After considerable discussion, the board has decided that the club cannot continue in its current form.
During these discussions, board member Carol Martell resigned. I (Joe) would like to thank Carol for her clarity and help in the time she's been on the board.
This month's meeting will be devoted to discussion on the future of the club. We have no definite time line for the reorganisation of the club, however the icecream social on 6 June, the meeting before the club's traditional summer break, would be one date to aim for.
So far two options for the future of CNCMC have been discussed. These are described on the club's (see reorganisation) webpage. It is hoped that during upcoming meetings, that all possibilities will be explored. The webpage will be available for people to post ideas and to give other members time to think how to best procede.
Tricia will report on her trip to Tucson to the Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase.
In last month's video, Iain Stewart showed kyanite as the mineral responsible for the blue colour of Manhattan schist. Kyanite is an index mineral, indicating that shale has been heated to 800° at a depth of 13km. Gem grade kyanite is available from Nepal. Some 1 carat kyanite gemstones, currently being made into earrings by Tricia, will be passed around for viewing.
The Schiele Museum in Gastonia is holding a flint knapping day on Sat 8 Apr (see below for details). We will have a short (8min) Youtube video demonstrating flint knapping. (update 10 Feb: we're going to Mebane in March. see elsewhere here.)
We've had our attention on other things. We're still running on last year's budget. Joe hasn't started on the Fairlight Gorge talk, which will probably take 2 months to write. So we'll have another video this month.
The video shows how the closing of the Tethys Ocean produced the E-W range of mountains from the European Alps, to the Taurus and Zagros mountains of Asia to the Himalayas, with the floor of the Tethys Ocean now the roof of the world.
Business 1: Vote on proposed changes to the constitution. The changes were discussed at the Oct 2016 and Dec 2016 meeting. Members were sent the proposals at each stage of discussion (before and after the Oct 2016 meeting and before the Dec 2016 meeting).
Business 2: Vote on the board for 2017. The slate for 2017 is
Club membership of $15 is due. Please make sure your e-mail address is current (e.g. write it on your check).
Joe hasn't been able to prepare his talk in time for this meeting (hopefully ready in Feb).
The video by Iain Stewart, one of the world's best geology educators, describes the formation of Pangea and the Central Pangean Mountains (Appalachians, Atlas Mts and Scottish Highlands) at the beginning of the Permian. This turned the previously wet world, dominated by amphibians, into a desert. The world was taken over by reptiles, who didn't need water for fertilisation, while the niche for amphibians was almost eliminated. At the end of the Triassic, Pangea breaks into Laurentia and Gondwana. The rupture, forming the Atlantic, was accompanied by much volcanism. Locations visited include New York (manhattan schist), Grand Canyon (coconino sandstone), Great Sand Dunes National Park (sand dunes), a gator farm (reptiles), Palisades (diabase intrusion - part of breakup of Pangea) the Andes (Potosi, and Sala de Uyuni) and llamas. As with most geological videos, much information is left out. I've added it back as sub-titles, hopefully making it comprehensible to everyone.
During the setup period, from 6:30-7pm, Sylvia will be displaying the bronze pieces made by members at the Nov meeting. She will have a small portable drill press, so she can drill holes and add jumprings to the bronze pieces for anyone who wants them.
Here's an e-mail from Sylvia
At our October club meeting, I was amazed to be awarded a piece of beautiful smooth opal rough full of fire, and was showered with undeserved praise and remembrances for my past efforts on behalf of the club. I was very touched and grateful. Thank you!
In November, seven of us played with FastFire BronzClay, creating a variety of interesting objects as you can see -
Come to the December meeting and marvel that a lump of heavy (because it's composed of pulverized copper and tin) brown "clay" could be transformed by playful hands and high heat (1525 °F) into such spectacular stuff.
Business 1: nomination of the board of directors for 2017.
Business 2: Opportunity to futher discuss proposed changes to the constitution: At the 4 Oct 2016 meeting the board proposed several small changes of the constitution. As a result of the meeting, suggested modifications were added to the proposals, which were e-mailed to members on 5 Oct 2016, and which did not produce in any further discussion.
At tonight's meeting, members will be given a further opportunity for discussion. The proposed changes will be put to a vote at the Jan 2017 meeting. An updated version of the ammendments was e-mailed on 3 Dec 2016, to satisfy the the requirement for 10 days written notice of a vote.
Tonight's presenter, Jim, is a retired geologist. He talked to the club in Apr and May this year, about the geology of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado Plateau.
Here is the Tricia's flyer for Jim's talk.
|meeting is upstairs in the Ashe room.|
Tricia will chair the meeting. (Joe will be on R&R in Australia, hiking for a month.)
Practical class on making jewelry with FASTBRONZ clay. There will be a materials charge of $12. Sylvia needs to order the clay 10 days ahead of the class. Please preregister by 22 Oct (email@example.com).
Sylvia will give a 10 minute demonstration and then we will all pretend we are in kindergarten again. We will knead a lump of FASTfire BRONZclay with our hands, roll out on a rubber texture mat, cut out a fancy shape, make a hole with a straw for hanging, dry on a warming plate, sand the edges smooth. Voila: a fragile pendant or earrings or charm or pocket piece!
Sylvia will take them home, fire them in her kiln for two hours at 1525°F (that's 830°C in case you're confused folks), and tumble them in steel shot until they form bright, shiny, sturdy, pure bronze jewelry pieces for the creator to wear or give to a loved one.
Sylvia will bring the finished pieces to the December meeting.
|If you want to participate in Sylvia's Nov bronze jewelry class, please register tonight or by e-mail before 22 Oct.|
Business: Following a suggestion by Tricia, the board has proposed that, as a token of appreciation for all the work that Sylvia has done for the club over the years and particularly her efforts towards the recent sale at the Seymour Center, which she has been working on since May last year, that Sylvia be awarded a piece that the club had for sale. The club will vote on awarding Sylvia an opal valued at $100.
Business: The board has proposed several changes to the Constitution. These have been e-mailed to club members. At the meeting these ammendments will be open for discussion. Since a vote on an ammendment requires 10 days notice, the vote will be taken at a subsequent meeting, likely at the December meeting.
Following the popularity of Tricia's recent talk on opals, we have three short videos on opals.
Gems and minerals for sale. Demonstrations of mineral cutting and polishing. Activities for kids. Locopops truck 12noon-2pm.
This is being organised by Sylvia and Tricia.
Here's a report on the sale, from Tricia's fall newsletter, which was published in Dec 2016. (The planning started in May 2015.)
We were very happy with the attendance and sales of our show and sale in October. It was an event that took months to plan and curate. Most of the club's gem and mineral assets have been turned into cash to ensure continued growth of our club. While we continue to organize and plan future presentations, events and outings, we hope that everyone interested will contribute to the continued growth and maintenance of the club.
A very big thank you to all those who helped at the show, it was wonderful to talk rocks and play with gemstones all day long. We also met some very interesting people throughout the day. The children's activity in the "treasure dig" was enjoyed by the young visitors as well as their adult company! Many people were impressed by our enthusiasm and variety we offered.
The potluck starts at 6:30pm, NOT the usual 7pm business meeting starting time. This starting time is a compromise, because some people can't wait to eat till 7pm. The club will provide plastic ware, paper napkins, cups, plates and drinks. We will convene in the kitchen area outside the theatre. We won't be organising dishes; if everyone brings chocolate and banana pudding, then we'll all be eating chocolate and banana pudding.
This is a social event (there is no mineral oriented presentation or business meeting), so feel free to bring friends.
AWARD: In Feb, Trish Kohler gave a talk on the fossil seashells donated by Jim Sorauf. Trish put a lot of work into this talk, spending 2 months cleaning and researching the fossils. The board has recommended that we award the fossils to Trish. Since the board's role is only to make recommendations, this recommendation needs to be first ratified by the club members. Sometime during the pot-luck, we will take a short break and ask for a vote by club members. On the assumption that the vote passes, we will award Trish with the fossil seashells.
We'll be taking advantage of this award to honour and celebrate Trish's past efforts over many years with the club. There will be time for people who know or have worked with Trish, to tell stories and share rememberances of events and activities that they've participated in with Trish and how much they've enjoyed being in the club with her. Come prepared to speak about Trish; even a sentence will do. There will be time for all who want to speak.
Tricia and Sylvia will talk about the 1 Oct sale at the Seymour Center and be asking for volunteers.
Tricia, a local jeweler (T. Becker Jewelry http://www.tbeckerjewelry.com/) will talk about opals, using opals from her own collection and from the club's rock collection.
We're reviving the long lost CNCMC tradition of the annual summer icecream social; starting about 6:30pm, the club will provide icecream for attendees to eat while listening to the presentation which will start at 7pm. Tricia and Sylvia have volunteered to organise this event.
Also starting at about 6pm, I'll be laying out the books for our book give-away. These are some of Jim's old books. Most are academic, but there's a couple of popular books. If you want a book, you'll attach a post-it with your name on it. After the meeting, any book with only one name is yours. The unclaimed books will be donated. The books with multiple names will need the help of a Solomon to decide their fate. (If you have any Solominic wisdom, I'd be happy to hear it.) There's no need to be early; there's plenty of time to look through the books. The books won't be divvied up till after the meeting.
This is the second in a pair of talks. Last month Jim talked about the Grand Canyon which contains almost exclusively Paleozoic and Precambrian rocks. This month's talk is on the Colorado Plateau which is largely Mesozoic and Cenozoic rocks and history.
Jim Sorauf is professor emeritus at State University of New York at Binghamton, NY, where he taught historical geology and paleontology for thirty-seven years. His research has focused on fossil corals, which he has studied on a worldwide basis.
Jim has agreed to give the club his 10 lecture series on the Geology of North America. This is the same course that he gives through the OLLI program (http://www.learnmore.duke.edu/olli/courses/tuesdays.asp) at Duke University. These talks will be spread over the club's meetings in the next year or so, interspersed with our regular presentations.
The course will consist of lecture and discussion sessions covering ten major geologic regions of North America. Each session will focus on the geologic history of one of these regions, including the presence of national parks and the geological framework that provides their characteristic scenery and geology. The ten study areas are integrated to provide an overall history of the North American Continent.
Here's the pdf of the flyer for Jim's talk
This is the first of a pair of talks. The Grand Canyon contains almost exclusively Paleozoic and Precambrian rocks. Next month Jim will talk about the Colorado Plateau which is largely Mesozoic and Cenozoic rocks.
The business part of the meeting will be asking the club to pass the budget for 2016. Optional items in the budget are snacks at the meetings, whether to restore the traditional icecream social (proposed for the Jun meeting), and whether to continue the traditional potluck (proposed for the Sep meeting). Other matters from the recent board meeting will be presented.
The presentation will be a video by Iain Stewart on Agassiz and Croll. Some introductory material will be presented by Joe so that the audience can better understand the video.
