Curious about the world under your feet?

Join with us to explore

the earth's 4000+ minerals and how they came to be!


Mission of the Mineralogical Society of the District of Columbia (MSDC)

  • To learn together and further knowledge about mineralogy and earth sciences
  • To share the pleasure of collecting minerals
  • To welcome you to explore these interests with us

Who We Are

  • We're rockhounds, professional mineral scientists, mineral collectors and enthusiasts, and people with new interests in minerals and earth sciences.
  • We're from DC, the Maryland and Virginia suburbs, and points beyond.
  • You're always welcome!

What we do:

  • Since 1942, we've met at the Smithsonian Institution to discuss all facets of earth sciences and hear  from experts in many related fields.
  • We sponsor or join with other local clubs for field trips.
  • Our monthly newsletters offer diverse articles at all knowledge levels.
  • We support mineral sciences by volunteering at the Smithsonian and elsewhere and by finding other ways to expand interest and knowledge.

When and Where

  • 1st Wednesday of every month except July and August.
  • At the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC.
  • 7:30 p.m. in the Constitution Avenue lobby. A security officer leads us to our meeting room, so please be on time.
  • December time and place may vary.
  • Take Metro or use ParkMobile app for on-street parking on Constitution Avenue 6:30-10 PM. Or park on other streets.


Meeting November 7, 2018 – Geological setting of the world's best carrollite crystals, and associated minerals, from the Kamoya Sud II Mine, Katanga Province, Democratic Republic of Congo


Our November presenter, Dr. Sharad Master, will discuss the geological setting that is the world’s foremost location for carrollite – the Kamoya Sud II mine in the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.  While the type locality for carrollite is just up the road in Carroll County, Maryland, the bright metallic carrollite crystals from the Kamoya Sud II Mine are far superior specimens to any Maryland example.  At the Kamoya Sud II Mine, the carrollite occurs together with chalcopyrite and bornite in calcite veins (with clear Iceland Spar crystals).


We are very lucky to have Dr. Master as a presenter this month.  As it happens, Dr. Master is visiting Dr. Pohwat, the Collection Manager of Minerals at the Smithsonian, on the same date as our meeting.  Dr. Master has graciously offered to make this presentation while he is in town. 


Dr. Master was awarded a PhD in Geology in 1991 from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Subsequently he has engaged in research in many different aspects of geology and economic geology, with a special emphasis on stratabound copper deposits, and their host rocks, in Proterozoic rocks of Central Africa (ZImbabwe, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo).  He has been involved in projects in more than 20 African countries, and has detailed knowledge of the regional geology, tectonics and evolution of Africa, having done fieldwork and/or research in 25 African countries over the past 34 years.  Dr. Master was a visiting fellow at Harvard University in 1997-1998, during which time he supplied the world’s largest sturmanite crystal to the Smithsonian.  In 2016, the Geological Society of Zimbabwe recognized Dr. Master as an honorary member in recognition of his sustained support.  Currently (and for the past 23 years), Dr. Master is an economic geologist and researcher in geosciences at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.  He is also a chess player and mineral collector – “been collecting for 51 years!”.


Please join us in taking Dr. Master to dinner on November 7th before the club meeting.  We will be meeting at 6:00 pm at Elephant & Castle Restaurant, 1201 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC, about 2 blocks from the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) where our club meeting is held.  If you plan to come to dinner, please send an e-mail to me ( and let me know so I can try to get the number right for the reservation - but do not hesitate to come to dinner if you forget to e-mail.  We can always make room for more around the table.  If you cannot make it to dinner, we will meet in the NMNH lobby at 7:30 pm and head up to the Cathy Kerby Room for Dr. Master’s presentation.


(Thanks to Dave Hennessey for the great write-up and amazingly fast and excellent recovery after Herwig had to suddenly cancel.)


CHANGE in parking for meetings –


If you come to dinner, take Metro. There’s no parking on most downtown streets until 6:30 PM.


Parking for meetings:

  • The NMNH parking lot is closed to us through 2025 (7 years) because of construction.
  • On-street parking on Constitution Avenue is available only after 6:30 PM. It costs $3-4 per hour until 10 PM. It's free after 10 PM. Meetings and social time often last until 9:45 – 10 PM.
  • Payment for parking on Constitution Avenue - at a kiosk, or with the free app ParkMobile. Download it to your cell phone via GooglePlay or AppStore.
  • Perhaps parking on 7th Street, 12th Street, and on the Mall is also available, perhaps at lower cost.
  • Carpools can save on parking costs.

Want to know more about any of this?

  • Email us at thompson01 at erols dot com. We’re happy to answer your questions.

  • Check the MSDC newsletter.

  • Visit a meeting any time!