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Special Exhibits Spring 2018

MCC-Maple Woods: All That Glitters Isn’t Gold
Many minerals with a golden hue actually have no gold in them whatsoever, and this display contain examples of many. But don’t be fooled! All that glitters may not be gold, but no matter what it, it is still amazing!

University of Kansas-Vertebrate Paleontology: Dinosaurs from Montana
Booth/exhibit will feature some nice casts of dinosaur skulls and bones.

University of Kansas-Invertebrate Paleontology:There will be a sandbox with invertebrate fossils for children to hunt through as well as information about the fossils they find.

University of Kansas-Invertebrate Paleontology: Fossils from the middle Cambrian
Display of a variety of interesting and rare middle Cambrian fossils

University of Missouri-Kansas City: Specimens from UMKC’s Sutton Museum of Geosciences
A display of excellent specimen’s from the UMKC museum

Northwest Missouri State University: Student Field Experiences
The showcase features mineral and rock samples collected by students during departmental field trips over the past year. Samples were collected at sites in southeastern Missouri, Minnesota, and the Colorado Plateau region.

University of Kansas-Paleobotany Department: Pennsylvanian Plants of the Midwest
An exhibit of various 300 million year old plant fossils, many found locally.

Washburn University: Bill Boltze Lake Superior Agate Collection and the Washburn meteor
Exhibit will feature a collection of agates found in the glacial deposits in and around Topeka, KS and a 29 lb. nickel-iron meteor that is 1/4 of one found in Chile in 1875.

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Door Prizes Spring 2018

Adult Door Prizes

DSC_2234#1 Pendant created by artist Marv Dahmen. Valued at $55 (I think it might be more valuable than that -ed.)
DSC_2229#2 Polychrome jasper from Madagascar. 6 1/2″ tall and weighing 5 1/2 lb. Valued at $100
DSC_2219#3 Large trilobite from Morocco. 16″ long. Valued at $250

Kids’ Door Prizes

DSC_2225#1 Bismuth specimen. 2 1/2″ X 2 1/2″.
Valued at $65
DSC_2231
#2 Sphalerite and marcasite specimen from Potosi, MO. 6″ X 7″. Valued at $75

DSC_2240#3 Rock Tumbler. Valued at $60

Special Exhibits 2018

Don’t miss these special exhibits at the Gem Show March 9-11, 2018.

FEATURE EXHIBIT

FAMOUS ROCK FOOD TABLE – Presented by the East Texas Gem and Mineral Society

An amazing meal featuring rocks and minerals that mimic food items.  Hosts for the meal will be Kinney and Vicky Polve.

INVITATIONAL EXHIBITS

MR. BONES – Tim Seeber; Louisville, CO

Once again the Kansas City Gem & Mineral show is proud to present Tim and his friendly dinosaur puppets.  They can be seen wandering the floor during show hours.  Beware or you will be eaten!

MISSOURI MINES STATE HISTORIC SITE – Art Hebrank; Park Hills, MO

A display of minerals from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Museum.

CALCITE:  A MINERAL OF MANY FORMS – Dr. Charles Spencer, Lees Summit, MO; Ken Stalder, De Soto, KS; and Bruce Stinemetz, Independence, MO

A display featuring the many forms and colors of calcites from around the world.

THE ART OF FLINT KNAPPING – Demonstrations by various local artists

Flint knapping is the art of shaping rocks such as flint and chert into weapons and tools.  Demonstrations will be given continuously throughout the Show.

WALK THROUGH STORY BOOK – Judy Oetting; Levasy, MO

A geological experience geared to the younger set, but of interest to everyone.

A HISTORY OF MINE LIGHTING – Marv Dahmen; Carl Junction, MO

A display of the equipment miners have used to illuminate their work area over the years.

PHOSPHATES AND ARSENATES – Friends of Mineralogy, Mississippi Valley Chapter

A display of mineral specimens containing the phosphate (PO4) or arsenate (AsO4) group.  These minerals tend to be somewhat rare and are frequently brightly colored.

Scholarship Contest

The Association has some scholarships for college students who have completed at least their sophomore year and are legal residents of the United States and studying for a degree in Earth Science related fields. The awards ranging from $250.00 to $1,000.00 each can be applied toward tuition or loans at an accredited college or university in Kansas or Missouri. There are also research grants for graduate students.

The Scholarship Committee will select finalists from applications received by the end of February each year. Applicants are asked to provide the following:

  1. Fully complete the 2018 Scholarship Application including the six requirements listed on the application
  2. Recommendation from a Professor
  3. Submission of all college transcripts

Finalists will be notified by March 2, 2018 and will be requested to attend the Saturday Night Auction on March 10, 2018 at 7:15 P.M. to receive their scholarship.

To enter, mail the requested materials to Molly Stinemetz. Applications must be received by Monday, February 26, 2018. No email applications will be accepted.

Download the application (Word Document) here.

Chemistry Rocks Webinar

chemistryrocksacs

The American Chemical Society is hosting a live webinar called “Chemistry Rocks! – Exploring the Chemistry of Rocks and Minerals” on Tue, Oct 24, 2017 from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM CDT. We are surrounded by rocks and minerals everywhere…in the ground we walk on, the places we work and live, and even in the food we eat. How are chemists experimenting with these fundamental materials to help the world and make our lives better? Ask questions live to the experts regarding the amazing work that is being done in rock and mineral science.