Louis Agassiz, on exploring the Alps, realised that the earth had recently been covered in ice. His discovery ran contrary to the accepted theory of uniformitarianism, which said that the earth changed little. James Croll provided an explanation for the iceages, orbital forcing, which is now attributed to Milankovitch.
Minutes: The budget was passed.
|The meeting will be in the Ashe and Birch room(s) upstairs, not in the usual meeting spot in the theatre downstairs. These rooms have tables to display the fossils, giving the audience better access to the fossils than they would have from their seats in the theatre.|
Recently Jim Sorauf (who will be speaking in April) donated some of his fossil collection to the club. Avid fossil hunter and club member Trish Kohler will display and talk about some of these fossils. Trish is also preparing some of these fossils for our display case outside the theatre in the Seymour Center.
Minutes of the meeting by Sylvia:
A vote on a new logo for the club was postponed until members can consult with the artists.
Member Trish Kohler displayed and discussed a beautiful collection of Pliocene and Pleistocene fossil shells, a gift to the club from Professor Jim Sorauf, who will be speaking to the club in April and May about the geology of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado Plateau. Jim rescued the shells from bulldozers in the Leisey Shell Pit near Tampa and Sarasota, Florida. Trish augmented her talk with extant shells from her own collection to aid in her description of the structure, life-style and environment of these beautiful animals. A display of some of the choice shells can be seen at present in the green display case near the theatre in the Seymour Center. More information can be found at the University of Florida website: Invertebrate Paleontology Image Galleries (https://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/invertpaleo/galleries.htm).
Approximate attendance: 12.
Club dues ($15/person, $20/family) for 2016 are due at this meeting.
The business meeting will start at 7pm. The main business will be to elect a board. We want a board that will help maintain the club and produce interesting activities for members. Come along to vote for the board. The board nominating committee has produced this slate for 2016.
At the Dec 2015 meeting, various constitutional ammendments were discussed. Voting on these ammendment was not time critical. In the interests of having a short business meeting, to allow Kaye to proceed with her sale, voting on the ammendments was postponned till a later meeting.
Last week Kaye unexpectedly cancelled the sale planned for this meeting. Planning for this sale started in May 2015. A motion to proceed with the sale was passed unanimously at the Nov 2015 board meeting. Shortly after the Dec meeting, Tricia Weiner offered to help Kaye with the sale. After we received notice that Kaye was cancelling the sale, we attempted to continue with the sale as planned. Requests for access to the rocks held by Kaye, have not been replied to by Kaye or Bob. Paula and Grady didn't help, but instead agreed that the sale be postponned.
Here is Kaye's e-mail to Tricia cancelling the sale.
The CNCMC board could not reach consensus on starting the January business meeting later than 7 pm, which made inviting the public to a sale of more than 600 club specimens unworkable. Therefore, I regret that the January sale had to be canceled. Rescheduling a sale for 2016 will be the business of the new board.
A week after the Dec club meeting, Kaye asked the board to move the Jan election to 8pm, to a time when some members have to go home. This is not a matter for the board, but is a matter for the club to decide. Moving the meeting time is not something you do between meetings, without consulting the club. If Kaye had wanted the meeting moved, she had 8 months to ask the club to do so.
Instead of the sale originally planned for the Jan meeting, we will have a movie by the geologist Iain Stewart, about James Hutton, the father of modern geology,
Hutton produced the theory of uniformitarianism, that the earth had no beginning or end and was being continuously regenerated. This replaced the biblical explanation for the creation of the earth, that the earth had been made in seven days.
The show takes you to Glen Tilt where granite intrudes into metamorphic schist. This showed Hutton that granite had once been molten, rather than created in situ by precipitation from water. The show also takes you to Siccar Point, probably the most famous piece of geology on earth, where Hutton saw vertical strata overlain by horizontal strata.
From the wikipedia page on James Hutton
"Hutton reasoned that there must have been innumerable cycles, each involving deposition on the seabed, uplift with tilting and erosion then undersea again for further layers to be deposited. On the belief that this was due to the same geological forces operating in the past as the very slow geological forces seen operating at the present day, the thicknesses of exposed rock layers implied to him enormous stretches of time. Hutton reasoned that there must have been innumerable cycles, each involving deposition on the seabed, uplift with tilting and erosion then undersea again for further layers to be deposited. On the belief that this was due to the same geological forces operating in the past as the very slow geological forces seen operating at the present day, the thicknesses of exposed rock layers implied to him enormous stretches of time."
The business meeting will start at 7pm.
The first order of business is to discuss the board's recent vote, when Kaye Brown, Bob Healy, Paula LaPoint and Grady Ware voted to disband the club.
The second order of business is to offer the nominating committee's slate for the board of 2016. Part of the election, is for the club to vote on a constitutional ammendment to reduce the board to four members.
After the business meeting, the club's rocks will be available for viewing. Here is an edited version of Kaye's announcement.
Please join us on December 1st to view the club's collection of over 600 rock and mineral specimens which will be put on public sale in January. All items have been donated to the club over many years and it is time for them to enrich the lives of collectors and hobbyists. This is an opportunity to craft a unique collection of minerals and lapidary materials at very reasonable prices. Most items are priced from $1 to $15 each. All club members are invited to join us in viewing this collection following the business meeting on December 1, 2015 at the Seymour Center. We also encourage you to return to buy your favorites at the start of our club's Annual Meeting on January 5, 2016. Your CNCMC Board wishes all a Happy Thanksgiving and we look forward to seeing our members next month for our viewing.
Specimen viewing, December 1st: Specimen sale, January 5th
Here are the minutes of the club's Dec 2015 meeting from Paula LaPoint
Prior to the business meeting, Kaye Brown set out 600 specimens for a viewing of the items for sale at the next meeting on January 5. The material is mainly for lapidaries and jewelry making, but it also includes a collection of fluorescent minerals, mostly from F ranklin, NJ. It was wonderful to have so many people attending and interacting at this meeting: 20 including 2 potential members and a spouse.
President Joe Mack opened the meeting with the treasurer's report from Lynne Duncan.
Sylvia Hubbard presented a plan for next year's programs. Jim Sorauf, professor emeritus at SUNY in Binghamton, NY, has agreed to present his ten lectures of 90 minutes each that he has prepared for OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Duke University). He taught historical geology and paleontology for 37 years and specialized in fossil corals. His OLLI course is Regional Geologic History of North America: National Parks for the April meeting.
The February and March meetings are still open and may have DVD's for programs.
At least ten days before our January 5 meeting, the nomination committee (Sylvia Hubbard, Ed Wise, Lynne Duncan) will present the 2016 slate of officers (check your email or Club website).
Joe proposed two amendments to the Club constitution:
1) Reduce the number of board members from 8 to a minimum of 4. They would function as a council, replacing the traditional positions of president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and directors [this will require rewriting multiple portions of the constituti on].
2) Reduce the secretary's term from 2 years to 1.
After some discussion, members suggested reducing the board from 8 to a minimum of 6 while retaining the traditional positions (with 2 directors). This is more like the board in 2015 with 6 members, 3 serving as co-vice-presidents as well as directors (Kaye Brown, Bob Healy, Grady Ware). (The seventh nominee for director declined to serve in 2015.) This will become a third proposal for members to consider in January.
Also up for discussion and approval in January is the Board decision to plan for the distribution of Club assets. At the November 17 board meeting, members expressed concern for the steady decline in membership and participation of the Club, with no plan to reverse the decade-long trend. The board approved Bob Healy's motion to plan for the orderly disposition of assets (Joe Mack dissenting). However, an informal poll among members this evening indicated a lack of support for asset dispersal.
Here are the minutes of the board meeting 17 Nov 2015 submitted by Paula LaPoint.
Attended by Joe Mack, Kaye Brown, Grady Ware, Bob Healy, Paula LaPoint Held at the Seymour Center on Homestead Road, Chapel Hill Kaye Brown reported $407 earned from the Nov. 3 sale. She had advertised the sale in various places, including websites for teachers. The next sale in January will be less educational and more for lapidaries and jewelry makers. Also for sale will be fluorescent minerals Kaye bought her own UV lamps and educated herself about fluorescent minerals in order to identify, sort, and price a collection of about 126 specimens, many from the Franklin District of New Jersey. Kaye noted that fluorescent minerals did not sell well at the November auction of Ed Wise's mineral collection (held in Hillsborough at the Daniel Boone complex). About 600 specimens with an estimated value of $4,045 will be available for the January 5, 2016 sale. Kaye will not be bringing any unsold material back home. She strongly recommends donating unsold material to a nonprofit institution rather than storing it in a member's home where specimens tend to disappear. Board members expressed concern with the steadily declining membership and participation over the past decade. Would there be enough Club members to serve on the eight-member board for 2016? How small a membership should determine the distribution of assets? The current board may have to plan for the dissolution of the Club (while there still is a board and sufficient membership). Bob Healy proposed the motion to plan for the orderly disposition of Club assets by the January meeting (not to be confused with disbanding of the Club). The motion passed 4 to 1 (Joe dissenting). We reviewed Article IX of the Club constitution: No profit if any shall inure to any member of this organization or any profit making organization during the life of this organization or upon dissolution. On dissolution of the club all assets shall go to the NC Museum of Life and Science or to a similar non-profit facility. Bob Healy suggested a potential recipient, Sandy Creek Park in Durham. Current fund raising will support the return and renovation of the old Hollow Rock Store. It will be converted into a museum featuring history and geology of the area. Also, about $3,000 is needed for signage explaining geology on the trail. Donation to Friends of Sandy Creek Park would support the Club's main purpose, to promote popular interest and education in the earth sciences. Bob will describe Sandy Creek Park and the Hollow Rock Museum to members at the January Club meeting. Kaye and Paula will visit The Museum of Life and Science to get an update on earth science related projects. Grady may contact the Eno River Association to check out their current funding needs. Other considerations for donation: Tar Heel Gem and Mineral Club; CHAOS, a local astronomy club; and Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.
The Board plans to meet again at the end of December to prepare for the January membership meeting.
The rocks that were on view in the October meeting will be offered for sale
Here's the announcement from Kaye
The CNCMC, based in Chapel Hill, will sell on November 3rd nearly 200 individual palm-sized mineral specimens, each with known provenance, that members have donated to the club over many years. This is an opportunity to craft a unique collection of minerals from throughout the world at very reasonable prices. All specimens are priced from free to $10.00 each.Please join us at the Seymour Center auditorium on Tuesday evening, November 3rd, from 6:30-9:00 pm and give our minerals a new home!
There will not be a presentation at this meeting.
The club has a large inventory of rocks. From our inventory, Kaye and Bob have prepared rocks of total value of about $400 for sale in the Nov 2015 meeting. The rocks will be available for viewing at tonight's meeting so you can be ready to buy at the Nov 2015 meeting.
