Welcome to the Mineralogical Society of Arizona!

MSA, along with a Coalition of Rock & Gem Clubs, offer several fun and unique Field Trips throughout the year. We host many interesting Programs & Speakers and you are certain to meet new friends among our Rock and Mineral membership.

Refreshments are served at all MSA meetings and attendees have an exciting opportunity to win Great Mineral Raffle Prizes awarded to one Junior, one Adult, and one Visitor. Members who wear their MSA Name Badges to general meetings are also eligible for an additional raffle.

MSA participates in the annual Flagg Gem and Mineral Show in January, Arizona State Fair and Earth Science Day event in October. We look forward to Exploring, Sharing, and Inspiring your participation in our hobby.

Check out the NEWSLETTER for information on meetings, field trips, and other events of interest to Mineralogists and Rockhounds of all ages.

ALERT!!! Be sure to check out MSA website under MSA CLUB for meeting location and time details. Click here for a printable meeting schedule. Meetings are held the second Thursday of the month, except as noted in the meeting schedule at Franciscan Renewal Center, 5802 E. Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale‎ AZ‎ 85253.

New Meeting Format

Junior Members should arrive by 6:40 PM for Junior Education program starting at 6:45 PM.
All other Members can arrive at 7:00 PM with presentation starting at 7:30 PM.
Meetings are held the second Thursday of the month, except as noted in the meeting schedule.
Brief business meeting and raffle after the program, with Refreshments, Silent Auctions, and Buy/Sell/Trade Event.

Contact us via Email: MSAClub1935@msaaz.org


March 8, 2018 Program: “Mars, Mineralogy and Museums" Presented by Dr. Bob Downs

Our March 8th program speaker is the great Dr. Bob Downs, Professor Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona and Director and Curator of the University of Arizona Gem & Mineral Museum.  Bob’s program “Mars, Mineralogy and Museums” will discuss role of University of Arizona Gem & Mineral Museum in providing education, outreach and research.  Bob will summarize UA museum with a detailed review from 2008 when Bob was appointed curator and director. The program integrates exploration of Mars, research on minerals including the discovery of the new mineral Raygrantite (named in honor of MSA Past President Raymond Grant), and the development of a new museum to be located in the old Pima County Courthouse.

Bob’s field of specialization is the crystallography and spectroscopy of minerals, with emphasis on crystal chemistry, bonding, temperature and pressure effects, characterization and identification.  Bob earned B.S. Mathematics 1986 University of British Columbia, M.S. Geological Sciences 1989 Virginia Tech and Ph.D. Geological Sciences 1992 Virginia Tech and he is honoree of mineral species: Bobdownsite.

Bob earned his MS in Science from New Haven Teacher's College, taught Science for 32 years, and is Senior Consulting Editor of Rock and Gem, 1992 inductee into National Rockhound and Lapidary Hall of Fame, 1998 Carnegie Mineralogical Award recipient, honoree of mineral species: Bobjonesite, recipient of Flagg Mineral Foundation 2012 A. L. Flagg Lifetime Achievement Award and Mineralogical Society of Arizona 2014 Hall of Fame Inductee.


Dr. Bob Downs, Professor Geosciences University of Arizona and
Director/Curator UA Gem & Mineral Museum, © Bob Downs.


He has authored hundreds of abstracts, papers, articles and three books for American Mineralogist, Canadian Mineralogist, Australian Journal of Chemistry, Zeitschrift fur Kristallographie, International Union of Crystallography, Nature, Science, Elements, Journal of Geophysical Research, Physics and Chemistry of Minerals, Mineralogical Society of America, Acta Crystallographica, Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, Spectroscopy, Journal of Geoscience Education, Journal of Molecular Catalysis A, Journal of Physical Chemistry, Geological Society of America, The Mineralogical Record, Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Space Science Reviews, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 98, Physics of Earth and Planetary Interiors, Society of Economic Geologists Special Publication, Mathematical Geosciences, National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, The Masonry Society Journal. 

