New Mexico Mineral Symposium — Abstracts
The Maybee Quarry, Maybee, Michigan
Christopher J. Stefano and William B. Jr. Barr
The Maybee quarry, located in central Monroe County, Michigan, is well known among local collectors in southern Michigan and northern Ohio as a source of world-class sulfur and celestine specimens. This gem of a locality has remained somewhat obscure on the national and international collecting scene, but the appearance of our article about it in the May-June 2021 issue of the Mineralogical Record may well make it better known.
Although the geology and mineralogy of the locality are relatively simple, there are important lessons to be learned from Maybee, perhaps most importantly concerning how native sulfur may be generated in sedimentary rocks. In 1906 Walter Hunt first worked out this geochemical process at Maybee, and it is summarized in the Mineralogical Record article.
The Maybee quarry has a surprisingly rich history, dating back to the 1850s. When Michigan state geologists visited around 1900 to study the quarry’s stratigraphy they also noted the excellent sulfur and celestine crystals. Around 1905, Edward Kraus, founder of The American Mineralogist, visited the locality with his student, Walter Hunt, and wrote about the crystallography of the celestine and the origin of the sulfur. At that time the quarry was being worked as a source of building stone, but with the decline of that market prior to the first World War the quarry was abandoned and flooded. New owners eventually drained the quarry and put it back into production circa 1960, just as America’s “rockhounding” craze was beginning, and so Maybee saw many visits by “rockhounds” between 1960 and circa 1990. It was during this period that most currently extant Maybee specimens were collected. The lion’s share of the good pieces remain today with the collectors who found them, but others have made their ways to local museums, especially Michigan Technological University’s A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum. Fine Maybee specimens are only rarely encountered on the international specimen market.
This lecture, which aims to inform the collecting community about this important Midwestern locality, is illustrated generously with images of Maybee specimens from museum and private collections in the Midwest.
41st Annual New Mexico Mineral Symposium
November 12-14, 2021, Socorro, NM
Print ISSN: 2836-7294
Online ISSN: 2836-7308