You know you’re a rockhound when cries of “Froodite! I’ve got froodite” are heard echoing from the rafters. And before you step back in alarm, it’s not contagious… it’s the name of a mineral.
My husband Reiner and I are mineral collectors. Reiner has been involved in the hobby since he was a young man, almost 50 years now. Some collectors try to assemble one of each species from a particular region, like Ontario, for example. Or perhaps they will have wall-to-wall cabinets filled with tourmaline from all over the world. Others focus on one element only, like silver. We are “species” collectors. That is, we try to collect at least one of each of the 4000 + mineral specimens known. We’ve got a long way to go to achieve that number. Actually, it’s not realistic to expect that one’s collection could contain all of the species. In many cases the only known material is microscopic grains found while doing research.
We make seasonal trips to the Bancroft area (Mineral Capital of Canada) and more irregularly to Cobalt and further to the Mamainse copper area on Lake Superior. To support the hobby we sell our material online or at mineral shows close to home.
Besides being relatively new to minerals, I am a novice photographer. My current project involves cataloging our collection. It’s a great learning experience since I’ve only been involved in collecting for the last five years. I’m learning not only about minerals: the whats and the wheres, but also the joys and heartbreak of digital cameras!
Back to the froodite. If you’ve had a chance to read back in my newly imported archived posts, you will see that we had planned a trip to Lake Superior last year. Un-fortunately, that trip was cancelled. Instead, Reiner decided to sort through some of the material that he had collected earlier from the Vermilion Mine, west of Sudbury. He found some unusual silvery metallic bits that looked unfamiliar and sent samples off for analysis. And that’s how we learned that he had found the ultra-rare palladium mineral called froodite. Normally, froodite is one of those minerals that is found only in a lab. The image here shows a enormous 0.5 mm veinlet of the stuff. Sweet! Reiner took the photo through a microscope.
The first free weekend found us heading north to see if we could find more of the silvery goodies. It was a challenging trip weather wise. We ran into heavy thundershowers heading north and even heavier storms chased us back to our motel. But the exciting thing – and here is where you and I might part company – yes, we mineral collectors get seriously excited when we see newly exposed outcrops. Hot damn! Unfortunately, nothing new was found on that trip. Maybe this year!
This screen capture from Google Streetview is the only
indecent exposure you’ll see in this post.
Tags: Bancroft, Cobalt, Froodite, hobby, Lake Superior, mineral collecting, mineral collectors, Ontario, outcrop, palladium, photography, rare minerals, rock collecting, Sudbury, Vermilion Mine, wire silver, zerotohero