Images

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.

Collagen Found in Dinosaur Bones

Paleontologists at the University of Toronto just found collagen in a 195 million year old fossil. This makes it the oldest protein that has ever been found. Previously, the oldest protein sample was only 80 million years old (it was also collagen, from a dinosaur bone). They also found hematite crystals in the fossil, which possibly came from the blood. The dinosaur was a Lufengosaurus that lived in Yunnan Province, China.

Some other paleontologists didn’t like the new, non-invasive methods that the team used used to identify the collagen, but other scientists thought the methods were fine. Read the whole article here https://cen.acs.org/articles/95/i6/Collagen-found-195-million-year.html and let me know what you think.

Rooster Rock

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Rooster Rock, Crown Point, and the Vista House (top right, on top of Crown Point). Photo by Lyn Topinka, http://columbiariverimages.com/Regions/Places/rooster_rock.html

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Photo by Thomas Kuo, from Google Maps. This is Crown Point and the Vista House seen close up from the other side.

Celebrate the new Year of the Rooster by going to Rooster Rock State Park in Portland, Oregon. Rooster Rock is a large basalt feature located on the Oregon side of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 129, just below the base of Crown Point. It is also called Woutoulat or Crow’s Roost, sometimes. There is a Vista House on top of the Crown Point, which is a lava flow. The state park has many amenities including: a boat ramp into the Columbia River, fishing, swimming, windsurfing, hiking, ADA accessible picnic shelters, parking lots, restrooms, two disc golf courses, and a clothing-optional beach. Also, Lewis and Clark camped there on November 2, 1805.

Sources: http://columbiariverimages.com/Regions/Places/rooster_rock.html http://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=126