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Fluorite Crystals Anyone?

    If you like rocks and remotely interested in some pretty rocks then a visit to the Ben E. Clements Mineral Museum in Marion, Kentucky should be on your bucket list. For this museum houses one of the finest collection of fluorite crystals in the world. Located in the city of Marion, the Ben E. Clements Mineral Museum is situated in the famous western Kentucky fluorspar mining district. Fluorspar is a mineral that was used as flux in the making of steel. Fluorite is a crystalline form of the mineral and is used today to provide that "fluoride" in our toothpaste. At one time much of the country's fluoride came from this very region around Marion, Kentucky. Overseas discoveries of the mineral and cheaper prices shifted the supplies from other countries now days. The museum  has on display literally hundreds of the beautiful crystals that form naturally like two pyramids standing back to back.
    The fluorite crystals come in all sizes and colors but they all remain true to the natural crystalline shape.The museum also contains a wide collection of mining equipment and other minerals and fossils. Even the western Kentucky coal mining industry and geology is included in the many interesting exhibits.
    The rock hound should know that the museum conducts several digs each year open to the public for a fee. More information can be found about this seasons schedule and upcoming events on the museum's web page.
    Only a few counties in this particular region of Kentucky can this amazing deposit of minerals be found. All the working mines have long been closed and according to the web site the last commercial mining was in the late 50's. The only mining done these days are by collectors and through the museum scheduled and supervised digs.
    Some of the minerals have a florescent nature and reflect an amazing array of colors under a black light. One room in the museum has a huge display of really drab looking rocks covering one whole wall. But once the lights are turned off in the room and a black light is turned on the rocks come alive with beautiful phosphorescent colors. It actually is almost unbelievable that nature includes this mysterious attribute to these stones which have been buried in the earth for millions of years absent from any light. Yet here,visibly offer a stunning visual experience.

    There are many other minerals, gems and geological wonders on display. Some exhibits back light sections of the stones showing various patterns and colors. Other exhibits deal with some of the many fossils found in our state. All the stones are part of the amazing collection that was amassed by Ben E. Clements in the 1930's. Clements opened up mining operations and during the course of routine mining would keep and preserve some of the strange specimens miners would unearth in the fluorspar pits. The collection continued to grow and passed down through the families has remained intact and as mentioned, considered to be one the finest and largest collections of fluorite crystals in the world.

    The Ben E. Clements Mineral Museum is a great place to visit for anyone interested in rock collecting and geology studies. Please check museum website for directions and hours of operation before you make the trip.
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