Gems & Gemology, Fall 2015, Vol. 51, No. 3

Books: Mineral Treasures of the Ozarks

Douglas Kennedy
Mineral Treasures of the Ozarks Book Cover
By Bruce L. Stinchcomb, softcover, 160 pp., illus., publ. by Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen, PA, 2014, US$29.99

In Mineral Treasures of the Ozarks, author Bruce L. Stinchcomb has chosen to focus on Mississippi Valley Type (MVT) minerals, which come from a specific type of stratiform deposit that occurs extensively in the watershed of the Mississippi River. These minerals are associated with and found in sedimentary rocks. The states discussed in Stinchcomb’s book are Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, as well as Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Virginia. The last two chapters discuss minerals from other parts of North America and other continents.

Of the more than 500 illustrations, approximately 100 feature photos, paintings, or maps of mines and mining areas. The remaining illustrations are color photos of mineral specimens and about a dozen polished pieces, most of them in the chapter on quartz. The photos and captions often highlight the different appearances of the same mineral from one mine to the next.

There are chapters on lead (mostly as the mineral galena), zinc (mostly as sphalerite), barite, and fluorite. There is also a chapter on quartz, which is usually not considered an MVT mineral, but often occurs with classic MVT minerals. One chapter combines copper, cobalt, and iron minerals, while the last mineral-specific chapter combines calcite and dolomite. Each chapter ends with a one-page glossary and list of resources.

The mineral chapters survey mining history and commercial uses, with numerous photos and descriptions of the minerals and the various locations where they are found. The most detailed chapter on lead also covers transportation from the mines and the smelting process.

Some of the color photos of mines and mining areas have faded a bit with age, and some of bright colors in the backgrounds of the mineral specimens can be overwhelming, but the sheer quantity of photos far outweighs the occasional distraction.

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