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14th Sep 2018 20:09 UTCPaul Brandes Manager

Is it just me, or does this seem like a huge " get rich quick" scheme???

14th Sep 2018 20:50 UTCTravis Olds Expert

It's overly sensationalized by the writer, no doubt... "New rock type," and "Christopher Columbus of rocks" ..cringe..

Anyway, I helped prepare the Mineral News article confirming the mineralogy of the stones, if anyone is interested in a copy. Ray Laughlin and Shawn Carlson did most of the work for it.


15th Sep 2018 01:21 UTCDon Windeler

On one hand...

Really cool, and I'm surprised people haven't blacklighted Keweenaw beaches sooner. (Or maybe this stuff has just ended up hidden in collections!) It's pretty neat to see some different minerals get called out as a result -- especially in a district as venerable as the Keweenaw -- and maybe it leads to something scientifically interesting.

On the other hand (mostly re: the article)


15th Sep 2018 21:17 UTCPaul Brandes Manager

I'm not doubting the mineralogy of the specimens, but the fact that someone is claiming these are a "new" species for Michigan (more than likely for financial gain) is wrong, especially when it is very obvious that these have been glacially transported from somewhere in Canada. I know a lot of locals are very upset about people tearing up the lakeshore now looking for these "famous" rocks.....

16th Sep 2018 01:36 UTCKeith Compton Manager


Is there a link to the Laughlin article anywhere - or could you PM me a copy


18th Sep 2018 18:27 UTCAntonio Nazario

Supposedly just sodalite under another marketing name

18th Sep 2018 19:52 UTCMatt Courville

Anything is sensational to those that don't bother doing their 'homework' on what they are spoon-fed. Very ironic that they used Christopher Columbus, as we all know that there was an entire continent of people that 'already' knew that they existed. 'New' can be such a relative term....

Ease your cringes and arghs with thoughts of people collecting fluorescent bird poop! Puts a smile on your face doesn't it??

19th Sep 2018 06:55 UTCTravis Olds Expert

Article sent, Keith. Here's a photo from the article: sodalite That's a funny point, Matt, I'm still not sure if the simile was intentional in the sense you describe or what.

I agree with you Paul. Some of the other articles were more well written, for example the one from Forbes. Are these cobbles worth $X00 each, or ~$50 to go collect them on a guided tour, ehhh, not to me at least.. Was the name "yooperlite" proposed for financial gain, no, I don't think so, but some dealers (or buyers) can rationalize ignorance with $$ and perpetuate the lie. The sheep still pay for it, just as they do for incorrectly identified rarities/recently described minerals on some auction sites..

On a happier note there is an important feel-good aspect to Erik's find.. Michigan mineralogy is pretty thoroughly studied but that an everyday dude/collector can find kg worth of an aesthetic mineral "new" to there is VERY rare. I guess overall the chances to find sodalite weren't low, but as we compile updates for Michigan's mineralogy it is an increasingly common occurrence that people from the collecting community and so-called amateurs are finding many of these previously-known (sometimes quite rare) minerals not yet found to occur in MI.

19th Sep 2018 23:15 UTCDaniel Bennett

Paul Brandes Wrote:


> I'm not doubting the mineralogy of the specimens,

> but the fact that someone is claiming these are a

> "new" species for Michigan (more than likely for

> financial gain) is wrong, especially when it is

> very obvious that these have been glacially

> transported from somewhere in Canada. I know a lot

> of locals are very upset about people tearing up

> the lakeshore now looking for these "famous"

> rocks.....

Paul, the university of Michigan state studied the rock and they call it a new rock type. (not for financial gain). isn't all mineral exploration all about financial gain anyway though? are not all collectable rocks and minerals on the market for financial gain? is that bad? I believe its human nature. so a new rock type for Michigan. if its found in Canada too then they can also claim it as Canadian.

how do you tear up a lakeshore anyway? with a blacklight? I think lake superior beachs have seen worse considering its history as a hotspot for agate, copper, and other collectable rocks. I even feel like defending the writer of the article too. they used quotations to point out who's words are who's.

it makes me wonder what is REALLY bothering you about this. are you sure you're not just a little jealous that a rockhound made a cool discovery instead of a scientist?

