Earthquake Science

On Sunday, August 24, 2014, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck the Napa Valley of California. According to the National Geographic, the event was centered about 6.7 miles under the earth and was one of the largest in the area since the 1989 Loma Prieta quake that measured 7.0.

Today’s quake was reported by the Earthquake Report Center from San Francisco to Sacramento and classified as a “typical strike-slip earthquake with a mainly horizontal movement.” They called it the “most dangerous earthquake type in the world.” Their web page monitors and updates news about the earthquake.

While reports are still coming in, initial reports suggest this earthquake was triggered by a crack or fault in the earth’s crust known as the Franklin Fault, thought to be dormant for 1.6 million years. Continue reading

New Permanent Exhibit of Rare Myrickite on Display

The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, in Hillsboro, Oregon, is proud to announce a new permanent exhibit featuring myrickite carvings, slabs, jewelry, and polished specimens, all donated by John Li of Portland, Oregon.

Myrickite is a lapidary term that refers to agatized or opalized cinnabar (a mercury mineral). It is the small quantity of mercury that gives the stone its beautiful red coloring. Myrickite is a lapidary arts term that refers to agatized or opalized cinnabar. It is named after the prospector Francis Marion “Shady” Myrick who first discovered it in California’s Death Valley in 1911. It is very similar to Chinese Chicken Bloodstone in color, but myrickite is much harder than the cinnabar stained serpentine (Chicken Bloodstone). Both myrickite and Chicken Bloodstone are considered precious materials for carvings, chops and jewelry. But myrickite is rare, and to date, less than one ton has been found and used in art stones. Continue reading