Here is the blurb from Kaye
For all CNCMC Members! Come view our palm-sized Minerals for Sale!! You are invited to come next Tuesday, October 6^th, starting at 6:30 pm, to our regular monthly club meeting for a viewing of the almost 200 mineral specimens the club will sell on November 3rd. The specimens range from the ordinary to the rare, identified with known provenance, and priced from FREE to $10.00 each. Here's a great chance to see what you want for yourself or the grandkids before the holiday rush! You will also help your club find new homes for many of our mineral treasures.
The time of the dinner is a compromise. Some people can't get to the meeting at 6pm, some people can't hold off eating till 7pm.
We're going to let you bring whatever you want. If everyone brings brownies and icecream, then that's what we'll eat.
Minutes of the Meeting by Paula LaPoint
Fourteen members enjoyed socializing at our potluck dinner at the Seymour Center for our September 2015 meeting. No business was conducted.
Vote on potluck dinner for meeting of 1 Sep 2015. Following the summer recess, occasionally in the past, we've had potluck dinners. If we want a potluck, we could start it at 6pm before the speaker or have it 7pm instead of or as well as the spearker.
Minutes: by Joe
Business: Sylvia brought up the possibility of having a sale to sell off our mineral collection. She will look into locations and possible dates.
Business: Trish mentioned that the Fossil club was having problems with the SFMS getting them to cash the Fossil club's dues. Although the SFMS said they would send out bills for the insurance, they did not and instead people were supposed to figure out that the billing was on-line. CNCMC is having the same problem with insurance and the SFMS. If we turn out not to have insurance this year, because we've not paid and it's past some deadline, then we may not be able to have the sale this year.
The Li talk centered around the spodumene quarry in Bessemer City, NC. It turns out that Grady grew up there and remembers the day that a field suddenly had a fence around it and then was a quarry. He talked about looking for minerals as a kid, which led him to do geology and anthropology in college. Grady lived on a farm out of town and got to know many of the townspeople through wandering around in fields looking for rocks. There was spodumene in the fields everywhere, in a 1x5mile arc. The well water always tasted sour, but you got used to it, and it didn't do any harm. He said the processing plant was put between the black section of town and the town dump and due to the smell of the dump, it wasn't a pleasant place to be. Grady thinks the operation shut down about 20yrs later when the ore was all worked out. Due to the union busting that had gone on during the depression, there was little resistance to the mine operations; they did what they wanted, and you were glad of a job. He got to know
We'll have some short notes culled from announcements in the popular press of the recent discovery of the early crocodile, the Carolina Butcher Carnufex carolinensis in North Carolina (or as it was known back then, Pangea). As well we'll have a DVD on work in the middle of the last century; the early (WWII) work on plate techtonics, and the discovery of the Taung child by Dart and of Lucy by Johansson.
Minutes for the Apr 2015 meeting submitted by Paula LaPoint
President Joe Mack welcomed 6 members attending the meeting (another member arrived later with a guest). Having no business to discuss, Joe began with a three-part program: news on a North Carolina fossil and two videos from Lynne Duncan.
A 231-million-year-old fossil of a crocodile ancestor was found years ago in a clay quarry in Chatham County by Vincent Schneider, curator at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. It remained enclosed in rock until Susan Drymala, graduate student at NC State, began working on it in 2012. Her professor, Lindsay Zanno, also runs the paleo lab at the Museum. The nine-foot-long crocodylomorph, named Carnufex carolinensis (Carolina Butcher) is believed to have stood upright. For a time, it may have been the top predator in the portion of Pangea that became North America.
The first video covered history of the concept of plate tectonics. In 1926, German geophysicist and meteorologist, Alfred Wegener presented a continental drift hypothesis based on how continents fit together, and when the continents were assembled into Pangea, on the correlation of fossils, glacial deposits, and Paleozoic sedimentary rock formations across continental boundaries. Not having a mechanism to explain the drifting of continents, Wegener was rejected by his American audience. He died on a Greenland expedition in 1930, long before his theory was accepted. Various technologies developed around the time of World War II provided the missing information. In 1960, Harry Hess of Princeton University proposed a hypothesis of sea-floor spreading and subduction. By 1968, geologists had constructed a tectonic model that integrated observations and data collected over the previous four decades (sonar defined ocean basin topography; magnetometers revealed bands of marine magnetic anomalies (due to magnetic polarity reversals) parallel to ocean ridges; dating of core samples demonstrated increasing age with distance outward from mid-ocean ridges; maps of earthquake epicenters and active volcanoes revealed active plate margins; gravity surveys defined the difference between continental and oceanic crust).
After dwelling on the Piltdown Hoax that lasted from 1912 to 1953, the second video covered notable discoveries in the search for the earliest human ancestors: the 1856 fossil discovery of Neanderthal in Germany (Homo neanderthalensis spanned roughly 250,000 to 40,000 years BP); the 1858 discovery of Cro-Magnon in a French cave (now referred to as European Early Modern Humans, Homo sapiens sapiens, the oldest dated at 43,000-45,000 years); the half-million-year-old (or older) Java man, Homo erectus erectus, found in 1891 by Eugene Dubois; the Taung Child, Australopithecus africanus, about 2.8 million years old, found in a tufa quarry in South Africa in 1924 and described by Raymond Dart; Mary and Louis Leakey's 2 million-year-old Homo habilis found in Olduvai Gorge in 1960; and 3 million-year-old Lucy, Australopithecus afarensis, found in Ethiopia in 1974 by Donald Johanson.
We'll present the budget for 2015, which was deferred from last month. As well we'll have two DVDs from Michael Wysession: Rifts and Ridges (a follow-on from last month's talk about the Triassic Basins of the US east coast and the African Rift Valley; Assembing North America - where all the bits came from.
Minutes of the meeting by Paula LaPoint
After President Joe Mack welcomed eight members to the meeting, he described Club finances. Income from membership dues barely covers dues and insurance for the Southeast Federation of Mineralogical Societies, refreshments at meetings, and miscellaneous expenses. Donations to the Friends of the Seymour Center (in lieu of rent), donations to support the Club mission in science education, and gifts to program speakers all come from Club savings established in past years when membership was much larger and annual sales more profitable. The concern that the Club will outlive its funding has replaced the prior concern that the Club would terminate before members could choose how to support our mission. The current Club policy suspends all donations except for honoraria and possibly a single donation if approved by the membership. There was no discussion or vote on the subject. Also, the question remains on how to effectively sell our non-cash assets.
For our program, Joe ran two videos by Michael Wysession. The first video described the opening and closing of ocean basins due to rifting, drifting, and colliding of tectonic plates. The complete cycle of the opening and closing of an ocean, over roughly half a billion years, is called the Wilson cycle after J. Tuzo Wilson (1908-1993). For example, rocks of the Blue Ridge record the history of a complete Wilson cycle, beginning with the Late Proterozoic rifting of Rodinia, and ending with the Late Paleozoic construction of Pangea. Mid-ocean ridges create more than new ocean crust. Black plumes of superheated water, full of dissolved minerals from the basalts, erupt into cold seawater and precipitate rich deposits of iron, copper, lead, zinc, and other elements. Even more extraordinary is the chemosynthetic-based ecosystem of hundreds of species of animals that include bivalves, shrimp, and giant tubeworms. At the base of the food chain are primitive bacteria that consume hydrogen sulfide from the black smokers. Life on Earth could have originated at these deep-sea hydrothermal vents.
The second video described the tectonic assemblage of the North American continent as an example of how continents evolve over geologic time. The craton (stable interior crust) consists of the Precambrian Canadian Shield where exposed at the surface, and the platform, a veneer of much younger sedimentary rocks overlying the basement rock. The Shield is subdivided into provinces whose boundaries are interpreted as suture zones of microcontinents brought together by tectonic forces about 2 bya. This conglomeration stuck together when supercontinent Columbia split into large continental masses about 1.3 bya. Fragments of microcontinents, volcanic island arcs, and oceanic crust assembled about 1 bya to form supercontinent Rodinia. At this time, the Grenville orogeny was creating the basement rocks of North Carolina.
When Rodinia broke apart, starting about 750 mya, what was to become Australia and Antarctica rifted from (what is now) the west coast. As the proto-Atlantic (Iapetus) Ocean opened, the North American plate moved westward, resulting in subduction of Pacific Ocean tectonic plates. Terranes were accreted, and associated magmatism produced volcanoes and huge granitic intrusions. This resulted in the construction of the Cordilleran mountain chain, which includes the Rocky Mountains, the Coast Ranges, and the Sierra Nevada. Meanwhile, on the east coast, sedimentary deposits accumulated in rift valleys (Grandfather Mountain conglomerate), on shorelines (Pilot Mountain quartzite), and on the continental shelf and slope (Ocoee Supergroup, Ashe and Tallulah Falls Formations, Chilhowee Group, and more). By the end of the Precambrian, North America was isolated from other continents. Then about 420 mya, landmasses began to converge. Island arcs, first off the east coast, and later from Gondwana (Africa and South America), were accreted onto the North American continent to form the Supercontinent Pangea around 225 mya. Once again, the supercontinent split apart, starting about 220 mya and continuing today as the Atlantic Ocean widens. Continental evolution is a hypothetical model that attempts to organize geologic observations and interpretations into a tectonic framework. With additional data and new technologies, the model will continue to be revised and refined.
We donate to the Friends of the Seymour Center. Katherine Leith, the director of the Friends, past CNCMC member and current mailing list member, will talk about the work of the Friends of the Seymour Center.
Joe will give a short presentation on his trip with Lynne to see the Falls Lake Trail: Section 11, Jonesboro Fault . The Jonesboro fault is a part of the local Triassic basin, the Durham Sub-basin of the Deep River basin. The Deep River basin itself is a part of the Newark Supergroup, a chain of Triassic basins along the east coast of NA, from NC to Nova Scotia. These basins were formed by the rifting that tore apart Pangea producing the Atlantic Ocean.
Will will have a DVD from Michael Wysession on the African Rift Valley. The African Rift Valley has similar geology to the Newark Supergroup chain of Triassic basins along the NA east coast.
Minutes from Paula LaPoint
President Joe Mack welcomed 11 members. He thanked Jim Dooley for setting up directional signs to our meeting. With Ed Wise occupied in moving, we skipped door prizes. Former member, Katherine Leith, explained how Friends of the Seymour Center support our meeting facility. They pay utility bills and other expenses that the county does not cover. They help support an intern, and they submit grant proposals to finance improvements such as automatic door openers and future updates on the sound system. Our Club has made donations in past years in lieu of rental fees. Discussion of the annual budget was postponed until next month. Concerned that the Club will outlast its cash assets, the Board has suspended donations to children's summer camps.
