Web Page of the Month
Rockhound Web Page of the Month
Each month we select a web site which furthers our great hobby. Some are educational, some are fun, and all talk about rocks & minerals. Minnesota Mineral Club web members have a qualitative and quantitative selection methodology each month to pick these pages, but you may also suggest your choice!
The Mineralogy of Silicon
Mindat does an excellent job at showing what minerals Silicon is found in. If you like data and minerals, this is your page. Did you know that Jacob Berzelius discovered silicon in 1787? If you like agate you like silicon. If you like computers or cell phones you like silicon.
Mineral Resource Data
MRDS is a collection of reports describing metallic and nonmetallic mineral resources throughout the world. Included are deposit name, location, commodity, deposit description, geologic characteristics, production, reserves, resources, and references.
MRDATA Best starting point for using this data
Stromatolites & the Minnesota Iron Range
If you have ever been to the Smithsonian Museum’s mineral section you probably saw a stromatolite from Minnesota. Here is a web page that describes some collecting of this mineral along with many others. It has old info (2000) but still is interesting. Here is an example: “Mary-Ellen Jasper is the fossil of stromatolites, a form of blue-green algae of the late precambrian era. These fossils are 1.8 to 2 billion years old and are believed to be among the earliest forms of life on earth. The stromatolites would produce oxygen in a marine environment that was rich in ferrous (iron in the +2 oxidation state) ions. The combination of the ferrous iron and the oxygen would cause precipitation of the hematite minerals along with the silica (quartz). Mary-Ellen Jasper has a hardness from 6.5 to 7 (the same as glass – quartz) with colors of red, pink, white, yellow and even green. It occurs commonly in the Biwabik Iron Formation forming bands of iron and chert in the Mesabi Iron Range.”
Link: DNR Field Trip
Fluorescence in minerals occurs when a specimen is illuminated with specific wavelengths of light. Ultraviolet (UV) light, x-rays, and cathode rays are the typical types of light that trigger fluorescence. These types of light have the ability to excite susceptible electrons within the atomic structure of the mineral. These excited electrons temporarily jump up to a higher orbital within the mineral’s atomic structure. When those electrons fall back down to their original orbital, a small amount of energy is released in the form of light. This release of light is known as fluorescence. [Basic Concepts in Fluorescence: Michael W. Davidson and others, Optical Microscopy Primer, Florida State University]
Fluorescent Minerals Links
Geology.com: Nice high level summary of fluorescence in minerals
“The Vug is THE portal to all things rock & mineral on the web. We provide links to mineral websites and The-Vug produced content, including free videos and articles. Our main focus, since inception, is to feature the fresh updates posted online on the front page of the site. That is the main reason people visit our site. Simpler than signing up for every mailing list, you can come to The-Vug.com every day and see who has put new minerals online. We also feature news stories and things of note.”
“The-Vug.com hosted a mineral talk show, served as the icon behind 16 issues of a mineral magazine, and produced hundreds of articles and video tours of minerals shows across the world.”
Mineralology4Kids has several great pages for teaching kids (and adults) about minerals. Sections include Mineral Groups, Mineral Properties, Mineral Identification, Minerals in Your House, All about Crystals, Rock Cycle, and Resources. All ages should check it out!
Minerals of Wisconsin Database
Very detailed database. Even has Wisconsin Smithsonite! Great link for the serious Minnesota/Wisconsin mineral collector!
“Wisconsin is home to a wealth of minerals, with incredible variety found throughout the state. Learn more about a mineral by clicking on its name or filter the collection using the search box or select a location or letter of the alphabet.”
Ventusky Weather Page
Every rockhound needs to plan for the weather on our rock hounding excursions. This site has multiple features to track thunderstorms and wind patterns across the entire globe. Even if you don’t use it for rock hounding trips you may enjoy seeing what weather patterns your distant friends and relatives are having. You can also track snow coverage for those late fall or early spring road trips.
University of Minnesota Mineral Collection
The University of Minnesota has over 7000 mineral specimens from around the world. The collection is currently housed within Pillsbury Hall and was started in the 1850s! The site notes that many of it’s specimens come from pioneering mineralogists Newton H. Winchell and George F. Kunz. Please comment if you have viewed this collection.
American Meteor Society
Ready to find that rare meteorite for your rock collection? Better check this site for the latest trajectories of meteors near you. The American Meteor Society provides discussion, maps and other interesting on-line material. If you travel near Tempe Arizona you will want to see the ASU Center for Meteorite Studies with one of the best collections in the world, including peridot and diamon filled meteors. Before you hit the field you should watch The Meteorite Men for tips from a couple of experts. Note that they usually have a tent at the Tuscon show at the Kino Stadium site.