Tualatin Valley Rock and Gem Club 57th Annual Rock and Mineral Show

Tualatin Valley Gem Club 57th Annual Rock and Mineral Show flyer.The Tualatin Valley Rock and Gem Club will be hosting the 57th Annual Rock and Mineral Show on March 13-15, 2015, Friday – Sunday, at the Washington Country Fairplex in Hillsboro, Oregon, near the Hillsboro Airport.

The show features a wide range of rocks, minerals, gems, jewelry, fossils, dealers, and supplies, with exhibits, demonstrations, door prizes, and a kid’s corner. The rock show is open to families with general admission $1, children under 12 free with adult.

Rice Museum wins Educational Award at 2015 Tucson Gem & Mineral Show

The national organization Friends of Mineralogy awarded the Rice Museum with a top honors for “Best Educational Exhibit by an Institution” at the 2015 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show® (TGMS) for our display, “Lead Minerals.”

FM President awards Rice Museum Edcuational Case Award

Friends of Mineralogy President Alex Schauss presents Rice Museum Curator Leslie Moclock with the award for Best Educational Exhibit by at Institution during the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show Banquet February 14, 2015. (Photo by Al Leibetrau)

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®, the World’s largest such show, draws an estimated 50,000 visitors each year. The show invites museums, private collectors, and clubs from around the world to create display cases with their best specimens related to the annual theme. The TGMS began as a club show housed in a local elementary school in 1954, and today is a premiere international event that gives visitors a chance to view specimens from some of the world’s finest mineral collections.

This year’s show theme was “Minerals of Western Europe.” Mineral science as we know it today has its roots in European scholarship and mining development, and this theme inspired many displays focused on historical collections and famous European localities.

The Rice Museum display combined superb mineral specimens from well-known localities with mineral science education. The display theme, minerals containing the element lead, was chosen to demonstrate how useful and beautiful lead minerals can be. The vibrant green pyromorphite, yellow mimetite, and lustrous red wulfenite on display contrast with the popular notion of lead as nothing but a dull metal. The display also discussed how the crystal structures in some lead minerals contribute to their crystal shapes, and the importance of lead ores and mining in ancient history.

Rice Museum Tucson Educational Case

Rice Museum exhibit case at the 2015 Tucson Gem & Mineral Show featuring lead minerals.

Tying in with the show theme, European specimens in the display included a green pyromorphite plate from Les Farges Mine, France (center); green and brown pyromorphite from Friedrichssegen Mine, Germany; green pyromorphite from Chaillac Mine, France; vitreous white anglesite from Monteponi Mine, Italy; and one of the world’s largest phosgenite crystals, also from Monteponi Mine, Italy.

Education is at the heart of all that we do at the Rice Museum, and we are thrilled to be recognized for our efforts at the 2015 TGMS.

Mystery Mineral Day, Saturday February 28, 2015

If you have any rock, mineral, fossil, gem, or meteorite that you have wanted identified, then you are in luck.  A panel of experts will be on hand on Saturday, February 28, 2015 from 10 AM to 2 PM to not only identify your stone, but tell you its history and other important facts about it. This event is free with regular admission.

Mystery Mineral Day 2015 Flier

Mystery Mineral Day at the Rice NW Museum, February 28, 2015 from 10 AM to 2 PM

30,000 Diamonds

A rare diamondiferous peridotite has been found in the Udachny Diamond Mine. The Russian mine is one of the 10 deepest open-pit mines on Earth. A chunk the size of a golf ball has geologists counting the micro-diamonds imbedded within the rock.

In addition to diamonds, the 10.5 g rock contains specks of red and green garnet and other minerals.

Prof Taylor and his colleagues examined it using a giant X-ray machine to study the diamonds and their relationships with associated materials.

They also beamed electrons at the materials inside the diamonds to study the chemicals trapped inside.

This created 2D and 3D images which revealed a relationship between minerals.

…The images also showed abnormal carbon isotopes for this type of rock, indicating it was originally formed as part of the crust of the Earth, withdrawn by tectonic shifts and transformed into the shimmery rock scientists see today.

Along with the 30,000 diamonds fused into the peridotite are red and green garnets making for a beautiful and unusual specimen.

screen shot of sci-news 30000 find

January 21 is #MuseumSelfie Day

Wednesday January 21 is an unofficial holiday, #MuseumSelfie Day. This event is a fun and lighthearted way to celebrate your favorite museum, which of course is the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals.

