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Interesting Links

NOTE: The links listed here are ones we have found to contain interesting information. Their inclusion is not intended as an endorsement of any related business.

A Visit to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County California, a review by the GIA Authors: Merilee Chapin, Duncan Pay, Pedro Padua, and James E. Shigley. Read about the collection origins and history, view superb mineral and gem galleries, learn about maintaining the collection of about 150,000 specimens including the largest collection of minerals of California. Don't miss four videos: Minerals of California, Working with the Collection, World-wide Collection, and Donations to the Collection, each from 3 - 7 minutes.

Q&A: Why Iceland's Volcanoes Have Vexed Humans for Centuries. National Geographic Magazine's author Alexandra Witze, gives us a background into why so many volcanoes exist there, why they are of concern, what happens when a volcano erupts under ice (and how thick the ice?), and concerns about air travel.

Travels in Geology: Peru's petrified forest: The struggle to study and preserve one of the world's most remarkable fossil sites. An Earth Magazine article by author Terri Cook, focuses on a 9 million year old Eocene petrified forest. Discovered at 2800 meters elevation near the village of Sexi Peru, first studies are described. Protection of the site for the future is discussed.

Mineral Properties, Uses and Descriptions, is a far-ranging site covering too many topics to list all here. Some are: Fee mining, Fluorescent minerals, Identification, Tucson and Denver G&M shows, and Triboluminescence. You will get a comprehensive education if you peruse all topics. A few of the topics have been featured individually in this column previously.

Newly Discovered Dinosaur, Dreadnoughtus, Takes Title of Largest Terrestrial Animal, by Washington Post writer Meeri Kim, describes the fossil. See the 4'16" video. Weight of this enormous animal is estimated at 65 tons (T-Rex was 8 tons.) The find is a nearly complete fossil with neck vertebra of over 3 feet across and was found in the Patagonian Hills of Argentina. Lead researcher Kenneth Lacovara, first discovered the remains in a 2005 dig and over 70% of the bones were found.

Building DC: Union Station's Marble Floors, is posted by Jessica Ball on the American Geophysical Union blog. In this brief post you will read about a black and red marble puzzle. Click on the link to "The Vermont Marble Trail" with a nice guide if you plan to vacation there sometime in the future. Fall leaf colors are done there for this year.

Jadeite Manufacturing and Trading Hubs in Guangdong China offers a well illustrated article about aspects of the gem trade in China you do not often hear about. This GIA article by Dr. Tao Hsu and Andrew Lucas concentrates on Sihui, Pingzhou, Jieyang, and Guangzhou in Guangdong Province. It includes some videos and excellent quality photographs. A Bangle (Not bagel) factory video is 2'28". View the gallery. Learn about Jadeite evaluation. I was unimpressed that the workers wear no safety gear. There are many links to related articles. Animation

Animation of Hydraulic Fracturing, is a 6'37" video Marathon Oil has published at The vertical and horizontal drilling are explained. Fluids used consisting of water, sand and 0.1 to 0.5 % chemical additives are covered, the actual fracking is detailed, Continuing production for 20-40 years is stated and promised restoration is shown. In the news a lot these days, the side effects of the process are being debated and several states have banned the controversial method. This shows the only oil industry perspective. Full screen mode is good.

Cleaning Minerals and Fossils is a short but useful article By: Christian C. Burke on "The Vug" website on the subject is at. See for yourself the items on Hand Tools, Chemicals, and Treatment and Preservation. Remember to use safe practices if you make use of any of the ideas presented here.

Pinnacle Minerals L.L.C., website, is at You may have viewed some of their operations on weather channel programs on TV. I was impressed that his group was the only one filmed following good safety practices in their mining. Click "Enter Here" at the bottom of the front page and explore what the group is doing at Crystal Peak, Tarryall, and Mount Antero in Colorado and other interesting topics. You may visit the claims. Pinnacle 5 Minerals is a family operated business at Manitou Springs, Colorado. Joe Dorris is an author, an artist, and a dealer which by tradition we do not endorse.

Mystery of Sailing Stones of Death Valley Solved is by Scripps Institute of Oceanography stones-death-valley-seen-action-first-time, part of the University of California at San Diego. Race Track Playa in the northern part of Death Valley has 100's of rocks up to 700 pounds leaving trails spanning 100's of yards. Using interesting scientific methods paleobiologist Richard Norris reports on first-hand observations of the phenomenon solving an age old geological question of how they happen.

Botswana's Scintillating Moment at summer-2014-weldon-botswana-scintillating-moment is authored by Robert Weldon and Russell Shor of the GIA. They trace the development of diamond resources, a joint venture of DeBeers and Botswana. It has the capacity to make ready for market almost 45 million carats of rough per year, or about 40% of the world's total annual diamond supply. In an extensive report they cover the social and economic impact, not only of diamonds, but also other economic investment opportunities. As of early this year, 21 factories are licensed to facet diamonds in Botswana thus affording more employment opportunities for the locals. The small population and HIV are negative social problems. Don't miss the clips and pictures.

Gold & Gold Mining in California, is an attractive site by the California Government, Department of Conservation. Featuring information about the discovery of gold, the iconic state mineral, Prospecting hints and placer gold recovery methods, historic and active gold mines, and photos of historic gold mines. A CD-ROM is available for purchase at $12.00 with over 1,000 photographs on minerals and mines in California. A selected sampling may be viewed. Don't miss "Related Documents and Links" for even more.

Green River Formation Fossils, is another article by Hobart King for Read the story of the geology, fish, plants, animals, and insect fossils. Learn a couple of new words: "lagerstätte" from the German "storage place" a sedimentary rock with extraordinary fossils with exceptional preservation, sometimes including preserved soft tissues. And "varves" an annual layer of sediment or sedimentary rock. A bit about the age of the formation includes the Yellowstone source of ash fall preserving fossils in lakes.

Recent Advances in Understanding the Geology of Diamonds is about the most comprehensive piece on diamonds I have seen at Authored by Dr. Steven B. Shirey and James E. Shigley, there are simply too many topics to list here so see this huge educational piece for yourself. When you have absorbed the main article and want more, click on the upper right side bar for "Diamond Research at Carnegie": Recent Advances in Understanding the Geology of Diamonds, Tiny Inclusions Reveal Diamond Age and Earth's History, Carbon Isotope Studies Reveal Diamond Growth History, Carnegie Scientists Use Diamond Presses to Study Planet Formation, and Carnegie Research: Every Diamond Tells a Story. This link presented in agreement with conditions specified by GIA.

Gold Particles In Tree Leaves Assist Exploration For Buried Gold Deposits, by authors: Melvyn Lintern, Ravi Anand, Chris Ryan & David Paterson, at is a rather technical piece. However I think you will find it intriguing that enrichment in gold found in superimposed eucalyptus tree leaves is an indicator for buried gold deposits. The article from Nature Communications expresses some reservations but offer the promise of a unique method for gold prospecting.

Salt Domes, covers the geology of these strange formations discussing among other topics, what they are, how large they are, economic importance, source of salt and sulfur, use for underground reservoirs, and where they occur. While on the subject of salt see also another sister site concerning "Salt Glacier" formations:

Avoiding Ticks and Tickborne Disease, is a timely subject for reading as the summer brings dangers of various maladies. See Old fashioned wind-up watches had ticks but you do not need them at all.

National Fossil Day, is centered around the day set aside this year by the National Park Service and the American Geoscience Institute: October 15, 2014. Great for kids but of interest to all. Although details of events are yet pending, there is a lot here to enjoy. Topics include Meet a Paleontologist, Monthly Partner, Activities, Summer Library Program, Kid's Page, 2014 Artwork, Art and Photo Contest, Events, Featured Articles, Activities, and Fossil Parks. Click on "A Fossil Preservation Law" then "learn more" then "See PRPA text" to read the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act of 2009 which governs collecting on Federal land. This site will help keep you busy for the Summer.

Where to Find Rocks, by Jeremy Zolan contains field guide reviews and mineral collecting maps. This is a "Rainy day" site to visit when you have time to browse 8 pages chocked of information on many localities. You might like to read about them or even plan to visit. Some are good, some not so good. As is usual we do not endorse commercial dealers of commercial shows. Some of the topics are: Mid-west Geode Localities, Michigan Copper Country, Marion KY Fluorite and Secondary Lead-Zinc Minerals, UV Light usage in Mineral Collecting, and Quartz Collecting at Peterson Mountain NV. Warning: Unfortunately, some obscenities appear in some articles.

Tanzanite, is coverage of yet another gemstone by Hobart King. It treats subjects of What it is, Color, Pleochroism, Size, Durability, Prices, Synthetics, Imitations and Treatments, and lifetime of Single- Source Mine in Tanzania.

