ROCK TALK - Southern Maryland Rock and Mineral Club

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ROCK TALK Southern Maryland Rock and Mineral Club JANUARY, 2016 Rock Talk January, 2016 Message from the Acting President Bob Davison Wherever you live or travel,…
ROCK TALK Southern Maryland Rock and Mineral Club JANUARY, 2016 Rock Talk January, 2016 Message from the Acting President Bob Davison Wherever you live or travel, geology is everywhere. Wouldn't you like to know how to read the rocks and the landscape? No other science deals more practically with the world on which we live, telling us where to dig a well; when to add lime to soil; how gold, oil, and other valuable minerals are formed and where to find them; what kinds of structures are safest in an earthquake zone; and why some active volcanoes are deadlier than others. During the course of the year our Programs Chairman, Carole Raucheisen, will be presenting half-hour lectures by Professor John J. Renton, an award-winning educator at West Virginia University. It's a program called The Nature of Earth: An Introduction to Geology. Field Trips are a major activity for the Club. Dave Lines recently sent a survey to all of us asking about our preferences. So far, he has only received a few responses. It will make his job much easier if you let him know the places you would like to go. After 25 consecutive years of holding an annual Mineral, Jewelry & Fossil Show we will not be hosting one this year. The decision was made by the Chief of the Natural and Historical Resources Division. In his email he stated I am ok with meeting and discussing the pros/cons for a 2017 show, but we won't be involved in any aspect this year. January Meeting Cancelled Next Meeting: February 23, a class= __cf_email__ href= /cdn-cgi/l/email-protection data-cfemail= 2e1c1e1f186e19 [email protected] /a script data-cfhash='f9e31' type= text/javascript /* ![CDATA[ */!function(t,e,r,n,c,a,p){try{t=document.currentScript||function(){for(t=document.getElementsByTagName('script'),e=t.length;e--;)if(t[e].getAttribute('data-cfhash'))return t[e]}();if(t&&(c=t.previousSibling)){p=t.parentNode;if(a=c.getAttribute('data-cfemail')){for(e='',r='0x'+a.substr(0,2)|0,n=2;a.length-n;n+=2)e+='%'+('0'+('0x'+a.substr(n,2)^r).toString(16)).slice(-2);p.replaceChild(document.createTextNode(decodeURIComponent(e)),c)}p.removeChild(t)}}catch(u){}}()/* ]] */ /script :00 PM Program: Al and Carole Raucheisen Refreshments: TBD In this issue: December Pot Luck Dinner and Gift Exchange Photos 2 Upcoming Shows and Events 3 Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils in the News 4 EFMLS/AFMS News 7 Field Trip Report James Madison University 7 Proposed Sanctuary May Prohibit Fossil Collecting along Potomac River 8 The Dugway Geode Beds are Threatened! 9 Member’s Finds 10 Page 1 of 11 ROCK TALK JANUARY, 2016 DECEMBER POT LUCK DINNER AND GIFT EXCHANGE Photographs by David Lines Page 2 of 11 ROCK TALK JANUARY, 2016 , Upcoming Shows and Events: 2016 February 13-14-- Albany, NY—Annual Show; Capital District Mineral Club, New York State Museum, 222 Madison Avenue February 14—Baltimore, MD—Minerals, held in association with the Baltimore Mineral Society and the Natural History Society of Maryland, 6908 Belair Rd, (Overlea) -- February 14-Baltimore, MD— Minerals a program held in association with the Baltimore Mineral Society and the Natural History Society fo Maryland, 6908 Belair Road, March 5-6-- Newark, DE—53rd Annual Earth Science Gem and Mineral Show, hosted by the Delaware Mineralogical Society, Delaware Technical and Community College, 400 Stanton-Christiana Road (@I-95 Exit 4B) March 19-20-Sayer, PA—47th Annual Che-Hanna Rock and Mineral Club Show, Athens Twp. Volunteer Fire Hall, 211 Herrick Avenue Page 3 of 11 ROCK TALK JANUARY, 2016 Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils in the News We Are Missing At Least 145 Carbon-Bearing Minerals, and You Can Help Find Them The Carbon Mineral Challenge is asking rock enthusiasts around the world to hunt for the undiscovered forms of this common element By Maya Wei-Haas SMITHSONIAN.COM DECEMBER 17, 2015 From the air you breathe to the dirt under your feet, you can’t escape carbon. This element is a key building block of life as we know it, and it can be found throughout the planet in various forms Much like plants and animals, scientists believe that carbon-bearing minerals have evolved over time and now occupy distinct niches on Earth. What's more, they think that we are far from discovering them all. So far, we've found 406 carbon-bearing minerals, and around four new types have been identified every year since 2010. But statistical estimates suggest that at least 145 carbon-bearing minerals have yet to be found, and mineralogists are calling for your help scouring the crags, crevices and rock collections of the world to locate these missing minerals. This worldwide search, dubbed the Carbon Mineral Challenge, started as the brainchild of Robert Hazen, a scientist at the Carnegie