Twice this winter, Joe and Lynne Duncan hiked sections of the Falls Lake Trail off Hwy. 50 just south of Falls Lake. He used the North Carolina Geology Walks, written by Skip Stoddard and Phil Bradley. Lynne helped him write the program for this evening on Section 11. The trail crosses the Jonesboro fault that bounds the east side of the Triassic Durham Basin (a sub-basin of the Deep River Basin). It is but one segment in a series of sediment-filled rift valleys (of the Newark Supergroup) that lie along eastern North America, from South Carolina to Nova Scotia. Down-dropped rift basins formed when Supercontinent Pangea was pulled apart, starting in late Permian time. After one failed rift event, a second event resulted in the Atlantic Ocean Basin.
The fact-filled program was completed with a video by Michael Wysession of Washington University describing the five best examples of continental rifting. Number one is the active East African Rift, extending from Syria southward over 3700 miles through east Africa to the coast of Mozambique. Elongate, down-dropped rift valleys have contributed to the formation of distinctive geologic and geographic features: some of the largest and deepest freshwater lakes on earth, Lakes Malawi, Turkana, and Tanganyika in deep rift basins, and broader, shallower Lake Victoria lying between two rift basins; the two highest peaks in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro at 19,341 ft above SL and Mt. Kenya at 17,057 ft above SL, both isolated stratovolcanoes of Plio-Pleistocene age; 14-mile wide Ngorongoro Crater (caldera); and the longest lava tube in the world (5.6 miles long in Kenya). The combination of water availability, rich volcanic soils, a wide range of elevation and climate, sky islands (island communities of stratovolcanoes), and deep lakes has supported great biodiversity and species evolution, including humans.
Lake Kivu, on the western branch of the East African Rift, is one of three modern lakes that has had limnic eruptions: dissolved carbon dioxide suddenly erupts from the depths and suffocates terrestrial animals, including people. The phenomenon has been observed only twice, at Lake Monoun (1984) and Lake Nyos (1986), both in Cameroon in western Africa. Evidence from Lake Kivu is prehistoric, but the lake's methane content and volcanic interaction increase the risk of a modern explosive eruption, which would be catastrophic for two million people living in the lake basin.
The four other notable examples of continental rift areas are: Lake Baikal in the Siberian region of northeastern Russia, the world's largest freshwater lake by volume. The deepest lake in the world (5,387 ft), it lies in the deepest continental rift (5-6.8 miles to the rift floor covered with 4.3 mi of sediment, and still active); the Rio Grande Rift, from Chihuahua, Mexico to central Colorado, which began about 35 mya and is still geologically active; the Rhine Graben (or Upper Rhine Graben) of Oligocene age that extends northeastward from the Jura Mountains in Germany, between the Vosges mountain range in France and the Black Forest; the 1.2 billion-year-old subsurface Midcontinent Rift of North America that extends from eastern Kansas through Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and beneath Lake Superior to Canada. Associated iron-rich lavas that filled the ancient rift valleys are revealed by gravity anomalies and aeromagnetic surveys.
At the Dec 2014 meeting, the board offered a slate of officers for 2015. The meeting will vote on accepting the slate.
Following on from Bob and Paula's talk on Iceland in Dec, we will have a 30min DVD lecture complementing their material. Last June, Kaye presented a talk on the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. The 30 min DVD lecture will be on the Namib and Kalahari Desert. The Namid desert is famous for its 1000' high red sand dunes, unique amongst all sandy deserts.
Minutes of the Jan 2015 meeting from Paula LaPoint
With 13 members present, Kaye Brown opened the meeting by noting Bill Benedict's memorial service on January 3 and recognizing his past contributions to the Club. Kaye plans to ask Bill's daughter, Laura Benedict, for permission to offer his gemstones for sale. Kaye read the end-of-the-year balance and noted the record number of donations made in 2014. Nominated Club officers were approved: Joe Mack, President; Paula LaPoint, Secretary; Lynne Duncan, Treasurer; and Kaye Brown, Bob Healy, Grady Ware, Directors AND Co-vice-presidents. Joe thanked the Board of 2014, and reminded us that membership dues were due.
We saw two videos of Michael Wysession's Geologic Wonders of the World. The first video covered five hot spots on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge: Iceland with 37 active volcanic systems. A system typically includes a stratovolcano and associated fissure/rift vents; Jan Mayen Island (belonging to Norway), dominated by a stratovolcano 7,470 feet in elevation with a 44 sq. mi ice cap with 20 outlet glaciers; Bouvet Island (mostly covered by a glacier), a dependency of Norway but lying at the triple junction of the South American, African, and Antarctic Plates (at the southernmost end of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge); St. Peter and St. Paul Archipelago belonging to Brazil and formed by uplift of mantle rock (nonvolcanic); and the Azores, an archipelago about 850 miles west of Portugal to which it belongs. It lies above the triple junction of North American, Eurasian, and African Plates. Galapagos Islands and Tristan da Cunha were omitted because they appear in other videos of the series.
The second video covered major deserts of the world: Namib and adjoining semi-arid Kalahari of southern Africa. A rainy season in the Kalahari provides excellent grazing, although wildlife has been displaced by cattle; Arabian Desert (an extension of the Sahara Desert) that covers most of the Arabian Peninsula and contains the Rub al-Khali, a vast sea of sand with dunes reaching 850 feet in height; Gobi Desert in parts of northern and northwestern China, and Mongolia. Due to deforestation, overgrazing, and depletion of water resources, desertification is expanding the borders; Great Victoria Desert of south-central Australia, with sand hills, grassy plains, desert pavement, and salt lakes. It includes pristine wilderness as well as areas contaminated with nuclear weapons testing by the British in the 1950's and early 1960's; and Atacama Desert of Chile (the driest desert in the world) with borders into Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. Antarctica, the world's largest cold desert, and the Sahara, the world's largest hot desert, appear in other videos, so they are not included here.
Paula and Bob will show slides and talk about their recent trips to Iceland.
Minutes from Paula LaPoint
Kaye Brown welcomed 17 people attending the meeting. Business was conducted after the program given by two members who each visited Iceland this year. The slate of officers for the January election is: Joe Mack, President; Paula LaPoint, Secretary; Lynne Duncan, Treasurer; and the Board of Directors that will act as Vice-president, Kaye Brown, Bob Healy, Grady Ware, and Ed Wise. Kaye read the treasurer's report. The death of long-time member and officer, Bill Benedict, was noted [a memorial service will be held at Carolina Meadows on January 3rd]. Kaye ended the meeting by giving each person a gift bag containing North Carolina gemstones that she purchased from the Club. We are most grateful for her progressive leadership and her many contributions of time, refreshments, and gifts for speakers.
In the first part of our double program on Iceland, Bob Healy featured three volcanoes: Heimaey (eruption of 1973) on Westman Island; Eyjafjallajokull (2010 eruption); and Bardarbunga that is currently displaying renewed activity with earthquakes and associated fissure eruptions. A few residents have been evacuated that live within 30 miles downwind (northeastward) from Bardarbunga, due to the hazard of deadly gases such as hydrogen fluoride and hydrogen sulfide. Paula LaPoint showed numerous examples of dynamic landscapes: urban landscapes of Reykjavik (and the architectural theme of the jointed basalt column); rifted basalts at Thingvellir as an expression of the Mid-Atlantic Rift; broad outwash plains created by glacial outburst floods; icecaps and associated outlet glaciers; migrating coastal sedimentary deposits (black sand beach at Vik, shoals at Hofn, spit across the fjord at Akureyri), uplifted wave-cut cliffs (exposing marine fossils on the Tjornes Peninsula); dunes, blowouts, and a rippled pumice deposit in the desert region; rootless vents at shallow Lake Myvatn; glacial valleys, fjords, moraines, long scree slopes, and landslides; mountains formed by volcanism beneath a thick ice cover (Herdubreid); several geothermal areas; volcanic centers such as the Laki fissure vents and the Askja caldera with associated Viti crater; waterfalls large and small.
(yes this is election day. We normally meet when the first tuesday is election day. Just vote early if you have to.)
Kenny is a professional geologist. He is with the North Carolina Geological Survey, at the Raleigh Field Office of the N. C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR). He has spoken to the club on previously. The Crabtree Quarry used to be open to the public, but now has restricted access.
Minutes of the Nov 2014 meeting from Paula
A sympathy card was circulated and given to Diane Willis whose mother died Oct. 22. Due to low attendance, only one session will be available at William Holland next year. We were reminded of the Fossil Fair at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh on Nov. 15, 9 am to 5 pm. A slate of officers will be presented at the Dec. meeting, and voted at the Jan. meeting. Contact any officer to submit a nomination or to volunteer your services in 2015. At the Dec. meeting, Bob Healy and Paula LaPoint will each show pictures of recent visits to Iceland.
Kenny Gay of the NC Geological Survey spoke on "New Old Minerals from the Crabtree Quarry, Wake County, NC". Not to be confused with the Crabtree Emerald Mine in Yancey Co., the quarry (operated by Hanson Aggregates) provides crushed rock for construction, road building, rip-rap, and landscaping stone. Located on the north side of Crabtree Creek just west of Duraleigh Rd., the quarry has reached the maximum economic depth. Lateral expansion would invade expensive neighborhoods. A decades-old lawsuit by the City of Raleigh was resolved in 2014. The mining operations will end within the next 40 years, followed by donation of the land to the city of Raleigh for their greenway system. The pit could be used for flood control.
The quarry lies within the Crabtree Creek pluton (about 560 Ma), a metamorphosed intrusion within the Crabtree terrane. East of the Crabtree terrane lies a narrow belt of Falls leucogneiss (lineated gneiss in the Nutbush Creek fault zone) and the Raleigh terrane (about 550 Ma) with the Rolesville batholith (about 298 Ma). Westward from the Crabtree terrane lies the Falls Lake terrane (Falls Lake mélange) and a portion of the Carolina terrane truncated by the Triassic Durham sub-basin. The northern end pinches out between the Falls Lake and Raleigh terranes. Coastal Plain sediments overlap the southern end, where the Crabtree terrane meets the Spring Hope terrane (Eastern Slate belt).
[CGS Field Trip Guidebook 1994 was used for this paragraph.] The quarry rock is felsic gneiss with K-feldspar, plagioclase, quartz, and muscovite. Accessory minerals include tourmaline, biotite, epidote, calcite, garnet, zircon, apatite, and magnetite. In addition to calcite, carbonate minerals include magnesite and siderite. Using a hypoprobe at Fayetteville State University, Kenny Gay found that most specimens called siderite were actually ankerite, a carbonate with calcium, iron, and magnesium. The main sulfide minerals, pyrite and chalcopyrite, are associated with quartz veins. Also associated with quartz veins, but rarely found, are various sulfosalts (usually containing lead, antimony, and/or bismuth). Using chemical analyses, Kenny was able to identify at least six different sulfosalts. Not only did he find two very rare minerals, nuffieldite and jaskolskiite, he also found a new mineral, ferrotintinaite.
