Those of you who frequent the Geologyin.com webpage, or who are members of the Facebook Group “Amazing Geology” may have seen these stories in mid-October. It is a lesson in always keeping your eye on the rocks around you. Or perhaps to watch the sky for falling rocks!
Linda Schmidtgall is the new President of the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club. A little bit ago she wrote a story about her experiences with falling which was published in the September WCGMC newsletter. With permission I republish here.
Rockhounds have to learn how to fall. It is actually very important to do it with grace. BUT you do want to make sure someone is watching or you will waste a good fall. It seems I take at least one great trip down a hill or something every year. A few I recall are:
There are many reasons to plan and participate in joint club trips like the recent Labor Day trip to Kentucky where folks from several clubs joined together (see acknowledgments at the end of this note). The obvious is new places and new friends and we sure encountered both during our three days in Kentucky.
It is with much pleasure that I share Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club’s September announcement.
WCGMC does not have a Rockhound of the Year Award for 2018. The person we wish to acknowledge this year has done too much for too long for that simple title. Instead, we proudly proclaim Bill Chapman as WCGMC Rockhound of the Decade.
Knapping is the shaping of flint, chert, obsidian or other suitable material through the process of chipping off small pieces, thus shaping the piece into a desirable tool, weapon, or work of art. The process takes advantage of the fracture style of cryptocrystalline quartz and glass. Lacking cleavage or any natural weaknesses quartz fractures along smooth curved surfaces which often come to very sharp edges. This property is called conchoidal fracture.
Perhaps you are familiar with mineral dealer David Joyce’s song about “Crystal Systems” and the refrains about the isometric system. They go something like this:
BUT, did you know that despite the myriad of modified isometric forms that minerals like pyrite, galena or fluorite can display, there are only six basic isometric crystal forms. It is the interesting and often complex interplay and superpositioning of these forms that create the aesthetic beauty.
This article is republished here with permission of its author, Kathleen Cappon. She wrote the piece for the September, 2018 Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club newsletter.
This is a story about how I dreamed of having a large stone chimney on my future home. The idea was inspired by seeing the stone pillars at the entrance of Fair Haven State Park each time my family went there in the 1950’s.
Some of you may remember the movie “The Long Long Trailer” starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. They purchase a travel trailer to go cross country and at each new place Lucy picks up a sentimental or pretty rock to bring home.
One of the sites I visited with the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club during the June Massachusetts trip was the large dump beside the Quabbin Aqueduct shaft #10 in Hardwick, Massachusetts. The 25 mile aqueduct connecting the Quabbin Reservoir to Boston was completed in 1939 and has been a primary source of water for the Boston region ever since. Rocks excavated from the #10 shaft include the Hardwick granite, the Monson gneiss, and a number of other metamorphic rocks. The dump is expansive and although it is becoming overgrown it remains a popular site for mineral collectors.
About 15,000 years ago the final of four glacial advances stopped in central Connecticut and a large end moraine was established. As the glacier retreated a large lake formed in what would become the Connecticut River Valley. Varved (seasonal) clay/silt layers were deposited. Debris (fossils, sticks, leaves, etc.) carried in with the clay/silt became nucleation points for calcite cementation and concretions grew in the clays. These unique concretions are now being exposed by erosion. The locals call them “Fairy Stones” or “Mud Babies”.
Have you ever heard of flint knapping? Do you know there is an active group of flint knappers in western New York and they hold their annual Stone Tool Craftsman Show every August? In 2018, the event is August 24-26 in Letchworth State Park, itself a geological wonder worth visiting. For three days members of the Genesee Valley Flint Knappers Association display their wares and share advice on knapping at the Highbanks Recreation Area in the park.
Visitors to the Stone Tool Craftsman Show can see flint knapping demonstrations and learn about a variety of other skills that helped prehistoric cultures survive. In addition to learning about the making of arrowheads, spears, and stone knives, the group holds several athletic competitions involving stone throwing weapons.