Stunning Electric-Blue Flames Erupt From Volcanoes, is about Indonesia's Kawah Ijen and other craters emitting rivers of light from burning sulfur. For this National Geographic news item about the oddity. See The site features an explanation of the geological features, temperatures, and chemistry. The crater is filled with hydrochloric acid and is a small fraction of the size of Crater Lake OR. Learn about mining sulfur there and see a short video (French language) by clicking "new documentary."

Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs, is an educational site tied into the exhibit on view Apr. 2014 - Jan. 4, 2015 at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC. See Explore the many links with three 2 - 3 minute videos and learn about the extinct 55 to 225 million years old flying reptiles not related to birds or bats that were as large as an F-16 fighter jet.

Turquoise,, is a treatise by Hobart King on the mineral and gemstone with which most of us are familiar. A compendium of information is available here including turquoise in jewelry and art, synthetic and imitations, and look alike materials.

The Yellowstone Volcano: Past, Preset, and Future, Monitoring the sleeping giant beneath Yellowstone National Park,, leads to a 77" video. It is a U.S. Geological Survey 500MB presentation if you download the MPEG! I suggest that you skip the first 5" introduction and you view it in full screen mode. Speaker Jake Lowenstern Scientist-in-Charge, Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, gives a wonderful summary of what's going on there. You should be interested in the background information but especially the prediction for the future.

The Amazing Gem and Mineral Museum,, International School of Gemology of Helotes TX, Robert James, President. Grand opening was in February this year. It is very wide ranging with some 10,000 specimens available. You may sign up for the worthwhile newsletter. The February issue was "The Story of Copper."

Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway,, is from the Burke Museum at the University of Washington in Seattle. An exhibit is now closed but these You Tube videos are still available for your enjoyment: Ginko Petrified Forest 3' 44", Million Year Old Salmon 2' 53", Searching for Concretions 4' 37", Pancakes and Geology 3' 47", Ray Troll's Artistic Process 1' 55", Reading Rock Layers 2' 37", And Paleontology Meets Art, 3' 39". Enjoy!

Amazing Geologist,, is like an old LIFE magazine. Here is a gathering of wonderful pictures about minerals, fossils, gems, geology, etc., with somewhat sketchy information on the content. Opened in 2012, collectors worldwide contribute by their postings. If you enjoy geology voyeurism, here it is!

Gemstone Guru,, is an insider's guide to gemstones and jewelry by a group of about a half dozen gem enthusiasts. Topics include Gemstone Basics, How to buy Gems, Compare Prices in Jewelry, and Ask the Experts. Don't miss "Popular Articles" at the right of the main page with many links. There are some videos. See "Archives" at the bottom of page 1 for an index of articles. Thanks to Natalie Darling, Lynchburg, VA, Gem and Mineral Journal February 2014 for the lead on this site.

Snowflake Photos,, if you got too much snow in February or think of it as only a bother to be tolerated you might better look at the micro form as snowflakes here. A Today Show feature is a slide show blog by Russian Alexey Kljatov showing a dozen outstanding images with brief descriptions. H2O, Ice or snow, qualifies as an abundant mineral because of its properties.

Lake Winnemucca Petroglyphs, located about 35 miles (56 kilometers) northeast of Reno are possibly 14,800 years old. Petroglyphs (also called rock engravings) are images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, and abrading. The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe owns the land on which these are found. The dating method is unusual since the stone writings were submerged, so the exposed carbonate deposition could be dated. See

Unearthing Fossil Whales by Dr. Nick Pyenson of the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History is a video webcast presentation approximately 30 minutes long. This interview is available at and includes Panama, Canada, and Chile finds. Click on "11am EST Fossil Whales Webcast featuring Dr. Nick Pyenson, Archive." Discovery, recovery, and preparation are discussed as well as the use of 3-D,

International Gem Society, is a very comprehensive "A+" collection of information about gems. Explore "Reference Library" for more topics than there is room to mention here. All are interesting and educational.

William Pinch has a work in progress at his web site, You will find a Tsumeb gallery of specimens, a Chinese collection gallery, and a Rare Mineral gallery. Under favorite links see The RRUFF™ Project, The RRUFF™ Project is creating a complete set of high quality spectral data from well characterized minerals. It is a data base for use with RAMAN instruments. Bill is among the very top mineral collectors and was responsible for the majority of mineral specimens making up the collection at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Bill was the first winner of the Pinch Medal.

The Smithsonian Gem and Mineral Collection, is at Look via a new program of the GIA (The Gemological Institute of America Inc.). Authored by Merilee Chapin, Duncan Pay, Jim Shigley, and Pedro Padua, it is well illustrated and features videos on interesting topics with Dr. Jeffrey Post narrating a couple of the features.

The Amazing Geologist, at, is a Facebook posting on geology, minerals, fossils, and other miscellaneous stuff. You may find browsing here worthwhile owing to the Potpourri of phenomenal pictures and art.

Gem Gallery, at, is a work in progress. It currently features 170 Minerals, 278 Gems, and 12 Meteorites from the Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Natural History collection. They spotlight the current birthstones, new acquisitions, and the Tiffany endowment. Eventually Rocks will be added. Clicking on the photographs will lead to supplementary information about the object.

Rio Tinto Borax Mine, Boron, California,, gives an astronaut's view of the mining operation and text about the operation. There are links to three minerals found there. Don't miss the link to the Rio Tinto Group corporate site. Another web site gives information about the annual open house for collectors by the Trona Gem Club. See Check "Show Info Flyer" and link to latest show information, October 3, 2013, regarding this year's trip.

Rainbow Mountains in China's Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park is about the Rainbow Mountains. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it shows spectacularly colorful scenes of different colored sandstone. Caveat: They state "There could be some slight photo manipulation going on to make the colors pop a bit more than they would naturally." In any event they are wonderful geological formations in Linze and Sunan Counties in Gansu Province. The colorful mountains are the result of mineral deposits over 24 million years of age. See

Puzzle Over Largest Deepest Earthquake Ever Recorded, at, is a site discussing the magnitude 8.3 quake on May 24, 2013, 378 miles deep in the subducting Pacific plate beneath the Sea of Okhotsk near Kamchatka, Russia. University of California scientists at Santa Cruz published information in the September 20th Science Magazine. The perplexing thing is how could rock slide against rock so fast while squeezed by lots of overlying rocks. Seismologists believe that the slippage was from 2 up to 10 meters. A conjectural cross section is shown.

Update on Sapphire Mining in Ilakaka-Sakaraha, Madagascar by Vincent Pardieu, Gemological Institute of America Inc., is at The location of the deposits, history since discovery in 1998, and mining operations are covered. A gallery of 16 photos of operations in the area is included. 10 to 20 thousand miners toil here for rubies as well as sapphires at what might well currently be the world's largest source of the gemstones.

Tips on How to Become a Fossil is from the National Geographic Society Daily News by Brian Switek. This light spirited article discusses how YOU might become a fossil, in one form or another. The "Comments" listed are to be read. See

The University of Texas's Natural Science Center's Non-vertebrate Paleontology Lab in Austin, TX, at, is an extensive site. The title name is a misnomer since the site covers not only Fossils, but also Meteorites, Building Stones, Rocks, Gems, and Minerals. I found it easiest to explore by clicking on the site map and delving into the subjects. Try poking around for yourself for information on a multitude of subjects.

GEMROCKS: Ornamental & Curio Stones, compiled by Richard. V. Dietrich, Professor Emeritus at Central Michigan University,, has Illustrations by Jeffrey Scovil, Dick Dietrich and others. Here is a many page treatise covering many stones with descriptions, other names, uses, noteworthy occurrences, remarks, simulants, and references. Be sure to click on Index for the complete listing. The pdf reference will keep you occupied as the days grow shorter approaching winter. Have fun.

North Carolina Boy Finds Diamond at the Crater of Diamonds, tells of a 12 year old's 5.16 carat diamond find at The diamond is currently 27th largest for the location, the State Park in Murfreesboro Arkansas. Valued at as much as $15,000 after cutting, it is named "God's Glory Diamond." A 01:49 video is available. You can visit the park yourself and see if you can find a stone to exceed the size of this one! See It is best to avoid the HOT months at the location so this fall offers an opportunity for you.

Rough Evaluation of Gems,, is a useful tool for valuation of gem rough at John Bailey's Faceting Academy. Color, shape, size and clarity are discussed. Some tools as aids are listed. The site is fascinating and colorfully illustrated. If you have not tried you hand at faceting yet, now is the time to get started by educating yourself here.

Fluorite,, is another one of the mineral series. Visit and enjoy the treatise which includes: What fluorite is, Physical properties, Fluorescence, Occurrence, Uses and grades, and Fluorite Production in the United States.

