Flourescing the wall

Franklin. Delaware Valley Earth Science Team and Franklin Mineral Museum team up to show off the last standing ore body in Franklin.

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  • The ore body loses color after the short-wave lamps are turned off.

  • PHOTOS BY VERA OLINSKI The last standing ore body fluoresces in the night.

The Delaware Valley Earth Science Society (DVESS) and Franklin Mineral Museum used high power, short-wave lamps to show-off the fluorescing minerals of the last standing ore body in Franklin.

Super Dig Trip Master Jeff Winkler said, by special permission, they had the rare opportunity to light up the pillar of ore in the quarry behind the Franklin Municipal Building, known as the Trotter Dump, and currently owned by F&R Associates.

Winkler said the wall is highly fluorescent and it is incredible that it is still there because the mine closed in 1954.

The reason the mine left the ore pillar intact, he explained, is because it was part of the High Street railroad bed and old Mine Hill Railroad. At that time, he said, a train trestle would have been more expensive than the price of the ore support, and they were just thinking of the here and now.

After 8:30 p.m. on April 27, viewers walked down the quarry road to see a 35-foot high cliff wall, with bands of fluorescing blue, green, red, and orange ore. For safety, Winkler recommended wearing short-wave ultraviolet safety glasses in order to avoid irritating the eyes.

Franklin Mineral Museum President Mark Boyer said the last time they had fluoresced the wall had been in 2006. Although the cliff had weathered a little since then, he said, still the short-wave lights were able to cut through the weathering.

He pointed out the 55-degree angle swath of green, going from top to bottom on the right hand side. Boyer explained, the green swath was the main part of the Willemite ore body.

Viewers gazed in wonder and attempted to take photos of the fluorescing minerals before them.

Historically, he said, the Trotter Group of mines were all surface workings and not much deeper than what the viewers were standing upon, along with some fill. After 1897, he continued, all the various mining interests were consolidated into the New Jersey Zinc Company, and that is when they began to concentrate on working underground and ceased many of the surface operations. He explained, the little gully viewers had walked down to see the ore body was all mined out at the surface.

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