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Rocks In My Head

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Topic: some days are pretty good
Today wasn't a good day. Spilled coffee into a keyboard so it doesn't work, forgot to take my meds, it was hot. But there are two or three confessions I just have to write.

The galena group of sulfides is a little more familiar to me. Galena is the chief ore of lead, and often occurs with pyrite. It's cleavage is cube shaped and so are some of its crystals. Some minerals in the galena group I am not so familiar with: altaite, clausthalite, alabandite, oldhamite. I've seen galena with pyrite, and with dolomite.

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 11:54 PM CDT
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reading two books
Mood:  happy
Topic: geology et al
Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 5:47 PM CDT
Updated: 12/21/08 4:51 AM CST
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cats cats cats
Mood:  flirty
Topic: some days are pretty good
I brought home another kitten. Now I have a geriatric alley cat, a Siamese, and an orange striped cat. All female. The old cat doesn't like either of the kittens. The Siamese, about 12 weeks old, bullies the tiny kitten, about eight weeks old, something terrible. I can't let a flock of cats rule my life.

Still reading in the Minerals of the World book and discovering how many common minerals are missing from my collection.

There are many families of sulfides. The stibnite group includes stibnite, bismuthinite, and guanajuatite. These are similar in appearance but bismuthinite is rare. According to the book, stibnite is spectacular in appearance. A must have if I ever have a museum. Bismuthinite is rare, and guanajuatite is poisonous. I will let that one go.

I'm writing a mystery for a contest. It's a shortie. First prize is one thousand dollars.

Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 8:46 PM CDT
Updated: 11/02/06 12:02 AM CST
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Topic: geology et al
Sulfides are complex and valuable. Scientific understanding of their origins is incomplete. Sulfides are deposited in cracks in the earth's crust. Igneous rock (usually granite) forms the core of folded mountain ranges. It has been formed from crystallizing magma, the hot stuff that forms the earth's core. As the magma cools, its minerals form, starting with iron, magnesium, calcium silicates, and so on. The last one to form is quartz. As the granite formation cools, cracks form. Hot water left over from the process moves through the cracks and elements precipitate out, with metals and semi metals combining with sulfur and forming veins. As the less soluble elements crystallize at higher temperatures, those are found near the source and more soluble elements are found further away. These deposits are called hydrothermal veins. It is not so easy to understand the crystallization sequence.

Some of these sulfur compounds are realgar, orpiment, cinnabar and greenockite. To my knowledge I don't have any of these in my collection.

I am finishing up my confession story today. It's sort of funny...humorous type funny I mean. At least I hope it is.

Here's my rockshop siteHoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 1:36 PM CDT
Updated: 11/02/06 12:03 AM CST
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back to blogging
Mood:  energetic
Topic: some days are pretty good
I am going to put aside the book I was reading about Minnesota geology for a while and take up that study again when I get a more current text. Not that I regret reading this one. Just because Minnesota doesn't have a lot of gem material doesn't mean there isn't a lot to ponder. I love mysteries. A big one is, what's under all that glacial drift? Diamonds? Maybe something we can't even imagine.... But now I think I will scan the field guide to minerals for a while, and maybe later read a book about tektites.

I am thinking more about purchasing molds for making fossil replicas, and growing crystals.

Most "rockhounds" (there's that detestable word again) have a special field of interest. I guess I like odd things. Curiosities. Fossils, crystals, rocks used for tools by human beings. I am not completely turned off by the metaphysical aspects. Some beautiful objects have been made or discovered that satisfy the natural healer's needs. And sometimes I think it would be challenging to pound rocks and glass into little pieces and make mosaics.

But the average person (and I'm quite average) needs a grounding in the basics, and needs to review now and then. And so I open this book called Minerals of the World....

The first few chapters are about igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, crystal habits, atoms, and lunar rocks. I am more interested in keeping the nomenclature straight. It has always confused me.

The chemicals that occur in pure, uncombined form in the earth's crusts are called native elements. These are divided into three groups: metals, non-metals and semi-metals.

