Ripple Rock Gem and Mineral Club


Polishing small slabs by hand


Mexican Crazy Lace Agate from the Baja Region of Mexico

Crazy lace agate, also known as Mexican agate, is an attractive, multi-colored agate that is patterned like a beautiful, multicolored paisley cloth.

Many different types of agates are found mostly in isolated deposits within andesite, rhyolites, and ash flow tuffs that range in age from 38 to 44 million years old.

Healing Properties

In ancient times, this agate was worn to placate the gods, and to give courage. It will improve eyesight, illuminate your mind, allow you to be more eloquent, and give vitality. It keeps the wearer well-balanced, focused, and improves ability to accomplish goals and overcome adversity. Like other agates and silica rocks, Crazy Lace agate is a good general healing stone.


Well, that’s all good to know but, while Jan and I were out beach combing what we call shell canyon beach, we discovered a large piece of agate. Not letting the surface size deter us from investigating we uncovered a large but manageable sized piece of agate. Further investigation revealed many wavy bands of multi-coloured material flowing throughout the rock. Could this be crazy lace agate? Look at the photos do make your own determination. I won’t know the extent of this banding until I arrive home and access my slab saw but I’m convinced that this is the real thing.

Now, the research says that crazy lace agate is found in the northern state of Chihuahua and while that is undoubtedly true, I think it is not the only location of this remarkably beautiful stone. I may get to add something to the literature someday.


The Gift of Giving
As a person who has spent most of his life involved in education it is always wonderful to find a student who is eager and excited to learn. While camped in Loreto, BCS I came across just such a person. Chantel Amstutz is travelling with her mom, dad, and brother from her home in Fort St. John in their Ford Camper-Van. The quartet of adventurers has been on the road for a month and will be travelling for the next 3 months through Mexico and into Central America.
To say that Chantel is interested in rocks is perhaps a bit of an understatement as she was eager and proud to share what she has collected to date. She has a great memory for someone of her age (appx 11 years) and she recounted all of the wonderful places they had been and the ‘treasures’ they had discovered. One of her favorite places was in Utah and she collected some beautiful lava from the Crater of the Moon region.
Chantel was very attentive as she was instructed on a variety of topics by fellow rock enthusiast, Bob Hayhurst. There was a lot of shared enthusiasm as rocks were showed off and identified. Chantel kept reciting the names to improve her chances of recollection. She also got a few presents that she accepted shyly.
After the rocks were displayed the seashells came out and since we all collect those down here we delighted in hearing her explain the details of type, location and special features of the pieces she had collected. Chantel got a couple of her shells drilled by Bob and Janet Burkholder offered to create a necklace for her using a shell, a silver jump ring and a leather cord with a clasp. Chantel was very pleased with the results and thanked Bob and Jan for their creation.
We didn’t see Chantel and her family leave early the next morning but were delighted with the ‘thank you’ note that she left. In it she expressed her appreciation for the fun she had learning the names of rocks and looking at the examples we shared. She hoped that we would share some pictures of rocks we would collect with her and the family and left by giving us a gift of one of her collection of shells. We feel very confident that Chantel will continue collecting and exploring new things as her travels lead her further south. We also feel very fortunate to have met such an enthusiastic young person who promised to join a rock club when she returns home. Ah, the gift of giving!

Pictured above are Chantel and some of the treasures she has collected to date.
Follow Chantel’s travels on the family blog at

Glass Beach.

Recycled By The Ocean.

   In the early 1900s, Fort Bragg, California, 

residents threw their household  garbage 

over the cliffs above what is now Glass Beach. 

It is hard to imagine this happening today, 

But back then people dumped all kinds 

of refuse straight into the ocean, 

including old cars, and their household garbage, 

which of course included lots of glass.

  Beginning in 1949, the area around Glass Beach 

became a public dump, and locals referred to it as The Dumps. 

Sometimes fires were lit to reduce the size of the trash pile (up to 30 feet high). 