Rice NW Museum Director Julian Gray with USGS Volcanic Hazards poster

Rice Museum Executive Director Julian Gray selfie with USGS Geologic Hazards at Volcanoes poster. This is also a great example of a lava dome.

Visit the Rice NW Museum Wednesday and take a selfie with your favorite rock, fossil, gem, museum sign, exhibit case, or gallery. Post your pictures with #MuseumSelfie and follow @RiceNWMuseum and @MuseumSelfieDay. More instructions, suggestions, and ideas are on Cultural Themes.

Earthquake Swarm

The State of Connecticut has been experiencing earthquakes the recently. The phenomenon is referred to as a swarm, and has residents on edge. A similar recorded incident in this area of the United States happened in 2006-2007 in the State of Maine and reported a swarm of 40 earthquakes. The east coast has been relatively quiet since then. It is still too early to tell if this new swarm will continue. A full story can be read at NBC Connecticut.

New Ichthyosaur Found in Rare Fossils

New findings in Scotland show ichthyosaurs are unique to the warm shallow waters of what is now Scotland during Jurassic period, 117-169 million years ago. A team of paleontologists headed by Dr Steve Brusatte of National Museums Scotland and the University of Edinburgh has discovered a new genus and species of ichthyosaur in rare fossils.

“During the time of dinosaurs, the waters of Scotland were prowled by big reptiles the size of motor boats. Their fossils are very rare, and only now, for the first time we’ve found a new species that was uniquely Scottish,” said Dr Brusatte, who is the first author of a paper published in the Scottish Journal of Geology.

The newfound species, named Dearcmhara shawcrossi, was a 4-meter long aquatic dolphin-like reptile. It was near the top of the food chain and preyed on fish and other reptiles.

9 New Mineral Names Announced

American Mineralogist announces 9 new mineral names in their latest issue. The new names are adachiite, dymkovite, ferroindialite, grandaite, iwateite, kitagohaite, rauchite, torrecillasite, and c. For a look at the complete article, it is available as a PDF file online.

Rock and Gems Magazine Features the Rice NW Museum

The need to support the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals was the focus of the lead article in the January 2015 issue of Rock and Gem magazine this week. The article was written by Bob Jones, a personal friend of founders Richard and Helen Rice as well as Bill and Sharleen Rice Harvey, captured much of the history and lore of the collection. Bob highlighted some of the major minerals in the museum and the stories of how they came to be in the collection.

This museum actually far exceeds in quality many publicly supported mineral museums, due to the combination of a wide range of superbly crafted lapidary materials and an astounding collection of priceless minerals. The collections were originally assembled by Richard and Helen Rice, who began collecting in 1938.

These were what I call the “halcyon years” of rockhounding, when quantities of superb minerals were available at reasonable prices. Richard and Helen continued to collect right into the 1990s, an amazing length of time for any serious collector. The quality of their collections was so good they chose to establish a museum so the public could enjoy the fruits of their efforts. Thousands of visitors come to the museum each year.

Page 17 from the January 2015 Rock and Gem Magazine article on the Rice NW Museum.Page 18 from the January 2015 Rock and Gem Magazine article on the Rice NW Museum.

The article covers not only the birth and development of the Rice Northwest Museum, but the impact of its founders on mineral collectors and lapidary hobby by organizing local groups and national organizations to support encourage and educate future geologists and rockhounds. Continue reading

Popocatepetl and Colima Volcanoes in Mexico Erupting

A webcam focused on Mexico’s volcano, Popcatepetl captured ash erupting, erupt ash from the snow covered upper slopes today. This is one of two active volcanoes in Mexico, the other being Colima with two explosions over this past weekend with ash plumes reaching an estimated 10,000 feet/3km into the skies over the volcano.

It’s been over 100 years since Colima was the site of a large eruption so researchers are studying reports as people prepare to evacuate if the volcano continues to show activity.

According to reports from CENA PRED Mexico, the translated report for the recent activity on Popcatepetl states:

In the last 24 hours the monitoring system of Popocatepetl volcano registered 57 exhalations accompanied by emission of steam, gas and ash. The most significant was presented at 06:57 and recorded 57 minutes of tremor. During the night glow was observed over the crater.

Over a 24 hour period on January 4, CENA PRED reported the Popocatepetl volcano was under a “yellow” alert as they reported “113 low-intensity exhalations” and explosions of “low to intermediate intensity. Continue reading