mindat's first passengers

And finally, on our way back to Tucson Airport, we flew over the Inn Suites - so here's a view of the Inn Suites Show that you don't usually get to see!

Inn Suites from the Air

And yes, we will be going back next year!

Part 3 - The TGMS show, coming soon!

Article has been viewed at least 24422 times.


Hi Jolyon, great work!
You brought me back over 30 years!


Marco Barsanti
19th Feb 2009 6:22am
Hello Jolyon
Glad to see part 2, Mindat Airforce ROCKS !
Can't wait to see part 3 !
Wayne Corwin
PS: When are you going to do; Mindat In SPACE ?

Wayne Corwin
19th Feb 2009 12:46pm

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