Delaware mineralogical society

A Delaware 501(c)(3) non-profit earth-science educational organization


Sterling Hill Mine Field Trip


Sterling Hill Field Trip

Sponsored by the Friends of Mineralogy, PA Chapter and the Delaware Mineralogical Society

We are pleased to announce arrangements have been made for an exclusive day at the Sterling Hill Museum for members of the Friends of Mineralogy, PA Chapter, the Delaware Mineralogical Society and the UVNomads. The management of Sterling Hill Museum have gone all out to make all facilities and attractions available to us throughout the entire day.

Schedule of Events

Date: April 14, 2018
Hours: 9:00 am until about 11:00 pm

All Day Activities:
The following areas and activities are available to us throughout the entire day:

1. Mineral collecting in the Passaic Pit: fee is $1.50 per pound
2. Mineral collecting in the Nobel Pit: fee is $1.50 per pound
3. Mineral collecting at the Mine Run area: fee is $1.50 per pound
4. Mineral collecting in the Special Fenced Pens: No breaking rocks, fee $5.00 per pound. Sorry, but there is no ‘high-grading’ allowed here; you must take the whole rock and pay accordingly.
5. The Fill Quarry: No collecting allowed. This is where the American Museum of Natural History, NY has sawn a slab from the quarry wall and where we’ll view the Pillar of Light after nightfall. The wall rock in this area is some of the brightest fluorescing in the complex and specimens will be available for purchase in the Gift Shop Annex.
6. Pavilion: We will have exclusive use of the Pavilion for the day (see lunch and dinner below).
7. The museum both receives donations and purchases collections: about 25 to 30 flats of specimens will be available for purchase in the Gift Shop Annex throughout the day (wise collectors might stop here first!)

(Note: specimens are weighed and you pay at the counter in the Gift Shop any time)

Group Activities (all optional; you can participate as you wish, or not)

10:00 am
Visit the Zobel Hall mineral collection. Those of us who want to visit the hall will go as a group. It takes from 30 to 60 min. to view the collection and you may leave when you want.

12:00 -ish
Lunch at the Pavillion. To be planned: bring a box lunch or we can fire up the BBQ and eat accordingly.

Mine Tour. We’ll do this as a group. The tour typically takes 1 ½ to 2 hours. Given the nature of this tour those who go should stay for the duration. Perhaps we can bring our field lamps with us, but there is no collecting in the mine (and if we lamp everyone must have UV safety glasses).

Warren Museum of Fluorescent Minerals: Again, we’ll go as a group. It takes 1 to 1 ½ hour to view the collection and you may leave when you want.

The Head Frame / Mill where the ore was conveyed, crushed, dried and prepared for shipment to the furnaces. We’ll go as a group and likely stay together. This activity will be a bit strenuous as we have to walk uphill a bit and up and down lots of stairs. It’s also dusty.

5:00 pm
BBQ Dinner: Yet to be organized but we can fire up the BBQ at the Pavilion and have a great dinner.

Evening until 3 hours after dark: Collect at any of the collecting sites with ‘night-lamping’ as appropriate. We have 3 hours of ‘dark’ for night lamping.

8:30-ish pm
When it’s reasonably dark enjoy the Pillar of Light at the Fill Quarry (no collecting here but you can bring your lamps and enjoy).

11:00 pm
Check out: pay for rocks. Be careful to keep the $1.50 per pound rocks separate from the $5.00 per pound ‘Special Cage’ rocks.

These plans are preliminary and may change, but for now they give a pretty good idea of the things we’ll be doing.

Other Information

Directions: The Sterling Hill Mining Museum is located at 30 Plant Street, Ogdensburg, NJ.

Fee: The entrance fee is $25 per person, payable when you arrive. We need a minimum of 20 people to participate to make this event financially acceptable to the museum.
Safety: Everyone must have UV safety glasses. Gloves and long pants are recommended. We do not need hard hats or boots. Dress appropriately for the weather.

Equipment: All the usual hard-rock collecting equipment (hammers, sledges and wedges), packaging and carts. I don’t think screening or digging equipment is necessary, but you never know.
And, of course, your field UV lights, flashlight / head lamp and a dark cover for daytime UV collecting.

Accommodations: Contact information for local lodging will be provided to those who want it. Sterling Hill Museum does not have overnight accommodations. They will assist us in obtaining group rates nearby.

: Please contact Tom Pankratz at I’ll confirm your registration with a return email. If you don’t receive the confirmation please re-contact me.


Sterling Hill is perhaps the world’s premier location for fluorescent minerals. About 370 mineral species have been identified. Originally a zinc mine, operations ceased in 1986, and the mine has since been converted into the Sterling Hill Mining Museum. Most of the mine facilities remain and some are available for tours. Some of the mine is also open for tours, but most has been allowed to flood. The former open pit mine areas are available for mineral collecting, as is the mine run.

Bill Kroth, President of the Sterling Hill Mining Museum, has agreed that everything Sterling Hill has to offer will be available to us exclusively. Details of potential activities follow: it’s up to us to decide what we want to do. Essentially, this is a field trip tailored exclusively to our club.

This is expected to be an ‘all-day’ event and will extend into the evening. Some attendees may not wish to participate in all activities. Some attendees may wish to spend one or two nights at local accommodations.

At least 20 people must attend the event to make it cost-effective for Sterling Hill. There is no maximum limit to the number of attendees. If necessary, we can extend participation in this event to as few or as many other mineral clubs as we want (Delaware Mineralogical Society, UV Nomads, North Jersey, Montgomery County, Southern Maryland, Virginia, Lancaster )

The cost is $25 per participant plus poundage fees for collected minerals (see below).


Daytime collecting: We will be allowed to collect in the following areas
The Mine Run: A collecting area for everyday visitors. $1.50 / lb.
The Noble Pit: A backfilled area in the quarry available to “advanced” visitors but a bit more remote and ‘wild’. $1.50/lb.
The Passaic Pit: An area a bit more remote in the quarry frequently made available to “advanced” visitors on special occasions: $1.50/lbs
Premium Pens: Two fenced areas that contain better quality fluorescent minerals are made available at $6/lb.

Night Collecting:
All of the daytime areas will be made available for night collecting (lamping) for
3 hours of ‘darkness’.

Mineral Specimen Purchase:
Sterling Hill Museum both purchases and receives donated mineral collections. Many high quality specimens are available for sale.

Mineral Collection:
Visit the fantastic mineral collections in the Zobel Hall and Warren Museum of Fluorescence.

The standard 90 minute tour of the mine will include transport on the recently refurbished mine locomotive. A tour of the ‘upper’ buildings will be available, which include the mills, crushers and headframe.

Special Attraction:
An after-dark illumination (UV) of the Pillar of Light quarry wall and the quarry
wall section where the 10’X15’ slab has been cut for the American Museum of Natural History Gem and Mineral Hall centerpiece. This is some of the ‘brightest’ fluorescing rock in the quarry.

Additional Facilities:
The GeoTech classroom and the Pavilion/Barbecue will be available for our use.

Additional information about the Sterling Hill Museum may be found at these websites:

1. Sterling Hill website:

2. Youtube video with overview of Sterling Hill:

3. Youtube Historic Mine video:

4. A video of Sterling Hills new Raman spectrograph: