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Rockwood Gem and Mineral Society
St. Louis, Missouri


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February 2004

In January, Bob Morse showed a movie and some of his personal slides on "Iron Mining in Minnesota". He also brought along samples of Taconite for each of us. Did you realize that there are three different iron ranges in Minnesota? Two of the mines, the Cuyuna and the Mesabi, are of sedimentary origin so the iron was dissolved in water. The third range, the Vermilion is volcanic in origin. It contains hematite and magnetic taconite. Iron was mined there since the early 1800’s using candlelight, hand drills and blasting powder. (Interesting trivia: The teams were made up of three men who spoke different languages. That way they wouldn’t waste time talking.) During WW I & II, the iron was used along with limestone and coke to make steel for tanks and fighter planes. By 1962, mining was no longer profitable so the mines sold to the state of Minnesota and turned into a working state park

Won’t you think about volunteering for one of these jobs?
Education Chairman
2 Science Fair Judges

The Science Fair judging only takes a couple of hours at either the elementary or the secondary fair. Unless one has done it for 40 years, it is quite interesting to see the ideas that our young people come up with and how they display their projects.

In Memorium

It is with a great deal of sorrow and a heavy heart, that we must announce the death of our dear friend and faithful member, Helen Heitland, on January 30, 2004.

Although Helen suffered with a heart condition for many years, she never let it stop her from doing anything she wanted to do. She was always quietly going about helping others. Give Helen a lemon and she made the best lemonade every time. I used to tell her that she was exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Helen served as our Club Secretary for many years, she worked at all the Shows, went to as many field trips as she was able and was currently serving as our Hospitality Chairman.

Helen never wanted to cause a fuss and made her funeral arrangements accordingly. After donating organs, she was buried quietly with a private grave side service. She asked that in lieu of flowers, we donate to the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital. Rest in peace, Dear Friend.




Gemstones on Stamps!

The AFMS has an ongoing goal of having subjects of interest appear on commemorative stamps. Currently we are attempting the get “Gemstones on stamps.” The 2003 United States 50 State Quarters program featured a faceted diamond gemstone on the Arkansas quarter. Collect these and support gemstones on stamps too! (The Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee. c/o Stamp Development, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 5670, Washington, D.C. 20260-2437) Please write: Letters or petitions for stamp subjects.

Early Field Trips
by Bill White

According to some old magazines, both the Union Pacific and Northern Pacific railroads ran collecting excursions from the east and allowed the ticket holders to collect rocks, fossils and what have you. This was done along the railroad right of way. These trips were popular from about 1890 thru 1910, I think some of these people were my ancestors.

Is it Possible?

In the Midwestern section of the country, Kansas, trilobites are generally found in a curled up position. No one is certain as to why they didn't die in a flattened position as those found in the west and other countries. It really is an exceptionally easy problem to solve. It is, without a doubt, a matter of economics. The trilobites in the Midwest were more economical and able to make ends meet! (Via: Sooner Rockologist 2/03)

From the Internet

The 38th Annual Meeting of the North-Central Section of the Geological Society of America will be held here in St. Louis on April 1-2, 2004, at the Millenium Hotel in downtown St. Louis. It is being hosted by Saint Louis University.

We would like to invite you to have an exhibitor's booth at the meeting. It would be a great opportunity to get your mineral samples out in front of approximately 400 Midwest geoscientists who will be there.

We really need to have some vendors of mineral samples and if you know of anyone else who might be interested, feel free to pass this information on to them.

Please do not hesitate to call if you want more information!

Laurie Hausmann

Cartoon by Erston Barnhart



The meeting was called to order at 7:07 p.m. by Vice-President Hank Schlichter.

There were twelve members and three guests present.

Treasurer Bob Morse read the treasury report which was approved as read.

Vice president Hank Schlichter announced that next month's program will be a Midwest Federation slide show on hunting South Dakota agates. Hank stated that a new Education chairman is needed. The Science Fair needs two people to volunteer as judges from our club.

The field trip and phone committee chairmen were absent.
The coordinator and historian had no report.

Bob Morse reported on the coming show in August stressing the importance of participation by our members. Bob will attend the association meeting next month.

Hank mentioned that displays may be exhibited at the show--advanced or junior. Clubs are credited for these displays by members.

There was no old business reported.

As new business Claudia reported that hospitality chairman Helen Heitland is seriously ill in St. Luke's Hospital. The club is going to send a plant to Helen.

The attendance prize was won by visitor Gary Liess.

The meeting adjourned at 7:20 followed by a slide show and video about an iron ore mine in Minnesota presented by Bob Morse.

Submitted by Secretary Marianne Toenjes