Mount St. Helens, 1980 to Now—What's Going On? is a comprehensive US Geological Survey and US Forest Service publication by Daniel Dzurisin, Carolyn Driedger, and Lisa Faust about the Washington State newsmaker volcano. Warning: Although he movies are interesting (click on camera symbol on pictures) they are very large files so be prepared for long downloads to view them. Graphics help you understand the eruption and aftermath. The story is not finished and preparations need be made for the future eruptions.

National Fossil Day ™ (October 16, 2013), by the National Park Service at NPS has loads of interesting material. Among many topics, see Climate change in the Fossil Record, A Fossil Preservation Law, The Story of the Missing Fossil Park, and information about an Art and Photo Contest. Don't miss Junior Paleontologist Activities, a NPS booklet of 13 pages with all kinds of fun activities: games, word searches, connect the dots, mazes, and other educational features. It is a large file so allow time to download. Have FUN!

The Fault Aven area of Ogof Finnon Ddu Cave, Is an 8 minute video by Keith Edwards highlighting the deepest cave in the U.K. See Go "straightway" to the second longest cave in Wales that carries that long, nearly unpronounceable Welch name. You may wish to visit the parent page, in association with the National Speleological Society which is a blog of current events with items on photography, equipment and many other topics.

What is Sunstone?, at contributed by Hobart King, you will find an explanation of the cause and effect of the "adventurescence" which makes this gem so attractive. Faceted or cabbed, these various colored feldspar stones are very desirable. Localities are cited.

What's New in the Mineral World?, at's%20online%20Report%2034.pdf is an Interesting 16 page report. It is Thomas Moore's 34th. The previous 33 columns are archived and are available on the Minrecord site. Tom is a Member of the Mineralogical Record staff. Feast your eyes on the wonderful photographs and the verbiage about the specimens, locality, and other facts. Linked with permission of Tom Moore.

Faces of Earth, at is a four episode geology site by the American Geosciences Institute. Each video is about 45minutes in duration. Titles are: "Building the Earth", "Shaping the Planet", "Assembling America", and "A Human World". Allow yourself adequate time to view each one.

Melbourne Museum (Australia), Imagine escaping Washington's hot humid days and think about winter "down under." Under Rocks & Fossils, click on Rocks and Minerals, Dinosaurs and Fossils, or Meteors and Meteorites. You will find a wide variety of subjects, too many to elicit here, from the Australian vantage point. There are 12 videos, a multitude of short treatises on rocks, gems, minerals, geology etc. There are also some activities for juniors.

Mining for a "Mother Lode" of Gold in Montgomery County, at in case you missed it, see WAMU web site about an audio program presented on radio on Friday May 10th with Tim Rose of the Smithsonian NMNH and member Jeff Nagy. Don't miss photos and links. Thanks, Jeff, for representing the Society with another educational outreach program.

Crystal Shapes, at includes unbelievable high quality photographs of mineral species plus labeled line drawings of crystal shapes. Enjoy the minerals and begin to identify them with their forms and various crystal systems. This long blog with many individual contributors began on August 29th, 2012 and is a work in progress.

Fossil Lab,, at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, takes one on an educational tour of the lab at the museum which is open for observation when the museum is open. It leads you to current projects including preparation of microscopic to enormous size fossils, and about making fossil replicas. Tools and adhesives are described. Blog posts from the field and lab are recorded. Where are the fossils found? How old are they? How long does it take to prepare them? Other questions are answered.

Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI),, explains the use of the index and illustrates comparisons of many of the historically significant eruptions. Chris Newhall of the United States Geological Survey and Stephen Self of the University of Hawaii developed the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) in 1982. Primarily it is a measure of the amount of material ejected whether ash, pyroclastic flow, solid or liquid lava flows. It takes into account the duration of the eruption and is useful for prehistoric eruptions. Each step of the scale is a 10X increase in material ejected. The frequency of various levels of the index are given. Lest you get complacent, Yellowstone WY, Long Valley CA, and Crater Lake OR are three of the largest and occurred right here in the U.S.!

Extinct Giant Camel Discovered in the Arctic, is from the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada found at Paleontologist Dr. Natalia Rybczynski and others did intriguing work involving a new method of collagen fingerprinting to identify the 3.5 million year old bones as a member of the camel family. Click on Q&A for an extensive treatise on the find. You will find a movie of about 4 minutes length. "Arctic Fieldwork, A Photographer's Perspective." is not to be missed.

John Dyer Gemstone Artist /Precious Gemstones Company, is a commercial site, which as is our custom, carries no endorsement. John is a master gemstone cutter known worldwide for his artistic ability and passion for precision. Browse his site for general interest but do not miss "Good Versus Bad Gemstone Faceting" and "How to Cut Gemstones" YouTube videos of about five minutes each. Recognize a "window gem," facets that don't meet, poor polish, and crooked girdles.

Pennsylvania Geological Survey Publications, Per George Love, State Geologist, an announcement was made that almost all Fourth Pennsylvania Geological Survey printed books and maps have been scanned and are now available to download as text-searchable Acrobat files. These files, as well as files for reports originally published on CD–ROMs or online, can be found through the Survey's "Publications by Series" web page: On May 1, the sales of printed publications (except for Special Publication 1) will cease. There are scads of good stuff to eyeball, especially the educational series including Rocks and Minerals of Pennsylvania, Common Fossils of Pennsylvania, and Geology and the Gettysburg Campaign.

Spinel: The Ruby Imposter, addresses the "Why?" of more than 1000 years of confusion at Meaningful information on the diagnostic physical properties, uses, and synthesis of spinel are available. A couple of examples of famous stones long misidentified are given.

The Gem Hunter, W. Dan Hausel, maintains a very extensive site at A consulting geologist now from Gilbert, Arizona, he is a man of distinction, covering many of his discoveries primarily in Wyoming where he was a research geologist for the Wyoming Geological Survey but also in other localities. He has written many books, which, as customary, we do not endorse here. His publications span about 40 years and he was elected a member of the Rockhound Hall of Fame. He is an artist, too! His articles which cover more than a dozen gems are intriguing.

Volcano Photo Albums is a site by Dr. Richard Roscoe of Munich, Germany, at A collection of outstanding photographs at night and day, with Lava, Hot Springs, Fumaroles, Volcanic Destruction, and Landscapes, it offers outstanding pictures (available for sale, not endorsed here). There is also a guide to volcano photography, with the technical aspects. As a fun example choose Erta Ale and see the many volcanic forms.

Discovering Fossils at, is an English site by Roy Shepherd. Although there are a lot of commercial aspects including guided trips and sale items, none of which are endorsed here, there are many educational items. Included are about 28 Fossil locations of Great Britain, an I.D. service, useful links including "Resources", an excellent collection of 16 topics.

Chris's Mineral Collecting Page at, is by Chris Thorsten. Largely centered on the Ogdensburg and Franklin sites and fluorescent minerals and their pictures, there are also subjects about identification, micromounting how-to and micromount collecting, and disappearing sites. There are many ubiquitous links. The commentaries about the ever-present changes in ability for amateurs to collect at quarries and other sites are insightful.

Flint at, is a nice treatise about the subject, well-illustrated. The site leads one through what flint is, its use for stone tools, some historic flint quarries, (see separate sites at and, use as a fire source striking steel with it, and use as a gemstone.

All That Glitters at, is a site about an exhibit that ended April 8th, 2012, but still has content to please from the San Diego Natural History Museum. "The Splendor and Science of Gems and Minerals" includes "The History of Gem Finds in California", "The Science Behind Crystal Formations and Their Composition", "The Splendor from Raw Material to a Finely Cut Gem", and the "Highlights of SDNHM's New Gem Exhibition" includes a 3" virtual tour. Follow the "Read More" links and don't miss the "Making of the Exhibit" and "Educational Resources" at the left.

Dinosaurs in our Backyard at, is a top notch Smithsonian site for children and adults. It commences with a painting showing a rendering of our area in the early Cretaceous Period and keyed to it are 18 detailed views and descriptions. Copious amounts of information can be gleaned by following the left side bar topics: Reconstructing Extinct Animals, How Did Dinosaurs Behave?, Revealing Ancient Climate and Terrain, How Do We Know?, What's Left To Discover?, Amateur Paleontologists, and Finding Fossils. Coupled with the treatise are several videos including one by Ray Stanford who has spoken to our group a couple of times.

Geology on Postage Stamps at, by Grubessi Odino, Professor of Mineralogy at the University "La Sapienza" Rome, Italy, features many pictorial stamps. Stamp out boring by perusing stamps organized by subject, such as geology, rocks, fossils, meteorites, minerals and gems, etc. I suggest you use the links at the left which, after initial selection, have drop down menus, some with text on the subject. If you encounter Italian language, you may click on the United Kingdom flag for the English translation.

