Here is a video I produced in the virtual world Second Life, about the birthstone for January, the garnet, and its association with Greek and Roman mythology.
Rocks In My Head
In Europe and elsewhere there's a Carboniferous epoch. We in the U.S. divide the Carboniferous into the Mississippian and the Pennsylvanian. Like those of the previous periods, the Pennsylvanian rocks have been eroded away in Minnesota. However, elsewhere the landscape was dominated by swamp, tree ferns, and horsetails. Compaction turned the vegetation into bituminous cole. During this time the Canadian shield was uplifting. The entire continent was tilting westward.
I bought another geology book by the same author as my last purchase. A customer stopped by and gave it a high recommendation. Reviewers complained that much is repeated from the author's other book. I did not find this to be the case. Of course, I am the one who still reads from the book my uncle used at the U of M in the 1950's.
Some day soon I want to go on a rock hunting trip. This can take one of three forms. Either I will go somewhere that has geological features I can photograph. Or somewhere I can pick up samples in the field. Or, somewhere that I can visit a rock shop.
Adventure Publications continues to send me nice gifts. I will handle their products when it's feasible (when I get my road signs back). In the meantime, I can recommend them heartily.
Here is their information.
Adventure Publications, Inc.
820 Cleveland Street South
(8-5 Mon-Thu, 8-4 Fri CST)
Fax: 1-877-374-9016 (toll-free)
In addition to nature books they sell mysteries, cookbooks, Scandinavian humor, children's books, memoirs, poetry, history......
Yes, I'm still reading Minnesota geology, but but I received a complimentary copy, from Adventure Publications, of a stunning paperback titled The Storied Agate: 100 Unique Lake Superior Agates
The Mississippian period in Minnesota is like the two earlier geologic periods. Information is obtained from other areas as there is very little evidence left in the state. Warm shallow seas were probably homes to crinoids (sea lilies). Also, amphibians were likely to have lived near rivers, lakes and other wet areas. Land plants had developed, but not flowering plants.
I have discovered a new aspect of stone collecting that appeals to me very much. Suiseki is the Japanese word for viewing stones. That is, stones presented in their natural state and appreciated as works of art. The practice began in China, where the objects are known as scholars' stones, or Gongshi. The Koreans also have their variation of this art. There is is called seosuk. Western cultures have begun to adopt yet another interpretation of this type of artistic presentation. In Japan, it is often associated with bonsai. In Western culture this art is in its infancy and is still evolving. I hope to contribute to its evolution, now that I have discovered it.
I thought I saw a new store front business in town, and it was a rock shop. Then I thought to myself, I must be mistaken. Nobody in their right mind starts a rock shop. Wow. Did I really say that out loud? I have been fighting this attitude for years, and I've blogged about it and raved about it, and now I've fallen prey to it myself. Yesterday I found an ad in the classified section of the local shopper. I was right. Someone has started a rock shop downtown.
My parents had a rock shop. So did my grandfather. My parents were told in both subtle and not so subtle ways that rocks are a hobby, not a business. As I see it my parents were beaten down by this attitude, persistent and relentless,
until they believed it themselves. I often wonder why the nosy neighbors and others (I don't really remember who it was) couldn't have afforded them the dignity of calllng it a seasonal business. Which it was. Kind of like a resort. They would have felt much better about themselves. Confidence and support might have pushed their enterprize into a more viable arena. My parents were too poor for hobbies and they used every dime for living expenses. Sometimes I could cry.
People try to pull that s*** on me too. When somebody stops in and refers to my hobby I try to set them straight but my first impulse is to say &%#@$%^. And no, this isn't a hobby farm. This is where my grandparents made a living and raised seven kids.
A new rock shop in town! Competition? No, not at all. Just wind in my sails.
I am really bummed out on a trade transaction I made via the forum Dirty Rockhounds. One person was pleased with what I sent and recommended me for another trade. Another person didn't say anything. The third person was "dissapointed", and very sarcastic with me. Her reaction left me dumbfounded.