The metals considered in the book are gold, silver, copper, mercury, lead, platinum, tin and iron. The non-metals are carbon (both diamonds and graphite are forms of pure carbon) and sulfur. The semi-metals have properties between metal and non-metal and include antimony, arsenic and bismuth. Have you got that straight? I am considering what I have in my collection that falls into the native elements category. I sold my silver ore but I can get more...somewhere. I have gold and pyrite in a polished slab. Some copper ores. No platinum, plenty of iron but perhaps not the native iron except in one meteorite. I don't know where my mother's diamond ring went to but it might be around somewhere. It was small and not worth a lot of money. Sulfur crystals would be a fine addition to my collection, as would synthetic bismuth crystals (they're cool) and botryoidal arsenic. Time to get cracking if I want a comprehensive collection......

I went to a church meeting last night to propose a writers' workshop facilitated by a professional outsider. The idea was ok but there is no money for it except if the participants pay tuition. One person said he hated poetry. Somehow I have the feeling that even after the church loan is paid up, there won't be money for anything that "they" don't feel is important....

Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 9:16 PM CDT
Updated: 11/02/06 12:05 AM CST
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more geology
Mood:  down
Topic: geology et al
Now I'm reading about an area of Minnesota with which I have more affinity than the eastern part...northwestern Minnesota. The Red River Valley. It was once the bottom of Lake Agassiz. That must have been quite a lake. 600-700 feet deep in places. The Red River is quite young, having been formed soon after the last glacier retreated. Glacial activity has left several hundred feet of drift in places. Where it has been possible to drill down to bedrock, Cretaceous shale has been found on top of pre Cambrian granite, slate and schist. There are no outcroppings and I know that the area is very dry as far as rock hunting is concerned.

I had a customer at my real life rockshop today who purchased stones for healilng. This happens quite often. She bought a clear quartz crystal, two apache tears, and my last elestial.

The medication I take makes me drowzy so I didn't get my writing done yesterday.

Have to work at the church Friday I guess, and try to observe a writing class tomorrow if I am up to it.

Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 12:07 PM CDT
Updated: 11/02/06 12:06 AM CST
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The Minnesota Iron Range
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: geology et al
The iron range is of great social and cultural interest as well as geological, esp. for rock collectors, but that is not the focus of this blog. As someone whose grandfather was once known as "the binghamite king" and as someone who owns or has access to several ton of the algal material of the upper cherty division of the Biwabik formation, part of the Mesabi range, I am very interested in this.

These are mostly open pit mines rather than underground, because the deposits are just under the glacial drift. (An exception to this has been at Ely). The extraction of high grade ore is not as profitable as it once was. Taconite is another name for the lower grade iron bearing rocks.

A complex series of events over the eons resulted in deposits of the high grade ore that for the longest time made this area the greatest iron producing area in the world. Mining was begun in 1884. I am eager to see what a more recent books says about this subject.

I sell drill cores at my shop.

Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 12:33 PM CDT
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cloudy flatulence
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: geology et al
According to that Minnesota geology book I'm reading, Carlton County deserves special attention and is an entity in itself. To make a long story short, mud turned into shale and compacted into slate. Due to movement and pressure, the slate buckled and folded and molten rock forced its way into the folds. Streams have eroded the bedrock so all of this has been exposed and created a rugged, interesting terrain, esp. in the Jay Cooke state park, which I have not visited. Another must do. Have driven through this area so I'm vaguely familiar.

That kitten smells really bad sometimes. I still haven't named her.

I'm working on three stories. Wish I could spend the day reading, writing, and painting. Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 8:11 AM CDT
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A Sunday Alone
Mood:  crushed out
Topic: some days are pretty good
I got tired of that Minnesota geology book but I'll go back to it later. Right now I'm reviewing a field guide to mineral identification. That's akin to a bird book for rockhounds. Not that I appreciate the term "rockhound" In many instances, though, it is apropos.