However in 1967, the city leaders closed the area. 

Various cleanup programs were undertaken through the years 

to try to correct the damage, but without success.

   Over the next 30 years the pounding waves cleaned the beach, 

by breaking down everything but glass and pottery. 

The pounding waves washed the trash up and down, back and forth.  

Tons of polished, broken glass were created by the pounding surf. 

These smoothened, coloured glass particles then settled 

along the sea shore in millions, and so a magnificent beach was formed. 

The name was changed from, The Dump to what we currently know as, The Glass Beach.

   The sea glass that was created is the product of a very long and interesting process. 

It can take anywhere from 10 to 30 years to make sea glass,

the name for any piece of glass that finds its way to the ocean 

and tumbles around in the water long enough 

to frost and smooth its surface. 

Once it makes its way into the ocean, the glass is broken 

up into shards and is tumbled around in the water, 

where sand and other rocks act like sandpaper to smooth out its rough edges. 

Sometimes as the sea glass is passed through fire, it becomes fire glass, 

the rarest of sea glass with certain inclusions, just like precious gems.

   In 1998, the private owner of the property determined that Glass Beach 

should belong to the public and in 2002 it became part 

of MacKerricher State Park, open to the public.  

Within a period of a few years the Glass Beach won fame, 

attracting a large number of tourists every year.

Way back in time, people wanted to dump their glass products on this shore; 

now they would try to get one of these pieces to take home as a souvenir. 

It is ironic but true that where once it was illegal to dispose the glass on the shore, 

it now is a crime to remove it. Visiting the Glass Beach today is a unique experience. 

What makes it even more remarkable, are the sounds produced by the glass pebbles 

as they are being washed away by the gentle waves.

For more pictures of Glass Beach, go to

Rock Identification

Lots of people have found rocks that they consider to be unusual and want them identified. Many of these rocks are at first glance so unusual that they are considered as potential meteorites. I have never found a meteorite so I read this article by R. M. Thompson of the Dept. of Geology at UBC, first printed in “The Canadian Rockhound” Vol. VII #1, February 1963, with great interest. I am rewriting only pertinent parts of the article.

How to Identify a Meteorite

If you think a specimen is a meteorite, take a few minutes to look at the surrounding rocks. Note their surfaces, break off the corners of some to expose a fresh surface area, and examine it critically. Compare the features of the surrounding rock with those of the unknown specimen. Remember that meteorites are never abundant at any one place. Compare the weight of the unknown rock or a piece broken from it, with a piece of rock of the same size. If the unknown is not heavy for its size, and it is similar to many of the local rocks it probably is not a meteorite.


(1)  The presence of a fused crust on the surface.

(2)  Small metallic inclusions which may be detected by a magnet, or by rubbing the fingers over a fresh break, in which case the metallic inclusions will feel jagged.

(3)  Metallic inclusions enclosing round silicate bodies.

(4)  Small rounded silicate bodies or chondrules.

(5)  Thin black veins within the specimen.


(1)  Is the object magnetic? All iron meteorites are strongly magnetic

(2)  Is the iron malleable? The magnetic terrestrial minerals are brittle but meteoric iron is malleable.

(3)   Remove the surface film from a small spot and note the colour of the metal. Meteoritic iron is gray, similar to the colour of a five cent piece.

(4)  Tap the object with something; metallic meteorites give a different sound than rock.

(5)  Is the specimen particularly heavy for its size?


Most meteorites are comparatively small, irregular rounded objects. Some are essentially stony, others are made entirely of metal and a few contain a considerable proportion of both stone and metal. Meteorites are never abundant any place, and since they are different from rocks of this earth they can be recognized.

A freshly fallen meteorite usually is covered with a thin black crust, because most meteorites contain iron and only a trace of iron is needed to darken the fused crust. After a meteorite falls it begins to react with oxygen and water and the fusion crust slowly turns brown. Usually as soon as a brown colour is conspicuous in the crust, rusty areas occur around any metallic inclusions near the outside of the meteorite.

