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Geology and Geosynthetics

by Patricia Quigley

Forget Waterford, Lladro and Lenox. In the living room in Kent von Maubeuge’s 137-year-old farmhouse in Isenstedt, Germany, 300 to 400 minerals claim the display space.

Von Maubeuge, who is director of marketing and primarily in charge of technical issues for Bentofix Geosynthetic Clay Liners and Secudrain Geosynthetic Drainage Products for Naue Fasertechnik GmbH & Co. KG, in Luebbecke, Germany, began collecting minerals while on a work assignment.

“I started in 1993 after my stay in Canada for my company where I supported the introduction of GCLs in the North American market,” von Maubeuge noted. “During my stay I was in the field and found some minerals and gems, and that is where it all started. As I came back to Germany we had a family reunion, and I showed some minerals I had collected. My brother-in-law handed me three boxes filled with minerals and gems he received from his grandfather and never knew what to do with. He said I could have them and continue collecting like his grandfather did.”

Over the last decade, von Maubeuge, 46, has collected minerals — mostly quartz — in various parts of the world. “I currently collect in Germany and Switzerland,” he said. “Germany is a bit easier because I can go with the mineral club in which I am a member and I can join up at any time with the local groups. Of course the mountains in Switzerland are best, and with luck you can find nice pieces, but you need a good eye, luck and knowledge about the places; they are not always next to the road.”

The married father of two children, Amelie, 13, and Axel, 10, von Maubeuge buys minerals at trade shows as well as hunts for them, and the pieces he purchases tend to be more spectacular than those he finds. Still, he is particularly fond of olivine “bombs” — which can include dark green, brown and gold crystals — from Australia, and an Arkansas quartz that he discovered.

His minerals for the most part are not too expensive — the priciest are his Arkansas quartz and a few other pieces in the $250 range. “However, looking at the minerals, I have cheaper ones that are more valuable to me because of their uniqueness. Then there are several unique specimens, which I got as presents,” he said.

An engineer — he has earned a diploma engineer degree, which is similar to a master’s — von Maubeuge has had other demands on his time as well. He played semi-pro tennis in the Bavarian (German State) league and played in Bavarian and Austrian championships for two years, which he said is two levels under tournaments such as the French Open. He enjoys golf, hopes to continue to learn to play the trumpet when he has time, and trains boys and girls in team handball, a game he once excelled in as a member of the Bavarian All Star team.
Von Maubeuge also makes time for his ASTM work. He has been active on Committee D35 on Geosynthetics since it was formed and also is a member of Committee D18 on Soil and Rock. Von Maubeuge developed four standards for D35 and is working on a new one. As vice chairman of subcommittee D35.04 on Geosynthetic Clay Liners, he helped organize symposia in 1994 and 2003.

Von Maubeuge, who joined ASTM to support the development of GCL test methods, noted that he appreciates his involvement in ASTM. “It is crucial to participate because it helps to get standards for GCLs, and I try to place them into the European Committee for Standardization to harmonize worldwide GCL testing,” von Maubeuge said.

Copyright 2004, ASTM International