Institution and executive director of the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO). The DCO is an organization “dedicated to understanding the quantities, the forms, the origins and the movements of carbon from crust to core in planet Earth,” Hazen said at a press conference this week announcing the challenge during the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. “A good way to put it is that we’re crowd-sourcing mineralogical research,” adds Daniel Hummer, a post-doctoral researcher at the Carnegie Institution and leader of the Carbon Mineral Challenge. Carbon is one of the most versatile and abundant elements on Earth’s surface. It can fit into many mineral structures, sticking to sulfur, bonding to boron and meshing with magnesium. What Hazen realized is that, like the diversity of life in a forest, there are lots of different types of rare carbon minerals, while the most abundant minerals belong to just a few types, or species. “Each rare mineral represents a kind of mineralogical ecological niche,” he says. Based on this realization, Hazen used models similar to those biologists use to estimate biodiversity to predict how many undiscovered minerals still remain. Now the search is on to locate them. “They could be hiding in any corner of the world right now,” says Hummer. Though the challenge has identified a few key field sites to examine, the missing minerals are probably hiding in remote localities in minute quantities. They could even be ephemeral, disappearing and reappearing with events like periodic rainfall. Even more challenging is that the minerals are probably colorless and poorly crystallized or Page 4 of 11 ROCK TALK JANUARY, 2016 powdery—Hazen's models suggest many of the missing minerals are some form of carbonate, one of the main ingredients in baking soda. In addition to scouting in the field, the challenge encourages mineral enthusiasts and museum curators to explore their vast collections. There might be [carbon-bearing] minerals hiding in drawers right now that we have—that we don’t even know we have,” says Hummer. The grass-roots effort has an advisory board that consists of roughly 25 people from around the world. This board serves as the point of contact for rock and mineral hunters convinced that they have found something special and can assist in the detailed analysis of the samples. To help you along in your hunt, Hummer has outlined the basic groups of known carbon-bearing minerals: Carbonates: These minerals can be found all over Earth's surface. They are usually light-colored and many of them fizz if exposed to acid—just like adding lemon juice to baking soda. In general, these minerals are fairly soft and can be easily scratched. They form in oceans, lakes and from fluids moving through the crust that have carbonate material dissolved in them. Carbides: These are minerals where the carbon is in an unusual negative form in the chemical formula. They are usually dark-colored and tough. But don’t count on finding one of these easily. They are fairly rare and only occur in meteorites, impact sites or rocks from deep within Earth. organic solvents like alcohol but not water. “They form either near coal mines, in carbonate rock near an intrusive igneous body or in hydrothermal deposits sourced by deep fluids,” according to Hummer. Oxalates: These minerals are soft and brightly colored. “They are all biological in origin, mainly arising from the alteration of the pee or poop of animals, which all mineralogists find extraordinarily amusing,” says Hummer. These form at various depths in the ocean. Native carbon: This group includes four minerals that are made up almost entirely carbon: diamond, graphite, chaoite and lonsdaleite. The different atomic arrangements for each one gives them unique properties. Clear and shiny, diamond is one of the hardest known substances, while the gray-black graphite is very soft. Lonsdaleite is similar to diamond, but the atoms are arranged slightly differently, and chaoite is a soft, white mineral that is extremely rare. These minerals form in many different environments. When a mineral is found, it must pass rigorous tests run by the International Mineralogical Association to ensure it is indeed something new. If it passes muster, the finder gets to propose a name—the only rule being you can’t name it after yourself, according to Hummer. The hunt will continue until September 2019, when the DCO will celebrate the final assemblage of treasures. So keep your eyes on the rocks, and happy mineral hunting! Hydrocarbons: This small group of minerals is mostly made up of molecules of carbon and hydrogen. They come in a range of colors and are flammable. They are fairly soft and can dissolve in Page 5 of 11 ROCK TALK JANUARY, 2016 New type of moon rock discovered by Chinese lunar lander Tim Radford Tuesday 22 December 2015 11.04 ESTLast modified on Tuesday 22 December 201511.05 EST own launch site in Woomera, Australia, in 1971 and then withdrew from the space race. Since the