Sometimes the colour of the unaltered fusion crust on a stony meteorite will be white because the meteorite contains very little iron. Thus colour of the fusion crust is not a dependable criterion to use in identifying a meteorite.

A meteorite is moving faster than the air can escape. Air is pushed along the sides of the body and this flow of hot air melts and ablates material from the surface. Although some molten material sticks on the surface most of it is pushed along by the air.

As the velocity of a meteorite is reduced by friction with the air, its surface temperature decreases and finally a point is reached where the molten material freezes. When this happens the ripples in the fused material are preserved. The direction of these delicate lines or “flight markings” indicated the orientation of the object.

Some of the internal fractures of the meteorite which extend to the front face may fail and the object will appear to explode. It frequently happens that meteorites break in the air and several pieces fall. The falling meteorite is losing weight and entering denser atmosphere, and soon a point is passed where the ratio between weight and area of exposed surface cause the velocity of the meteorite to decrease rapidly. Thus a small meteorite is not hot when it strikes the earth. From the above (statement?) it is evident that a meteorite cannot have a thick glossy coat on its surface. Thus no meteorite will resemble a furnace slag.

Narrow dark glassy veins are common in stony meteorites and often can be seen in areas where the crust is broken off.

The most common peculiar surface feature is the wide, shallow depression called ”thumb marks” because of their resemblance to an impression made by a thumb. These are numerous in irons but also occur in stones. Occasionally some sugar-like holes occur in iron meteorites.

Most meteorites are dense heavy objects but there are variations and there is a type called carbonaceous chondrite which is low density, black and rather crumbly and contains considerable carbon. Usually a freshly fallen meteorite is an irregularly-rounded object and looks like it was sculptured in a blast of hot air. On weathering they lose this appearance. A surprising number of meteorites have rather flat sides. These flat features generally are the rear face and represent fractures or cleavage breaks. A few meteorites have a conical form.

Well, after reading all this I’m still not sure if I’d recognize a meteorite when I saw one but it does give some new information that might help eliminate impostors.

Gordon Burkholder

Teach the Children

I was contacted early in April to come up to Sayward  to talk to the Intermediate class about rocks. I began an email conversation with the teacher to determine what she would like her students to learn and I provided her with a list of things I would do. We decided on a few things; identifying rocks using the Pebbles rock Identification pamphlet and a general show and tell about some rocks. I asked the teacher to have the students bring egg cartons to help sort rocks and to think of a personal story about rocks.

I then began to gather samples for the class. I visited 3 local beaches and picked up rocks of all kinds to use in the sorting and identification activity. I went through my own rock pile and selected some interesting samples to use in the show and tell activity.

The class had a walking fields trip planned for the day before our session and their teacher used this as an opportunity to have her students collect rocks. This was an excellent idea as it set the kids up for the next day. They were primed and keen when I arrived and set up.

I began with setting some goals for the class; to name the 3 classifications of rocks, to think of at least 2 ways to sort rocks by common attributes and to name a rock that belongs to a classification.

I then spoke about our Club and told the children what we do. I pulled out the gear I use on a field trip and explained what the uses were. I had a rock pick and a hammer and a pry bar and chisel as  well as safety glasses, a magnet and a piece of iron on a string. The children were attentive and asked many questions.

Then I shared a short story about rocks from my youth. It was a skipping stone story that helped me introduce sedimentary rocks. Several children then shared their own rock related story and we were ready to do the show and tell.

I had a table full of rocks displayed and I talked about them with the children. Through this talk we exposed the remaining rock classes, Igneous and Metamorphic. I named the types of rocks that I had and we discussed their characteristics. The kids were very interested and asked and answered questions throughout the talk. All during the demonstration they were using the names of the three classifications of rock and hearing me name the samples. By the end of this discussion the recess bell rang and we took a break. We had been talking rocks for 1 1/2 hours.

