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Rocks Current Events

The Influence of Bedrock on Vegetation
April 15, 2014 | National Science Foundation

“Scientists investigated the factors that influence forest cover in California’s Sierra Nevada. Bedrock may be as important as temperature and moisture, they found, in regulating the distribution of trees and other vegetation across mountain slopes.” Quoted from the National Science Foundation press release.

Mineral Hardness Picks
April 10, 2014 | Store

Mineral hardness picks are pencil-like tools that have points made from materials that match the hardness of minerals in the Mohs Hardness Scale. With them you can easily test the hardness of mineral grains in a rock and test the hardness of small-size specimens. In our opinion they are easier to use than pieces of minerals and allow you to obtain more accurate results. They also do not contaminate your specimen with particles of the hardness mineral.

Antelope Canyon
April 8, 2014 | Weather Channel

The Weather Channel has a short video about Antelope Canyon, near Page Arizona.

“Antelope Canyon is the most-visited and most-photographed slot canyon in the American Southwest. It is located on Navajo land near Page, Arizona.” Quote from Wikipedia.

Stone Spheres of Costa Rica
April 6, 2014 | Weather Channel

In the 1930′s a fruit company was clearing farmland on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. During their work hundreds of stone spheres up to two meters in diameter were discovered. They are thought to have been made over 1000 years ago and their makers and the methods used to make them are unknown. It would be really hard and costly to make spheres like these today. Imagine what it would have been like 1000 years ago.

Spring Mineral Shows
April 1, 2014 | has a large list of mineral shows that will take place this spring. The list is updated frequently so book mark it and check it occasionally. There is probably a mineral show near you.

If you live on the east coast one to check out is the New York / New Jersey Mineral, Fossil, Gem and Jewelry Show on April 11-13 at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center. There will be 340 dealers.

Another is the Fine Mineral Show, April 25-27 at Embassy Suites in Houston.

2006: Spectacular Rockfall in Yosemite
March 24, 2014 | Herb Dunn

A series of photos captured by Herb Dunn as he sat on the banks of the Merced River in Yosemite National Park.

Carbon Dioxide Sequestration – Cedar Mesa Sandstone – Arizona
March 23, 2014 | Arizona Geological Survey Repository

“The potential role of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions from coal fired power plants and other industrial plants in global climate change is driving studies of sedimentary basins in Arizona for their carbon sequestration potential.” Quote from the Arizona Geological Survey Repository.

Time-Lapse Views of Yosemite
March 18, 2014 | National Geographic

National Geographic shares Yosemite HD II, a four minute video that shows time-lapse night and day views of Yosemite National Park.

Sliding Rocks of Racetrack Playa
March 13, 2014 |

One of the most interesting mysteries of Death Valley National Park is the sliding rocks at Racetrack Playa. These rocks can be found on the floor of the playa with long trails behind them. Somehow these rocks slide across the playa, cutting a furrow in the sediment as they move.

Rock Fatigue??
March 11, 2014 | The Landslide Blog

You have probably heard about how “metal fatigue” can result in the failure of aircraft parts and bridge cables. Have you heard about “rock fatigue” resulting in the failure of outcrops and other structures?

Organic Gems
March 6, 2014 |

Although most gemstones are mineral materials, a number of organic materials and fossilized organisms are considered to be gemstones. The most common of these are pearl, bone, amber, coral, ivory, petrified wood, fossil coral, dinosaur bone and more.

Mineral Collectors at the Arizona Mineral Museum
March 6, 2014 | Arizona Geological Survey

This video features interviews with several mineral collectors who attended the opening reception for the University of Arizona Mineral Museum and Flandrau Science Center 2014 Exhibit.

World Potash Developments
March 4, 2014 | Arizona Geological Survey Repository

The Arizona Geological Survey published the World Potash Developments paper from the 48th Annual Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals held in Scottsdale, April 30 to May 4, 2012.

Salt Glaciers?
March 2, 2014 |

Salt glaciers (also known as namakiers) are masses of salt that erupt onto Earth’s surface and flow downslope under their own weight.

They develop where salt domes rise high enough to reach the surface.

Salt Domes
February 27, 2014 |

Salt Domes are mounds or columns of salt that have risen above their parent rock unit because of the salt’s low specific gravity.

They serve as oil and natural gas reservoirs; sources of sulfur; sources of salt; underground storage sites for oil, natural gas and helium; and, disposal sites for hazardous waste.

Many Types of Sand
February 16, 2014 |

Most people are familiar with the tan or white silica sand that they see at the beach. However, sand is a much more diverse material as this photo gallery reveals.

February 13, 2014 |

Peridotite is a host rock of chromite, a source rock of diamonds, a potential sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide and the rock that makes up much of Earth’s mantle. Did you realize it was so important?

Related: Misconception: Diamonds Don’t Form From Coal

Coal Through a Microscope
February 9, 2014 |

If you think that coal is a boring black rock then you have never seen it through a transmitted light microscope. The microscope reveals coal’s hidden beauty as well as its composition.

Surprise White Rock on Mars
January 23, 2014 | NASA

While preparing to start robotic arm work on the target “Cape Elizabeth” on Sol 3541 (Jan. 8, 2014), Opportunity encountered a slight surprise — a rock had appeared in the images that had not been there before. This target that has been named “Pinnacle Island” and its origin has been the target of much speculation.