To see the webinar, sign up at GoToWebinar and fill out the form. They will send you an email to confirm. Then, on Tuesday at 6PM Central Time, follow the link in the email, make sure you have your computer’s sound turned on, and enjoy!

Chemistry in Mining

During Earth Science WeekTM, we went to a lecture by Dr. Innocent Pumure from UCM called “Sonochemical Extraction of Arsenic and Selenium from Pulverized Rocks Associated with Mountaintop Removal Valley Fill (MTR/VF) Method of Coal Mining”.

You may be wondering, what is Mountaintop Removal Valley Fill Mining? First, the excavation company blows up (or strips) the top part of the mountain to remove vegetation and expose the coal seams. The coal seams are then mined through the open cast/strip method, and the extra rock and soil is dumped in nearby valleys called valley fills. It is cheaper and easier to do than regular mining, where they dig a vertical shaft down and do everything through the tunnel, but it blasts the mountain apart and looks ugly. Since 30% of electricity in the USA comes from coal, valley fill mining is still pretty popular.

In 2002, the EPA found too much selenium downstream of a certain mine in West Virginia (we’re not going to say which one). It was over 5 ng/mL, which was the limit back then.[*] 7 years later, there was still an active mine there and the water still had too much selenium. Even worse, the surrounding sediment had 10.7 mg/kg selenium. This could cause problems for the environment later. Due to bioaccumulation, you could say once it’s in there, it’s really in there.

So now we get to the topic of Dr. Pumure’s talk, in which he and his colleagues discovered a way to quickly find out how much selenium and arsenic were in the ground around this mine in West Virginia. When you do a chemical analysis, you usually have to break down the samples in order to measure what is in them. One method to do this would be to take some core samples and do an acid extraction, but that takes a long time and uses a lot of reagents. Sonochemical extraction uses ultrasound energy to accelerate the leaching process that would naturally happen as rocks become weathered. Since it is ultrasound, it does not directly touch the sample, is minimally invasive, and does not need any reagents except water.

Next, he explained the methodology, which means a description of exactly how they did it in the lab: the size of the extraction cells, how much water and power were used (200W/cm3), how long the samples were sonicated, and all the other pertinent information for chemists. Pumure actually spent quite a lot of time finding out the optimal sonicating time to get the best extraction. It turned out the best times for his sample sizes were 20 minutes for Se and 25 minutes for As. That’s really fast![**] Then, he did a comparison to a chemical sequential extraction to make sure that the sonochemical extraction method was getting everything. To summarize, yes it was. Finally, he did a principal component analysis of core samples from different places all over the mountain using this same technique. They found some really interesting trends and correlations, for example, it appears that there is more arsenic in illite clay than other types of clay.

This research has many useful applications. If you were running a mine, you could take samples more frequently to see if your mine is polluting the surrounding environment, and then you could do something about it before the EPA finds out. The method could probably be used for other analytes, too. For other research needs, you could now quickly analyze large batches of mineral samples to get lots of data that would otherwise be too expensive or time consuming to obtain.

[*]The EPA has since lowered the limit and now it is 3.1 ng/mL.
[**]For comparison, some of my colleagues do chemical extractions that take 2 days.

National Fossil Day

October 11, 2017 is National Fossil DayTM. This year, the logo features heterostracans (Greek for “different shields”), which are a group of extinct fish who lived between the early Silurian and late Devonian period (358 million years ago). According to their website,

The heterostracans were characterized by an external covering of bony armor plates and by having only one common gill opening on each side of the head region. These early fish lacked any paired or mid-line fins and in many cases developed extensions of the armor plates that were not flexible but helped provide control in the water. Heterostracans lived in shallow marine environments around an ancient continent known as the Old Red Sandstone (ORS) Continent, which was composed of present day North America, the Canadian Arctic, and Western Europe….

The heterostracan species illustrated in the logo are Panamintaspis snowii in the foreground and Phyllonaspis taphensis in the background. Panamintaspis is named after the Panamint Mountains in Death Valley, which is where the original fossils were found and the species name recognizes the individual who helped to discover the specimen. Phyllonaspis taphensis means “leaf shield from the tomb” referring to the fact that the specimen comes from Death Valley. Phyllonaspis is particularly interesting as it is a member of a group that is otherwise only known from the Canadian Arctic, suggesting dispersal of these organisms from the arctic and around the margins of the Old Red Sandstone Continent.

Go to the NFD website to read more about heterostracans and David Elliott, a paleontologist who studies them and even found some in Death Valley National Park. There are also several activities you can do to celebrate the day.

To further celebrate National Fossil Day, Paleoaerie has a great article about the fossils that can be found in Arkansas.

We have discussed fossils found in Kansas City many times at showmerockhounds.com. They include ammonites, bivalves, crinoids, composita, and much more. For the full list, there’s a book for that.

Earth Science Week 2017

earth science week logo

This week (October 8-14, 2017) is Earth Science Week and the theme is “Earth and Human Activity.”

According to earthsciweek.org

“This year’s event, the 20th annual Earth Science Week celebration, promotes awareness of what geoscience tells us about human interaction with the planet’s natural systems and processes.

“Earth Science Week 2017 learning resources and activities are engaging young people and others in exploring the relationship between human activity and the geosphere (earth), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air), and biosphere (life). This year’s theme promotes public understanding and stewardship the planet, especially in terms of the ways people affect and are affected by these Earth systems.”

Be on the lookout for fun activities in schools and in the community to promote awareness of earth science this week, and National Fossil Day this Wednesday.