Honors and Awards:

  • American Federation of Mineralogical Societies Scholarship, 1990 – 1992
  • International Union of Crystallography Young Scientist Award, 1992
  • Leonard G. Berry Medal, The Mineralogical Association of Canada, 2002
  • Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America, 2002
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS, 2009
  • Tait K T, Barkley M C, Thompson R M, Origlieri M J, Evans S H, Prewitt C T, Yang H (2011)
  • Bobdownsite, a new mineral species from Big Fish River, Yukon, Canada, and its structural relationship with whitlockite-type compounds. The Canadian Mineralogist 49, 1065-1078
  • NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory 2009 Mars Rover Mission Science Review Board

Professional Memberships:

  • Mineralogical Association of Canada, 1986 – present
  • Mineralogical Society of America, 1988 – present
  • American Geophysical Union, 1997 – present
  • Elected member of the International Centre for Diffraction Data, 1999 – present
  • Deutsche Mineralogische Gesellschaft: 2002 – present
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science: 2007 – present






Mineral of the Month TORBERNITE
By Dr. Raymond Grant

Mineral of the Month for March is torbernite, copper uranyl phosphate hydrate, Cu(UO2)2(PO4)2 · 12H2O.  It is tetragonal, light to dark green, and the hardness is 2 – 2.5.  Metatorbernite Cu(UO2)2(PO4)2 · 8H2Ohas the same chemistry only 8 waters instead of twelve.  Over time torbernite will dehydrate and change to metatorbernite and so the two are always found together.  The best way to identify them is by the green square crystals.  Telling them apart visually is not possible although metatorbernite may have a dull luster because of the loss of water.

They are widely distributed; commonly found in the oxidized zones of uranium deposits, and are both found at many localities in Arizona.  Mindat.org has a long list of localities for them in Arizona.  They are found at all the uranium mines on the Colorado Plateau, especially around Monument Valley, and the uranium mines in the Sierra Ancha Mountains, and because they are copper minerals they are found at many copper mines such as Ajo, Ray, Silver Bell, Copper Cities, and Morenci.


Members are invited to bring one sample from their collection of the mineral of the month and give a brief story about where they collected it or something about the specimen.

***Unknown minerals for identification can still be brought to the meetings***

METATORBERNITE, Cu(UO2)2(PO4)2 · 8H2O, 6mm, 
Crown King, Bradshaw Mountains, Yavapai County, Arizona, USA;
Jeff Scovil Collection, © Jeff Scovil.


METATORBERNITE, Cu(UO2)2(PO4)2 · 8H2O, 2.4cm,
Nchanga Open Pit, Chingola, Copper Belt, Zambia;
Alex Schauss Collection, © Jeff Scovil.







Visiting Mineralogists & Rockhounds, please get in touch with us!

Trade Minerals
Members please feel free to bring minerals for trade to next MSA meeting.

The Rules of Etiquette
From Rockhound Record 1942

At the risk of seeming impertinent, exhibitors of minerals will provide good insurance to specimens if they will display, in a prominent place on their exhibit, the rules of etiquette:

1. Never pick up a piece of material unless it is handed to you by the owner.

2. Always handle carefully – as many specimens are valuable and cannot be replaced.

3. If you cannot see the specimen well, ask the owner to show it to you.

Membership Dues are Due!

Please pay at the next meeting or mail to Mineralogical Society of Arizona, 5533 E. Bell Road Suite 101, Scottsdale, AZ 85254.
Membership form & dues amounts are on website under MSA CLUB tab.

arizona, minerals, rock collecting clubs

New MSA Commemorative Pin

Designed by Chris Whitney-Smith, one of our members, in commemoration of MSA's 75th Anniversary in 2010. 

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Mineralogical Society of Arizona
5533 E. Bell Road
Suite 101
Scottsdale, AZ 85254

Member of the Rocky Mountain Federation of Mineralogical Societies
Member of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies

Last Modified March 3,, 2018 by Ron Ginn


Mineral logo photo courtesy of Jeff Scovil.

website by Rock Dog

©2008-2017 Mineralogical Society of Arizona