After recess we got settled into a discussion of how to sort rocks. Each child was given a pamphlet to help in their identification of rocks and they were given a pile of beach rock to sort. Egg cartons helped keep the rocks organized but some students choose to work on the floor or at the carpet. Several students choose to place the rocks into groups separated out on their desk tops. As they did this task I walked around and questioned them as to which attribute they had selected for sorting. Many chose size, colour and shape. Some used the pamphlet and sorted according to the groups found there. All of the kids had some sort of system and could tell me what common trait the rocks had. Those who were able I challenged to find more common ways to group the rocks. They were keen and accepted the challenge to the best of their abilities. Once the children had completed the task we ended the session by answering the goal questions I had set. With about 15 minutes left before lunch the students were given the opportunity to look at the rock samples and my equipment. They were respectful and careful as they handled the materials.

We said our good-byes and I left them with notices of the rock show and they left me with the feeling that their interest in rocks was alive and thriving.


The Beaches of Loreto

There was a lot of volcanic activity in past ages in the Baja region of North America.

“The Sea of Cortez is somewhere close to five million years old (estimates vary greatly), making it the youngest of all the seas in the world.  The Baja peninsula was formed during an era of frequent volcanic activity and earthquakes of unbelievable magnitude.    While the volcanoes and the San Andreas Fault were violently creating the Baja peninsula they were also forming the great chasm that would eventually become the Sea of Cortez.  

 Over a long period of time these actions separated what is now the Baja peninsula from the rest of México.  This entire process took over ten million years and eventually the Pacific Ocean poured in and filled the gap. This final action is what created the incredible Sea of Cortez and Baja. 

Many of the volcanic peaks broke off and fell into the chasm, later some became islands.  Continuing volcanic eruptions, over the eons, created even more islands, 37 in total.  The San Andreas Fault runs right down the very middle of the Sea of Cortez, which explains the violent activity during the period of the sea's origin.”

There are many kinds of volcanic specimens including porphyry and granites as well as agate. It was the finding of delicate lace agate along the shoreline that excited us yesterday. Up to now we have mainly collected sea shells and corals from the shorelines but while visiting a beach some 35 Km south at Ligui we were shown a lovely lace agate specimen that was found on the rocky shore. Since then we have been on the lookout for our own samples. So when we took to the beach with our pack of rock hounds we found some lovely samples of agate. A few even have what might prove to be “fire” in them. (I’ll have to wait to report on that as we haven’t the means to determine the find.) These samples are all small ranging in size from 1cm up to 4cm in length. All are mainly a white colour and many show signs of good banding inside.

The bonus for us was finding a really nice clam fossil that appears to have been agatized.

Take a look at the photos Jan took of some of our finds.

 Microscopic views below



Submitted by Gordon Burkholder


Rocks of Loreto

 Hugh McLean of the US Geological Survey Dept. (1988) states that the area northwest of Loreto contains richly fossiliferous marine beds of the Pliocene age. An abundance of well-preserved shallow water invertebrates including pectens, oysters, gastropods, echinoids, and patch-reef corals are to be found in the grounds between Km 8 and 30 north of the city.


Access to these beds can be gained at several locations off the highway (Mex. 1) and through the many arroyos heading both west (inland) and east (seaward). We checked out one of the larger ones, Arce and recorded this report for any rock hound who finds themselves in this lovely part of the Baja.

The road from Loreto heading north is new, painted and as wide as it gets in the Baja. We travelled 15 Ks and headed east off the highway into the arroyo with good looking bands of sedimentary rock showing on the eastern side. We stopped a short way up the arroyo and walked up the wash with our 3 dogs inspecting the rocks as we went. After a short time in the hot sun the dogs stuck pretty much to the shade while Jan and I explored the wash going from spot to spot where the whitish matrix showed up and rocks or fairly good size accumulated.

It wasn’t very far before we found good fossil remains in the matrix of sediment. Clams and oysters were most common but we also found some coral remains. The photos show the massive size of the rocks that have been freed from the layers and are strewn around the wash and are filled with fossils.