After the program, the meeting finished with refreshments and a raffle.
Liessa is a lifelong rockhound and started collecting pocketsful of rocks at a very young age. She was distracted from rocks while studying wildlife biology for college and graduate school. Since moving to North Carolina in 2001, she has re-discovered her interest in rock collecting. While not looking up at the birds, she is scanning the ground, always looking for something interesting (rocks, mushrooms, loose change, etc.). Liessa's family has traveled along the east coast, from Maine to Florida, west as far as the Midwestern states, and a couple of trips to Oregon, seeking beautiful scenery, adventures, and of course, rocks. She has lots of photos to share, as well as an assortment of rock and mineral specimens for sale. Come join the adventure!
Liessa is the person on the left end of the photo of the trip to the Duke Lemur Center .
Minutes of the October 2014 meeting from Paula LaPoint.
Kaye Brown welcomed 15 members (three were Liessa's family). We received a letter of appreciation from Charlie Welch for a Club donation of $400 to the Duke University SAVA project in Madagascar. Nominees for Club officers will be needed soon. Please consider serving in 2015. Joe Mack reminded us of the pre-dawn lunar eclipse tomorrow, October 8. Trish Kohler and Diane Willis invited us to the Fossil Fair at the Museum of Natural Science in Raleigh on Saturday, November 15. Kaye urged us to attend Federation workshops at Wildacres and William Holland next year. Due to declining attendance, only four sessions instead of six were offered this year, with ten classes offered, down from fifteen. The comradery, beautiful settings, good food, great instructors, and reasonable costs, make these workshops an ideal vacation. Our program next month will be presented by Kenny Gay, geologist at the NC Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources. Not to be missed! Invite your friends! He will describe minerals found at the (now closed) Crabtree Quarry in Wake County.
Liessa Bowen, our program speaker, showed us over fifty collecting localities that she has visited over the years, from Maine to Florida, in several Midwestern states, and in Oregon. What a ROCKHOUND!
Bob's talk will be about 35 minutes, including a 5 minute video on smelting. The stone age people produced quantities of metals using only stone hammers and antler picks.
Minutes: from Paula LaPoint
President Kaye Brown welcomed 18 members to the meeting. Upcoming meetings feature Liessa Bowen on October 7 and Kenny Gay on November 4. Kaye noted various southeastern gem and mineral shows this fall, as listed in the Lodestar, newsletter of the Southeastern Federation of Mineralogical Societies. After a long time with no representative, North Carolina is represented now in the Federation by Gail Ferguson from Fayetteville. Her interests include cab cutting and wire wrapping. Two workshops still have openings Sept. 22-28 at Wildacres and Oct 12-18 at William Holland. Kaye has application forms if you are interested. Trish Kohler reminded us of the upcoming Fossil Club meeting Sept. 21 at 1:30 pm in the Museum of Natural Science in Raleigh. The speaker will be one of the authors of the newly released Vol. 2 of Fossils of North Carolina (on Mollusks). You can order it on line, $66.00 for the printed copy or $17.00 for the digital version (free to Fossil Club members). James Cooper requested donations of rocks, minerals, and fossils to his nonprofit, Rocks4Schools. He assembles free kits (about 30 specimens each) for local elementary schools. He will pick up donations within 50 miles of Chapel Hill. Donors and teachers may contact him or Beth Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 919-423-8693.
Bob Healy presented "Mining Metals in the Stone Age, the Curious Case of Great Orme Copper Mine, Llandudno, Wales". The original tunnels were dug out by hand with stone and bone tools over 4,000 years ago. Evidence for the earliest mining activity was mostly destroyed by Bronze Age mining that lasted until about 600 BC, followed by periods of mining in 1692, near the end of the 19th Century, and in the 20th Century. Now the mine is a tourist attraction. The antiquity of Great Orme Mine was not recognized until 1987, and a complete archeological study has yet to be done. Malachite, the ore mineral, is copper carbonate hydroxide, a secondary mineral of copper ore. Typically found in limestone, malachite of Great Orme Mine occurs in a Carboniferous limestone formation found in northern and southern Wales.
We watched a video of an archeologist demonstrating ancient smelting techniques. The relatively soft malachite was powdered with stone anvils, sprinkled into a pit of hot charcoal, covered by more hot charcoal, and then capped by a thick chunk of sod. Bellows in an adjacent pit was used to fan the fire. After two hours of intense heating, the reduced mineral was quenched in a bowl of water. The resulting metal could be shaped or melted and poured into a mold.
Wide spread smelting of copper (and alloying with tin or lead) marked the end of the Stone Age and the beginning of the Bronze Age, which began 6000 to 2000 BCE, depending on the location. In some parts of the world, a Chalcolithic Age introduced the Bronze Age. Bob Healy mentioned other examples of early mining and/or smelting:
From a recent workshop focused on wildlife photography held at The Nature Conservancy's Zapata Ranch in southern Colorado, club president Kaye Brown will present our June program on the unique geological treasures of the San Luis Valley. These include the formation and maintenance of the great dunes at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the high altitude wetlands that sustain the great sand hill crane migrations up the spine of the Rocky Mountains. Come join us and enjoy our annual ice-cream sundae refreshments as we prepare for our club's summer recess.
Since this is the last program in the spring, and we'll be taking our usual break for the summer, we'll be having icecream (and frozen yoghurt) after the talk.
Both of these are part of the geological feature called the "Grand Staircase". If you want to do some background reading before the meeting, here's some URLs and images
Joe will also put on a demonstration of separating magnetic material from sand (in this case basalt sand from a beach in Hawaii). The beach sand is about half white and half black. Most of the black material (presumably magnetite) can be removed from the sand with a modern regular magnet. The remaining white material presumably is mostly broken sea shells. A spicule from some animal was spotted in the white fraction.
Post Meeting Notes: We had the return of the occasional geology puzzler. It was
Two geologists are walking in the snow, a big geologist and a little geologist. The little geologist is the big geologist's son, but the big geologist is not the little geologist's father. Who is the big geologist? Trish got the answer.
Minutes of the May 2014 meeting from Paula Lapoint
Vice-president Joe Mack welcomed everyone, especially Robert Nielsen whom we have not seen for a while. Thirteen members attended. Lynne Duncan gave the treasurer's report: the Club donated $1,600.00 to four nonprofits for scholarships to help children attend summer science/nature camps [no report on a fifth recipient approved by the Board]. Members and friends were invited to meet at the Duke Lemur Center for a 9:30 am tour lead by Charlie Welch on Sat., May 24 [LATER CHANGED TO MAY 31].
Using a magnet, Joe demonstrated how magnetite could be separated from sand collected at a Hawaiian beach. His soni's school science teacher has a collection of sand samples from all over the world. Joe had hoped that we could ID minerals in the teacher's collection, but that proved to be more difficult than he expected.
For our program, we had two DVDs from the series of World's Greatest Geologic Wonders, selected and described by Michael Wysession of Washington University. Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah displays the most spectacular erosional landforms. An amphitheater of hoodoos (pinnacles) was created by a unique combination of factors: undeformed sedimentary rock layers of variable hardness were crosscut by joints (large cracks) that developed during uplift of the Colorado Plateau. Frost wedging and chemical weathering expanded the joints to produce a dense display of hoodoos. Technically, Bryce is not a canyon because a river did not carve it. Bryce is just one of many scenic landscapes of the Colorado Plateau that spans four states: Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. Bryce Canyon lies within the Grand Staircase, an immense sequence of sedimentary rock units over 6,000 feet thick, rising like a giant staircase from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona to the top of Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah. The sequence of cliffs/benches or plateaus, from oldest to youngest, is the Permian Kaibab Formation forming a plateau at the North Rim; the Triassic Chocolate Cliffs found near Kanab, Utah; the Lower Jurassic Vermillion Cliffs near Kanab; the Jurassic White Cliffs of Navaho Sandstone in Zion National Park; the Lower Cretaceous Gray Cliffs between Zion and Bryce; and the Tertiary Pink Cliffs at Bryce and the Paunsaugunt Plateau.
Four other spectacular erosional landforms on Wysession's list were Bisti Badlands in northwestern New Mexico, the Lena River Pillars in far eastern Siberia (Russia), Wulingyuan Canyon in Hunan Province of China, and Cappadocia Fairy Towers (hoodoos) in Turkey.
After refreshments and a raffle, we viewed a second video. Grand Canyon of the Colorado River topped the list of the five most spectacular river canyons. Up to 18 miles across, a mile deep, and 277 miles long, Grand Canyon abruptly appears at the edge of a broad plateau. Exposed rock spans about 1.5 billion years of geologic time, from the 225 million-year-old Permian Kaibab Formation at the rim to 1.8 billion-year-old Vishnu Schist at the bottom. At least 14 known unconformities create gaps in the geologic record. Coinciding with the Laramide Orogeny (created the Rocky Mountains) that began about 75 mya, uplift of the Colorado Plateau raised former ocean sediments up an estimated 2 miles (while erosion brought it down to the present elevation of 7000-8000 feet above SL). Starting at least 11 mya in western Colorado, the Colorado River initially flowed westward toward the Pacific coast. Opening of the Gulf of California about 6 mya enabled a new downcutting stream to capture the old Colorado River and divert it into the Gulf. Adjustment in the longitudinal stream profile (and a wetter climate during ice ages starting about 2 mya) greatly enhanced the erosive power of the Colorado River, thus creating the Grand Canyon. Today, the Colorado River barely reaches the Gulf due to dams and human consumption.
Completing Wysession's list of the world's most spectacular river canyons are Fish River Canyon in Namibia, Copper Canyon (a series of 6 canyons in the Sierra Madre) in Mexico, Yarlung Sanbo (15,000 ft. deep) in Tibet, and Kali Gandaki Gorge in the Himalayas of Nepal.
You are invited to hear a special presentation by jewelry designer Sonya Coulson Rook, founder of Metamorphosis Metals. Sonya will address her use of non-traditional materials as stones in fabricated jewelry, and will also explore the aesthetics as well as the technical aspects of designing and manufacturing one-of-a-kind jewelry using a variety of found objects. She will bring a selection of her past and present work that illustrates her much-admired style, such as unique bezels and rivets. All aspiring and practicing jewelers are invited to attend free of charge. Refreshments will be served.
Minutes of the April 2014 meeting by Paula LaPoint
Eighteen members and guests attended. Kaye Brown reminded us of dues and workshops. Joe Mack helped us select a weekend in May for our next fieldtrip. We plan to meet at the Duke Lemur Center off Erwin Road (just west of 15-501 By-pass and Hwy 751/Cameron Blvd) for a tour at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 24th. Members may bring family or friends.