2012: The Year in Volcanic Activity at, as the year comes to a close you might enjoy these photos.

Wyoming Gemstones at, a blog by W. Dan Hausel. He is a research geologist and spent 30 years in WY, now living in Gilbert AZ. He is very talented and his site has enough to keep you reading for a long time and includes articles about gold, barite, and other minerals and geology as well as the titled gems. Noodle around the site exploring the entry points along the right of the home page to see slideshows and articles. No endorsement is made for his books for sale.

The Petosky Stone, by the MI Department of Environmental Quality, Geological Survey Division, a pdf document about the Hexagonaria percarinata Coral,, gives the History, formation, geology, and information about polishing them.

Tallest Sand Dunes in North America, is a geology site by the National Park Service about the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Near Mosca Colorado. See Take a look at "Photos and Multimedia" and "History and Culture." I was attracted to "Nature and Science" which has information on the formation of the dunes with great animations, basic geology, and a note about the "singing sands."

Stone Age Industries, Lapidary Tips, basic procedures, craft projects and more at, is by Bill Beebe of Powell WY. Browse the nearly 30 topics and you are sure to find something of interest. The home page is a commercial site and as tradition dictates, we do not endorse any dealers, however you might like to take a peek.

Arctic Pachyrhinosaurus Perotorum Dino Find, Paleontologists from Dallas' Museum of Nature & Science announced last October their discovery of a new species of the ceratopsid dinosaur Pachyrhinosaurus. See Named in recognition of the Margot and H. Ross Perot family, the fossils were found in an excavation in far north Alaska, many miles north of the Arctic Circle. A film crew from PBS' NOVA series documented the team's work at the site and may be viewed at Be forewarned, the video is 52min 23sec.

Spodumene,, there is yet another site arousing interest. Get educated by finding out what the mineral is, its uses, varieties, properties and demand. Hiddenite and Kunzite are varieties used as a gemstone.

The Many Uses of Gold,, is by Hobart King. At this site you will find a compendium of uses including but not limited to jewelry, coinage, electronics, dentistry, awards, and glass making. Additionally there are links including gold information, the history of gold, how to pan for gold, and properties under "what is gold?"

Magnetism in Gemstones,, is by Kirk Feral, a gem collector and hobbyist in San Diego, CA. The site was only launched in Spring 2011 and undergoes updates. Quite extensive, there are many topics. It runs from an in-depth discussion of the subject, how to assemble your own Neodymium magnetic wand, to specific use for identification and a separating chart for look-alike gems.

Discovery of Possible Earliest Animal Life, is a National Science Foundation site about sponge-like animals about 650 million years old. See, "Scientists may have discovered in Australia the oldest fossils of animal bodies. These findings push back the clock on the scientific world's thinking regarding when animal life appeared on Earth. The results suggest that primitive sponge-like creatures lived in ocean reefs about 650 million years ago, 90 million years earlier than previously known."

Novarupta Volcano,, is in Alaska. This site from is about the most powerful eruption in the world during the 20th century. June marked the 100th anniversary of the event. The eruption of about 3 cubic miles of magma (about 30 times the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption) and its impact are explored. Pyroclastic flows, ash, the resultant Valley of 10,000 Smokes, and the confusion with nearby Katmai Volcano are described. Learn a lot about the event.

John Dyer & Company,, has a beautiful commercial site. John Dyer is from Edina MN, and an award winning gem cutter. As is customary we are not endorsing his business but the site is extensive and useful. There are video tutorials on how to distinguish good and bad gemstone faceting, how to cut gemstones, and a short one about silver spot iolite. "Catalog" leads to a very wide variety of custom cut gemstone material. Be a voyeur and check out the color, style, shape, and gem material. See his awards and check his design gallery. Under "About Gems", are a variety of topics including the intriguing AGTA treatment codes.

Rare Earth Elements, are in the news recently because of the tight supply after export restrictions by China, the way-major supplier. See for a comprehensive Wikipedia summary. They feature a list with the symbol, name, etymology and applications, discovery and early history, spectroscopy, geological distribution, and global rare earth production among others. With the strategic importance of the elements in todays technological climate, the Mountain Pass mines in CA are being re-activated. See for the Molycorp corporate web page. Note "Project Phoenix", and check out the pictures, fly-over videos, and virtual tour of the mining venture as well as the science center.

Glacier National Park, a National Park Service site, is at It's exciting to look at every nook and cranny here. You might even want to visit this summer because, if current trends continue, some scientists have predicted that by the year 2020, there will be no more glaciers in GNP due to global climate change! The stunning national park was established on May 1, 1910. The park is named for its ancient glaciers and its glacier-carved landscape, descended from the ice age of 10,000 years ago. These lands were first set aside as a national reserve on February 22, 1897.

Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, titled "Looking Back from Space is from the NASA Earth Observatory": Space photos review the 2011, fourth largest earthquake in history which rocked the coast of Japan and spawned a devastating tsunami. See destruction and recovery. Step through the photographs and graphics and read the text accompanying each.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine,, is an "Astounding Subterranean Salt Cathedral" located in a town of the same name in the Krakow area of Poland. Founded in the 12th century to mine salt, it was mined right up until 1996. A catastrophic flood in 1992 had dealt the last blow to commercial salt mining in the area and now the mine functions purely as a tourist attraction. Brine is, however, still extracted from the mine – and then evaporated to produce some salt, but hardly on the ancient scale. If this was not done, then the mines would soon become flooded once again. The mine reaches a depth of 1,073 ft. and is over 190 miles long. It features new exhibits on the history of salt mining, as well as a 2.2 miles touring route including statues and figures carved out of rock salt in distant past. More recent sculptures have been fashioned by contemporary artists. The mine is often referred to as "the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland." In 1978 it was placed on the UNESCO list of the World Heritage Sites.

Titanoboa Monster Snake Fossil, is a Smithsonian Channel feature about a 65 million year old snake fossil at Found at the Cerrejon coal mine in La Guajira in Columbia, it describes the world's largest fossil snake found to date, estimated at 48 ft. long, 2500 pounds. Click on "Video" for the full 52:59 program. The item reviews the discovery, science, and comparisons with present day snakes. A full scale model was constructed by Kevin Hockley of Maynooth Ontario, Canada and is on tour, including to the National Museum of Natural History until January 6, 2013 on the Second Floor. See

American Masters of Stone,, was created by Conrad K. Grundke and assisted by Dennis Paul Batt, now deceased. The fine site features a database on Lapidary as a Fine Art emphasizing "Commesso" or "Intarsia." Over 300 artists are represented with over 2000 images and others are being added to the catalogue. There are "How To" articles among other topics to explore. Click "News" and scroll to "Lost Art" for a 16:59 presentation. Thanks to the San Diego G&M Society April 2012 Pegmatite Bulletin for their lead to this site.

The Uses of Talc, 615,000 metric tons of the softest mineral (Mohs = 1) was produced in the U. S. last year. The site gives information on this industrially important stone. What is Talc?, Where is Talc Produced?, How Does Talc Form?, and Talc Mining and Processing are topics covered.

The GIA Gem Project,, has, so far, catalogued over 200 gems. The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) received Dr. Edward Guberlin's collection of approximately 2800 gems representing 225 different minerals in 2005. Working out of Switzerland, he had collected for many decades. At the left on this site are listed five specific minerals as well as other various gems already included in this on-going project. Click on the named gem then click on the catalogue number for a wealth of information some of which is very technical.

Arizona Experience,, commemorates the 100 years of statehood and is an intriguing work in progress. Currently Mining & Minerals is the feature. Start by Clicking "Land." Read Mining Arizona and "read more." Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Foundation is a sponsor. Step through Mining Methods, advancing by clicking "next" at the top of the photo. See the Morenci Mine flyover, a 2:36 video. Then a 10:49 video of the Bisbee Museum. Start again at the main page and click "people", which leads to the featured artist Jeff Scovil, renown photographer of minerals. See 19 of is photographs. A 2:00 video shows his procedure and gives some hints.

Moving Rock,, shows the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's newest acquisition - a 340-ton boulder that has already arrived at the Wilshire Boulevard site. It and its massive transporter garnered international attention. The rock made its way from a Riverside County quarry 105 miles away. It will be the centerpiece of the museum's new outdoor installation called "Levitated Mass." Click through 43 captioned photographs.

Marco Macchieraldo Minerals,, is shown by the title person living in Torino, Italy. Although he offers specimens for sale as a dealer, this is not an endorsement. "My private collection" features 5 pages of specimens from his personal collection. An article about the Monte Bianco and another about the Val Varaita district, both Alpine mineral occurrences are well done and profusely illustrated.

