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Rocks In My Head

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geology et al
some days are pretty good
My own link
Rock Shop
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glaciation I guess
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: geology et al
Today I helped clean the lower level of the barn where rocks have been stored, and although I'll have to buy, hunt, or manufacture some things for variety, today I found a large enough cache to keep me busy all summer.

When I traveled with my grandparents as a kid, my grandfather used to decribe the lay of the land. He would say things like, "This all used to be ocean bottom". I discussed these subjects with him a lot but not enough. However, I can go back in time and revisit some of these subjects. I still have my grandfather's books, and his thoughts.

Minnesota topography might not seem very exciting but the lay of this land has been formed by the same geological forces as elsewhere: volcanism, diastrophism, and gradation. That is, the molten rocks that erupt on the surface because of great heat at the core of the earth, the warping and uplifting of the earth's crust due to stress, and the wearing down of the high places and filling in of the low places due to erosion. Minnesota is known for an even more dramatic geological process and that is glaciation. Glaciers gouged ridges in the bedrock and created rocky basins. They picked up everything from dust to boulders and deposited them in various formations. The last glacier retreated eleven thousand years ago.

I am trying to gather up all the science books and keep them in one place and hopefully to acquire more as new discoveries are made.

Here is a book review I wrote for a church newsletter:

by Timothy Ferris

This book was the text for an online cosmology course I took through Barnes and Noble University. It does require some concentration on the part of the reader, but the energy spent visualizing models of the universe, past and present, is well worth the effort.

Ferris premises this book on the Big Bang theory, which he feels is broad and pliant enough to endure. From that starting point, he explores not only a theoretical history of the universe, but also the human element, how people have viewed the cosmos from the days of the Greeks, on up through Copernicus, Newton, Kepler, Einstein, Hubble and beyond. The author provides a lucid description, and discussion, of mind-boggling concepts, from the view of a 10 dimensional, constantly expanding universe, to the idea that there are multiple universes, each with its own laws of physics.

There is something for everyone in this book, from historical and amusing personal anecdotes about scientists, to literary allusions, to the epilogue which asks the important question, “What about God?” The author feels that there is nothing in the universe that proves or disproves the existence of God. But in the end, he admits that the genesis is likely to remain a mystery.

The book was published in 1997. Discoveries have been made since then, and work done on refining the described theories. Still, this book is a good starting point for someone who wants to understand more about our universe.

Cleaning out the barn, I discovered that I am the owner of another book by this same author entitled "Coming of Age in the Milky Way". A good read for next winter.

I enjoy the metaphysical thoughts especially as they nowadays pertain to crystals and gems, but what would we do without science?

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 7:28 PM CDT
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Terrestrial, celestial, it's all good
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: some days are pretty good
I prefer articles on earth sciences but if I find a good site about any of the other hard sciences...well that catches my interest, too. I think this is natural. We all have or should have curiosity about the natural world and the universe. You never know where surfing takes you. I have a link exchange with Meteorites Plus (see my link page) and that site has a section called Astronomy Picture of the Day (scroll down). Some of those pictures are...may I resort to a pun?....out of this world. Not all are of the heavens. There's a startling photo of a rock slab growing out of Mt. St. Helens volcano. Do take a look.

Tomorrow is Syttende Mai. Norwegian constitution day. The above mentioned site has a good picture of Norway and the aurora borealis. Reminds me of opal.

I gave up on the hard boiled detective story and I'm back to the article on Grandpa Was a Rockhound. In the meantime, I started reading thrillers. A new experience for me.

Who the heck reads these blogs anyway?

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 6:50 PM CDT
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Taking Pictures
Mood:  not sure
I turned a basket of dusty bottles, boxes and bags into....merchandise. It was not the containers but what was in them. Treasures. Items from my archive of stones of the past. I found tumbled amber colored quartz, peridot, fossils, a matched pair of fine, tiny amethyst cabochons, herkimer diamonds in a magnifying box.......

The deadline for the detective story is creeping up fast and a plot idea is coagulating out of the mass of confusion in my brain. But I don't think there's enough time.

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 3:44 PM CDT
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Am I a rainy day woman?
Mood:  rushed
My detective story is developing but slowly. The deadline is Monday, May 15. And I am sssooo far behind on everything else.

My real life retail space is 8'x16' so it's a challenge fitting everything in. Of course, some of the rugged rocks are outdoors and I do have a plastic storage shed and other spaces to tuck the extras. And thanks to a friend who has a warehouse for his related business, the big saws and other equipment is not on the premises.