We were also finding good samples of calcite scattered in the gravel and sand and among the larger rocks. Most of the pieces are about 2.5 cm thick but vary greatly in size from a few grams to a kilo or more.

Pieces of quartz crystal were also found among the detritus. Crystalline samples were also found in the volcanic rocks. Pickings were easily found and readily available. There are washes and arroyos aplenty in this area and outings won’t be hard to plan. It may look barren and unproductive but the area around Loreto has plenty of treasure for the rock enthusiast.

The Crystals of Los Frailes

The trail starts out at a small cairn to the left of the road heading north from camp. You wind your way through scrub bushes of elephant, lomboy and juniper shrubs and around chollo, barrel, ocotillo and pipe organ cacti for the better part of an hour before coming out onto an escarpment. The view back toward the sea is spectacular! The arroyo below is nearly ½ a mile wide and extends many miles into the mountains to the west. Crossing the escarpment is much easier but the trail keeps disappearing as you make your way west to a small wash. The descent into the wash is short and steep and the rocks reveal the many times this has been flooded as the layers lay exposed. It is only a short hike up the wash to the place where the crystals have been found. The area is quite small about 400 square feet but it is unique. All about this area are small bits of white quartz. I could not see any other outcroppings in the area nor discover the source of the samples here. Digging down only a short way reveals the bedrock of gross granular quartz in a matrix of a pale pinkish rock that I take for feldspar. Other minerals mixed with the quartz at various locations in the region are greenish (epidote?) and gray. But here at the crystal site they are pink.

Searching the top layer I find a small crystal with a single termination point. Some digging around the spot reveals a few more crystals of larger sizes but lacking the formation and detail of the previous find. There are small samples of clear quartz that have fractured off of larger stones. Some of these are quite brilliant and a few have a nice schiller effect. One of these is destined for the jewellery table and will make an interesting pendant. The hour of searching produces many small treasures but nothing of any real significance. We show off what has been taken and talk about the beauty and majesty of nature. The sun is now high in the morning sky and we are mindful of the heat it can generate as we head home over the hill and down the arroyo.

We take a different route back and as we go I keep looking for signs of other outcroppings of the quartz. We find a few but none are of significant quantity and there are no crystals found. Some very black rock with small white “crystal formations are picked up on the trail and I take one home to look at under the digital microscope. They could be porphyry or perhaps even fossils. I’ll find out later. The trip home through the wash is dry and we are glad to reach camp and a cool drink.


Opal History; Fact and Fiction, Myth and Lore (part 1)

The folklore connected with crystals, gems, and precious stones is as old as it is varied. Much of this tradition dates back to the beginnings of civilization, when jewelry was worn not only as adornment but also as protection against occult forces and human foolishness. Amethyst, for example, was thought to sober drunks, quell sexual passion, and cure baldness. Aquamarine was believed to protect seafarers, while emeralds increased fertility and intelligence, imparted prophetic ability, and other wild talents. Rubies provided defense against every kind of misfortune, made hostile neighbors friendly, and promoted one's stature in the community.

The opal's nasty reputation however has troubled folklorists for centuries. Fantastic legends have grown up around this harmless stone, cautionary tales designed to discourage those who might otherwise find themselves mortally attracted by its fiery brilliance. To this day, the odd prejudice against opals remains alive and well in some corners of the world, especially in the backwaters of southern Europe and the Middle East, where jewellers won't carry opals and customers won't buy them.

Throughout history, while many stones were prized for their positive magical qualities, others were denounced as vessels of evil. No gem was more vilified than the poor opal. Witches and sorcerers supposedly used black opals to increase their own magical powers or to focus them like laser beams on people they wanted to harm. Medieval Europeans dreaded the opal because of its resemblance to "the Evil Eye," and its superficial likeness to the optical organs of cats, toads, snakes, and other common creatures with hellish affiliations.

