Friday, January 20, 2012

Tucson 2012: Authors' Event to Remember!

 Another year has gone by and it is time for us at The Gem Shop to pack our bags and to Tucson for the 2012 Tucson Gem & Mineral Show. While the Gem Shop isn’t new to the hubbub of Tucson, we all are quite excited about bringing a new event to Tucson this year. The Gem Shop, Inc and the Tucson Showplace are proud to host Johann Zenz, Brad Cross, Roger Clark, Karen Brzys, Scott Wolter, and Hans Gamma for an Authors’ Event to Remember! On January 31, 2012 at the Tucson Showplace, space A-1, each author will speak about their individual books as well as their love of agates and jaspers. There will also be a question and answer session followed by an authors’ cocktail reception.
                This is very exciting especially after the recent release of Agates III by Johann Zenz. This is Zenz’s first trip to Tucson in six years. He has not been to the Tucson show since his first publication of Agates. We at The Gem Shop, are very excited Johann Zenz agreed to participate in the book talk and signing at The Tucson Showplace. 
We are also exited to host newly published author Hans Gamma. Hans Gamma’s book, Picture Jaspers: Treasures of the Owyhee Area, Oregon, published in late January 2012, documents information on over 75 different sites in the canyons of Malheur County, Oregon. The book also contains over 230 pictures of beautiful specimen. Roger Clark author of South Dakota State Gemstone: Fairburn Agate, will also be at the event sharing his expertise on the Fairburn Agate most commonly found in and around the grasslands, badlands, and the Black Hills.
Also attending is director of the Gitche Gumee Agate & History Museum and author of Agates: Inside Out, Karen Brzys. Karen Brzys specializes in exploring and explaining the composition, formation of agates as well as popular locations to find agates. The fifth author featured at the Authors’ Event to Remember is Brad Cross. Brad Cross is well known for his book Agates of Northern Mexico, and his collaboration with June Culp Zeitner on the book Geodes: Nature’s Treasures. The final author, Scott Wolter is known for his extensive expertise on Lake Superior Agates. Scott Wolter is a veteran author whose many publications include, The Lake Superior Agate- Fourth Edition, The Lake Superior Agate- One Man’s Journey, The Hooked X: Key to the Secret History of North America, and The Kensington Rune Stone: Compelling New Evidence. This Authors’ Event to Remember is truly a unique once in a lifetime experience. All of the six authors have never presented at the same time.
          While Gene is in Quartzsite, The Gem Shop and the Tucson Showplace will be buzzing about preparing for this rare opportunity. Tickets are $10 in advance or m$15 at the door and are available from or by calling 866-377-4666. We can’t wait to see you there!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Mining the Christine Marie: Cold Air

Watching a storm roll in from the cabin.

In May and June the weather can vary greatly in the Morrisonite Area. It can be cold and windy (see our mining page on our website titled “Morrisonite Mining Operation 1989”), or hot and stormy. I was working in the “Old Boat Dig” on the Christine Marie in late May and following several small veins down and into the side of the hill. The deeper I worked the larger the rocks became and the cracks between them increased as well. In my blog titled “Nature of the Deposit” I talked more in depth about the cracks. As I worked my way down I developed a large, bowl shaped pit with a slope that acted as a ramp so I could drive the loader into the pit to remove the waste rock. This pit faced the southwest catching the direct rays of the afternoon sun and was wonderfully warm to work in when the weather was cool or cold.
The pit.

                    One day, rather suddenly, the weather changed and it became very hot. It was so hot I was seeking shade in the evening around the cabin. I was still working in the pit all day and it did not seem to be too uncomfortable working even though the pit should have been unbearably hot in the afternoon with its orientation to the sun. One day I woke to a very hot and perfectly still day. 
Cracks in the rocks.
I remember walking to the mine wondering how I was going to do any work in the heat. There was no breeze or air movement as I started down the slope into the pit. To my surprise the air felt a little cooler. I could not believe how cold it was in the bottom of the pit. I went over to the large cracks between the big rocks in the bottom corner of the pit and I could feel cold air coming out of the cracks.  Without a breeze to carry the cold air away it had filled up the pit like a lake. I told Jake about the cold air and we found a
Another view of the pit and cracks.
thermometer to check the temperature. We placed the thermometer in one of the cracks and no matter what the weather or time of day, the air seeping out of the cracks remained a constant 39 degrees.  The cracks between the rocks were large enough to accommodate water bottles and for a long time I always has cold water to drink while working. It was still hot working if there was a wind dissipating the cold air, but you could at any time get down close to the cracks and cool off. As to why there was cold air coming out of the cracks, I have no idea. Perhaps there is some ice down in the earth under all the severely cracked rock.