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Rockwood Gem and Mineral Society
St. Louis, Missouri


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April 2002

Field Trips
The Show Me Club and the Association have invited us to join them on a field trip to the Sheffler Mine on May 4, 2002 to hunt for geodes. 

This mine will soon be bulldozed under when the highway is built through that area.
The Post Dispatch had a great article written by Pamela Selbert on page 10 of the Travel Section. Almost half of the article was devoted to Sheffler’s Geode Mine. The author mentioned that Betty Sheffler’s son, Tim is now running the mine and has opened a second site. Geodes are always fun to find so this should be an enjoyable trip. There will be more details at the April meeting.

Roy Cottrell has been going to rehabilitation after his heart surgery and is now back swimming. We hope for a full recovery .

Mineral of the Month

The Mineral of the Month of April will be chalcedony. Since there are so many varieties of this, everyone will be able to find a specimen to bring along for “Show & Tell.”

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Rockwood Gem and Mineral Society
March 15, 2002
The meeting was called to order at 7:15 by president, Joan Schlichter.
Visitors were introduced. First time visitors were, Mildred and Curt
Mercer, grandmother and 8th grade grandson. Minutes of the past meeting were approved. Bob Morse gave the treasurer's report. He switched the bank account to Clifford Banking where we will have no charges.

There is a need for judges for the upcoming Science Fair. Dianne and Andy Larson volunteered to do this as long as the dates are workable. They were not known at the meeting.

Bob will see that we get club fliers to the March rock show. We need to be sure and have these at libraries for publicity.

Bob brought up the trip to Sheffler Mine but the club waived a decision on this until next meeting as the date was unknown. The suggestion is to cover the cost of members using club funds. As the date approaches we will decide about using club funds to cover a club trip to Spfd. Ill . Oct. 5th for the Midwest Federation Show.
Andy Larson, field trip chairman, asked that members offer suggestions of what they would
like to do in the way of field trips.

Bob Morse bought $53 worth of door
prizes and the club voted to reimburse him for the total amount. Barbara Sky won the door prize. We had 11 members in attendance and 3 guests.The business meeting was closed. at 7:45.

Hank Schlichter gave an interesting talk on Actinolate. Our speaker for
the evening was Rick Arnold, a local jeweler. He brought some sensational
gems to show us and gave a very informative talk on gems around the world and the process of making jewelry.
Submitted by Dianne Larson, Secretary pro tem 

Gems of Afghanistan & the War
by Ray Barry
Many of our readers no doubt have at least one specimen from Afghanistan, or have gemstones cut from the rough. If so, have you been wondering what the current state of collecting is in the country? Well, I have, and one of our exchange newsletters, the Pegmatite from San Diego Mineral & Gem Society, shed some interesting light on the situation.
Afghanistan has produced many exceptional mineral specimens and gemstones including aquamarine, emerald, kunzite, lapis lazuli, morganite, sapphire and ruby, and tourmaline. Most of these are in pegmatites in the Hindu Kush Mountains of eastern Afghanistan. Gary Bowersox, writing in the spring 1991, Gems &Gemology magazine reported on emeralds from the Panjshir Valley that rival in quality those from the Muzo mine in Columbia. The mining of minerals from these deposits, though difficult and primitive, has been an important source of income to the Afgahani’s; as much as $10 million annually in emeralds alone!

If you have been following the news of the war against Osama bin Laden, it is interesting to note that the Panjshir Valley was home to the assassinated Northern Alliance leader, General Ahmed Shah Masood. Many of the pegmatites yielding the beautiful specimens we are tempted to buy are found in showrooms and show booths are from the this area along the Afghan-Pakistan border. As I write this (late December), there has been brutal fighting in this area in an attempt to capture the terrorists of the Al Qaida network. The ruby and sapphire deposits are near the road from Kabul to Jalalabad, and it also is in one of the most heavily fought areas. According to Bowersox, the best of these rubies are of the “pigeon’s blood’ color, rivaling Manmar’s famous Mogok rubies.
I have not heard any mention of mining or gems in any of the many newscasts from Afghanistan. I wonder how many of these miners have survived; were they fighting to rid the country of the Taliban; and will they soon be able to go back to mining gems and minerals? Is bin Laden a rockhound? Maybe some of our Special Forces soldiers will return with pockets full of specimens picked up the the rubble from the bombing! It will certainly be interesting to hear how the gem trade fared when, once again, people like Gary Bowersox and Dudley Blauwet of Mountains Minerals are able to return to Afghanistan. (Via Pick & Pack 2/02)

What is a Hobby?
A HOBBY is getting exhausted on your own time. A HOBBY is something you go goofy over to keep you from going nuts over things in general. A HOBBY is any work you don’t have to do for a living. The best thing about a HOBBY is that it gives you something to do while you worry!
(via Pick & Shovel 8/01)

Geodes Versus Vugs
by Cecil Goss
We all know what a geode is-a roughly spherical hollow rock lined with crystals. But do you know the real difference in the structure between the two?
A geode has an outer shell or rind (like a melon) composed of chalcedony, which is harder than the host rock in which the geode formed. When the host weathers away, the geode is preserved intact due to its hard shell
Vugs do not have the protective rinds that geodes possess. The crystals found in vugs are formed within a cavity in the host rock, but unlike geode crystals, they are attached to the host rock itself. Therefore, vug crystals are destroyed when the host rock weathers through the cavity.
When weathering exposes a cavity and a rockhound happens to see it, the vug can be chiseled out. If an inch or two of the rock is left around the cavity, the vug can be removed undamaged.
The geodes and vugs I am writing about are found within a radius of about 70 miles from Keokuk, Iowa, which includes portions of Illinois and Missouri. The rock in which they are found is a yellowish-brown to blue-gray dolomite shale of the Mississippian age (325 to 345 million years ago). (Via The Pica Pick 3/02, Palomar Gem Bulletin 3/96)

Anyone You Know?
A state trouper pulled a driver to the side of he road and asked him if he realized he was driving without tail lights. Seeing that the motorist was visibly shaken by the news, the officer added assuringly, “Don’t worry it’s not a serious infraction.” “It may not e serious to you, but it is to me. I’ve lost a trailer, my wife, three kids and the best darn piece of petrified wood I’ve found all year!!” (Via Road Runner News 11/98)

Picture This!
Last summer, down on Lake Isabella, located in the high desert, an hour east of Bakersfield, California, some folks new to boating were having a problem. No mater how hard they tried, they couldn’t get their brand new 22 ft boat going at a speed they thought proper. It was very sluggish in almost every maneuver, no matter how much power was applied. After about an hour of trying to make it go, they chugged to a nearby marina, thinking someone there could tell them what was wrong. A thorough topside check revealed everything in perfect working condition. The engine ran fine, the outdrive went up and down, the prop was the correct size and pitch. So, one of the marina guys jumped in the water to check underneath. He came up choking on water, he was laughing so hard. Under the boat, still strapped securely in place was the trailer. (From Carl Phillips 2/02)