This song is too fabulous for words. It reminds me of Ace of Base, in all the right ways.
“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the Universe, to match your nature with Nature.” ~Joseph Campbell
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Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the Wed., Aug 3 edition of The Warwick Valley Dispatch.
Before Glenn Rhein found a large deposit of minerals last fall on his 42 acre property in Amity, NY he knew very little about the topic; now he’s “become passionate.” As part of the approval process for developing the property, Rhein hired a geologist to do a site survey, who reported that the area was rich in minerals. Excavation began about a year ago and, on a whim, “one interesting rock” ended up in the display window of the Eclectic Eye, an antique store on Railroad Avenue in the Village of Warwick.
A passing geologist noticed the rock and “wanted to know more,” prompting Rhein to start looking and learn the history of the Amity area that been world-renowned for its mineral deposits since at least the 1830’s. Then, when he found “the mother lode” less than 30 feet from his house, Rhein started posting on the mindat.org website, which bills itself as “the web’s most comprehensive and regularly updated mineralogy database.” People came from “all over” to see his growing collection of crystallized minerals (which fills shelves on the first floor of his farmhouse) and he received “e-mails from all over the world.” The visitors brought minerals of their own for comparison, trade, or gifts. Rhein’s wife Karen mused “When you look at their expressions when they walk in the door, it’s like they’re discovering something they’ve never seen before.”
Rhein explained how his find is a feature of the marble belt that runs from Franklin, NJ to Canada. He posits that his minerals were formed about 800 million years ago when Mt. Adam and Mt. Eve, which are composed of granite, pushed up through the marble belt, forming minerals similar to those found in Franklin, which is known as the world capital of fluorescent minerals, and areas of Canada. He says that geological theories are being rewritten, especially one about minerals previously found only in upstate New York. He unearths his minerals with the help of an excavator, but does the fine work with an old-fashioned hammer and chisel. Rhein has found Diopside, Fluorapatite, Graphite, Meionite, Tremolite, Norbergite, Fluoro-Edenite, Titanite, Augite, Phlogopite and Uvite. The crystals form in “perfect geometric shapes,” notably spinels, which are octahedral.
From the beginning, Rhein’s goal was to share his finds with the community as well as museums around the world. He is in talks with the Village of Warwick, the Warwick Historical Society, and the Albert Wisner Public Library to set up permanent exhibits of fluorescent minerals, which are of especially pleasing aesthetic value. He has donated 15 pieces to the New York State Museum in Albany, one to the École des Mines in Paris, and others to Michigan Tech and James Madison University. In addition to the collectors and geologists he networked with on the Mindat website, he credits the New York State Museum with helping him sort through this “scientifically important” collection. “This area is loaded,” he said, “if you’re a hobbyist, you can come out and find stuff.” He hopes his find sparks a “resurgence” of interest in Amity-area minerals. “The more we talk to people, the more we learn,” says Rhein. “It was all coincidence.”
Editor’s note: Glenn Rhein can be reached by e-mail at grhei[AT]yahoo[DOT]com.