The last cabochon my 96 year old grandfather made was brown stromatolite which is not flashy but is very interesting. It is an 8 billion year old MN fossil, the earliest life form. Red stromatolites are considered gem quality. I sent her both. My parents and grandparents signed a waiver and went into the now underwater Mary Ellen mine to gather this material. Larvikite, from Norway, also known as Swedish blue pearl, is the stone we used to make both my grandfather’s and mother’s gravestones. A friend who works in mines has been to all 3 larvikite quarries in Norway. 90 percent goes to waste because it has to be cut at just the right angle to take advantage of the “sparkles”. My uncle made it into beautiful belt buckles. I could go on and on. Every stone has a story. Since she was so unhappy I offered twice to send out another box if she would send me her mailing address again. But I got no response. It makes me wonder if my family has been dealing in such worthless crap for over sixty years maybe we shouldn’t have been in business in the first place.
The same as with the Silurian, there is not a lot of evidence of activity from the Devonian period in Minnesota. An exception is a carbonate unit called the Cedar Valley formation in southern Minnsota. The material was deposited by the advance, then the withdrawal, of marine waters. Most of the fossil evidence has been obliterated. Elsewhere in the world there is fossil evidence of bizarre fish types, swamps and forests, and primitive amphibians. It is a fascinating era, for anyone who enjoys reading about the earth's history.
I have received two boxes of rocks and minerals in trade, from contacts I made at Dirty Rockhounds, a site for earth science enthusiasts. Beautiful quartz from SC (Diamond Hill Mine), and others from a collector in WV. Now I have to do a good job of selecting items for my end of the trade :)
According to the geology books, there are no Silurian rocks in Minnesota. Elsewhere there is evidence of primitive plant life, mosses and corals. There may have been vascular plants. But Minnesota was a barren peneplain covered by a very hot sea. The equator passed right through the middle of the state.
I am about to fill in gaps in my rock inventory with a few ordered items: turquoise in forms ranging from good quality cabochons to chalk to beads; carefully chosen fossils including coprolite, and my continuing acquisition of affordable examples of the traditional and alternative birthstones. I opened the tumblers and found that most of the materials have to go back in. Haven't gotten together with the "ladies" to do wirewrap yet. I gathered up all the white rocks for prep and painting during the coming winter...which unfortunately is on its way.
The rock record of depositions from weathering is well exposed in southern Minnesota. There are many sandstone formations, along with some shales, named after area towns. The Mt. Simon sandstone has rounded sands which indicate high energy deposition, strong waves and currents. The material contains quite a few brachiopods.
The Hinckley Formation is similar to the Mt. Simon but the latter contains more feldspar. The Eau Claire Formation is fine grained, suggesting that it was formed under quiet, calm conditions.
Galesville Sandstone is coarse grained, likely formed under high energy conditions near the shore or beach. The Ironton Formation contains silt as well as quartz and rests on the Galesville Sandstone, suggesting perhaps that the sea withdrew and redeposition under calmer conditions ensued.
The Franconia Formation is characterized by abundant glauconite, which forms on the sea floor under oxygen poor conditions. The Saint Lawrence Formation is characterized by carbonates but also contains silt, clay, and sand which indicate fluctuating conditions. Jordan Sandstone is coarse-grained and contains pebbles, indicating it was formed near a shore or beach. These formations are interesting as a record of the seas that once covered Minnesota.
Sweltering here a couple of days ago, but now it's cool and almost like fall.
No time or energy to read up on geology. We are expecting 300 barn guests and I want to have my shop looking decent in case some decide to visit it. I really could use a lot more inventory. When I rearrange things, blank spots appear. Today somebody visited my shop, a fine person I am sure, but he had a forceful way of asking questions, and I was at a disadvantage because I wasn't expecting it. Anyway, he asked how long I had lived on the property and I said all my life. He responded by speculating on how long a life I had lived, and he guessed accurately, which made me damn $%^&**ing mad. I'm used to people either underestimating my age or holding their tongue. Maybe time has caught up with me, or I have to get back on the treadmill, comb my hair when I get up, and wear make up not just for special occasions anymore. !@#$$%^^&&
I made a good trade the other day, jasper and hematite for copper and turquoise and similar ores including lead silver.
I haven't done any research I can blog about, unless I count a couple of articles sold to Mechanical Turk that were based on earlier research. I wrote about carnelian and crystalline quartz. I have a facebook page for my business now, and quite a few fans. I sorted through the newly opened small tumblers again, but a lot of that stuff has to go back in the polish. As usual, some were gorgeous and some are pretty rough.
If anybody at all is reading this blog, check out Hoffs Rock Shop on Facebook. I post different pictures than the ones on my site.