Now that the cabin is gutted out and in the process of repair, I have a perfect rough workshop for doing neat things like growing crystals, or pouring plaster of paris replicas of fossils. I could even have a dinosaur party.

There are a lot of interesting fossils for sale online, and in all prices ranges. I can envision starting a museum or interpretive center. Using my grandfather's collection as an anchor, I would add new items and show how the rock business has evolved, including my own involvement. I even have the building picked out. It's a small trailer or modular home that looks like a log cabin with a verandah. I wouldn't need plumbing in it and I think they can build them to specifications. I'm not yet brave enough to inquire about the price. I wouldn't need a building permit because it's not a permanent structure.

More later......Hoffs Rock shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 10:08 AM CDT
Updated: 11/02/06 12:08 AM CST
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Independence Day
Mood:  cool
Topic: some days are pretty good
I haven't been reading any geology the past few days and I also have neglected this blog. But I am still thinking in earth science terms......

A customer visited my "real life" shop and selected, then rejected, a very nice brazil agate slab because, in her words, "it looks like a uterus". I got a big kick out of that one. When I get my computer back I am going to photograph it and post it online as NFS.

Yesterday I purchased a siamese kitten. That's all I need. My old cat has become senile and/or incontinent and she doesn't like the newcomer. She used to be quite a hunter but with age she has hung up her rifles, I guess.

As far as writing goes......I submitted my article (with photos) about how my grandfather was a rockhound. I missed the deadline on a short story contest (again) but I can write it as a confession. It's half finished. And the pastor of the church where I work has given me an idea for another story. The problem is, I feel like I've already written that another form....

My penpal who was born and raised in England and now lives in a commonwealth nation, says of our July 4, "not that the date is of any significance." :)

Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 12:55 PM CDT
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back on the Gunflint
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: geology et al
Interesting geological aspects of the Gunflint Trail: the trail cuts across several belts of various rocks including lava flows where gabbro and red rock granite can be observed. There is a conspicuous boulder bed. The finer glacial drift has been washed away leaving the bigger rock. Granite, being resistant to erosion, is seen as outcroppings in the form of hills. One is 2230 feet above sea level, the highest point in the state. A lot of the lakes are longitudinal because that's the direction the glaciers gouged out depressions, from west to east. I suppose this is pretty boring to most people.Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 2:02 PM CDT
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veering off the trail
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: some days are pretty good
I was reading about the Gunflint Trail. What a rugged, romantic, wild west name. Another place in Minnesota that I have not visited. A place for canoeing, hiking, fishing, skiing, picking berries, watching birds and animals and wild flowers, discovering the history of the area which was used by the Native Americans to find food, the voyageurs in their fur trade, and would-be miners who found the iron ore too difficult to remove from the rocks. I will return to the subject, but I have been sidetracked from Minnesota geology for a day.

I am thinking about another kind of rock. A stone. It is called rok. My great grandmother's church parish in Sweden. So named because the stone from pagan times was used by early Christian builders in the construction of their church. I have named my little handmade-on-my-computer book enterprize Rok Press. I have in my possession a New Testament given to my great grandmother from church. Somehow, in my mind I could see what was written on the frontispiece of that little book. I thought it was Rok, and I thought the date corresponded to her confirmation at about age 14. But I ran across the book recently, and I discovered I was wrong. The parish name is not mentioned. Doing my math, I figured out that the Bible was given to her at age 21. And someone has left a bookmark, a newspaper clipping of a poem in Swedish. The title is G?. Maybe it was given to her when she left for America.

There is a new book about the Kensington runestone. Fascinating stuff. Think...Da Vinci Code. Knights Templar. Cistercians. :) I expect a novel to come out of this. I wonder who will write it.

I think I need to concentrate on the music and literature portions of my website. I have to work at the church tomorrow, I suppose. Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 8:38 PM CDT
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I'm just not with it today
Mood:  cheeky
Topic: geology et al
Where were we? Discussing Minnesota geology, I believe.