Paula LaPoint proposed a repeat of past year's donations to children's summer science camps. Members in attendance approved $400 for camp scholarships at each of four nonprofits: Museum of Life and Science, Morehead Planetarium, NC Botanical Garden, and Learning Outside. Later during April, a fifth recipient, nominated by Trish Kohler, was approved by the Board: Eno River Association (for Walk The Eno Science and Nature Camp).
Our program speaker was Sonya Coulson Rook of Metamorphosis Metals in Raleigh. She described her more creative line of jewelry based on found objects. Using less expensive materials while supporting environ mental sustainability, Sonya creates unique jewelry that often tells a story. She enjoys the challenge of combining various repurposed materials. Settings may incorporate bezels, prongs, rivets, resin, wire, glue, casting, or overlay with clear mineral or glass. A few aesthetic creations are purely art and are not suitable for wearing. Sonya derives inspiration from a number of contemporary artists such as Robert Ebendorf, Richard Sailey, Tom Ferrero, Faryn Davis, Susan Lenart Kazmer, Margaux Lange, Shannon Conrad, and Krystal Romano. The website Pinterest, where designers share ideas, provides another source for inspiration. For techniques of working with certain metals, Sonya recommends Tim McCreight's "The Complete Metalsmith, An Illustrated Handbook".
After the program, we viewed Sonya's display of jewelry, examined gems and material from Bill Benedict, and enjoyed refreshments provided by Kaye Brown.
The DVDs are by Michael Wysession. Total presentation time 1hr.
Minutes of the March 2014 meeting by Paula LaPoint
President Kaye Brown conducted the meeting with ten other members attending. A variety of gems and minerals belonging to Bill Benedict was offered for sale. He would appreciate visitors at Carolina Meadows where he is recovering from a stroke. Sylvia may try to sell some of his synthetic gems at a workshop in March. Bob Healy suggested that we have a program on the manufacture of synthetic gems. Kaye mentioned a recent article in the News and Observer on the use of zircons to date the oldest known rocks on earth, 4.4 billion years old from Australia.
Please contact Paula LaPoint before the next meeting with your suggestions for recipients of Club grants. In each of the past two years we have awarded $400 to each of four nonprofit institutions to help children attend summer nature/science camps.
Next month we plan to have a speaker, Sonya Coulson Rook, founder and jeweler from Metamorphosis Metals of Raleigh.
For our program, we had two videos from the series "Thirty-six Geologic Wonders of the World". Michael Wysession, professor of geology at Washington University in St. Louis, described his personal selection of the most unique and inspirational examples of geologic wonders that can be visited. Each place has a story, not only of geologic processes and formation, but also of its influence on civilization and history. The most spectacular historic volcano was Santorini, Greece, with its caldera walls forming a ring of islands in the southern Aegean Sea. Santorini Island is the most active part of a volcanic island arc resulting from subduction of the African lithospheric plate beneath a portion of the Eurasian plate.
In the second video, the most spectacular karst landscape was Long Bay off the southeast coast of Vietnam. A 500 million-year-old marine limestone was uplifted 350 Mya. In a second orogeny 70 Mya (India shoved into Asia), folding of the limestone resulted in parallel joints that allowed rain to percolate. Dissolution of the limestone over time produced sinkholes and caves that coalesced until only cone-shaped towers remained. A 400-foot rise in sea level during the past 20,000 years flooded the ancient landscape to create several thousand islands, some over 650 feet tall.
You are needed in person to help your club elect this year's officers and set the agenda for a new year. On tap will be a review of club finances, programs, and opportunities. After we conclude our business, we will view a program I produced for Boston University's Dialogues in Biological Anthropology entitled, "Prometheus and Prehistory". It deals with the debate on how and when our ancestors mastered fire. Come enjoy the film and help us set the agenda for our club's 56th year of continuous operations! Thank you. See you on Tuesday--- Kaye Brown.
Minutes: Provided by Paula LaPoint
Kaye Brown welcomed new members Cheryl Ann Hill and Diane Joseph. Including these two, eleven members attended the meeting. After reading the treasurer’s report, Kaye asked for people to serve on three committees: Scholarship (how to use our funds to support our mission); Programs (find speakers or videos); Southeast Federation workshops (promote). Bob Healy offered to provide 2 or 3 programs. Kaye requested input from members on dispensing noncash assets of the Club. Do we want to donate material or sell inventory to nonmembers (sales tax must be collected after one sale per year)?
The 2014 Board was nominated and approved: Kaye Brown, President; Joe Mack, Vice-president; Paula LaPoint, Secretary; Lynne Duncan, Treasurer; Bob Healy, Grady Ware, and Ed Wise, Directors.
Because we have no newsletter editor, the person in charge of the program will send meeting reminders by email. The subject line should read “Mineral Club Meeting, date and time.” Kaye will mail a reminder to members with no email. Lynne Duncan will have the current mailing list which may also include a few old members. Sylvia offered to advertise upcoming programs in our display case at the Seymour Center.
For our program, Kaye brought a video entitled “Prometheus and Prehistory.” She produced it for Boston University’s Dialogues in Biological Anthropology. Two biological anthropologists debated when and how early humans first mastered the use of fire. The dialogue is between John J. Shea of Stony Brook University in New York State, and Francesco Berna of Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.
Easily destroyed by the elements or masked by natural fire, evidence of prehistorical use of fire, found near habitation sites, may be burnt stone tools, charred bones, or ash deposits. The evidence is ubiquitous from the Holocene (<12,500 years BP), common but not ubiquitous in Late Pleistocene (12,500-128,000 years BP), uncommon from Middle Pleistocene (0.1-0.7 million years BP), and rare or questionable from Early Pleistocene (0.7-2.5 million years BP).
Dr. Berna and others believe they have found evidence as old as 1.2 Ma from Wonderverk Cave in South Africa. Even older chert tools are present at the lowest level of six sedimentary units. It lies too far inside the cave to have been ignited by lightning, and no self-igniting bat guano was present. Microscopic studies rule out deposition from wind or water. But then the question remains: did ancestral humans start the fire or carry it from a natural fire? When did habitual use actually begin? A broader controversy concerns the role of fire in the evolution of humans. Did it contribute to the trend of larger brain cavities and smaller teeth, or did the hominins that displayed those characteristics already have the ability to control fire?
Due to a lack of time, we skipped to a video demonstration of the prehistoric technique of starting a fire with a bow drill. We ended the meeting with a raffle and refreshments.
Minutes: Provided by Paula LaPoint
Co-president Kaye Brown related a bit of Club history. It was organized in 1958 by three people, two from Raleigh and one from Durham. When the Southern Federation of Mineralogical Societies separated from the Eastern Federation in 1975, our club became a charter member of the Southeast Federation. We were surprised and delighted to have Bill Benedict, accompanied by his daughter Laura, attend this meeting to help reminisce. Two other guests were Sue Kelly and Cheryl, friends of Kaye.
Kaye encouraged us to participate in workshops at Wild Acres and at the William Holland Retreat. Sylvia Hubbard donated commemorative stamps towards earning a scholarship for a club member to attend a workshop. Ed Wise suggested becoming a member of the Greensboro Mineral Club if we wanted to experience more fieldtrips. Dues for our Club will not increase in January 2014: $15 for individuals and $20 for families.
Bob Healy thanked members who brought exhibits to the Sandy Creek Environmental Festival in October (Ed Wise brought books to give away that he bought at the library sale). Kaye asked us all to consider serving on the board for 2014. We need a slate of candidates for the January meeting!
For our program, member Joe Mack described the Carolina Geological Society fieldtrip of November 9 and 10, 2013. Meeting in Salisbury, NC, they visited outcrops, quarries, and historical gold mining areas within the Carolina terrane of central North Carolina. "Carolina terrane" includes the King's Mountain sequence, the Albemarle arc, the Virgilina sequence, the Hyco arc, and the Cary sequence. Geology and fossil discoveries of the 21st century were summarized and synthesized to clarify stratigraphy and tectonic history of the Carolina terrane, one of the largest accreted crustal tracts within the Appalachian orogenic belt.
Joe's version of the fieldtrip as viewed by a "nongeologist" can be found on the Club website. He wondered how geologists know that Carolinia (Charlotte and Carolina terranes) formed off the coast of Gondwana rather than near Laurentia. The short answer can be found on pages 23-24 in "Exploring the Geology of the Carolina" by Kevin G. Stewart and Mary-Russell Roberson. Volcanic island arcs develop at convergent plate boundaries. There was no convergent plate boundary off Laurentia at this point in geologic time. Rifting had pulled apart the supercontinent Rodinia, creating rift basins and the Iapetus Ocean. Metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks of the same age as Carolinia (latest Proterozoic to earliest Paleozoic) were deposited on a continental shelf and rise in the Iapetus Ocean off the PASSIVE margin of Laurentia. These rocks are found now in thrust sheets overlying the Grenville basement of the Blue Ridge province. The Laurentian plate margin extended eastward into a mid-ocean rift. Cambrian trilobite fossils (not on this fieldtrip) also link island arcs of Carolinia to Gondwana.
Do you want to know
Please join us for a special presentation on summiting this peak by team member Ryan Stolp. Please join us for a fun, fellowship, and a truly grand adventure. Refreshments served.
For hints, see Durham man's trek leaves mark on distant peak, Congratulations to the VICE Kyrgystan team on their successful summits of unclimbed peaks in Kyrgystan! Djangart Unchained: First Ascent of Peak 5318
Here's a pdf/printable flyer from Ryan.
Here are the minutes from Paula LaPoint:
Kaye Brown welcomed visitors, including the parents of our program speaker. Nancy Bless and Sylvia Hubbard brought two guests, Evelyn Tuck and Nick DeLuca who recently moved to Carol Woods from Arizona. A brief business meeting was held after the program. Kaye recommended craft workshops organized by the Southeast Federation of Mineralogical Societies: Wildacres near Little Switzerland, NC and the William Holland Retreat near the little town of Young Harris in northeastern Georgia. Trish Kohler reminded us of the Fossil Fair on Nov. 16 at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. She and Diane Willis will display fossil collections. Diane described the Sandy Creek Festival held Oct. 19. Kaye thanked all who represented the Club. The meeting ended with snacks and a drawing for 5 door prizes. We celebrate 55 years as a club at the December meeting.
