Fossil Basin Mineralogical Society begins meetings

Fossil Basin Mineralogical Society facilitator Don Stuart found this pyrite in the Kemmerer area. The new club is for those interested in minerals, rocks and gems. (COURTESY PHOTO / Don Stuart)

The Fossil Basin Mineralogical Society, a local club for rock and mineral enthusiasts, is just starting out, but it could have a big fan base in the Kemmerer-Diamondville area.

“Minerals are my life,” says Don Stuart, the Fossil Basin Mineralogical Society facilitator. “I think this could be a really cool club to get people involved in.”

Stuart has worked in the coal industry for 30 years and has lived in Kemmerer for a year and a half. He said the Fossil Basin Promotion Board heard about his background and approached him about starting the club.

The meetings will be held the third Wednesday of each month from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Triangle Cabin in Kemmerer.

“If we have too many people to fit in the cabin, we will hold the meetings at Diamondville Town Hall,” Stuart said.

The next meeting is on Wednesday, July 18. Stuart said he hopes to have a guest speaker at each club meeting.

“I’m hoping to get a paleontologist from Fossil Butte National Monument as one of the guest speakers,” Stuart said. “I also think it would be beneficial for us to learn the laws about mineral collecting and filing a claim.”

At the June 20 club meeting, guest speaker Rich Fleming, a geologist at the Kemmerer BLM office, utilized his background in reclamation, oil and gas exploration to discuss the geology of the area.

Fleming showed the group gathered in the Triangle Cabin how to read a topography map that shows anticlines — beds with lots of minerals.

He discussed the lithology (makeup) of the rocks in the area, and even showed the group where to find salt spring formations near Cokeville.

The group showed off their rock and mineral finds from the area and from rock shows, such as the recent state mineral and gem show in Marbleton. Stuart said the goal is for the club to raise enough money for field trips to explore and search for rocks and minerals in the area.

Some minerals from Stuart’s personal collection are on sale in the Triangle Cabin to help meet that goal. The society’s mission statement states that it is a non-profit organization that promotes education in the earth sciences and provides opportunities to study minerals, fossils, lapidary arts and geology to all in the community and surrounding areas.

Stuart said another goal of the society is to obtain membership in the Wyoming Gem and Mineral Society and the Rocky Mountain Gem and Mineral Federation. Also included in the society’s vision statement is the goal to provide an annual scholarship to students who are going to college for a degree in earth science.

Join the Fossil Basin Mineralogical Society group on Facebook for updates about meetings and guest speakers.