end of the Apollo programme, US scientists have conducted their lunar research mostly from orbiters. Chang’e-3, China’s unmanned lunar mission, put down a rover called Yutu or “Jade Rabbit” on a comparatively young lava flow. This rover proceeded to identify a mineralogical mystery on the moon, a basalt with “unique compositional characteristics.” The study, reported in Nature Communications, is expected to enhance readings from satellite instruments, and to throw new light on the origins of Earth’s nearest neighbour. China’s Yutu rover on the moon. The rover has identified the new basalt from a comparatively young lava flow. Photograph: Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP)/ China National Space Administration (CNSA) Chinese scientists have identified a new kind of rock on the moon. An unmanned Chinese lunar lander, launched in 2013, has explored an ancient flow of volcanic lava and identified mineral composition entirely unlike anything collected by the American astronauts between 1969 and 1972, or by the last Soviet lander in 1976. The news, dispatched from an impact crater in the Mare Imbrium, is another reminder that planetary exploration is no longer the preserve of the Russians, the Americans or the European Space Agency: Japan, India and China have all launched lunar orbiters on their own rockets. Britain launched its own satellite, Prospero, on its own rocket, Black Arrow, from its The moon is thought to have formed when a Marssized object crashed into planet Earth early in the history of the solar system. The debris from the collision coalesced and cooled, but radioactive elements deep in the interior heated up the rock beneath the crust, and 500 million years later, volcanic lava slurped into impact craters on the moon to form the so-called “seas” or maria. The Yutu rover’s instruments started examining lava that probably flowed about 3 billion years ago. What they found won’t keep ordinary citizens wide awake at night, but it is a surprise for planetary scientists. Geochemists can reconstruct a rock flow’s history from the telltale mix of minerals in the cooled lava. Basalts sampled by astronaut expeditions or collected by a Soviet Luna probe tended to be distinguished in two ways: either high in titanium, or low. But the latest find reported from the first soft landing on the Moon in 40 years is both intermediate in titanium content and rich in iron oxide. “The diversity tells us that the Moon’s upper mantle is much less uniform in composition than Earth’s. And correlating chemistry with age, we can see how the moon’s volcanism changed over time,” said Bradley Joliff of the Washington University of St Page 6 of 11 ROCK TALK JANUARY, 2016 Louis, the only American partner in the Chinese team. The mix of minerals in magma tells a story: that is because minerals in molten rock characteristically crystallize at different temperatures. So rock on the surface delivers clues to the deep interior of a planet. Field Trip Report James Madison University Jan 9, 2016 by Dave Lines; Photographs by Bob Davison and David Lines “The variable titanium distribution on the lunar surface suggests that the Moon’s interior was not homogenized,” Professor Joliff said. “We’re still trying to figure out how this happened.” EFMLS/AFMS NEWS by Timothy Foard The December/January newsletter recognizes the AFMS rockhounds of the year from the various region federations. The Austin convention recap and the changes to the AFMA Uniform Rues are also present in this issue. In addition, the results of the competitive exhibit, web site competition, editors contest, and the All American awards are published in this issue. For these and other information, visit The EFMLS Newsletter for January has the registration info on the 2016 EFMLS workshop at Wildacres in North Carolina. The “Safety Matters” article deals with the distraction to drivers due to talking automobile features. There is a reminder to renew club dues and insurance for 2016. There is a list and description of spring and fall classes available at Wildacres. For these and other information, Our annual trek to Harrisonburg, Virginia to visit the Geology Department was another successful and enjoyable field trip and a great way to start the New Year. When we (11 folks from the Southern Maryland Club and 8 from the Montgomery County Club) arrived between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m., Dr. Lance Kearns had fresh hot coffee and pastries ready for us. Wow --- what a great host! Traditionally, Dr. Kearns (or Lance as he prefers to be called) has a large number of mineral specimens as well as other hobby related items such as books and rock magazines “for sale”. Some are offered at any price you chose to donate and some are priced for a specific amount --- but all are excellent bargains. We try to be generous in our donation amounts since the proceeds go to fund purchase of specimens for the JMU Mineral Museum as well as to fund field trips for his students. This trip was no exception