Ryan Stolp, a 24 year old Durham native, enthralled us with his July 2013 expedition to the Djangart region of Kyrgyzstan and the Forbidden Mountains of the Tien Shan range that runs east-west through Kyrgyzstan into northwestern China. While attending Bristol College near Boston, Ryan honed his ice climbing skills with the Vertical Ice Climbing Enthusiasts (VICE, dedicated to safely pushing the limits of our physical and mental abilities in the context of vertical routes and harsh winter conditions, written by the founder who was the oldest member of the climbing team). He also trained as an educator and wilderness ranger at the National Outdoor Leadership School. He and his college friends climbed 22,840-foot Aconcagua in the Andes Mountains of Argentina. The six climbing buddies reunited to attempt peak (pik, point) 5381 (elevation in meters, equals 17,500 ft), the highest point in the Forbidden Mountains. Planning included the acquisition of permits and visas, funding, equipment, transportation, and maps. They flew to Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, to buy food and fuel, confirm logistics, and rent a satellite phone. They rode 6 hours in a 4-wheel-drive bus to a military base (Maida Adyr) where they waited several days (bad weather) for a former Soviet helicopter to fly them to the base of a glacier in the Djangert Valley. The copter would return in 2 1/2 weeks.
They hiked two days before establishing a base camp. From there, they spent a week to set up caches, organize gear, plan the ascent route, and acclimatize. This camp [or maybe a second, higher camp?] sat on a glacier at 13,500 ft. To add to the challenge, the climb is done in a single push, alpine style (roundtrip of 21 hours the first attempt and 22 hours the second attempt). Traveling fast and light allows them to reduce exposure to adverse conditions and to complete the climb in a narrow window of clear weather. Another challenge is to practice the ethic of leave no trace. Avoiding the use of pitons and hammers, they connect to rock by wedging into cracks various nuts, hexes, and cams, or using ice screws, snow stakes, or rock bolts where no cracks exist. V-thread is used for rappelling instead of rope slings around rock horns. They had to use ice axes and crampons to scale ice. To design, construct, and sell ultra light outdoor equipment, Ryan began a startup company, Deep South Mountaineering. On this trip he tested his self-constructed jacket and pack.
The group's first attempt to scale peak 5813 was aborted only 200 feet below the summit, where they hit a soft snow cornice. Returning to base camp, they rested and began climbing right after dinner to avoid poor snow and ice conditions created by sunshine. One of the six climbers stayed back when his boots fell apart. Summiting at 9:30 am, they took a few pictures, marveled at the view with the rising sun and the setting full moon, and then quickly descended. As the first climbers to summit peak 5318, they earned the right to name it, which they called "After You". One climber explained "We wanted to come home to our girlfriends and say we named the mountain after you". But it was also done in homage to the people who attempted to climb the peak before them.
Do you want to know?
The Central NC Mineral Club invites you to a special talk on Tuesday, October 1st, 7:00 PM, Seymour Center, Chapel Hill.
Mr. Welch has engaged in conservation work in this island nation for more than two decades. He brings to his talks a wealth of knowledge about the natural history, the people, and the promise for helping Madagascar remain a world treasure of bio-diversity.
Minutes of the Oct 2013 meeting, by Paula LaPoint
Kaye Brown provided refreshments and conducted the meeting (no business discussed). Five door prizes were awarded after the program, and a few specimens were offered for sale. Members were asked to represent the Club at the Sandy Creek Environmental Festival on Oct. 19, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. [Later in the month, Kaye provided rocks to give away, a new Club sign, and cards inviting people to our meetings and website. Thanks to all who donated materials and time on Saturday: Grady Ware, Diane Willis, Trish Kohler, Morgan Hahn, Ed Wise, and Paula LaPoint. Co-president Bob Healy displayed History of Sandy Creek Park.]
Charles Welch, Conservation Coordinator for the Duke Lemur Center, presented Madagascar the Eighth Continent. The world's fourth largest island, isolated since the Late Cretaceous, has evolved a great diversity of unique flora and fauna.
The five major biomes are:
Geologically, Precambrian metamorphic (gneisses and migmatites) and igneous rocks form the core of Madagascar. Large areas of quartzite and marble and smaller areas of ultramafic rock locally influence the vegetation. Thick lateritic clays blanket much of the basement rock. North-south belts of sedimentary rock cover the western third of the island. Major rock units are (from east to west) Permian and younger sandstones, Mesozoic limestones and marls that erode into spectacular karst, a clay-rich marl with fossil ammonites, less-eroded Tertiary limestones and marls, and unconsolidated sands that form a coastal plain along the western and southern margins of the island. Finer-grained alluvial deposits and also, lake deposits of the central highlands provide more nutrient-rich soils for cultivation. Volcanic rocks, especially basalt and gabbro, form a narrow belt along the east coast and parts of the western and northwestern lowlands. Late Cretaceous in age, they intruded and erupted when Madagascar broke away from India. Younger volcanic rocks (5 mya to Quaternary) create large areas of contrasting rock over the basement rock.
For the past 13 years, Madagascar has been the world's leading producer of sapphires. Most are extracted from sandstones (derived from eroded basement rock) and placer deposits. Many other precious and semiprecious gemstones are mined, such as rubies, emeralds, tourmaline, aquamarine, garnet, celestite, topaz, amethyst, and citrine. Illmenite (for titanium dioxide) is mined, along with associated heavy minerals rutile, zircon, and monazite, from beach sands. One of the world's largest nickel-cobalt laterite deposits is ready for a 30-year production by a joint venture of four corporations from three countries (Ambatovy Project). Other mined resources include gold, chromite, graphite, mica, uranium, vanadium, and hydrocarbons. Bauxite would be mined if the infrastructure were available.
At least 150 million years of isolation from a continent, combined with effects of diverse geology, topography, and moisture levels, has resulted in a high rate of endemism, about 85% of native plant and animal species. Most of them are threatened with extinction by habitat loss, forest fragmentation, and hunting. Lemurs offer the classic example of species diversification. Introduced to the island from Africa about 62 mya, their common ancestor evolved into 100 or more species of which 70 live today. All are threatened. Unfortunately, reintroduction of captive-bred lemurs has not been very successful. Humans arrived in Madagascar between 2000 and 4000 years ago. Their destructive influence has accelerated in the past 500 years. Traditional slash and burn agriculture only grows rice for about a year. Another destructive tradition is logging for fuel and charcoal production. More recently, selective logging (mostly illegal) of precious hardwoods such as rosewood and ebony for foreign market has further degraded the forests. So far, commercial and artisanal mining have been relatively less destructive to the natural environment, and mining has contributed to the economy of Madagascar.
Only about 10% of natural areas remain in Madagascar, but habitat protection is just a small part of the conservation effort. Conservation requires the support of local people, and that begins with establishing relationships and trust between the Malagasy people and visitors. With conservation goals in mind, efforts towards sustainable improvements in the lives of the people include
|The meeting starts early. As is traditional, there's no presentation.|
Welcome Back Central NC Mineral Club members.
Following club tradition, we will have our annual potluck "Meet and Greet" September 3rd at the Seymour Center. To allow time for supper, we will meet at 6:30 PM at the Seymour Center. Please bring a favorite dish to share with others. Set-ups and drinks will be provided. We would also love to see any items you may have collected from recent field trips, including photos of sites you visited. This is a great time for all of us to renew old friendships and develop new ones. Please feel free to invite guests to share a fun evening with us.
Kaye Brown, Co-president, CNC Mineral Club
Minutes by Paula LaPoint:
After a leisurely potluck dinner and social hour, we convened to the auditorium.
Members shared their summertime experiences. In an excavation near Homestead Road, Grady Ware found a white-weathering chunk of volcaniclastic rock. He broke it open to reveal a puzzling rounded form that resembled a stream pebble (but much larger than the clasts) or possibly a filled burrow (but wrong sedimentary environment). Trish Kohler attended the rock-mineral-jewelry show at the Raleigh Fairgrounds held over the Labor Day weekend. She bought fossil dolphin vertebrae to give to students at her presentations. She showed us a quartz crystal with a fluid inclusion containing a black mineral. Susan Walser brought a string of transparent green faceted beads for us to identify. Sylvia Hubbard visited her family-owned island in Georgia Bay along the east coast of Lake Huron. Lake levels have dropped several feet in the past two decades (on all the Great Lakes). This has led to boating accidents, including mishaps of her own. Kristina Haughton recently returned from Finland. Bob Healy described the transformation of Bisbee, Arizona from a mining town to an artist and tourist mecca. Diane Willis noted the Kartchner Caverns State Park south of Tucson. In order to keep the cave formations “live”, access is limited and reservations are strongly recommended.
Bob Healy invited us to participate in the fall festival at Sandy Creek Park on October 19, 9 am to 1 pm. We could bring rocks to show or give away, or we could talk about local geology. He suggested having a Club banner made to attract visitors to our table.
The meeting ended with a drawing for 6 door prizes. Kaye Brown will bring a few specimens for sale to members at future meetings.
Rachel is the Director of the Astronomy and Space Observation Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science in Raleigh, NC. She holds a second position as an Assistant Professor, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy at Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Rachel will be talking about her research, astrochemistry - the interface between astronomy and chemistry.. For an introduction to Rachel's work see Naturalist_Rachel.pdf. The Museum's Apr 2013 Newsletter has a bio of Rachel on p6.
Rachel Smith is available for dinner with club members at 6pm, immediately before the meeting. If anyone would like to have dinner with Rachel, let me know by the previous evening (3 Jun), when I'll give you my cell ph# in case we have trouble connecting. We'll be eating at the Weaver St Market Cafe in Carrboro. Food is buffet style, with a salad bar, entrees, sushi, juices and soup. To minimise car logistics, parking and finding each other, I suggest we meet in the Seymour Center parking lot at 5:45pm and car pool from there (it's 3.1miles). (Otherwise I'll let you find your way to Weaver St Market at 6pm.) Either way, I'll be wearing a Crocodile Dundee type hat. Joe
Jim ia a science teacher at the Carolina Friends School. He has led field trips for students from Alberta (excavating fossils) to the Galapagos to Japan. Last summer, he and his wife joined an expedition hiking up the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia to the Burgess Shale.
For an introduction to the Burgess Shale, see Burgess Shale (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burgess_Shale).
Notes on the May 2013 meeting from Steve:
Jim Rose was given a specimen of Turritella agate from Wyoming. The misnomer persists, but now we know that the high-spired snails from the Green River Formation of southern Wyoming, northern Colorado, and northeastern Utah are Elimia tenera. They grew along shores of freshwater lakes 46-51 mya (in Eocene). Sedimentary deposits with these fossils vary from soft sandstone to dense chalcedony (agate). The best preserved Elimia tenera fossils outcrop in Sweetwater County, Wyoming. Silicified fossils are popular with collectors and lapidaries. The many species of Turritella are known from Cretaceous to Recent in marine limestone, which also may be silicified to agate. It can be found in Texas and California.
Notes on the May 2013 meeting from Paula Lapoint
Bob Healey welcomed one guest, the mother of Jim Rose (his wife sat quietly). Lynne Duncan gave the treasurer's report. Then Jim Rose, science teacher at Carolina Friends School, presented his program "The Burgess Shale: Following the Path to Our Beginnings". After the program, Trish Kohler reminded us of the Fossil Club meeting at the Museum of Natural Science at 1:30 pm on May 19, and of the Fossil Festival May 24-25 in Aurora, NC.
