Saturday, June 29, 2013

Amazing Fundy Rocks

I was conducting research for the DVD I'm working on about how to find Lake Superior agates when I came across this amazing web page about rockhounding in Nova Scotia.   The web page is: and was put together by Christopher Sheppard.

Nova Scotia is the eastern most Canadian Territory.  Located almost exactly halfway between the Equator and the North Pole (44ยบ 39' N Longitude), its provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the second-smallest province in Canada, with an area of 55,284 square kilometres (21,300 sq mi), including Cape Breton and some 3,800 coastal islands. As of 2011, the population was 921,727 making Nova Scotia the second-most-densely populated province in Canada.  In the following map, Nova Scotia is the purple province.

The photos below show that there are a lot of rock....

The web page explains how rock hunting  at Cape Split can be challenging and dangerous.

But the jasperized amethyst nodules are some of the most beautiful rocks that I've ever seen.  Notice the before and after polishing....

The specimens are nodules that formed in the basaltic vesicle pockets.  Notice the before and after cut...


It is a rugged landscape...

Grandchild update.  Keenen is growing!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Snapping Turtle and Agate Window

Today I am making agate plates, so I don't have much time to implement a posting.  So thanks to Jamey and Lois, I am borrowing a couple of photos from their Facebook page for The Agate Cross Bed and Breakfast.

First is a picture of the agate window I recently made for one of their kitchen windows. 

The other day mutual friend, Renee, found a huge snapping turtle in her driveway.  She called Jamey, who went right over to rescue the poor fellow.  Jamey let the turtle go east of town.

Description: The snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in Michigan, as well as many other states. It has a very large head, a long neck, and a long tail, which is saw-toothed along the top. The top of the shell is large and varies in color from black to light brown. The bottom of the shell is small and unhinged. Average length varies from 8 to 14 inches (20.3-36 cm) in , while weight ranges from 10 to slightly more than 50 lbs. (4.5-22.5 kg).  The largest common snapping turtle ever caught was around 75 pounds.

Feeding/Diet: Snapping turtles are omnivorous. Their diet is varied and includes aquatic invertebrates, fish, reptiles, birds (such as ducklings), mammals, carrion, and aquatic vegetation. They frequently feed on dead or dying animals.

Activity/Behavior: This is one of the most aquatic freshwater turtles. However, individuals of all sizes can be found on land, especially nesting females. In the water snapping turtles are powerful swimmers, but will frequently walk along the bottom. These turtles rarely bask on logs, but will sometimes “bask” while floating at the water’s surface.

Habitat/Range: Snapping turtles can be found in nearly all permanent water bodies, but they prefer water bodies with soft bottoms and abundant aquatic vegetation. Small individuals can be found in streams.
Reproduction: Snapping turtles lay between 11 and 83 round eggs during the late spring and summer. Females may walk a considerable distance from water to lay their eggs, and are frequently hit by motor vehicles while crossing roads.

Miscellaneous: Snapping turtles get their name from their defensive behavior. Many individuals, especially those taken out of the water, will bite readily with their strong jaws if approached. Snapping turtles are economically important as many are harvested each year for their meat. Studies have shown that commercial harvest of snapping turtles in not sustainable and will result in extirpation of populations.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lake Superior Agates

I am in the final stages of completing the DVD on how to find Lake Superior agates.  So for today's blog posting I am including some photos from the DVD that show just regular, ordinary Lake Superior agates.  So often the books published about agates feature the wowsers of the world.  Unfortunately, most of the agates we find on the beach are not quite of that wowser quality.  But they are still awesome....

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

More USB Microscope pictures of Rocks

In preparation of the busy summer season, I have purchased some new items for the museum's gift shop.  I'll post some macro shots tomorrow, but for today's blog posting I pulled out my USB microscope camera.

First, a few close ups of some awesome ammonite pendants....

I also purchased some labadorite/spectralite cabs.  Anyone who wire wraps will be interested in these.  They also are nice small samples of this amazing variety of labadorite....

I also restocking some of the therapy stones including the unakite specimens shown below...

I came across a chance to purchase some rough slabs of this awesome dendritic jasper from Utah...

Today I will finish assembling the graphics for the DVD I am producing that will teach people how to find Lake Superior agates.  All I have left to include are summary slides of the different types of agate structure.  So far the DVD has over 450 slides, most of which are only on the screen for a couple of seconds.  The running length right now is 24 minutes.  Once I add the last section and adjust the timing to match the narration, I am hoping the final DVD will be around 45 minutes.