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Search tags: really-neat-rocks
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text 2020-02-22 16:42
Rock hunting Friday, and holy shit


I will have a more detailed report later this afternoon, but I wanted to post this for amazement purposes.


The ground at this place is covered with potential gems.  Covered, I say, covered.



I took these photos about 10 feet (3 meters) from our vehicle.  The further we walked, the more of these rocks there were.  It was very difficult to be selective when just about everything was collectible.



This morning it is dull and grey and overcast and occasionally pouring buckets, so the light in the house is muted and I wanted to get these in natural light rather than flash that distorts colors.  The largest of this group is about 3.5 inches long by 2.5 inches wide.  It weighs an even 8.0 ounces.  Half a pound!  It's not the largest that I picked up.


The fragment in the upper left is filled with distinct little crystals.  I'm hoping that at least some of the others are also hollow, as they will then make fine jewelry pieces when sliced and polished.  I broke a few open with the hammer while we were still out there, and some were solid, some were partly hollow.  I guess I'll just have to start slicing them and see what happens.

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text 2020-02-11 22:11
Desert Roses

The particular rock form that we call "desert roses" here is made of chalcedony, a common type of quartz (silicon dioxide).  There's another type from Oklahoma and elsewhere that's made of gypsum.  Those can be quite fragile, but our chalcedony ones are pretty tough.



This one that I found Saturday was picked up off the ground exactly as you see it.  Clean, no dirt, no digging, no nothing.  Just lying there waiting to be picked up.


So was this one.



It has a few specks of dirt, so it will have to be cleaned up a bit, but it was literally lying on the ground beside the van's front tire. It has some sparkly crystals on one side, but they are a little worn, indicating this tiny beauty has been tumbled around by the weather a bit.  It's all of 3/8 inch in diameter.


The largest single desert rose I've ever found is about two and half inches in diameter, the same pink as the first one above.  It does have broken edges where it broke off from other pieces of chalcedony, but  it's still pretty amazing.


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text 2020-02-10 21:16
So we went rock hunting Saturday . . .

. . . and I still ache just about everywhere.


Due to some unforeseen circumstances, we didn't get to the exact location I intended.  As a result, we didn't find as much of the pink chalcedony as I had hoped.  Whether there will be another opportunity this spring before BF's foot surgery the end of March, I don't know.


I did make some interesting finds, however.



This doesn't look like much, but it's actually about ten pounds of purple moss jasper.  I have found a few fist-sized pieces in the general area before, but this was a surprise at this precise location.  It was locked in the host rock -- likely solidified volcanic ash -- and we had to hammer it out, then carry it back to the vehicles.  Luckily, my photographer friend Johanna had a backpack and she did the heavy work!  ♥♥


I was able to chip off a piece of it this morning, and I'll be starting it in a small tumbler load later this week to see how it polishes.  There are some fractures running through the whole stone, so it's possible that it won't work for slicing -- and it's too big for my little saw anyway -- but it should make lovely tumbled pieces.


Another unexpected discovery was two small chunks of red moss/plume agate.  They were lying about two feet apart in a narrow wash.  I took pictures this afternoon, but the shots of the larger stone -- and it's only about the size of a ping pong ball -- came out blurry, but the smaller stone photographed well.



It's too small to make anything out of, but the red inclusion is nifty, and so is the other side of the stone, covered with little tiny but clearly formed crystals and "bots."  Bots aren't really a thing; it's a corruption of the mineralogical term botryoidal (from the Greek for "grape-like") which means a stone has formed in bumps like a bunch of grapes.  The "bots" on this stone are very, very tiny.



The crystals aren't much bigger!



The objective of our trip, however, wasn't purple jasper or moss agate.  It was pink chalcedony.  We found quite a bit, but not as much as on previous visits.  Still, there were some very nice pieces waiting for us.



The desert rose on the right is one of the most perfectly formed specimens I've ever found. There is almost always a spot on every piece of chalcedony where it has broken away from another piece.  This one has no separation point; it is exactly as it formed in a void in the volcanic ash.


The top



And the bottom



It has bots, too!


We ended up with a five-gallon bucket almost full of rocks, all of which have to be cleaned.  I spent about six hours on it yesterday, and that just made my neck and shoulders ache even more.


I would love to go again, but that may not be possible until fall.  We'll see.  We'll see.

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text 2020-02-08 02:13
Well, that was lucky

Well, it was an exciting start to the morning.

BF nearly burned the house down.  Literally.

He has a coconut oil cream that he puts on his hands in the morning.  Today it was chilly, so he did what he occasionally does:  He put the plastic jar in the microwave for half a minute to soften it.  He covered the open jar with a piece of paper towel -- because that's what he does -- and in about two seconds, the paper towel was burning.

He panics, yells at me to open the back door to let the dogs out, then finally shuts the microwave off and lets the paper towel burn.  When it was almost finished, he opened the microwave door  and contemplated how to take the jar of cream out.  I handed him a pair of tongs.

As soon as he removed the jar and set it on the counter, I told him, "Well, that's why.  You've still got some foil on the edge of the jar."  

When he had torn off the safety seal from the jar, he hadn't removed every last bit of the foil, and that's what caused the fire.

His response?  An appreciative "Wow, good for you.  I never would have thought about that, but you're absolutely right."

Apparently this was the first time he had ever microwaved this particular jar; the others had all been clean of the foil edge.

I think he'll be more careful now.



Tomorrow we are going rock hunting.

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text 2020-01-20 20:48
Really Neat Rocks - 19 January 2020 cuttings

A few of the small stones I cut Sunday.  They are from a bucket market "Red Jasper," but in fact are plume agates.



The red "plumes" are another mineral that forms these structures within the chalcedony (quartz) that makes the agate.


In this one, the plumes aren't as distinct, but the typical fortification agate pattern is clear, if tiny.



This is a third one, even smaller, but still with red plumes and miniature fortifications.



Most of these will end up having their edges ground smooth to some freeform shape, then tossed in the tumblers for seven to eight weeks to polish before they're ready to wrap in wire.



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