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Collector's Guide to the Zeolite Group

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Collector's Guide to the Zeolite Group
By Robert J. Lauf
Schiffer Earth Science Monographs Volume 17
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. (2014)
ISBN: 978-0-7643-4675-0

Reviewed by Harry S. Chou - June 15, 2015

Zeolites are aluminosilicate minerals that are commonly used in industrial situations. They also happen to be visually stunning and are much sought after by rock hounds of every ilk! A unique aspect of the zeolite group is that they are both found naturally, and synthesized in labs. The Collector's Guide to the Zeolite Group, by Robert J. Lauf, provides an intriguing survey of the minerals, while also providing readers with a readable overview of the published research on zeolites. This monograph on zeolites does not attempt to reproduce the entire body of knowledge available on the Zeolite group. Rather, it serves to provide a concise and manageable introduction on the available information. The information presented gives readers a firm grounding on the subject, enabling them to pursue this subject in greater detail, should they so desire.

Filled with more than 200 color photographs, this edifying book begins with a brief introduction to zeolites. It moves on to an overview of the taxonomy of the zeolite group as well as providing an overview on the formation and geochemistry of zeolites. The book then moves on to an encyclopedia-styled overview of the various zeolite mineral series. This section on zeolite minerals is organized alphabetically, with each mineral series being given its own entry, beginning with amicite and ending with yugawaralite. In all, 62 zeolite mineral series are covered in this section. The book concludes with a comprehensive list of references that can be used as a guide for those seeking to learn about these minerals.

Zeolite minerals are found worldwide, and they can be found in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. They are visually alluring, with many featuring large or unique crystal formations. This is one of the reasons that they are popular with collectors. The other is that it can be a challenge to collect pure, naturally occurring zeolite specimens. Usually they are found in rocks with other minerals. Some may call this contamination. I call it serendipity. When you find just the right hodgepodge of rock, it serves to highlight the zeolite crystals in the collection rather than detract from it. But each collector has their own fancies, and there is no right or wrong way to collect these intriguing minerals.

Each entry on the various mineral series provides information not only on where the given mineral can be found, but also information on its structure, habitat, and other unique features. In addition to including various photos of each mineral, figures representing the structures of many of the crystals are also provided. These figures enable readers to 'see' the internal crystalline structure of some of these minerals. The Collector's Guide to the Zeolite Group is filled with a wealth of information. While some of it is on the technical side, most readers with a general understanding of geology and basic chemistry should have not trouble following the text. Should the information get too deep, never fear, the pictures alone are enough to encourage you to become an avid zeolite collector!

Related Reviews:

Introduction to Radioactive Minerals, by Robert Lauf.
Focusing on uranium and thorium, this book provides an excellent introduction to radioactive minerals, including how they are formed, mined, and used. It also provides advice on how and where you can collect them.

Mineral Treasures of the Ozarks, by Bruce L. Stinchcomb.
Part travel guide, and part collecting guide, this book provides a lively survey of the Mississippi Valley Type (MVT) minerals found in the Ozark Highlands, including galena, quartz, agates, barite, zinc, copper, cobalt, nickel, iron, calcite, dolomite, fluorite, and many more.

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