That does sound an interesting project which I will help with if I can. However, for mineral specimens, would it be better to record localities for pyrite/marcasite where specimens seem to be LESS vulnerable to decay? The worst localities are probably those no longer represented in our collections now and it depends on how good the documentation is over past decades/centuries as to whether they are recorded at all. All pyrite and marcasite will start to decay when conditions get sufficiently dire, and anyone who sees a mineral specimen locality is not on your list may presume the material is not needing such careful environmental control.
Knowing which localities have a better track record of surviving the museum environment would be useful. I wonder if the ‘healthier’ specimens in our collection (especially those which are not large well-formed crystals) are from localities that keep well in other institutions.
Monica T. Price
Assistant Curator, Mineral Collections
Oxford University Museum of Natural History Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PW.
Tel. 01865 272950
Direct line. 01865 272967
Fax. 01865 272970