I would like to congratulate Erik Rintamaki for his discovery. way to simply look and see what is right there all along that nobody else noticed. nice find.

20th Sep 2018 02:06 UTCDoug Schonewald

It is a new find of 'sodalite'. I also commend the finder on looking when no one else bothered. Observation will always be the key to new discoveries and complacency will seldom do so.

Why not call it what it is and quit making up names for stuff that already has a name. The ONLY reason to do that is to have a snappy marketing name, and boy is this stuff being marketed.

I recently added stellerite to the Washington State list of minerals. I didn't call it Yippeeite, or name it after myself or something else. It already had a name 'stellerite'.

Even more recently I added Nagatelite to the Washington State list of minerals. Nagatelite, a mineral that had never been seen discovered in Washington. In fact, it had never been discovered on the North or South American continent and was known by a single discovery in Japan in the1930's. I didn't call it something it wasn't. It already had a name 'nagatelite'. I am very happy to have a specimen in my collection.

There isn't a thing wrong with making a few bucks on mineral specimens, but we don't need to rename minerals that already have a name to increase the bottom line.

My 2-cents

20th Sep 2018 03:08 UTCTravis Olds Expert

I'm really not sure what contribution Michigan State University had, if any. The samples were tested by EDS at Michigan Tech, and as far as I know hasn't been tested at MSU.. Still, it's NOT a new rock type!! Let's make that crystal clear..

I think the name was initially harmlessly applied to a unique piece of material. What came of it afterwards is now pretty obvious/perpetuated, and is more heartache to fix than it's worth.

20th Sep 2018 13:21 UTCGregg Little

Serendipity is often the driver of science, discovery and business.

One of the significant tungsten deposits in Canada (scheelite in an ultramafic) was walked over by numerous prospectors until one speculatively clever individual visited the area at night and took a black light with him to shine on the talus slope. Apparently it lit up like the starry night sky above.

There was no renaming of the rock. We'll leave that to the entrepreneurs on the rock hound side as they will never cease this practice. I take solace in the "fall-out" where, maybe a few more soles will be drawn into the wonder of earth science.

21st Sep 2018 01:01 UTCPaul Brandes Manager

Travis Olds Wrote:


> Still, it's NOT a new rock type!! Let's make that crystal clear..


Thank you, Travis. That is the point I have been trying to make all along.

These syenites with their fluorescent sodalite have been known along Lake Superior for 30+ years, it's just that Rintamaki is the first to have them confirmed scientifically that they exist and for that, I commend him. But, why sensationalize it in the way it's been done? Why post it all over social media, charge exorbitant guide fees to collect them, etc.? Just take credit for the conformation and leave it at that!

21st Sep 2018 08:00 UTCTom Goodland

Does anyone here know how widely distributed, in other parts of the world, are similar syenites with sodalite? I like collecting beach pebbles in the UK with its rich variety of rocks. I've been thinking about buying a "blacklight", so this may be another reason to do so.

21st Sep 2018 10:01 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

I found alluvial sodalite pebbles just once, in a cold stream in Bolivia, but sodalite is not a mineral that commonly survives in alluvium, what with its solubility in even weak organic acids, and its cleavages in 6(!) directions.

25th Sep 2018 23:02 UTCKeith A. Peregrine

Just returned from the Keweenaw. Yooperlites are the current rage, er, outside of collecting circles. When speaking with a local dealer, this new find seems to happen every 5 - 6 years. So, nothing new. What makes this exciting for new collectors are the inexpensive hand held UV lights, especially the Convoy.

Heard someone is leading "trips" out to a couple of beaches for $50 per person. They hand them an inexpensive UV light, and the rest they say is history. Supposedly these beaches have been thoroughly scoured. But wait for next spring, a fresh batch will be washed up.

While interesting, the sodalite is generally not in large enough quantity to add to your fluorescent display.

Did see some Yooperlites in Denver last week. Surprising how quickly something becomes a "hit."

26th Sep 2018 00:09 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

I'll have to start up my tumbler. Should be able to produce lots of Yooperlites from the hackmanite I have.
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