Oops. Too busy to blog. Catch you tomorrow!

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 9:17 AM CDT
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Different Rocks
Mood:  flirty
The friend who has mine claims said he used acid on a rock that is sufficiently striking as it is (he calls it septarian but it's not like your regular ordinary septarian) and removed the patterened white portions and ended up with a very striking specimen. I am not a purist. I've never felt negative about color enhanced, heat treated, or lab created rocks. However, I do believe in telling the truth about a stone's origins. It shouldn't make that much difference except for the value or price.

I am writing an article entitled Grandpa Was a Rockhound. I typed those words into google and found out there are a lot of people with grandpas who were rockhounds. Their stories are similar.

I am also working on a short story for a contest that calls for 3500 words or less in the hard boiled mystery tradition. Deadline is Monday. This has given me occasion to check books out of the library that I might not otherwise read by Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler, and Dashiel Hammett. Never hurts to broaden one's horizons. The story is supposed to be edgy.......and hot. I might be in over my head :)

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 7:03 PM CDT
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Mood:  not sure
Checking through a list of gem dealers for possible link exchanges, I am struck by the beauty of faceted stones and precious metals. This is an aspect of the rock business that never interested me much. To me, faceted stones looked like rhinestones. But then, to the jewelry buff, even rhinestones have their place, in costume and fashion jewelry. Maybe I should change my tune.

I like fossils, too. For whatever reason, this rock/jewelry/art-and-craft business is energizing me and I hope to come up with new ideas. And the means, both in terms of time and resources, to implement them.

Here's part of a blog entry I've recycled a few times:

Minnesota geology
I found an old newspaper clipping once, and I wish I could find it again, in which my grandfather during the early fifties was quoted as saying a lot of different rocks have been found in northern Minnesota...ones you would not expect.....jade, sapphires, petrified wood. Material was dragged in by glaciers during the Quarternary Period which began around 2 million years ago, not a long time in geological terms. But don't expect to find these things every day. It's a now and again sort of thing if you're lucky.

Much later I was reading that there might be a some interesting gemstones, precious metals etc. wwwaaaayyyy underground, under the sedimentary deposits covered over during the Quaternary. For the most part this is a very "dry" area for rockhunters. This sedimentary material that might be covering up everything including evidence of earlier glaciation is known as till. Deposited into hill-like formations known as moraines. There are some other terms and sometimes it's hard to keep them straight.

And here's a color enhanced brazil agate slice for your viewing enjoyment.

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 2:40 PM CDT
Updated: 05/09/06 2:42 PM CDT
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Blogging again
Mood:  lyrical

It’s amazing what new signage can do. The highway department requires me to have a sign at the end of my driveway. (I think they call these directionals “trailblazing”). The one I had was weathered and I don’t think people really saw it. Then I got a brand new ROCK SHOP sign from a professional sign painter. The black letters on a yellow background really jumps out at you. Since then, I have heard visitors comment. They say, “Do you sell rocks?” Funny......they really didn’t know? A woman from the church where I work asked me about it. Apparently she didn’t know either. She is going to visit my shop and look at landscaping stones. Our conversation gave me the opportunity to hand her a business card. Another neighbor is going to bring his Norwegian guests over tomorrow. I am still working on my website. My sources of rocks are my archive of family stones, purchase and resale, a supplier who has a lot of nice material on his ranch, and a friend who mines for industrial stone. Many of my rocks were dead property that has taken on a new life. One friend makes gem trees. She uses my rocks for the bases. I took a look at her work and I saw new beauty in some of those flat, weathered stones. It’s a beauty akin to driftwood, to the patina on metal, to dried cornstalks blowing in the wind. I still have plans of visiting the Erie Mine to pick up some jaspers and stromatolites. And to contact my Montana friend for garnets and petrified wood. Also, to resume the production some arts and crafts, perhaps making books and painting on gourds. There aren’t enough hours in a day..... I am also a writer, published in the field of confessions. The past two years I’ve written quite a few articles and book reviews for a church newsletter. And now I am trying my hand at articles. For a few months I blogged at and made some good friends there but I made the painful decision to withdraw. I could see myself becoming addicted. Now I am getting involved at In case anyone is interested, my URL is Or check out I am in the gifts and novelties section. See you there!

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 4:32 AM CDT
Updated: 08/23/11 7:18 PM CDT
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