Saturday, April 25, 2009

Photographing Fred Parker's Maryland Collection

Fred Parker was mentioned in last week's post as the "eminent Maryland field collector" and "valuable collaborator," who frequently accompanied Jeff Nagy to regional collecting sites. Within my personal mineralogical sphere, Fred is the final word on the subject of Maryland minerals. A mineralogist and second generation collector, he has authored numerous articles and papers including "The Minerals of the Hunting Hill Quarry, Rockville, Maryland," for Mineralogical Record, whose biographical archives feature him as well as his father prominently. Fred's collection of Maryland minerals is amazing. This week, he was kind enough to turn me loose with my camera and bare bones portable studio to photograph the most significant pieces in his Maryland suite for the Maryland Minerals website.

The barite crystal in calcite with dolomite from the Pinesburg Quarry near Williamsport, Maryland, is but one example. It was all but inconceivable to me that a such a specimen could ever have been collected anywhere in Maryland. My impression was similar regarding nearly every piece that I photographed from Fred's collection.

It's appropriate here to recall that in last week's post about Jeff Nagy's quest to revise and republish The Minerals of the Washington, D.C. Area, I promised word regarding a recently discovered galena deposit in Baltimore County. Along with some minor anglesite and cerussite, the find yielded the first pyromorphite ever to be reported in Maryland. This was an excursion that Jeff and Fred were in on together. At left is a photograph taken on the trunk of my car of a piece Jeff pulled from the back his truck last weekend during a Baltimore Mineral Society field trip to the Marriottsville Quarry. At right is the specimen that Fred held onto. The location of the deposit remains secret until it has been explored further.

At this moment, Fred is attending the Rochester Mineralogical Symposium, and I'm en route to New Orleans for its Jazz and Heritage Festival to indulge in another of my hobbies, namely wild music. Since collaboration on specifics could be difficult during the coming week and my Internet access could be limited, I've drafted a feature for Mineral Bliss about some of the particularly remarkable pieces from Fred's Maryland collection. By the time it's scheduled to post on May 2, Fred and I should have had an opportunity to catch up so that he can check the facts.

For my trip to New Orleans, a recently ordered book, Rock, Gem, and Mineral Collecting Sites in Western North Carolina by Richard James Jacquot, Jr., has just arrived in the mail. Hopefully, it will lead me to an interesting locality or two on the drive down or more likely as I'm returning during the first week of May. Word about anything this leads should be posted here on Sunday May 10.

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