Road closure to affect Museum access July 27-August 17, 2015

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Road Work Traffic Sign.One of the most direct routes to the Rice Northwest Museum will be closed between July 27 and August 17, 2015 because of road construction.  The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) work at the Brookwood/Helvetia Exit (exit 61) on Highway 26, the main exit for the Rice Northwest Museum, is ongoing. Near the ODOT construction project the Washington County Department of Transportation is working on reconnecting Groveland Drive with Helvetia Road. This construction will require a three-week closure of Helvetia Road. Unfortunately, this impacts the routes to the Museum during our annual Summer Festival, August 1-2, 2015 and the NW Fossil Fest, August 8, 2015.

Detour map to the Rice NW Museum

From July 27 through about August 17, 2015, access to the museum is as follows:

  • From Portland heading West on Highway 26: Exit north on Cornelius Pass Road (Exit 62B off of Highway 26). Turn right (north) and go 0.8 mi to West Union Road.  Turn left on West Union Road and continue to Groveland Road (2.4 miles) and turn left.  Groveland Road dead ends at Groveland Drive.  Turn right on Groveland Drive.  The Museum is at the end of this road on the right.
  • From Ocean Beaches heading East on Highway 26: Exit north on Jackson School Road (Exit 59 on Highway 26).  Continue north on Jackson School Road to West Union (1.1 miles).  [Note: – there is also road construction at this intersection, but it is passable.]  Turn right on West Union Road to Groveland Road (2.0 miles). Groveland Road dead ends at Groveland Drive.  Turn right on Groveland Drive.  The Museum is at the end of this road on the right.
  • From Hillsboro on Brookwood North or from Exit 61: From Helvetia Road/Brookwood Parkway just north of Highway 26, take NW Jacobson Road east and follow detour signs to Cornelius Pass Road (1.6 miles).  Turn left on Cornelius Pass Road to West Union Road (0.2 miles).  Turn left on West Union Road and continue to Groveland Road (2.4 miles). Groveland Road dead ends at Groveland Drive.  Turn right on Groveland Drive.  The Museum is at the end of this road on the right.

The museum staff have been working closely with ODOT and Washington County Transportation on this project, and Washington County has provided a PDF of the detour route. When completed, access to Groveland Drive from Helvetia/Brookwood will be direct to the museum, paralleling Highway 26 once again. For information on the project, see Groveland Drive Realignment.

Thank you for your patience during the construction of the new access ways.

2015 Summer Festival August 1-2

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2015 Summer Fest FlierJoin us for the 12th Annual Summer Festival on Saturday and Sunday, August 1-2, 2015, 10AM to 5PM, at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals. The weekend event includes vendors with minerals, fossils, gems, jewelry, gold panning, lapidary demonstrations, geode cutting, and a variety of activities for the young and old.

There will be local food available for purchase and live music, and the famous Flintstones Mobile will make an appearance. On Saturday only, from 11 AM to 1 PM, Mrs. Delicia Wistrand, Mrs Oregon America will be attending Summer Fest.

A silent auction, raffles, and door prizes will be held throughout the day.

Admission is $5 for adults, free for students 17 years old and under. A great experience for the whole family!

Bring your inner rock hound and join us for a fabulous Summer Festival.

Belong to a local school or rock club? Download and print and share the Rice NW Museum 2015 Summer Fest Flyer.

IMPORTANT ROAD CONSTRUCTION ALERT:  Please note that Helvetia Road will be closed August 8, 2015 because of construction.  Not to worry!  Just follow our detour instructions and be alert for detour signs to guide you to the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals and the 2015 Summer Festival.

Fred and Wilma Flintstone Ride the Flintmobile to Summer Fest

Yes, Fred and Wilma will be visiting the Rice Northwest Museum’s popular Summer Festival, August 1-2, 2015. The rumor was uncovered by the Oregonian last week, and we caved.

Ha! Yabba dabba do!

Fred and Wilma will be at the Rice Museum all day Saturday and Sunday for photographs, hugs, and “rides” in the Flintmobile. Both Fred and Wilma Flintstone are expert rockhounds – though Fred mostly likes to break them. Bring your rock treasures and questions to them as well as the other exhibitors and rock experts at the museum this weekend.

Here are a few snaps taken with the Flintstone’s state-of-the-rock Polarock Camera from past events.

