Gemstones and Other Unique Minerals and Rocks of Wyoming: a Field Guide for Collectors. – book review
by W. Dan Hausel and Wayne M. Sutherland. Wyoming State Geological Survey, P.O. Box 3008, Laramie, WY 82071. 268 pages; 2000; $20 (soft-bound).
W. Daniel Hausel and Wayne M. Sutherland state that “Wyoming is a land rich in its variety of rocks and minerals … a land that is only partially explored and where new gemstone discoveries are being made almost every year.” The authors’ stated intent is to “lead you to a variety of collecting localities.” What is not stated is that with the scattered population of Wyoming, there are not many resident collectors to make the discoveries, thus the desire of the state’s geologists to increase the level of activity. Wyoming is known for its gemstones (diamonds, rubies, and sapphires) and its semiprecious gemstones (jade and varieties of chalcedony). These are covered in this book, as are such other popular collectible minerals as beryl, garnet, calcite, and metallic ore minerals.
Eighty percent of the book consists of descriptions of the significant minerals, gems, and unusual rocks found in the state. The authors have restricted the detailed descriptions to approximately forty minerals and gems and ten rocks, although more than seventy different minerals are mentioned in the text. Many of the localities described come directly from the geologic fieldwork of the senior author, W. Dan Hausel. This book also contains maps and sufficient details to guide the reader to some of the localities with just an additional topographic and state road map. Thirteen color pages contain seventy 3.5 x 5.5-cm pictures. Although well intentioned and required to keep the book’s price reasonable, the pictures are much too small to show the minerals clearly. The book also provides a geologic overview of Wyoming, stressing the uplifted mountainous areas of the state. A small-scale, colored geologic state map is included. The reference list, although far from complete, is the most detailed available to date for exclusive coverage of the mineral resources of Wyoming. The geologic bibliography of the Wyoming series (bulletins 17, 53, 57, 62, and 64) covers the minerals, fossils, and geology of Wyoming, making identification of the key references for mineral collecting more difficult.
Although Wyoming is still without a state mineralogy, this book comes close to achieving that goal. It clearly supersedes and is superior to the previous “minerals and rocks of Wyoming” publications (Hausel 1986; Root 1977; Osterwald et al. 1966; Wilson 1965) of the Wyoming Geological Survey. It is recommended for beginning collectors without reservation and for advanced collectors until such time as a Wyoming state mineralogy is written.
Perth, Western Australia
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