Methane Hydrates,, is a site of the National Energy Technology Laboratory, part of the Department of Energy. Geology in Action! Here you will find news of a current production trial to recover clean fossil fuel. In an exchange, carbon dioxide, CO2, displaces Methane, CH4, with the potential of a huge new source of fuel. Laboratory tests have proven satisfactory and now a trial is underway on the Alaskan North Slope.

Agates,, is a feature of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln site. 864 images are available in a data base organized by County/State. Agates Glossary describes 7 features of agates. Not all pictures are highest quality but still useful.

The Ruby Mines of Mogok,, is from an unfinished manuscript by Martin Ehrmann who died in 1972. The partially finished illustrated manuscript consisting of 6 chapters. It includes stories not only of Rubies but also Jade, Peridot, Sapphire, Amber, and Danburite. There is a link at the end to his article in Gems and Gemology titled Gem Mining in Burma, 1957.

Underwater Asphalt Volcanoes,, were discovered by scientists at the University of California at Santa Barbara. In the submersible "Alvin" these over 300 feet long and 700 feet deep structures were found about 10 miles off the Pacific Coast. They are "fossils" in that their age is estimated at 40,000 years. The now dormant natural oil seeps were accompanied with large releases of methane.

The Supersaurus, is among the world's largest know dinosaurs. See Originally discovered by Vivian Jones of Delta, Colorado 40 years ago, in the Morrison formation it is deemed to be a large relative of the familiar Apatosaurus. It is estimated to have been 108 to 110 Ft. long and weighed 35 to 40 tons.

FMF Minerals Forum,, is by Jordi Fabre, and moderated by John S. White and Peter Megaw. You will find a section on the collection of Matteo Chinellato. Showing mostly European specimens, he lists the locality, minerals and specimen size. Superb quality, this one will knock your eyes out! You may want to peek at the entire web site at for the far-reaching forum.

Museum Tours & Places of Interest,, is an informative site of interest to cutters. As is our custom any commercial aspect is not advocated here but you should enjoy a lot of things of interest. For example go to Recent Keynotes "Buying Rough, by Lisa Elder." Click "Sometimes Archives" for newsletters back to 1981, when they were done in typewriter copy! Go to "The Library" for even more.

Sometimes Newsletter, Including not only U.S. but also worldwide locations, are listed here. Now is a great time to plan your vacation(s) for the year and this is a helpful way to include places of interest wherever you might be travelling. Most have links to the location for ease of getting lots more details.

Gems and Minerals: Earth Treasures from the Royal Ontario Museum,, is about a book from the Royal Ontario Museum, published October 20, 2011. As is customary this is not an endorsement. The book features 260 of the ROM's best minerals pictures, expertly photographed. The book lists at $40, but as is frequently the case, it can be purchased for around $30 from on-line U.S. book sellers. A few of the illustrations appear on the website. Andrew Alden, the reviewer heaps praise but cautions that it is not a reference book. The Field Museum, the Smithsonian, the Carnegie Museum and the Natural History Museum of London, among others, publish similar books about their gem and mineral collections. Perhaps you would enjoy this new book.

About Isotopic Dating: Yardsticks for Geologic Time,, is another article by Andrew Alden. Describing the need for a geologic clock and moving into the continuing progress on accuracy, he tells about more and more precise dating using isotopes. Be sure to click on the links within the article for more information.

Geology of the USA,, is yet another dissertation by Andrew Alden. It is a compendium for all states and way too extensive to describe in detail here. This site will be good for a cold winter evening by the computerside. Start with Maryland and expand from there. If you will be vacationing elsewhere when warmer weather prevails, this might be a good source of information for before you travel. If not, just visit vicariously.

Herkimer Diamonds,, is a fun web site covering Herkimer diamond (Quartz) mines and mining at the world renown area. We think you will enjoy this nicely illustrated treatise at It covers a location not far from Syracuse NY where the AFMS/EFMLS conventions were held this summer.

Pleistocene Treasures at Breakneck Speed,, is a NY Times article about an excavation in Colorado. The ice age site was being developed as a reservoir dam and there was a limited amount of time for the excavation at Snowmass Village near Aspen. Kirk R. Johnson, the chief curator of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science oversaw the project that yielded mammoth, mastodon, ground sloth, bison, camel and horse fossils.

Tafoni, Learn about fantastic rock weathering patterns at this web site. Tafoni are ellipsoidal, pan-to bowl-shaped natural rock cavities, a term I had never encountered. See "Definitions", which describes types, rock types, and formation. "Locations" tells where they are found. "Weathering" covers biological, chemical, and physical decay. Some of the links are broken. The gallery features 110 pictures of Tafoni in Northern CA and 71 at other world-wide locations.

The Explorer's Guide to Impact Craters,, is by the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson AZ. If your time is limited explore Barringer Crater. Otherwise you can peruse the Introduction, two other terrestrial Virtual Tours and one on Mars, Simulations, and Impact Rocks. Links are found at Resources. The Barringer (the premiere US crater, in AZ) tour is intriguing. An estimated 40 meter wide nickel iron meteorite struck with a purported velocity of 14-20 km/sec. This web site is very educational.

Historic Topographic Maps - Preserving History, The site may be difficult to navigate, but once learned, a useful reference. Currently there are 90,000 of the holdings of 200,000 maps available as pdf documents. Begin by going to "Map Locator and Downloader." In Search box, enter town & state you want then click "Go." There will be a map appear with a marked location logo. Click on it to get list of maps available. You select the map you want, the date published, and the scale i.e. 7.5 minutes. Select "Download" and you will get the pdf Zipped file. The files are ZIP condensed so you need to have a program such as WinZIP. I had downloaded the free jZIP program, which you may do by a Google search of jZIP. Be prepared for long downloads of very large files. Open the file with Adobe Reader. Of course you may also purchase hard copies if you wish.

Concave Faceting Synopsis,, by Dalan Hargrave presents a three page condensation from his book, Concave Facet, Published in 2010. A brief history and technical tips are posted. Cutting specifications are given for both a standard and concave round brilliant 12 mm stone accompanied with comparative pictures of the results. As usual, no endorsement is give for either the equipment used or the book.

Art Jewelry Magazine,, offers 48 videos on wide ranging jewelry topics. Here's a good read. How about making wire spirals, jump rings, S hook clasps, fusing metal, threading a saw blade into a saw frame, polymer clay, metal clay, chain maille, enamel sgraffito, making a cabochon, tools and more! You must register (Free account). You likely will want to go to the main page for more about the magazine. (No endorsements here, as usual.)

Twenty Things You Didn't Know About Crystals, May 2011 issue Discover Magazine article is a far ranging potpourri about many crystal topics. Crystals inside comets forged by the Sun, the ones buried under Manhattan, and the "crystal" ones that aren't crystal at all. Explore the links for added interest.

Unearthing Wyoming's Dinosaurs-A Walk Through Wyoming's Paleontological History,, is an article from the Casper Star Tribune by Kristy Gray and illustrated by Wes Watson. Although Kids probably know more about dinos than adults, this site is for all. For reasons unknown, the only way for me to proceed was to click on Triceratops (Wyoming State Dinosaur). Then text information providing age, size, collection date and other facts on eleven species can be visualized. Bone Wars gives biographical information and a short history of four paleontologists who were in the forefront of discoverers. Dirt to Display details dinosaur death, discovery, digging, lab work, and reassembling bones.

Uses of Lead, From comes this useful brief summary of the uses of lead. The article describes what lead is, ancient and modern uses, lead in the environment, types of lead deposits, worldwide supply and demand, a note on recycling, and links to other sites.

Scientist's Search for Ice Age Fossils in Los Angeles,, is a Voice of America account of ongoing work at the LaBrea Tar Pits. Discovered during the excavation for an underground parking garage for the adjacent LA County Art Museum, these finds are documented in a short movie clip and in text. The remains dated 11,000 to 40,000 years old are remarkably preserved.

Jaspers,, by Hans Gamma, originally from Switzerland, but now retired to AZ. Search for pictures by geographic locations in the Western US, and Mexico, Australia, Africa, and Madagascar. Let your imagination take over and visualize picture scenes akin to modern art. There is a 9 minute video.

