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.
Everyone had a great time visiting the Sutton Museum on our last field trip. Valerie just reminded me that I should be posting some photos from the museum so I will over the next week or two. When you come in the door of the museum, the first thing you will notice is this giant piece of petrified wood. A person is standing next to it for scale, so you can see it is about 2 feet tall. Much bigger than the other big petrified wood I wrote about last year.
This is a cross-section of a fossilized sweet gum tree from the Hampton Butte in Crook County, Oregon. We saw it at the Rice Museum in Hillsboro, Oregon where it is in the petrified wood room. I hardly ever see petrified wood that is green like this; usually it’s red, orange, or brown. Anybody know what makes it green?
Two Show-Me Rockhounds members who are very much in love took a trip to Hot Springs, AR. While they were there they stopped at a rock shop, of course, and these carved hearts caught their attention. Stephanie was drawn to the gray and black petrified wood heart because she thought it looked like a charcoal drawing. David was drawn to the blue sodalite heart because the blue color reminded him of lapis.
What kind of rocks catch your attention, and why?
You’ve heard of petrified wood, but have you heard of petrified palm? It’s made from trees of the extinct genus Palmoxylon, which were very similar to palm trees. The process is the same: when the palms died, sometimes they would be covered by water or dirt before they rotted. Then, as groundwater flowed across the ground it carried dissolved silica which would fill the xylem and phloem inside the palm. The result is solid silica in the same shape as the plant. They usually turn out much smoother and more uniform than other types of petrified wood, and petrified palm can be cut, polished, and used as a semiprecious gemstone. It’s mostly found in the Catahoula Formation, Texas, and Louisiana (where it’s the state fossil).
As you can see, petrified palm’s distinctive round spots make great cabochons.
A nice big chunk of petrified wood from the personal collection of David Reed, one of our members. It weighs over 100 pounds.