as Lance had 50 or more flats ready for us -- all were covered until 9:00 sharp when he removed the cardboard. The next 30 minutes was a frenzy of activity akin to a Macy’s sale. And everyone found some great specimens. I did not get any pictures of that activity since I was part of it --- hey --- that is visit Page 7 of 11 ROCK TALK JANUARY, 2016 one of the best parts of this trip and I wasn’t going to miss it! Proposed Sanctuary May Prohibit Fossil Collecting along Potomac River By Dave Lines Next, Dr. Kearns invited all of us down the hall to visit the Mineral Museum. Spectacular is an overused word --- but the specimens in this room truly were. There were many new ones since my last visit. I especially noticed the several ounces of gold nuggets from Contrary Creek (Mineral, VA). And a baseball sized spessartine garnet from the Rutherford Mine (Amelia, VA) along with several faceted spessartines were fabulous --- and super valuable! There was a goose-egg size topaz crystal from the Morefield Mine (Amelia, VA) that Sam Dunaway told me about --- wow --- it was water clear! I took lots of pictures of the museum --- every cabinet had fine examples of the very best. It is well worth our support of this special place year after year. Dr. Kearns also identified several specimens that others had brought in. Unfortunately, we learned that Dr. Kearns plans to retire in July 2017 --- so next year’s trip will be the last that he will host. A nationwide search for his replacement had already begun – he is the only Mineralogist on staff and they want the best. His will be a difficult act to follow. Thinking ahead --- if you can possibly attend next year’s JMU Field Trip, you better do so, for it is truly worth the effort. It has just come to my attention that the proposed Federal Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary in western Charles County, Maryland may prohibit collecting fossils, native American artifacts and rocks such as the Patuxent River Agate along a large portion of the Potomac River in Southern Maryland. The original purpose of Marine Sanctuary status was to protect a small area of the tidal Potomac River containing the wooden remains about 200 small ships which were burned to their waterlines and abandoned there in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. The proposed Sanctuary initially increased in size from less than 100 acres to 14 square miles including the popular fossil collecting areas of Purse State Park and Douglas Point BLM area. And recently, it has been proposed that the Sanctuary area expand again to many times (over 100 square miles) in size to include all of the tidal Potomac up to the high tide mark on both the Virginia and Maryland sides south to Popes Creek to include Nanjemoy Creek and Port Tobacco Creek and north to include Mattawoman Creek and Chapman’s Landing State lands. Although the proposed exact language for the Mallows Bay National Marine Sanctuary regulations has not been published, other sanctuaries specifically prohibit the “…possessing, moving, removing, injuring, or attempting to possess, move, remove, or injury a Sanctuary Historical resource.” A Historical Resource (per the Monterey Bay, CA Nat’l Marine Sanctuary regs) is defined as “…any resource possessing…archaeological or paleontological significance … including … objects significantly associated with … earlier peoples, cultures.” Page 8 of 11 ROCK TALK JANUARY, 2016 If you want to LEGALLY continue to collect shark’s teeth and other fossils as well as the incidental arrowhead or pretty rock in this area, then you better act fast and make a comment requesting specific language to allow fossil collecting by the January 15, 2016 deadline (this coming Friday) on the following Federal website: (highlight the web address below and left click your mouse) seasoned and smart environment activists who are very organized and well financed. They have had two (2) major successes here by coercing the State and Federal Government to purchase--- for $56 million --- both Chapman State Park and Douglas Point BLM area in order to halt development. They want to get the Mallows Bay-Potomac River Sanctuary approved in order to further expand their control of the area. We need to be vigilant.!docketDetail;D=NOA A-NOS-2015-0111 As a result of that email, 38 comments from Rock Hounds were generated that supported language specifically requesting fossil collecting to continue. (173 total comments were posted by the NOAA website). Additionally, during a Charles County Farm Bureau sponsored “Legislative Breakfast” on January 16th, I further learned that NOAA wants to complete all the approval process for this new Sanctuary in time to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the entry of the USA into WWI --- or by July 2017. The local elected officials who spoke about it indicated the initial plan “at this time” is to approve the 14 square mile Sanctuary which includes Purse State Park and Dou
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