An opal completely contaminated with evil were believed capable of maiming or even killing a person foolish enough to wear or own it. Tales alleging to prove this are few in number, but the belief persists nevertheless, like those old but curiously tenacious admonitions about walking under ladders, stepping on a crack in the sidewalk, or allowing a black cat to dart across one's path. Popular superstitions such as these will be with us always, but however fanciful they may be, most have prosaic origins.

The early years - the "good luck" opal

 The Romans established opal as a precious gemstone, obtaining their supplies from traders in the Middle East. Opals from this era are thought to have come from Cernowitz, a mountainous region in what was at that time Hungary , but now Slovakia. However early Romans believed the source was India, an incorrect belief promoted by traders in order to protect their interests.

They believed the opal was a combination of the beauty of all precious stones, and it is well documented in Roman history that Caesars gave their wives opal for good luck. They ranked opal second only to emeralds, and carried opal as a good luck charm or talisman because it was believed that like the rainbow, opal brought its owner good fortune. In the days when Rome spread her legions across Europe and Africa, a Roman Senator by the name of Nonius opted for exile rather than sell his valuable opal to Marc Antony who wanted to give it to his famous lover Cleopatra.

In fact, in Roman times, the gem was carried as a good luck charm of talisman, as it was believed that the gem, like the rainbow, brought its owner good fortune. To the Romans, it was considered to be a token of hope and purity. It was also referred to as the "Cupid Stone" because it suggested the clear complexion of the god of love. The early Greeks believed the opal bestowed powers of foresight and prophecy upon its owner, while in Arabian folklore, it is said that the stone fell from heaven in flashes of lightning. The Oriental traditions referred to them as "the anchor of hope". Lucky opal - the stone of hope, the birthstone of October.



The above is a rotoblast wet grinder M-100. The rotoblast comes with

Seven wheels with different grits 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500, and 3000, Also one buff wheel. I have taken a pixy canvas polishing wheel and modified it to fit the rotoblast and charged it with 1400 grit the results after the buff wheel are excellent.

To modify I removed the bolt and ground it down smooth. To attach the Velcro and used two way tape Rhino Grip this would allow me to attach it to the rotoblast. (don’t  use water to polish)    


Yes it is in the kitchen it’s a heavy duty laundry tub with drain pipe running into a tub, as we all know it should not go into the local sewage system .

At the bottom of the tub I use a ceramic tile which you can get at your local hardware store for free if they have old samples. Also I use non-skid shelving cover to hold the slab in place. I also use  the non-skid to polish with the 1400 grit.

This is an excellent kit you can have a small slab done in 30 to 45 min.

Article by Doug Murray

For more info on the Rotoblast wet grinder go to



Vancouver Island has been in existence for hundreds of millions of years. It was formed through various processes including tectonic plate movement, volcanism, erosion and glaciation.

Much of our Island rock originated near the equator in the Pacific Ocean. Some of the oldest Vancouver Island rocks were formed by undersea lava deposits. This material drifted north-eastward and collided with the North American continent. Later, two smaller pieces of crust called Pacific Rim and Crescent terrains collided with and joined onto Vancouver Island.

The glacial process affecting the formation of Vancouver Island consisted of large glaciers and ice sheets. These ice sheets cut major features into the landscape. About 15,000 years ago these ice sheets and glaciers slowly melted and caused the land to be exposed when previously it was submerged.

Upon putting this show case of Vancouver Island stones together, it made me realize that we have an abundance of semi precious and non precious stones all over this land. As Rockhounds we use these stones for a wide variety of hobbies. We make jewellery, clock faces, carvings, lamps, spheres, wind chimes and boxes to name a few.. The stones I've displayed in the showcase have been found in certain places on this Island as I have depicted them on the map. However, there are many more sites that one can find these same stones.

Vancouver Island has a few active mines. In times past there were many more mines than are in operation today. These mines are in production to process metals such as iron, silver, zinc and gold; others are mining coal.