Speaking of rocks, did you see that closeup that Japan's scientists have taken of the closest asteroid? It's the one that has the greatest chance of hitting the earth. Surprisingly, it looks quite a bit like a ....well, a rock. Wouldn't I love to snag a chunk for my collection!

I am a lifelong resident of Minnesota but I have never visited the North Shore nor the prairies of southwestern Minnesota. I am reading about the North Shore and it's geological peculiarities including magma flows along Lake Superior, massive outcroppings of feldspar (resistant to erosion) growing out of the darker diabase. Also the rugged terrain, gorges and valleys left over from pre-glacial times. I think I shall have to visit that area.

Also I've never attended the Moose Lake rock show, which is July 14-15 this year.

I wrote 700 words out of a targeted 3500 of a short story about the MGM Grande Hotel. Quite a struggle for someone who has never visited Las Vegas. Somehow, I am more interested in the Mojave Desert than the bright lights, although I love neon art objects.

Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 1:35 PM CDT
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A lot has happened.
Mood:  chatty
Topic: some days are pretty good
It has been over a week since I posted. A lot has happened. I entered the sonnet in the writing contest and got good reviews (one bad review). We had the poetry reading in the barn but I did not read. Since I didn't take the class, it would not have been appropriate. The participants are hoping I either take the class next session or at least visit, and they are having their next reading here July 14. I went in and bought the other sherbert colored blouse. So now I have three.

I am working on the next contest, to write a story mentioning the picture posted on the site, which is a night time shot of the MGM Grande Hotel in Las Vegas.

Found out today that the acid a friend used to enhance his septarian jasper (muratic) is an ingredient found in meth labs.

My computer died but a friend said he can put the hard drive in another machine and I can get by for a while.

Was late with the church newsletters (some of them) and I am trying to think back to what happened. I guess in part it was confusion....worried sick about my computer files, worried about not hearing from my penpal who was sick, worried about what will happen with the mammogram I cancelled. Will that doctor want me for a patient if I refuse to take one? I guess it will all work out. Also I perceived that saving money on postage was more important for the church than getting the newsletters out in a timely fashion. Sometimes I try to read between the lines and I miss.

And what about geology? I think perhaps I should purchase a more current book (although the old books are valuable, too). I am considering Minnesota's Geology by Richard W. Ojakangas, Charles L. Matsch sold on the Amazon site. It looks intriguing and is an affordable paperback with quite a few used copies available.

Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 8:10 PM CDT
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rainy day
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: geology et al
I've been reading about the Duluth gabbro, a topic that has never entered my mind. As I read about Minnesota geology, most of this is vaguely familiar to me but some is new.

The Duluth gabbro is famous as far as igneous rock is concerned. It is very old and was formed in early geological times. Lava flows in what is now northeastern Minnesota had accumulated to a great thickness and it was difficult for molten magma to force its way out of the center of the volcano. A large mass did eventually make its way out and spread out into a dome, And then the center of the dome sank into a basin. Kind of exciting, isn't it?

I remember when I was a kid, my grandfather and uncle made a card with an explanation of igneous, metaphoric and sedimentary rocks and samples of each. Many were sold but then they had problems obtaining the samples. It couldn't be that difficult, could it?

Again, the celtic theology interests me because it is nature friendly. I do need to look into it.

I have finished 9 lines of my sonnet.

Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 11:51 AM CDT
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more geology, two customers, the rock business, geology
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: geology et al
I had a friend/customer visit yesterday. She was mentioning how you can't pick up rocks along the shore of Lake Superior. It's illegal. I can see the rationale here. We don't want our natural heritage picked up and carried away.

Lake Superior is the largest body of fresh water in the world, and one of the deepest. It is a fine heritage. But how was it formed? Not sure I understand the process but I think the original trough was formed by a downfolding in the rocks of the pre-Cambrian age, which should have filled up by sediment by now, but instead the trough was reamed out by ice lobes. Then the ice melted and filled up the lake.