Luminous Minerals, Superfluorescence, and Franklin and Sterling Hill Minerals, are a triple set of non-commercial web sites all by Herb Yeates featuring fluorescent minerals. includes Franklin at night from the Trotter dig, Greenland minerals, and trips. An excellent photo gallery allows vicarious exposure to the beautiful specimens. Other subjects include Karpatite, Benitoite and Scheelite. concerns itself with fluorescent mineral photography. An outstandingly well done set of pictures which alternate from white light to Fluorescent exposure constitutes the home page. Click the images for a gallery of fluorescent mineral photos where you may select short, medium, or long wave exposure. Minerals from Franklin, Greenland, and other localities are shown. Links to both the Franklin and Sterling Hill Mining Museums are given. The site also has a bit about photochromic or tenebrescent. limits itself to Franklin and Sterling hill and offers access to Franklin minerals, selected chapters from Franklin and Sterling Hill, New Jersey: the world's most magnificent mineral deposits, published in 1995 by Pete J. Dunn of the Smithsonian Institution and Palache on-line, a classic older study published by the USGS in 1935 of the area's minerals.

NM Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, (A Division of NM Tech.), Spring issue of Lite Geology at has some intriguing articles and features. Evolution of Magnification and Role of Solving a Geological Problem is accompanied by a photo gallery and is of interest to all, but micromineralogists in particular. There is a crossword puzzle. NM's most wanted mineral concerns Galena, other items will catch your attention.

Zinc, the Key to Preventing Corrosion,, is a USGS educational site to learn about Zinc. Click on the link "pdf report 5.2 MB" and, as the newspapers say, read all about it. It's easier reading if you zoom in. Several links for further interest are included at the bottom of the report.

The International Meteorite Collectors Association,, is valuable to meteorite fans. Clicking on "met info" gives information about collecting, finding, classifying, Martian meteorites, field reports, and meteorite scams. Hammer information documents hits on humans, animals, and man-made objects. Be sure to visit the encyclopedia of meteorites showing thousands of specimens!

Care and Feeding of Radioactive Mineral Species,, is a comprehensive article by Alysson Rowan. 75 pages long, it covers many aspects of the subject, effect of radiation, managing exposure, instrumentation, storing specimens, risks, as well as information on specific minerals.

Gemstones,, is worth seeing the variety of gemstone topics, not only primary links on the left on the main page, but also, other interesting places to visit on the right. This is an interesting site.

Nyirango Crater: Journey to the Center of the World,, is from the Boston Globe. 28 wonderful photographs and commentary with each. This is a HOT ONE, literally. The risks some geologists take to get to the shore of the world's largest lava lake! Kudos to photographer Olivier Grunewald.

Limestone,, is mainly dedicated to minerals and crystals of Colorado. Click on "Colorado Rockhounding" and noodle around locations, minerals, county for sites he visited. Click on "Fluorite Gallery" for pictures of that mineral from world wide locations. Click on "Comets" for information on meteorites in Colorado.

Colorado Rockhounding,, by Bob Loeffler is an informational four page fact sheet from the USGS about one of our nation's most essential resources. Read what it is, uses, Portland cement shortage, Issues, US Consumption and a bit about caves and sinkholes.

Stoneman's Store and Museum Gallery,, by Kerry Matt, the "The Stone Man." Step through a number of galleries on minerals, microminerals, and fossils, worth the price of admission. With attractive pictures of some very nice specimens. Perhaps you will be incited to take a trip to PA as the weather gets better. As is our custom, we do not endorse commercial ventures, but fossils and publications are for sale at this site.

Gold Rush Alaska, The Discovery Channel presentation follows six men who risk everything to strike it rich. The 7 programs, 60 minutes each, which began Friday evenings in January will probably repeat at a later date. Watch for the schedule. The web site presents 16 video clips, 5 episodes, totaling nearly an hour from the series. Check out "Photos" to see historic Klondike gold rush pictures, mining camp album, 10 surprising facts about gold, and Discovery news.

Kawak Ijen Volcano, From the Boston Globe presents 30 pictures by photographer Olivier Grunewald of the volcano outside Banyuwangi, East Java, Indonesia. Most interestingly, photos include those of the primitive sulfur mining there. Narrative exists in the picture titles. Don't miss the link to "last year" for 22 more pictures from June 2009 that are in daylight by Ulet Ifansasti.

Mineral Fake Detected, Our member Jessica Simonoff and her father Robert Simonoff have an article published by Mindat and titled "Exploration of the Hollowed Galenas." Junior member, Jessica, researched Bulgarian galena sold by a dealer at the Springfield MA show in 2009 purportedly as "reverse skeletal" and other specimens Using many sophisticated techniques she, assisted by her father, was able to declare it a fake. Nice job!

Hang Son Doong, World's Largest Cave, The National Geographic Magazine tells of this stupendous find in Viet Nam. There are seven pages of text about the cave and if you click on "Photo Gallery" at the upper left you will find about 20 photographs.

Mining the Seafloor for Rare-Earth Minerals,, is a New York Times Science article of timely interest because of the current Chinese control of the bulk of production of these vital elements. Molycorp is reopening the Mountain Pass CA mine to provide domestic production which is lacking. With a video to see, this article provides an interesting read and explains the rare earths in manganese nodules.

Geologic Overview of the Trenton Group at West Canada Creek, NY, If you are planning to attend the AFMS/EFMLS Convention and Show at Syracuse, July 7-10, this might be of interest to you fossil collectors. Divided into three main areas, "Social History of the Trenton Falls Area", "Paleontology of the Trenton Group", and "Geology of the Area", you may explore detail in each. Going to the Page index and stepping through it is quite useful to appreciate the depth of this work by the Department of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University and funded by the National Science Foundation. The world famous Herkimer Diamond locations are nearby. Fossils of New York is an adjunct power point presentation on the Fossils of NY, by Lee Kowalsky at: The author is from the T.R. Proctor Senior High School in Utica and has a done a creditable job with text and slides.

Gemology on Line,, is a forum with lots of content. Serving as a gemological resource with some 20 topics listed at the left of the home page. After entering, you see announcements, schools, labs, research and appraisal facilities, general gemology, classified ads and other miscellaneous things. There is a bookshop and a feature "Ask a gemologist."

The Promise and Perils of Seafloor Mining, Here you will find an extensive treatise on seafloor mining, chimneys, sea life, and mining locations. Don't miss the interactives on "How Seafloor Mining Deposits are Found" and "Seafloor Mining System." The pros and cons about the subject and who regulates seafloor mining are also discussed.

The Chazy Fossil Reef,, is presented by The Isle La Motte Preservation Trust with information on the world's oldest reefs in which corals first appeared. Step through the pages and read about the tropical reef of Ordovician age, which is about 480 million years old. The reef extends from Quebec to Tennessee, and is here designated a National Natural Landmark, the location about 44 miles from Burlington VT. Quarries revealed the fossils in the limestone used for many buildings including the National Gallery of Art. Though ancient corals were found, coral was not one of the predominant constructors of the reef. Instead, the reef builders were animals called bryozoans, stromatolites, strostromatoporoids, sponges, and algae.

Trinity Site,, allows you to vicariously visit the Trinity Site, place of the first atomic bomb explosion on July 16, 1945. Read about the tests that changed the world performed there and see historic pictures associated with the site.

Dinosaur Park,, gives information about the park about which Dr. Peter Kranz recently gave us a lecture. Directions, contact information, and vital facts are here. Included is a news clip with Dr. Kranz. Don't overlook clicking on the items in the left column: "History of Dinosaur Park" and "Programs and Events."

Herkimer Diamonds,, is a site by Bill and Anne McIlquham. See this site for this Canadian based couple's fine account of the world-famous locality. You need to click on the underlined "article" to see the body of the work on the web site. As is customary no endorsement is made for purchases from this or any commercial web site.

The Diamond Invention,, by Edward Jay Epstein. This site is a cyber book originally put out in 1982. Including 22 chapters plus end notes, this will keep you reading into the winter. It is an investigative exploration of the industry.

The Expanding Earth Animation,, an exploration of a theory put forth in the 1930's by Warren Clay. Read the text and be sure to click on "watch this animation." The Australian geologist posited that the earth's expansion explains the current geography exactly. Read about it and view the modeling and make up your own mind about its validity.

Colbaugh Processing,, a commercial site, as usual, not endorsed here, as the source for Kingman (AZ) turquoise. Here you may investigate facts, history, and general information about turquoise. The operation mines and produces gem grade material from a site about 7 miles N. of Kingman. "Our Products" gives you an idea of the material they produce including per pound prices. There are pictures that may be enlarged by clicking on them. You can make a virtual tour of their mine which ends with close ups of the vein deposits.

Strange Natural Landscapes,, opens in PowerPoint viewer. It is a short but spectacular show of worldwide geological formations. Accompanied by music it consists of 19 slides, including the opening and ending slides.

The Minnesota Museum of the Mississippi, is a sort of funky virtual museum. Click on The Stone Face: Fragments of an Earlier World. You need a vivid imagination for many while others are obvious. Click on through the many likenesses and say "WOW!" to the uncannily accurate ones.

