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.
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.
Photo by Donald Bowers/Getty Images for Sotheby’s
In the fall of 2015, a 1,109 carat white diamond was found in the Lucara mine in South Africa. The diamond is called the Lesedi La Rona, which means “Our Light” in Setswana. They tried to sell it at a Sotheby’s auction last year (July 2016), and we even wrote about it on Show Me Rockhounds, but no bidder met the reserve. Now, it has finally sold.
On September 26, 2017, Graff Diamonds announced that they bought the Lesedi La Rona for $53 million in a private sale. The CEO of Lucara says $53 million is higher than the highest bid they got at the auction last year, but he wishes he could have got a higher price. (Don’t we all!)
What will they do with it? Lawrence Graff, the founder of Graff Diamonds, says, “The stone will tell us its story, it will dictate how it wants to be cut, and we will take the utmost care to respect its exceptional properties. … I am privileged to be given the opportunity to honor the magnificent natural beauty of the Lesedi La Rona.”
Photo by Yaiba Sakaguchi
This scorodite specimen is only 8mm long, but it is very pretty. It is from the Drakelands Mine, Plympton, Tavistock District, Devon, England, UK. It gets its name from the Greek σκορόδιου = “Scorodion”, which means it smells like garlic when heated. Scorodite can also be called Arsenic Sinter. It comes from the oxidation of arsenopyrite or other arsenic-bearing species.
Chemical Formula: Fe3+AsO4·2H2O
Shelter House 3, although many people had already left. Photo by Stephanie Reed
Jim Ray, Stephanie, Martin, Valerie, and Jeanna. Photo by David Reed
Looking at something shiny. Photo by Stephanie Reed
Despite the rain, there was a sizeable turnout at the picnic, with members from Show-Me, IGAMS, the Bead Society, and more. Bruce, Martin, and Jim Ray grilled, with plenty of umbrella helpers keeping the rain off. Every picnic table in Shelter #3 was covered with interesting items during swap time, but it was cleared off quickly to make room for food and auction action. There was a lot of good food and if anyone went away hungry they have only themselves to blame. Kara was the auctioneer and sold things like trilobites, ammonites, calcite crystals, Dr. Gentile’s book (he was at the picnic, so the winner got it signed!), a specimen of garnets on chlorite schist, necklaces, beads, and even a set of all-beef hot dogs with matching buns. The proceeds will go towards the Scholarship Fund, which will be awarded next March.
Gem Stickers on a window on an overcast day. Photo from Rainbowsymphonystore.com
Would you like to have rainbows in your home? These window clings look like clear plastic stickers in the shapes of cut gems, but they also contain diffraction gratings so that they will turn light from the Sun into shiny beautiful rainbows.
What your home will look like after installation of the rainbow gem window clings. Results may vary. Photo from Rainbowsymphonystore.com
If you are interested, buy them from the Rainbow Symphony store. I am not affiliated with Rainbow Symphony and I won’t make any money if you buy these. I saw these when I was purchasing ISO compliant eclipse glasses and thought of the club.
After our meeting on July 15, 2017 we decided to go on another mini field trip and look for fossils. There were crinoid stems, composita, and other fossils, as well as lots of blue shale. There was also something red and nobody knew what it was. I don’t have many pictures because it was very hot outside and my phone said something about battery temperature too high.
Composita found in Kansas City. Photo by Stephanie Reed
Blue shale. Photo by Stephanie Reed
David met a friendly bird. Photo by David Reed.
This is a traditional pose for members of rock clubs. Someday we may make a calendar. Photo by Stephanie Reed
Steve Hardinger and Dragon Minerals. Retrieved from Mindat Photo of the Day
Everyone knows Kansas City’s water tastes really good, despite being “hard water.” Kansas City municipal water averages 100 ppm (CaCO3 equivalent), which is classified as “moderately hard” by the Water Quality Association. But these people’s hard water would be off the charts!
A valve was stuck in a pipe somewhere in the Naica mining complex in Chihuahua, Mexico. “The valve was removed with the aid of a saw, and voila! the pipe was completely clogged with fine, colorless and gemmy gypsum crystals to 7 cm.”
No word on what they did with the crystals after they unclogged the pipe.
As someone pointed out to me, I can hardly advertise a show in Arkansas without also advertising the upcoming show in St. Louis. So here it is: it’s the weekend before the Arkansas show, easily accessible from Kansas City, and I am sure it will be fun.
A fun show opportunity next month. Mountain Home is in the north-central part of Arkansas and is only 4 and a half hours away, same as a trip to St. Louis. If you like quartz, Arkansas is famous for it and I’m sure you will see lots of it. I also hear the show will have plenty of air conditioning!