Northwest Fossil Fest at the Rice Northwest Museum

2015 NW Fossil Fest FlierThe Northwest Fossil Fest sponsored by the North America Research Group (NARG) will take place at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals on Saturday, August 8, 2015, from 10 AM to 5 PM.

The Theme for the 10th Annual Northwest Fossil Fest is The Pleistocene Epoch!

The event is free for families to learn about fossils, fossil collecting, preparation, identification, and display. The event includes lectures and demonstrations, including presentations by Mike Full and Dave Ellingson.  Mike will discuss some of his recent important discoveries from the Yamhill River Pleistocene Project and will have some of his Ice Age mammal bone discoveries on display.  Dave, a science teacher at Woodburn High School, will talk about major fossil discoveries from a bog deposit on grounds of the Woodburn Campus.  The Woodburn discoveries are part of the exciting Willamette Valley Pleistocene Project.  The lecture schedule will be published soon.

Paleontologists will be on hand identify fossils and to show kids of all ages how to clean and prepare fossils.  There will be lots of hands on activities and this is a great event for families and fossil fans.  Attendance for the Fossil Fest includes free admission to the museum.

For more information and up-to-the-minute information see Northwest Fossil Fest.

IMPORTANT ROAD CONSTRUCTION ALERT:  Please note that Helvetia Road will be closed August 8, 2015 because of construction.  Please follow our detour instructions and be alert for detour signs to guide you to the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals and the 2015 NW Fossil Fest.

2015 Summer Festival: A preview of our vendors, exhibitors, and food

The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals’ Annual Summer Festival is right around the corner on August 1-2, 2015, and we have a fantastic list of vendors, exhibits, and rock clubs coming to dazzle everyone.

We are honored to have exhibits and representatives of the following rock, gem, and mineral clubs at Summer Festival. They will be presenting a variety of demonstrations with activities for children and families as well.

Fred and Wilma Flintstone will be there the whole weekend with their Flintmobile giving “rides” to kids of all ages. Come get your photograph taken with these amazing living cartoon characters and rockhounds.

OMSI will have an exhibit exploring the science of rocks and minerals.

We have a wide range of vendors bringing their beautiful rocks, minerals, fossils, and gemstones for you to buy as well as demonstrations of lapidary and jewelry making.  Our exhibitors include the following:

  • Sharleen Harvey
  • “Days Past” with Marian Carroll
  • “Earthly Treasures” with Jim and Sherry Smith
  • “Fred and Wilma Flintstone” with Mitch Metcalf
  • Global Mineral” with Krista Dennis
  • Grand Products, Ltd” with Boris Chen and Ellen Law
  • “Nature’s Art” with Mikala Eslinger
  • “Rare Earth Exploration” with Austin Arp
  • Steve Falconbury
  • “The 3rd Rock” with Alise Lundmark
  • “Treasures by Tilgner” with Lamar and Merlia Tilgner
  • Viper Lapidary” with Tiffany Jackson
  • “Art and Artifact” with Paul Foulon
  • Lost Viking” with Eric Chilson
  • “Camelsmith Gems” with Len Rummel
  • “Martell and Martell Rock Shop” with Brian and Peggy Martell
  • “F-R-O-G Creations” with Sandy Metheany
  • “The Hummingbird Kisser” with Kimberly Brown

Food trucks by  Momo’s Hawaiian Shave Ice (Saturday) and Alvaros Tacos (Sunday) will be there for the hungry masses.  And we are thrilled to have Jerico Road joining us for some lively musical entertainment Sunday as well.

The fun starts Saturday, August 1, at 10 AM and goes through Sunday, August 2 at 5 PM. We look forward to seeing you there!

IMPORTANT ROAD CONSTRUCTION ALERT:  Please note that Helvetia Road will be closed August 8, 2015 because of construction.  Not to worry!  Just follow our detour instructions and be alert for detour signs to guide you to the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals and the 2015 Summer Festival.

What’s in the Box? Clammy Hands

What do you think the object on the left has in common with the three objects on the right? This question isn’t too hard to answer: they’re all fossilized clams. But why do they look so different?

Agatized Clams

The clam on the left is the mineralized shell of a clam from Coal Creek, Washington. After the clam died, its shell was encased in sedimentary rock; while that rock was forming, foreign minerals grew and replaced the original calcium carbonate the shell was created from when the clam was alive. (These replacement minerals are responsible for the dark color.)

The clams on the right, on the other hand, are agate molds of clam shell insides. They come from Green Creek in Washington. Their tops have been polished a bit to give them a nice shine, but the shapes are natural. After these clams died, agate filled in the insides of their shells, and the shells themselves dissolved away.