Last summer, Jim and his family visited the Walcott Quarry in the Burgess Shale in Yoho National Park, British Columbia. Only about 100 feet long and less than 10 feet thick, this UNESCO World Heritage Site may be visited only with a hired guide. Starting around 4000 feet above sea level, visitors must hike over 13 miles roundtrip with a vertical climb of over 2600 feet. Fossil collecting is not permitted, and even the guides do not save what is found (unless it is really special). This is a trip for the physically fit who seek spectacular scenery and the privilege of exploring a world-famous fossil site.
The finely detailed fossils reveal a great diversity of multicellular marine life about 505 million years ago in Middle Cambrian time. Most notable is the exceptional preservation of imprints of soft body structures. Some of the organisms do not belong to any known phylum. In his book, Wonderful Life (1989), Stephen Jay Gould suggested that many of these life forms were evolutionary experiments that became extinct. However many modern phyla are represented, including Annelida (segmented worms), Onychophora (velvet worms), Chordata (includes vertebrates and us), and especially Arthropoda (insects, millipedes, crustaceans, trilobites).
Geologists continue to debate on the combination of conditions that must have existed to preserve the Burgess Shale assemblage. Just north of the Equator, the animals lived in calm waters on a muddy seafloor at the base of a limestone wall (algal reef?) now forming the Cathedral Escarpment. Ocean currents continuously swept siliceous mud and sediment over the rim, to create a wedge at the base of the cliffs. Occasional slumping and mudflows rapidly buried creatures on the seafloor. Calcium carbonate was abundant but oxygen and sulfate were relatively low. A carbonate cement cap may have settled over the mud layers to further protect the buried organisms from anaerobic decomposition. Much later, the Cathedral Escarpment protected fossils from compression, distortion, and metamorphism during Mesozoic uplift of the Canadian Rockies.
Dr Chapman is from the Southwest Research Institute at Boulder CO. The meeting will begin early with Dr Chapman speaking at 6:30pm.
Minutes of the Apr 2013 meeting:
Bob Healy welcomed a crowd of about 60 visitors. He invited us to attend the May meeting when Jim Rose will describe his visit to the world famous fossil beds in the Burgess Shale of British Columbia, Canada. Suggestions for Club fieldtrips should be sent to Joe Mack. The Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society (CHAOS) changed their meeting date to join us. They conducted a brief meeting to elect a new board. Their president, Jayme Hanzak, helped set up the audio/visual system for our guest speaker. Mickey Jo Sorrell reminded us of the first star party held at various locations across the state this Friday evening, April 5. Bob Healy introduced Clark Chapman, planetary astronomer and senor scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. Specializing in near-Earth objects, Dr. Chapman studies the small objects of our solar system: asteroids, comets, moons and the planet Mercury. Invited to speak by his sister Diane Willis, he is in town to celebrate their mothers 100th birthday. We are most grateful to Dr. Chapman for presenting a highly informative program on the hazards (and benefits of ancient impacts) of asteroid impacts on earth. [If you missed this program, go to his website and read the paper published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2004: The hazard of near-Earth asteroid impacts on earth.] He also described the February 15th meteor event in Chelyabinsk, Russia. Composed of ordinary chondrite, the bolide entered the atmosphere at a low angle at about 40,000 mph. At approximately 15 miles above Earth, it exploded and sent out a shock wave that shattered windows over a large area. Most of the 1,500 people injured were cut by glass blown inward. Ed Wise provided handouts for visitors and an extensive array of papers on topics associated with our guest speaker. i We greatly appreciated the support and publicity from Jayme Hanzak. Paula checked out alternative venues, and a number of members helped with publicity: Bob Healy, Diane Willis, Paula LaPoint, Sylvia Hubbard, Ed Wise, Steve Duncan, and others. Sylvia brought a malachite egg as a gift for our speaker. Trish Kohler conducted a drawing for door prizes. Even though we decided not to rent their Science Stage, the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center advertised our program in their April online newsletter.
Bob will give a presentation on the recent discovery of giant crystal formations at 980 ft level of the Naica Mine, Chihuahua, Mexico . This is arguably the most amazing "natural wonder" discovered in the last century. Presentation of several short films and discussion as time allows.
Minutes of the Mar 2013 meeting by Paula LaPoint
While Joe Mack and Steve Duncan worked to overcome technical problems, Sylvia Hubbard offered two free portable display cases. Using recent photos, Joe described the Feb 23rd fieldtrip to Pilot Mountain. At the first stop along the outflow of privately-owned Grassy Creek Reservoir, we studied exposures of biotite augen gneiss of middle Proterozoic age. However, we couldn't find the overlying meta-arkose (also a gneiss) of the Sauratown formation (late Proterozoic to early Cambrian age). At Pilot Mountain State Park, a ranger led our group along the Jomeokee Trail, which was slushy to icy in places. Melting snow and ice dripped on us from the overhead trees. Fog obscured distant views while ravens croaked near by. The Little Pinnacle Overlook was closed due to a November forest fire that burned the hand railings. However, we saw great exposures of cross-bedded quartzite with thin beds of folded mica schist. In some quartzite layers, small spots of pinkish color were probably oxidized grains of magnetite. The ranger showed us a loose boulder with quartz-pebble conglomerate. Why were some pebbles translucent blue? From follow-up research I learned that blue quartz, subjected to metamorphism in the middle Proterozoic, contains submicrometer-size inclusions of rutile that scatter light waves to produce a bluish color (google "Rayleigh scattering" to read how the same principle makes our sky blue!). Vegetation around the outcrop included table mountain and pitch pines, rhododendron, mountain laurel, chestnut oak, and the rare bear oak (Quercus ilicifolia). Shining a flashlight into a deep fracture, we could see hundreds of hibernating ladybugs. After lunch inside the van, we decided to forego the longer and more strenuous Ledge Spring Trail. On the way down the peak, we stopped at an outcrop of diamictite that consisted of schist with various sizes of lithic and quartz clasts.
For our program, we watched a YouTube video of scientists exploring the beautiful but dangerous Cave of Crystals in Chihuahua, Mexico. Nearly 1000 feet deep, giant selenite (gypsum) crystals, some over 30 feet long, filled a cavern the size of a football field. It was discovered in the year 2000, about 15 years after the water table was lowered for lead-silver mining in Naica Mountain. Temperatures up to 112 degrees Fahrenheit, 90-100 % humidity, and fragile, sharp crystals create hazardous conditions. Limiting their visits to a maximum of 30 minutes, the scientists wore special suits lined with ice packs and tanks of chilled air for breathing. They were searching for evidence to help explain the timing and mechanism of crystal formation. They also sampled for life forms. DNA analysis of samples revealed an array of microbes. Fluid inclusions contained pollen from a 30-thousand-year-old forest. Uranium-thorium dating revealed an age of 500 thousand years [up to 600,000 in the largest crystals]. Geologists believe that intruding magma heated and enriched the groundwater that eventually formed caves and then slowly grew gypsum crystals for hundreds of thousands of years.
After the program, we held a drawing for three mineral specimens. We were reminded of the NC Fossil Club meeting at 1:30 on March 17 at the Museum of Natural Science in Raleigh. Jim Rose will give the May program, but we need a speaker for April [now we have one thanks to Diane Willis and her brother! Please come at 6:30 pm]. If we need signs to guide visitors in the Seymour Center, borrow a key for the closet in the theater. Lynne Duncan gave the treasurer's report. Diane Willis proposed that the Club donate $400 designated for scholarships to each of four local nonprofit organizations that operate summer science or nature camps for children. The recipients (same as last year) are The Museum of Life and Science, The Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, The NC Botanical Garden, and Learning Outside, a small group that partners with the Triangle Land Conservancy at Irvin Farm in Chapel Hill. After a brief discussion, the motion was approved. Paula will send cover letters to Bob for his signature, and Lynne will mail them with checks.
NOTES ON GEOLOGY (Mainly from National Geographic, November 2008)
Contact metamorphism and metasomatism (process of nearly simultaneous dissolution and deposition of new minerals) have produced a skarn deposit in limestone country rock. The ore body includes lead, silver, zinc, and tungsten. Miners have discovered several caves. Cave of Swords, found in 1910, is a 285-foot corridor covered in crystals up to 6.5 feet long. Many crystals were collected for museums. A century later, three more caves were found: Eye of the Queen (totally lined with crystals like a giant geode; due to condensation, calcite grew on older crystals); Cave of Candles (Largest of the three, it is distinguished by opalescent, pearly color of crystals. Candles are delicate speleothems that grew from evaporation); and Cave of Crystals (largest single selenite crystal is 50 feet long and 4 feet in diameter).
Twenty-five million years ago, mineral-rich fluid associated with volcanism moved into the limestone mountain. Ore bodies were deposited, including minerals that provided sulfide for the later formation of calcium sulfate (gypsum). About 1-2 mya, caves formed and were filled with mineral-rich waters. Anhydrite slowly dissolved into the cave water. By 600,000 years ago, the caves cooled to roughly 136 degrees F, the temperature required to form selenite crystals. Undisturbed for thousands of years, the crystals continued growing until the water table was lowered for mining.
Joe will present a general talk on the geology of Pilot Mtn and the Sauratown Mountain Anticline in preparation for the upcoming field trip. Included will be features to look for when we get there.
Here are my lecture notes Pilot Mountain Field Trip (http://www.centralncmineralclub.org/field_trips/pilot_mtn/). Here's what the audience saw Pilot Mountain Field Trip, audience slides (http://www.centralncmineralclub.org/field_trips/pilot_mtn/index.audience.html).
Figure 1. Participants in field trip to Pilot Mountain
|this meeting is being held on the 2nd tuesday because of the holiday on 1 Jan 2013.|
This is the annual election of officers and board members. The slate of candidates filling all positions was read at the Dec 2012 meeting. We are very pleased that the following members have offered to serve the Club as officers or Board members in 2013. We have two co-presidents this year. Both have academic positions and will be traveling at times when the other co-president will be responsible for meetings.
Business items to be discussed
General membership discussion of interests for the year ahead. What areas of activity (e.g. field trips, newsletter, web site, talks) do individuals have an interest in developing?
Creation of informal interest groups (e.g. polishing and fabrication of minerals). How can we use these to encourage a balance of programming that includes everyone in the club? What role do they have in recruiting new members?
Discussion and action on proposal for contributions to educational organization.
Clarification of responsibility of officers and election of same.
Bob's talk on the Naica mines has been postponed to Feb 2013.
Minutes and summary of the geology presented html (http://www.centralncmineralclub.org/past_meetings/Minutes_Program_2012.html), doc, (http://www.centralncmineralclub.org/past_meetings/Minutes_Program_2012.doc), prepared by Paula LaPoint.