One of our most popular Vancouver Island stones for Rockhounders is our Flowerstone. This is a porphyry stone that is found in abundance in and around the Campbell River area. The stone is unique to this part of the Island and isn't found in many other places world wide. We all take pride in displaying this stone in many ways. When we have visitors from other parts of the world we are sure to show them these wonderful creations of nature.
Respectfully submitted by - Beba Adams

Our case won 2nd place in the people’s choice award at the Victoria Show.


Port Alberni and Victoria Rock Shows

Port Alberni has the good fortune of opening up the season of Rock Shows on the Island. Theirs is a bustling and energetic show that always features something of interest. The exhibits from various clubs and individuals never ceases to amaze me. I am in awe of the creative minds that put together such wonderful collections and displays of rock related items. Our own club's display of Island Wonders is a good example. As we at the general meeting earlier in March, Beba Adams created an interesting and informative display. I was fascinated to learn of all the different types of rocks found on Vancouver Island and noted with interest just where these specimens can be found. I now have several ideas for trips thanks to this show case.

Also of note at the Port show was the microscope display that Herb and Joan Humphrey had created. It is a simple and effective way to really get a close-up view of the tiny world of minerals. Both Herb and Joan take great pleasure in showing interested rock enthusiasts the collection that they have amassed. And although small in stature their collection is vast in beauty and variety. It would be a good idea to hold onto those old bifocal electric microscopes that you have kickin' around in the attic.

The very next weekend I had the opportunity to travel to our provincial capital to take in the Show at the Leonardo da Vinci centre. This will be the last time for a while at least that the centre will house the Victoria club's show. Next year they move to a larger venue . The numbers and quality of vendors at the Victoria show always amazes me. I hunted down some nice chrysophrase and found several excellent samples of exotic jaspers. It was also very nice to talk to their knowledgeable club members who work the demonstration tables. I got some great advice on how to work opal and create a doublet from one such veteran.

I really enjoyed voting for the best showcase and had no difficulty in selecting my favorite. By the way our club's show case placed second in the People's Choice voting. Congratulations, Beba!

As was the case in Port Alberni, I found a very interesting micro display. This one featured only sand. I was blown away by the diversity and beauty of the sample on display. Again the collector, whose name I did not get, used a binocular microscope to allow the viewer a close up glimpse of the tiny crystal bits that make up his collection. Each sand sample, carefully labelled clearly shows how different sand is in its composition depending on the location. The number of samples a person can collect and display from around the globe is impressive and yet so very accessible to everyone who has an interest.

Once again the first two shows of the year have succeeded in generating a high level of interest in the public about our favourite topic; rocks. All those responsible for putting these events together should be congratulated and thanked for the skill and effort that they have put forward.

Gordon Burkholder


A filter for the slab saw

Here is a simple and fairly effective upgrade to a Lortone LS18 Slab Saw.
The idea is to make a filter for the cutting oil with a tray with drain holes that will sit above the level of the oil, and below the carriage rails and also be in line with the blade without getting caught on anything. I used four magnetic feet to make the filter hold its position and not require drilling any holes or modifying the saw. I used a Stainless Steel tray I had kicking around but a basket from a deep fryer would work, lots of stuff available at your local Thrift Store. The magnetic feet I bought at Princess Auto but they can be found at many other stores, they are used as tool holders, they are about 2" diameter with a small hole in the centre. The hole is used to mount 2" metal or plastic stand offs, these go between the feet and the bottom of the tray. Old rags or used
furnace filers are cut to fit the tray and thrown out when full of debris after a day or so of draining the cutting oil. We have been running the saw with Bio Diesel which is much cheaper than cutting oil has a very low flash point, very little odour, and lighter weight so it is easier to clean your slabs as well. We just put the slabs in a wire basket suspended in a bucket to drain, saves oil and Kitty Litter
submitted by Bob Hayhurst


Organizing MINFILE data onto Google Earth