WESTERN SLOPE: Mineral symposium to attract collectors and geologists to San Juans

By Sheridan Block

Mineral enthusiasts, avid collectors and professional geologists will gather in Ouray next weekend for the first-ever Ouray-Silverton San Juan Mountains Mineral Symposium.

A weekend-long event, the symposium will feature lectures and presentations from regional geologists and historians, opportunities for mineral collecting and guided and self-guided field trips throughout the area.
Local resident and symposium speaker Bob Larson said that one purpose of the event is to share knowledge of the minerals that exist in the San Juan volcanic area. Larson and his wife, Ouray Mayor Pam Larson, have been involved with planning and organization of the event since the beginning of the year.
The symposium, sponsored by the Friends of Mineralogy of Colorado and the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, will precede the Denver Gem and Mineral Show, a larger mineral event that attracts crowds from all over the country.
The mineral symposium has over 100 registered participants. Larson mentioned that there is a possibility for further on-site registration for the weekend; however the event cannot host more than 150 people.
The weekend kicks off Friday evening with an ice breaker for participants and a keynote address on life and times in the San Juan mining camps by Duane A. Smith titled "Those Were the Days."
On Saturday, a number of speakers will present discussions on minerals and mining in the San Juans, including Robert Stoufer, William R. Jones, Beverly Rich, Kenneth Sloan, John Dreier, Don Paulson, P. David Smith, and Bob Larson. Larson will give his presentation "Silverton Caldera Mines and Minerals — Idarado, Camp Bird, Revenue-Virginius Mines" on Saturday morning. All lectures will be held at the Elks Lodge.
A sold-out banquet will cater to registrants followed by a presentation by John Stewart, masquerading as Thomas Walsh, founder of the Camp Bird Mine.
The event will conclude on Sunday with guided and self-guided tours throughout the area including trips to Yankee Boy Basin, the Sunnyside Mine and Highland Mary Mine (all guided). Self-guided fields trips can be found in the book "Mines, Mountain Roads, and Rocks" by George E. Moore.
Larson noted that the guided field trips are only available for registered symposium participants.
For Larson, he's excited about the prospect of sharing information with other mineral and mining aficionados.
"I'm looking forward to sharing the knowledge that I have about the mines and minerals and the history of the area and to be able to answer people's questions. I want to be part of showing them more about the San Juan Mountains," he said.
The San Juan Mountain Mineral Symposium will take place from Sept. 5 through Sept. 7 at the Ouray Elks Lodge. More information is available at the Ouray-Silverton San Juan Mountains Mineral Symposium Facebook page.