Author: Show-Me Rockhounds Kansas City

We are the oldest rock collecting club in Kansas City, MO

Cave Formations Show Evidence of Fire

stalactites inside a cave

Drip water in Yonderup Cave contains evidence of an aboveground fire. Credit: Andy Baker/U. New South Wales

Stalactites and stalagmites form in caves when water that contains dissolved minerals (such as calcium carbonate) drips from the ceiling. Scientists can analyze the 18O/16O ratios (isotopes of oxygen) in the stalactites and see how the temperature changed as they were formed. A team led by Andy Baker, Gurinder Nagra, and Pauline C. Treble of the University of New South Wales, Australia discovered that Yonderup Cave had a lot more 18O than they expected. Since having more 18O is associated with higher temperatures at the time of formation[1], it could have been interpreded as one of the largest climate changes in the last 2 million years.

But, there was a wildfire in 2005 and a large tree died right on top of the cave. Baker’s team believes that this is what actually caused the increased 18O concentration. This is important for anybody else trying to use these oxygen isotopes to determine ancient temperatures, because if they get a very warm result it might have been caused by a forest fire instead.

[1]It’s a little more complicated than that. Read the whole article here: http://cen.acs.org/articles/94/i30/Cave-dripwater-contain-fire-evidence.html and check Baker’s website for more interesting stuff about how he researches caves to learn about past climates.

Cabbing with the Snows

A while ago, we went over to Mr. and Mrs. Snow’s house and learned how to make cabs. Dan provided the equipment and Connie provided a delicious lunch and took photos so I would have something to write about. Everyone had a lot of fun.

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Dan demonstrating how to use a flat lap. Photo by Connie Snow

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Everyone working hard. Photo by Connie Snow

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Jim and Jeanna working. Photo by Connie Snow

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Two people working on the same machine! We even had three people at one point. Photo by Connie Snow

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Stephanie polishing her cab. This was her first time ever! Photo by David Reed

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Stephanie’s jasper and David’s green goldstone completed cabs. Photo by David Reed

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Martin working. Photo by Connie Snow

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Dan, Burt, and Charley discussing something, David shaping. Photo by Connie Snow

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Jeanna and Jim proud of their work. Photo by Connie Snow

 

 

Carborundum

iridescent purple and green silicon carbide

In Mark Sherwood’s case at the Spring 2017 show. Photo by Stephanie Reed

At Mark Sherwood’s talk “Earth Science… Facts, Frauds and Scams” he mentioned carborundum (also spelled carborundrum). It is made of silicon carbide, but it is not a natural mineral that you can find in the ground. If you want to find some carborundum, look in a chimney. At an iron foundry, the carbon and silicon in the smoke rise and precipitate on the inside of the chimney. When the chimney is cleaned, they find these nice silicon carbide deposits. They are iridescent and pretty enough to buy, but don’t be fooled. Some sellers will say that carborundrum or moissanite and pretend like it is from some secret mine or even a meteorite, but it is really a man-made mineral.

Note: Moissanite is a naturally occurring silicon carbide, but it is very rare and it doesn’t look like the specimen pictured above. It actually looks like tiny green glass crystals. They are usually heat treated to increase clarity. If so, the seller needs to disclose that the specimen has been heated or they are being fraudulent. Buyer beware.

Spring 2017 Gem Show Photos

The Spring 2017 Gem and Mineral Show was very successful. The parking lot was filled to capacity and we made over $3000 for the scholarship fund. I think it helped that it was so cold on Saturday, because people wanted to do something indoors. Here are some of the highlights.

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My favorite exhibit: The Earth’s Rainbow by Maple Woods Community College. It shows minerals of every color and how they get their colors. Photo by Stephanie Reed

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Geological features of Missouri made out of minerals by Susan Judy (Stone Quilt Design) Unfortunately, it was already sold when I saw it. Photo by Stephanie Reed

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Mr. Bones was wondering what was so interesting on this person’s phone. Photo by Stephanie Reed

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David and Stephanie Reed showing off the new Association banner. Photo by Bob

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Cretaceous fossils from Kansas, displayed by KU. The iridescent baculite is especially nice. Photo by Stephanie Reed

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Selenite crystal from Kansas. I sold it at the Association Booth. Photo by Stephanie Reed

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Shea Oak slab in UMKC’s petrified wood exhibit. This specimen usually lives at the Sutton Museum at UMKC. Photo by Stephanie Reed

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A blue morpho butterfly seen at Butterflies by God. Photo by Stephanie Reed

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The Bead Society had a lot of great cases. Photo by Stephanie Reed

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Keshi pearls (i.e. non-nucleated pearls) from Avian Oasis. Photo by Stephanie Reed

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Jeanna and Jim in foreground, Chet and Bob in background. Photo by Stephanie Reed

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Agatized Dinosaur bone from the Morrison Formation in Utah, seen at Science Leads the Way. We met the person who found it. Photo by Stephanie Reed

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Australian Boulder Opal cabs from Dreaming Down Under. Photo by Stephanie Reed

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This otherworldly glass sculpture was at Madagascar Gemstones. Photo by Stephanie Reed

Spring 2017 Lectures

Lectures presented by the Association of Earth Science Clubs of Greater Kansas City

Friday, March 10, 2017

3:00 p.m. “Opal Down Under”, Ron Wooly, Owner of Dreaming Down Under

Saturday, March 11, 2017

1:00 p.m. “Earth Science… Facts, Frauds and Scams”, Mark Sherwood, Independence Gem and Mineral Society

2:00 p.m. “The Life and Hard Times of the KU T. rex”, Dr. David Burnham, Research Associate, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

3:00 p.m. “Medullary bone in Tyrannosaurs: a question of chickens, eggs and possibly more”, Dr. Josh Schmerge, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

4:00 p.m. “History of Gold Mining”, Doug Foster, Show-Me Gold, Missouri

Sunday, March 12, 2017

2:00 p.m. “The Life and Hard Times of the KU T-rex”, Dr. David Burnham, Research Associate, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

3:00 p.m. “Islands in the sun: Eocene fossil mammals from Turkey”, Dr. Chris Beard, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

Scholarship

The Association has a scholarship for students studying earth science. The value will be between $250 – $1000. To apply, fill out this form on the Association website here and mail it to Molly Stinemetz. The application says 2015 but it is good for 2017. The scholarship happens every year.

Deadline: February 28, 2017

Requirements:

  • Be a student at an accredited college or university in Missouri or Kansas
  • Must have completed your sophomore year, or be a grad student
  • Major in a field related to earth science
  • Be a legal resident of the United States
  • Complete the application honestly and on time
  • Include a recommendation from a professor
  • Include a transcript
  • If you are selected as a finalist, you must attend the auction at the Kansas City Gem Show on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 7:15pm.