On arrival the location does not look like a typical mineral collecting site. There are not any rocks to be seen. The GPS coordinates provided by Beard (2013) are smack in the middle of a cultivated field filled with small evergreen trees just off Fruitville Pike in Lancaster, PA. The field is flanked on two sides by subdivision housing and on a third side by a pair of little league baseball fields. Your first thought is that you botched the directions. Continue reading
The new theme for June seemed to be painted rocks. First, Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club member Donna Smith brought her artistic talents to GemFest and we added a new craft to the event. Using rocks we had collected from various sites throughout the previous year, Donna set up between Linda Schmidtgall’s highly popular soapstone carving booth and Dave Millis’s gem tree/wire wrapping booth, creating a virtual trifecta of craft activities for youths and adults right in front of the club exhibits. Continue reading
On the first weekend of June,. the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club holds a two day mineral show in Canandaigua, New York. This year we welcomed a new partner to its annual gem, mineral, and fossil show. The Seneca Trailways Council of the Boy Scouts of America added GEMFEST to their calendar of events on both their Facebook page and their weekly e-mail which is sent to Scouts and their leaders across the council. WCGMC believes this is a perfect match. The involvement of Scouts aligns with both of WCGMC’s primary objectives, providing family fun and working to spread knowledge while stimulating interest in the earth sciences. Continue reading
For the fourth year is a row, the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club held its annual show at the Greater Canandaigua Civic Center on the first full weekend of June. Attendance was up over 15%, as over 1400 folks crossed into the arena to visit the venue over the course of two days. We exceeded our expectations with our club activities, nearly running out of soapstone as 180 1.5” squares were carved, filed and polished by visitors. The sluice was busy as usual. Over 300 bags of sand with minerals, gems, shark teeth and more were run across the sluice table. Continue reading
The first weekend of May split the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club into two parties. Many stayed in western New York and visited Penfield Quarry on the annual Dolomite Products open house. If you check out our club Facebook page you will find several had a successful day among nearly 200 collectors from across the northeast who visited that day. But others of us had planned our annual pilgrimage to central Pennsylvania for that weekend, travelling south with visions of wavellite and large lepidodendron tree stumps dancing in our heads.
We all dream of finding that special rock, one that is totally unique, one that can hold that center position on the top shelf of our mineral cabinet. Yes, that perfect piece we can be proud to display while telling the story of how we found it. In 1996, a geologist working for the Egyptian Geological Survey had his dream fulfilled. Aly Barakat was studying Libyan desert glass formed 26 million years ago, presumably by a meteorite impact, when he made his incredible find. As a geologist he knew that the colorful broken pebbles he found deep in the Saharan desert were unique, but it took more than two decades to learn how special they truly are. Continue reading
I purchased a new toy in March. I acquired a Carson zOrb 65x Digital Microscope. Although not a tool for advanced photographers, I hoped that it would give me a simple tool for illustrating details I could not depict well with my Nikon. And for $50 I decided it was worthy of an experiment.
The meeting room was crowded for our February meeting as 49 members showed up to build their own egg crate mineral collections from the club’s inventory of small stones, mineral specimens and fossils. There were over 50 options to chose from when the first selections were made.
On occasion, cleaning out that old box of leftover and generally forgotten minerals from a past trip can provide an unexpected reward. Last month I uncovered a box of rather ordinary wavellite specimens from the club visit to Mount Pleasant Mills, PA in April of 2016. Among the cruddy and generally less than desirable wavellite discards I found a fossil gastropod that I had remembered collecting, but had pretty much forgotten. It was time to clean it up and do a little research. After all, that is what the winter months are for in western New York.
Some rockhounds like to collect rocks and minerals the size of small cars, or at least motorcycles. You know who you are (and so do the rest of us!). Others settle for samples that can be carried, a size that seems to decrease with each collecting season. But we also know of those who collect thumbnail specimens (less than 1”) and stick them into tiny boxes. There are even folks who like to collect specimens that require microscopes to be seen; these collectors are called micromounters. But I am going to tell you a bit about some “mineral specimens” that are even smaller. And I am even going to make up a new name for them. I am calling them micro-micro minerals.