My desire to finish my sonnet and read it at the poetry event in my barn on June 16 is very strong.
I would also like to finish my paintings.

But there is rock work to do, my website in particular, and that takes precedence over what the world would term "hobbies".

Church work? As long as I have consented to take this job, I should do as good a job as I can while I am in the position, no matter how humble.

Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 10:49 AM CDT
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a sunny day
Mood:  bright
Topic: geology et al
If I go rock hunting this summer, it will be in northeastern Minnesota, which has some of the most complex geological formations in the world, also the most easily observed because of erosion and mining that has been done. I have been reading that the ely greenstone is the oldest of all rock formations in Minnesota, perhaps in the world, and it may have underlain the entire state at one time. Now it is visible in outcroppings.

CarolAnn is planning a poetry reading and potluck in the barn for June 16. It is the last day of a class she is teaching and the participants will read. Some will bring guitars. I am going to provide beverages. I hope i can get the barn cleaned up by then. Maybe I can finish my sonnet and read that.

I set the tomato plants out today, rather late, and stuck in a few summer squash seeds. The geraniums I had on the graves for Memorial Day are in pots in the front yard flower bed. I need to put a few plants in the outdoor planters, petunias, violas, marigolds. It should look nice.

Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 9:29 AM CDT
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interesting tidbits
Mood:  blue
Topic: geology et al
Mineral wealth in Minnesota includes iron ore, not as important as it used to be but still prominent, dimension stone for quarrying (granites and other igneous rocks...also sedimentary limestone), peat, marl, clay, and of course, water in abundance, for which we should be grateful.

I just read that one type of granite was marketed as "Reformatory Gray" because the reformatory near Saint Cloud was made of this stone and there were once several active quarries within the walls. What kid hasn't been warned to behave in the car when nearing this formidable structure with its high walls and lookout towers?

Did a whirlwind clean up job on the house yesterday and entertained family. Tonight I've been shanghaied into accepting an invitation to supper at the house of friends. I need, I crave time to myself. Too much socializing lately.

I bought myself another sherbert colored gauze shirt today (lime). They didn't have the orange in my size.

I'm still working on my sonnet and perhaps i've lost my touch.

Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 3:28 PM CDT
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more about nature and science
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: geology et al
According to the book I am reading, and contrary to my comment in an earlier post that Minnesota is not particularly well known for fossils, there have been quite a few finds from the Quaternary (Pleistocene) era, which is the most recent of geological ages and continues to this day. A lot of mammal remains have been found in the glacial drift. Apparently there were elephants (mastadons) in Minnesota (four kinds). This era began sixty million years ago and during this time, evidence of three glacial ages can be traced, rather than one single glacial age as was first believed. At one point the glaciers scraped the ground down to bare rock and redistributed it in southern Minnesota, resulting in the Canadian Shield all the way north to the arctic. Mention was made of celtic theology in church today. I got my garden planted today. Hoping for rain tonight as the soil was powdery and dry. I am still working on my sonnet. It's one of those no-no subjects. Unless I write that which is shocking and unacceptable, I am not really interested. For me that means ...well, never mind. Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 5:18 PM CDT
Updated: 12/21/08 4:34 AM CST
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dinosaurs etc.
Mood:  bright
Topic: geology et al
I was just reading that no dinosaur fossils from the Mesozoic era have ever been found in Minnesota with the possible exception of the gizzards but they are not sure. Maybe the big bones were removed by glacial abrasion. Some flowering plant fossils from this era have been found in sandstone, and some fossils fish teeth. Also mollusks and that sort of thing on the Mesabi range.

I have written the first eight lines of my sonnet. A couple of lines are awkward and could use work. The form I use is Petrarchan. ABBAABBA CDECDE Also I am using a few oblique rather than direct rhymes but am sticking to the iambic pentameter.

I hope to plant today, corn, greens, beets, carrots, peas, stringbeans, squash, herbs, flowers. I don't have a lot of any one thing but it's good to put in some kind of garden.

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 9:22 AM CDT
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