No eggs, just rocks

July was a busy month for Bill Lesniak and his travelling rock and mineral kit stand.  If you have not seen his operation, Bill sets up at whatever event will allow him and, on the behalf of Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club, offers free rock and mineral kits to youngsters.  They do have to earn them though.  They must cut out labels, display dexterity with glue sticks to apply them to the egg cartons he provides and then, with help, locate the 12 specimens (this summer:  6 rocks, 4 minerals and 2 fossils).  In the end they go home with something that looks like this:

eggs2

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August Birthstone – Peridot

Published in the August WCGMC newsletter

Olivine is one the most common rock-forming silicate minerals on our glorious planet.  It is found in iron and magnesium rich igneous rocks, both extrusive rocks like basalt (think Hawaii) and intrusive equivalents like gabbro and deep mantle rocks called peridotite..  When it is found transparent and unfractured, olivine can be faceted into a brilliant green gemstone.  We call that gemstone peridot and it is the August birthstone.

Olivine Group minerals are nesosilicates, meaning that their mineral lattice consists of isolated silica tetrahedral that are connected by interstitial cations (most commonly iron and magnesium).  This leads to the formula (Mg, Fe)2SiO4.  End member Mg-bearing olivine is the mineral forsterite, while Fe-dominated olivine is the mineral fayalite.  The term chrysolite is sometimes used to label intermediate composition olivine.  Most olivine contains both magnesium and iron, but Mg-rich forsterite is more common than fayalite.

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Pierre de Coubertin – Olympic Founder

This summer was an Olympic Summer and I am sure many of you watched Michael Phelps or Simone Biles or others compete in Rio de Janeiro.   For those who collect topical postage stamps, an Olympic year also brings a plethora of new stamps.  Rochester Philatelic Association member Carl Miller is an Olympics stamps enthusiast, but his philatelic interest is a specialty within the overall theme of the event.  Carl collects Olympic themed stamps that commemorate and depict Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics.  pierre2 Continue reading

Trilobites to Tertiary Topaz

Many thanks to Stephen Mayer for writing this collecting trip note for the August WCGMC newsletter and also for allowing me to post it my blog.

By Stephen Mayer

Tammy and I are back from a vacation in the desert southwest.  Naturally, we took some time between visits to National Parks to do a little fossil and mineral collecting in Utah.  The setting and geology are quite different than in western New York.

Very thick shale and calcareous mudstones are widespread in Millard County, west-central Utah and contain some of the best Cambrian biotas in the world.  Not only are there 505-520 million year old fossils abundant, but also recent volcanism in the same region has left its mark with abundant rocks and minerals.  Specifically, well preserved trilobites and beautiful topaz crystals can be collected.

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