The Virtual Museum of the History of Mineralogy,, is by two Belgian gentlemen, Paul Tambuysen and Claude Hootelé. Their purpose is to bring together photographs and descriptions of representative historical objects and information related to the early mineralogical and crystallographic sciences. Historic mineral and crystal books, goniometers, optical and non-optical instruments, and crystal models are shown. You may subscribe to their 3X/year newsletter. Antiquarian books are for sale but without endorsement by this writer. You may find this that this niche interest appeals to you too.

Fossils in the Architecture of Washington DC: A Guide to Washington's Accidental Museum of Paleontology,, is an interesting site by our own Society member, Christopher Barr. He, assisted by his wife Pat Jayne, daughter Judith Barr, and son Philip Barr, has obviously spent an enormous amount of time on this effort. With 15 galleries, paleontology, not of deposits in situ in DC, but rather in building stones makes a compelling read. There is a geological time scale, glossary, and an abundance of references and links.

Maryland Minerals,, is maintained by Jake Slagle and is a good source for information about minerals from our "Free State." See a slide show of over 100 specimens. Check out the many articles at the links given. Note the inclusion of references to Jonathan Ertman, Patrick Haynes, Jeff Nagy, and Fred Parker, all fellow Society members. A link leads to Slagle's blog at Some articles and tidbits, overlap the main site. The accomplishments of member Patrick Haynes in species discovery and collecting including Haynesite are documented here. Also here as well is a piece on Jessica Simonoff, the winner of the best junior exhibit at our March show.

Pennsylvania Educational Publications, From the PA Geological Survey's Educational Series, ES-1: Rocks and minerals of Pennsylvania, ES-2: Common fossils of Pennsylvania, ES-4: The Geological Story of Pennsylvania, ES-5: Geology and the Gettysburg Campaign, and ES-6: Pennsylvania and the Ice Age are particularly recommended.

Paleocurrents,, by Steve Wagner, paleontological volunteer at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. It is not a DMNS project, but a fun site to explore. Here you find categories about efforts of the DMNS, Other topics in paleontology including fossil preparation, tools and techniques and a tour of past fossil shows, museum virtual tours, and miscellaneous other items.

Glendale Community College Earth Science Image Archive, From the main page explore the alphabetized mineral of your choice to see pictures and physical properties along with their crystal systems, forms and habit. Much better, click on "The Physical Properties of Minerals Tutorial" to open a PowerPoint presentation, 17MB so it will take several minutes. Well worth the wait - see for yourself. You might even want to download the presentation for future reference. Great learning tool.

Crystal Models,, is also a PowerPoint presentation with models for younger members to construct. It serves as sort of a companion to the above site. Have fun kids.

The Eruption of the Volcano beneath Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull, from the Flikr site, with at least one movie clip. Excellent pictures for your viewing!

The University of California Museum of Paleontology, This site affords a broad ranging look at many aspects of fossils. There is more than can possibly be covered in a few sentences. Noodle around to explore the breadth covered here. Highlights include the field notes and blog of current explorations.

The San Andreas Fault, This is a site by David K. Lynch of Topanga CA. All you ever wanted to know about the fault, and probably more is here. An attractive interface with each of the nearly 20 topics is good for lots of reading. Here be found maps, pictures, and information about plate tectonics,volcanoes, tsunamis, geology, history, and much more.

Earth Magazine, A product of The American Geological Institute. Included are magazines from September 2008 to present. You will find a wealth of information here. Check out Videocasts, Travel, Geomedia, Science and Society, Geology, Energy, and Environment. Formerly called Geo Times, click on "Archive" to reach magazines from 1996 to 2008.

Bench Tips, By Alan Revere, Director of the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco CA. See excerpts 101, 102+, and Old Bench Tips from his book, and also Green Jewelry Tips. As is our custom, we do not endorse commercial enterprises. See his video tour and explore other nooks and crannies. The site is well illustrated. Thanks to Lap Talk News, March 2010 for the lead on this one.

Argyle Diamond Mine in Australia, This is the web site of their mining operation. Exploration began in 1972, with mining commencing in 1983. They are famous for the Argyle pink stones. See geology, history, open pit mining, underground mine, processing, rough diamonds, and selecting a diamond.

Volcano Photography, By Dr. Richard Roscoe of Munich, Germany. A wonderful site, not only with photographs, but also with meaningful explanatory text. Check out the day time and night time pictures, lava, hot springs, fumaroles, volcanic destruction, and volcanic landscapes.

Earth Science Picture of the Day, A service of NASA's Earth Science Division, the EOS Project Science Office at Goddard, and the Universities Space Research Association. To appreciate the diversity of the site, visit the archives going back to 2000. Check out: Categories, About EPOD, Frequently Asked Questions, and Links. You may subscribe to receive the picture of the day on your computer. As a footnote, you may vie to have one of your own pictures published.

Alan Guisewhite's Minerals Collection Images, This site is the work of a man who is a senior research technician at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. PA. See his collection pages and select what you would like to view. Clicking on the specimen shown will give you an enlarged view and, sometimes, multiple pictures.

Deepest Under Sea Erupting Volcanoes, This National Science Foundation site reveals the very newest geology. View a couple of intriguing videos of live action 4000 feet below the surface of the sea plus some still photos. Scientists found a type of lava never before seen erupting from an active volcano, and for the first time observed molten lava flowing across the deep ocean seafloor.

Micromount Section of the Georgia Mineral Society, Dr. Dave Babulski who is the Section Chair maintains this web site. Scroll down for articles by members which cover nearly all aspects of micromounting. You may even be prompted to pursue this phase of mineral collecting. There are a few pictures and a link to a separate web site on mineral art by the Section Chair.

Maryland Mining, This is an audio program of Andrew Hiller who conducts the Metro Connection series on WAMU, 88.5 FM. This is a 6 1/2 minute program featuring our members Jeff Nagy and Fred Parker (and Al DeMilo of the GLMSDC as well.) Give it a listen. You will need Real Player or Windows Media Player or equivalent to hear this one.

US Topographic Maps, This site has USGS Topo maps available free for download. File size for each digital 7.5-minute quadrangle is about 15-20 megabytes. You can view maps or print them out. Zoom in and click on the "My Topo" button. This is a work in progress with but 17 states listed but will be a good one to bookmark for future reference.

Pennsylvania Geology Online, This site is a handy way to get what was formerly a hardcopy publication. Find an archive dating from Spring/Summer 1997 to present. You may wish to subscribe to receive it regularly by email.

Meteorites and Their Properties, This website is an online version of a book by David Kring of the University of Arizona. Go to the Table of Contents and step through the Introduction, and about meteorites' Origins, Structure and Composition, Impacting and Craters, Frequency of Falls, Appearance when Freshly-Fallen, Hunting, Tests, Articles and Books, and a Glossary.

Eye on Tiger Eye, This website is a feature story from the July 2000 Lapidary Journal/Jewelry Artist magazine. Play 20 questions with authors Si and Ann Frazier to learn a multitude of things about the stone.

FREE BOOK (FROM "DIAMOND DAN"): Treasured Minerals, Mr. Russ Behnke is a mineral dealer and collector from Meriden, CT. He has field collected minerals since his childhood when he would go out collecting with his father. He has put together a beautiful book of his life in mineral collecting called Treasured Minerals. This one is outstanding. Download a free copy as a PDF document from his website.

Fluorescent Minerals, A web site about Fluorescent minerals is maintain by Axel Emmermann. Read his bio on this page. A member of Mineralogische Kring Antwerpen (MKA) from Belgium, he has dealer links where you may see a few Fluorescent mineral dealer's sites. Better yet, click on Minerals and select English. There is a data base of a few minerals. Select a URL and get all the minerals in that class. On some pictures moving the cursor on and off the picture will give a white light or UV effect. An interesting side light is his reporting to authorities lunar samples for sale illegally.

Dinosaur State Park, Dinosaur State Park is in Connecticut not far from Bristol and Hartford. 200 million year old Jurassic fossil tracks are preserved by a dome structure in Rocky Hill CT. A nice museum circles around the perimeter under cover. Click "What's at the Park" to see dino footprints. They have a feature outdoors where you may make plaster casts if you have half an hour (and it is not raining.)

Mineralogy of Wisconsin, WI Geological and Natural History web site that lists 300 or so minerals of Wisconsin. It is by Dr William S. Cordua, Professor of Geology/Mineralogy at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls WI. The database is cross-referenced by county and mineral. There are links to fluorescent minerals, meteorite ID, uses of minerals, properties, Wisconsin Geology Related Attractions and others.

