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Rockwood Gem and Mineral Society
St. Louis, Missouri


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Field Trips
Since we have a decent amount in our treasury due to the  work we did at the Queeny Show, it might be nice if we used some of it on field trips.  Here are two suggestions:

      1.  Join the Association on a field trip to the Sheffler Mine in April  to hunt for geodes.  The club would pay the entrance fees.  This mine will  soon be bulldozed under when the highway is built through that area.
2.  Charter a bus and go up to the Midwest Federation Show in Springfield,IL.  That would be the week-end of October 4-6, 2002.

Let  us know how you feel about these ideas. If you have any other suggestions, we would love to hear them.                             

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      We were saddened to learn that  John Wilson, an  founding  member of the Rockwood Rockhounds died at the end of January.  John is fondly remembered because of his generosity.  He had all sorts of wonderful equipment which he taught the members  to use.  He would open up his garage and allow everyone to come  in and learn.  He is survived by his wife,  Marguerite Wilson.  

      Helen Heitland is feeling much better after her surgery and is ready to get back to business.  

      Martha Cottrell has been recuperating well so she is able to take care  of Roy who is just home from the hospital after major heart surgery.      Roy isn't having any more chest pains but he is still sore and tires easily.  However, he feels that he is improving daily.

Mineral of the Month
Hank Schlichter has chosen  Actinolite  as the Mineral of the Month.  If any member has a nice specimen of it, bring it along to show us. Last month Barbara Sky brought in her prize  winning collection of calcite for us to see.  Since Hank had  explained the reasons  why there are so many different shapes and colors of calcite,  Barb's collection was a perfect illustration.

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Rockwood Gem and Mineral Society
February 15, 2002  

Education committee head Andy Larson reported that he will distribute flyers at the Cabin Fever show in Kirkwood and Bob Morse will take flyers to the Rock Hobby Mineral and Gem show in March.

Barbara Sky reported for the Hospitality Committee that 10 members and 4 guests are in attendance at this meeting.  Barbara also said she missed the last association meeting so had no report.

There was a reminder that books from the club library will be distributed following the meeting.

The meeting was called to order by president Joan Schlichter at 7:05 p.m.

The minutes of the previous meeting were read by secretary Marianne Toenjes and accepted with a correction that the club library would be given away at the next meeting.

Coordinator Diane Larson reported that she had scheduled a display at the Grand Glaize library for 2003.  She reported that treasurer Bob Morse suggested using treasury money for a club trip to Scheffler's.  Diane suggested a club trip to Springfield, Illinois in October.

Editor Claudia Uccello reported that Roy Cottrell is in the hospital following a heart attack and Helen Heitland had surgery but is back home recuperating.

A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting at 7:20 p.m. to be followed by a presentation on calcite by Hank Schlichter, book distribution and a video on quarries.

Submitted by Marianne Toenjes, Secretary

News Form Other Clubs

Not a UFO-Not a Lightning Ball, It's and Earthquake  Light!

      The U.S.G.S. has observed earthquake lights for  some time. They occur simultaneously with earthquakes, and are located along faults on the earth's surface where the quake is centered.   

      Recently the lookout on the observation point at the Yakima Indian Reservation,  in Washington State, thought he saw a fire. It turned out to be  a very strong white light, approximately baseball size, floating down a slope with no noise.  Scientists refer to these balls of light as "luminous  phenomena" and theorize they occur as a result of the release of strain in the region where the earth's crust is moving.  

      There is strong correlation between the number of earthquakes and any monthly increases in reports of  sightings of these lights.  In the 1970's , before the Mt. St. Helen's  eruption, there were many more luminous phenomena sighted than at any time subsequent to the eruption.  Between 1972 and 1977, eighty-two such phenomena were reported on the Yakima reservation. Some researchers think they may be connected with very small magnitude earthquakes while others hope they may be a way of predicting earthquakes and eruptions. (Via CRYSTAL CLUSTER,1/99)

Age of Ambers
Amber has long been appreciated and traded by the Syrians, Phoenicians, and even the Vikings. The Greeks believed it was  solidified sunshine,considered it a precious stone, a jewel,  but called it  “Electra” for its ability to attract bits of material  if rubbed on cloth.  Nero, emperor of Rome, sent expeditions to buy Baltic amber, to cut as gemstones or use for medicine to treat inflammations and muscle spasms.  Amber is a polymerized compound of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon and contains varying ratios of succinic acid, several resins and brown volatile oil.  Polymerization is the process wherein the molecules of sticky resin are linked into larger molecules.  This is  unlike the fossilization or lithification process of other materials.
        Amber has a hardness of 2, a specific gravity of 1 and can be melted at 100 degrees C. It can be cooked down to black colophony or amber pitch.  Amber varies in color, blue, red, black, green and honey. The trees, Pinus succinifera, producing amber resin existed through the Miocene Age but all amber is not the same age.  Amber occurs in sedimentary rocks.
      Bavarian-225 million years old
      Lebanese-115-135 million years
Siberian 80-115 million years

British Columbia-100 million years

New Jersey-90 million years old

Alaskan-80 million years old

Arkansas-60 million years old

Baltic-40 million years old

 Helpful Hints

       To open geodes, soak a string in kerosene, tie it around  the geode, burn the string, then plunge the geode into  cold water. In many cases, this will crack the geode and a light tap with a hammer will finish the job.
(Via Petrograph)

      Toothpaste with fluoride has the unique characteristic of penetrating stone, ceramics, bricks, terra cotta, and then flushing the dirt away with water. 
(Via Ghostsheet)

       Monument makers use a weak solution of oxalic acid to acquire the glassy shine on granite.  Try dissolving a little oxalic acid in water and work into your buff or add to your polishing paste.  Try it on agate and jade.
(Via Rockcollector)

 A Plea to John  Q. Public
            I have heard that some  of you think we're crazy to go out in the cold, the mud,  the heat or the dust to hunt ugly, heavy, dirty rocks- but that is only what you see on the surface.  In the Gem  and Mineral CLUBS in this country, there are those who really know their DIAMONDS.  We always carry hammers, pry bars, and SPADES on our field trips, and down deep in our HEARTS, we are all dedicated rockhounds.  Please, therefore, before you make too many disparaging remarks - remember there are some in every club walking around with a FULL DECK.  (Vivian Gilbert in the Geode)

Volcano Yields Gold

Volcanoes ordinarily produce molten material called magma and a nasty concoction of hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric  acid, hydrofluoric acid, and other deadly gases.  At Galeras, an active  volcano in Columbia, gold is being produced.  When it is erupting, Galeras also  exhales through its vents a pound of gold into the air each day.  Furthermore, the volcano formed a vein of quartz containing gold.  The high - grade vein yields about eight ounces of gold per ton.  Although gold has been  found in other volcanoes, Galeras yields about 100 times more gold than any other active active volcano.

        The gold--bearing vein at the base of the 14,000 foot volcano was discovered when a guide showed it to a scientist. A sample of the vein was dated and found to be about 560,000 years old.  This suggests Galeras has been expelling gold while erupting since its beginning.  Most of the gold is in solution  in the volcano's gases and can not be collected.

      Galeras is active. In 1933 the volcano killed nine people, six of them earth scientists.  Access to the volcano has been restricted,  but geologists continue to study Galeras because they have the opportunity to see an active model  of gold ores being emplaced in the rocks.  (Via The Rockfinder)