These fossil clams show just two of the many different modes of fossil preservation!

Survival and Resilience after a Cascadia Earthquake Event

Block diagram of Cascadia Subduction Zone

Block diagram of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, where two tectonic plates are locked together and building up for The Big One. Image from the USGS.

This week’s New Yorker article on The Really Big One has struck a chord with my friends on my Facebook feed. I’ve seen several posts this morning from geologists and non-geologists alike expressing fear and hopelessness in the face of a looming threat: the next great Cascadia earthquake, which may happen at any moment and will bring the coastal Pacific Northwest along with both Portland and Seattle to its knees.

Though the article’s science and history are spot-on, the author has left out a critical part of the story: just what are we supposed to do about it? Contrary to popular belief, a Cascadia earthquake does not mean that everything is simply “toast,” as FEMA’s Kenneth Murphy is quoted as saying. Each of us has the power, both as individuals and as a regional community, to prepare for survival and resilience.

Keep reading to learn more about what you can do! Continue reading

What’s in the Box? Green Eyes

These concentric green circles look like some kind of painting or an old-fashioned LP gone wrong, but in reality this mesmerizing pattern was created by nature. This is the mineral malachite, a copper carbonate associated with ore deposits.

Green malachite "eye"

Malachite forms when other copper minerals like chalcopyrite react with acidic water percolating through the rock. This water can carry copper atoms along for a bit before the copper begins to combine with other atoms and grow minerals like malachite. Sometimes, the water drips into open cavities in the surrounding rock, and malachite will grow as a stalactite or stalagmite the same way other cave formations do.

The photo above shows a slice through a malachite stalactite. The concentric rings come from the growth of the stalactite in fits and starts, and the light and dark colors reflect small changes in the water chemistry over time.

Even though it was made by nature, a little human ingenuity helps this pattern to shine: the rings are most striking in malachite pieces that have been cut and polished like this one.

This post is part of our What’s in the Box? series.

July 10: Photomicrography Techniques at Geological Society of Oregon Country Meeting

A sunrise sparkles in deep black with this p

Julian Gray will be presenting “Digital Specimen Photography for Geologists,” a presentation on macrophotography and photomicrography, the photographing of things at the microscope level. The event will be at the Portland State University as part of the Geological Society of Oregon Country events.

Vesunvianite 1 Ed Scale - crystal under microscope.Geologists constantly need to depict rocks, minerals, and fossils for presentations and publications. Digital photography has extended the range of possibilities in illustrating samples. One common problem, reduced depth of field at high magnifications, is easily overcome using stacking techniques. This technique uses sharply focused portions of sequential photographs focused on different slices or stacks to produce a synthesized images in which the subject is crisply focused.

Julian Gray, executive director of the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, is a geologist and semi-professional photographer specializing in photomicrography. He has experimented extensively with photographing through microscopes and using stacking techniques and others to produce stunning images with extensive depth of field, bringing sand, crystals, minerals, and even salt to life and shine like diamonds. Julian’s images have been published in mineral magazines and books. He is also the co-author and contributing photographer of the upcoming book, Minerals of Georgia.

For more information and directions, see their site for details.

July 15: Central Oregon Rock Collector’s Lecture

Richard and Helen Rice - founders of the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals - circa 1980s.Julian Gray will be speaking at the July 15, 2015, at the Central Oregon Rock Collector’s in Bend, Oregon, at 7 PM.

While the topic, of course, will be rocks and minerals, he will also be covering the history of the museum founders, Richard and Helen Rice. Their love and passion for rockhounding began collecting agate on Agate Beach in Oregon. Among the many treasures they found with their family were ordinary pebbles that were quickly turned into gemstone wonders with a little rock polishing. Determined to share their excitement, they became active in local and regional rock clubs. Their true legacy is the museum that bears their name, continuing to inspire rockhounds of all ages. Richard and Helen built their dream home with built in display cases for their collection and rooms dedicated to polishing gems and making jewelry. For this month’s program the museum’s director, Julian Gray, will take us on a visual tour of the Rice Northwest Museum and the unique building that houses this remarkable collection.

Julian Gray is is the executive director of the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, a geologist, former curator of the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Georgia, and co-author of the upcoming book, Minerals of Georgia. He holds a Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees in geology from Georgia State University. He relocated to Oregon in 2014 to take the reins of the Rice Northwest Museum.