Rock Tumbling Hobby, A useful start for beginners going into the hobby or the more advanced telling what it's all about, equipment used, stones, pitfalls, and tips.

3D-Museum, A new test site maintained by the Vertebrate Paleobiology Lab of the University of California, Davis. The current gallery index is on the main page on the right. Currently about 50 living and fossil specimens can be viewed and rotated at any angle you wish.

The Corunduminium, by William Heirerman, a Math teacher at Wharton County Junior College in Wharton TX.

American Mineralogist, has their articles from 1916 to 1999 available for free on this site. (Full text articles published in 2000-2008 are restricted to Subscribers and Members but you can view the abstracts.)

Weird Geology Room, by Lee Krystek explores some geological features. Quicksand, Hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, Tsunamis, Devil's Tower, Yellowstone Super Volcano, Ringing Rocks (listen to the sounds), Geysers (watch the movies), and Crystals are revealed.

Napoleon Diamond Necklace, Research on the necklace by E. Gaillou & Jeffrey E. Post as described in "Gems and Gemology" can be viewed at this site. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History site tells the history of the piece, details about the necklace, and describes the intriguing infrared spectrometry and fluorescence studies performed along with fine accompanying photographs.

Mimetoliths, A real site for sore eyes. Put together by Dr. R. V. Dietrich, Professor Emeritus at Central Michigan University, it is up to you to have a vivid imagination. After you figure out what a mimetolith is, explore all the venues of this one.

Great Basin Minerals, A commercial posting by Scott Kleine who concentrates on mineral specimens from Nevada, there are minerals for sale (this is not an endorsement.) The enjoyable part is the excitement of seeing collecting at various places for quartz, benitoite, gold, amazonite, smoky quartz, heulandite and others. The archive page has pictures from his many show visits.

Geology of National Parks by the USGS, Here you will find photographic tours of over 60 National Parks and Monuments and other park related resources. You will need to obtain red and cyan 3-D viewing glasses to get the stereo effect. Featured are both standard and 3D photographs along with written information describing what you are visualizing. Perhaps you have some cardboard glasses left over from a 3D movie you have seen. Plastic framed glasses may be purchased but are not any better for viewing. There are instructions for making your own. Making and viewing Anaglyphic (3D) photographs is explained. The tours describe park geology and natural history.

Free Gemology Course, This site is by Barbara Smigel, PhD, GG, who is a professor emeritus at the College of Southern Nevada. There are 10 lessons, 10 essays, audio pronunciation guide, and a 5.66 MB pdf pictorial survey, among other attributes.

Mammoth Site of Hot Springs SD, This is the world's largest mammoth research facility south of the Black Hills where you can tour an active paleontological dig site and view Ice Age fossils exhibited as they are found. There is a 60 ft. deep Karst sinkhole where they invite you to drop in sometime! The operation is run by a nonprofit group. Discovered in 1974, you may pay an actual visit there (download a brochure) or take a virtual tour, learning about the paleontology and geology., This website by Hobart King is a compendium of earth science news, maps, dictionary, articles and jobs. You can even sign up for daily email messages about earth science news. The section on meteorites ( is particularly timely, with the recent meteorite fall near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border in Canada on Nov. 20 and a fall in Colorado on December 5th.

Benitoite,, by John Veevaert, is This is actually a subset of the Trinity Mineral Company, Weaverville CA. In the site he shows his personal collection, which is not for sale. Additionally there are excellent articles about benitoite and neptunite from the world wide famous San Benito Co., CA locality, how to clean the specimens, and past mining news. The mine is being operated commercially for specimens. Sale specimens are also shown.

The Quartz Page, is by Amir Akhavan in Germany. This site is a compendium of information about all varieties of quartz. Learn about the mineralogy of Quartz, its properties, crystals, and varieties. The section on growth forms is fascinating. Learn something about faden and gwindel quartz, for example. Nicely illustrated, you will note the European viewpoint. Do not overlook the enlargements which are activated by clicking the pixel sizes under the photographs. References include not only a bibliography but also useful links. An index offers quick shortcuts to site content.

Utah Geological Survey, offers lots of learning possibilities. On the main page, work through the subheadings at the left. Clicking "open all" reveals a multitude of topics, among which are Geology, Dinosaurs and Fossils, Rocks & Minerals, and Great Salt Lake. Geosights allows you to vicariously visit some outstanding spots.

How Volcanoes Work, Magma and Plate Tectonics, Forming of Volcanoes, Types of Eruptions, Shapes and Sizes, and Eruption Frequency are covered in an educational, non-technical way. Links lead to lots more information. Do not miss the videos and motion clips.

Black River Fossils, was begun by a guy going by the name of "diTchweEzil." It originally covered only the (lonely?) low country of SC but has expanded now, due to contributors, to far reaching places like CA, HI, SD, TX, and even Belgium., France, and Germany. There are a number of subjects including fossil hunting, forum, articles, cartoons, excursions, and image gallery.

Herkimer Diamonds, Those NON-diamonds (quartz) found in central NY are featured here. Read about collecting techniques, location and geology, and the collect-for-a-fee commercial mines.

Totems to Turquoise, from an American Museum of Natural History (NY) exhibit in 2004-5 is still an attraction to people who find Jewelry Arts and especially Native American craftsmanship of interest. There are sections about cosmology, society, artists, history, and a gallery.

All About Gemstones, By parent company KHI, Inc., this is an intriguing site with over 700 images and 2500 photos, diagrams, and illustrations. A virtual encyclopedia, it covers a lot of ground and touches on gemstones, gemology, grading, cleaning, mining, history, cutting, equipment, precious metals, reference books, and several aspects about jewelry.

Aurora Fossil Museum, Gives an overview of fossils of the PCS Phosphate mine and other sources. There is information about their location, hours of operation, cost (free!), collections, and gift shop. "Shark tooth mound" is a dig site open to all ages, and events like the upcoming Aurora Fossil Festival on May 22-23 are featured. Very useful fossil identification photographs and an article about the geology of Aurora help to educate.

A Guide to Common Mineral Fakes, This is an issue of the "The-Vug Quarterly Magazine" interspersed with many commercial ads. The editor is Justin Zzyzx of Los Angeles CA who brings you tales of seemingly unending "Caveat Emptor." Count the ways I love thee: Minerals heated, irradiated, dyed, bleached, painted, chemically treated. Glued, repaired, substituted, matrix added! Wrongly identified species or locality. Manufactured, cast crystals, and more! Similar fakes of fossils are described. Be aware.

Zeolites of the World,'s+15th+Birthday+and+a+present+for+everyone This book, by Rudy W. Tschernich is available free for the 15th anniversary of Mindat's website: Click to download the book, a very thorough treatise. Warning! It is 237 Mb, so it will take some time to download the 565 page book. How zeolites are formed, cleaning specimens, industrial uses, and details of the approximately 41 species are covered in this technical work.

Glossary of Glacier Terminology, This is by Bruce Molnia of the USGS. "Types of Glaciers", well illustrated, shows Alaskan glaciers and land forms. The Glossary, though somewhat obtuse because you have to work your way through the alphabet, gives you very informative content.

Fossils of Nova Scotia, Read about geologic history, amazing discoveries, 8 important sites, early and contemporary collectors, and the N.S. rules about protecting the past.

World's Largest Cave, Son Doong, in the Vietnamese jungle, concerns the discovery of what is purported to be the world's largest cave. It is no less than 262 X 262 feet and is at least 2.8 miles long. The cave was known to locals but was thoroughly explored by scientists from Britain and Viet Nam in April 2009. View the images shown on this National Geographic web site.

A Geologist's Lifetime Field List, A modification of an original work by Lisa A. Rossbacher in the April, 1990 issue of Geotimes. The University of Cincinnati in Ohio modified and extended it and it offers a fun site showing places for geologists or travelers to visit or experience. Unfortunately, many of the links are broken but you could "Google" the topics. It covers far-ranging localities listed under general geology topics as well as specific places to visit worldwide.

Ginko Petrifed Forest State Park, An overview of the Park, its geology, and other things of interest. Find nice YouTube videos by the State Parks and Recreation Commission, each nearly 8 minutes in length, with in-depth information:

Ice Age Floods in Washington, A comprehensive cyber tour. Start with "Click here to start the tour." At is part of a conservation study, with another overview on the floods and biography of two of the key people involved with discovering the Floods.

Stonerose Interpretive Center and Eocene Fossil Site, Presents information about the Center, far from any major metropolitan cities, which has a small but nice museum, a study center, and oversees a fee-for-dig collecting site at Republic WA. They reserve the right to retain anything of high scientific importance and you may only keep three fossils per day. The quality of fossils is outstanding and the site is well known. The stone rose isn't a rose at all! Read about it.