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Definitions and Introductions

Dave Babulski, Ed.D.
("Tips and Trips", Vol. XXXI/5, May 2002, page 5.)


This is the first in a regular series of columns about mineral micromounting. This being the first column, a few definitions and introductions are in order. So what is a micromount anyway? There are two terms that we need to define first. These terms are: "Micro-mineral" and "micromount". The accepted definition of a micro-mineral is "any mineral specimen that requires a microscope to see clearly." By this definition the mineral specimen could be the size of the head of a pin or could be tiny crystals nestled in a vug in a fist sized host rock. If you have a collection of cabinet size mineral specimens you most likely also have micro-minerals as well. A micromount is defined as a micro-mineral which has been mounted in a small container, usually a box, to make viewing with a microscope much easier. Mineral micromounts offer the advantages of small size, low cost, and perfection of crystal form. When minerals are in micro form they often exhibit crystal forms that are washed out as the crystals grow larger and more dominant crystal faces take over. Another interesting aspect is that of the over 3500 known mineral species, only a few hundred crystallize in a large enough form to be viewed without magnification. With improvements in digital imaging technology it is now possible to image from the microscope with a digital camera and display the image on a monitor screen. This is sort of like having a cabinet specimen "once removed!"

Now that we have some definitions explained, an introduction is in order. My name is Dave Babulski and I am the chair person of the Georgia Mineral Society Micromount section. I have been a micromount collector for about 27 years. My collection numbers about 1500 cataloged specimens and growing. Although I teach electronics, mechanics and electro-mechanics in industry, my real passion is mineralogy.

The goal of the micromount section is to share experiences, specimens, techniques, etc. concerning micro minerals. If you have an interest in this area, I encourage you to join us in the mineral world of the very small. In next months column we will talk about some of the equipment that is needed to enjoy mineral micromounting. Until then, may all the vugs you find be crystal filled.


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