Intentionally Weathering Olivine to Fight Climate Change?
January 23, 2014 | Nature

A Nature article reports how some researchers believe that climate change can be mitigated by crushing olivine-rich rocks and exposing them to weathering – to take advantage of olivine’s ability to sequester carbon.

Deepwater Soloing
January 1, 2014 | National Geographic

National Geographic has an article about “deepwater soloing”. A variety of rock climbing in which the climber ventures without a rope or protection. When a fall occurs the plunge is into deep water. Some climbers say that it allows they to climb routes that are beyond their potential.

Dating Rocks on Mars
December 29, 2013 | Caltech

“Although researchers have determined the ages of rocks from other planetary bodies, the actual experiments—like analyzing meteorites and moon rocks—have always been done on Earth. Now, for the first time, researchers have successfully determined the age of a Martian rock—with experiments performed on Mars.” Quoted from the Caltech press release.

The Importance of Sketching Rocks in the Field
December 26, 2013 | Speaking of Geoscience Blog

There is an excellent essay on sketching rocks in the field on the Speaking of Geoscience Blog by Haakon Fossen, a structural geology professor at the University of Bergen, Norway.

Alberta Shale Resources
December 6, 2013 | Alberta Geological Survey

The Alberta Geological Survey has published Summary of Alberta’s Shale- and Siltstone-Hosted Hydrocarbon Resource Potential. This is a 339-page publication with lots of maps, data and descriptive information.

You will find this report as item OFR 2012-06 on the linked page. The landing page also lists dozens of other reports on digital data, organic petrography, rock evaluation, geochemistry, pycnometry and more.

Rock and Mineral Projects at
December 3, 2013 | is a website where K-12 teachers post projects that they would like to have funded and anyone anywhere can provide support. Many of these teachers would like to have materials to help them teach about rocks and minerals. Here are three projects that might appeal to you.

Rocks for 6th grade science

Fluorescent rocks and minerals

Middle school rock identification

Most Popular Items for November
December 2, 2013 |

The World’s Largest Emerald Mine

What is Iris Agate?

New Volcanic Island Southeast of Japan

The Enormous Volcanic Eruption that Historians Never Recorded

A Super River from the Southwestern United States to the Labrador Sea?

Typhoon Haiyan Images

Comet Ison is Visible to the Naked Eye

New Super Predator Dinosaur

Rock, Mineral, Gem and Fossil Kits
December 2, 2013 | Store

The Store has a nice selection of rock, mineral, gemstone and fossil kits for personal or classroom use.

What is Iris Agate?
November 27, 2013 |

““Iris Agate” is a name used for a finely-banded agate that produces a spectacular display of color when it is cut properly and illuminated from a direction that sends light through its very thin bands.”

Granite on Mars?
November 20, 2013 | Georgia Tech

“Researchers now have stronger evidence of granite on Mars and a new theory for how the granite – an igneous rock common on Earth — could have formed there. The findings suggest a much more geologically complex Mars than previously believed.” Quoted from the Georgia Tech press release.

Related: Rocks on Mars

Provenance of Obsidian Artifacts
November 12, 2013 | Columbus Dispatch

Ancient people carried and traded obsidian objects over wide geographic areas. Researchers have found success at attributing these artifacts with the geographic locality of an eruption by measuring their magnetic characteristics.

Related: What is Obsidian?

Rocks, Crystals and Fossils from a 3D Printer?
November 9, 2013 | Live Science

A popular demonstration at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting was a 3D printer being used to produce copies of rocks, fossils and other geological specimens.

Most Viewed News in October
November 1, 2013 |

Egypt Fears a Dam on the Nile in Ethiopia

235 Carat Diamond Found in Siberia

Status of Recent Geoscience Graduates

Nice Yellow Diamond Found in Arkansas

What Caused the Sudden Explosion of Animal Life 520MYA?

Walking Away from One of the World’s Largest Gold Discoveries?

Shell Walks Away from Oil Shale

Granitizers vs Magmatists

The Acid Test
October 23, 2013 |

The Acid Test: Geologists use dilute hydrochloric acid to identify carbonate minerals and detect their presence in rocks.

The Earliest Rock Art Was Created by Women?
October 13, 2013 | National Geographic

Although cave art typically features hunting scenes and everyone presumed that men were the artists, most of the hand stencils that accompany the art were made by women.

Related: Pictographs and Petroglyphs.

Granitizers vs Magmatists
October 13, 2013 | Scientific American

A Scientific American article explores some of the early investigations into the origin of igneous rocks.

Related: What is Granite?

Most Popular News Items for September 2013
October 6, 2013 |

Niagara Falls Without Water (1969)

Futuristic Transportation?

Volcanoes of the Rio Grande Rift

Dashboard Cam Captures Massive Rock Fall

Huge Crater in Antarctic Ice

Many Types of Sand

What Happened at Mount Paektu in North Korea?

The Dry Hole that Led to $1.5 Trillion in Crude

Fracking Does Not Cause Earthquakes

Mapping the Pirate Fault
September 17, 2013 | Arizona Geological Survey

“The 25 km accessible trace of the Pirate fault has been mapped to locate and describe those erosionally exhumed remnants of the fault that together provide a basis for structural reconstruction of this nominally Basin-Range tectonic feature. The fault forms the western boundary of the Santa Catalina Mountains in southeastern Arizona, where it separates the uplifted Santa Catalina structural block on the east from the down-dropped, alluvial Cañada del Oro basin on the west.” Quoted from the Arizona Geological Survey publication release.

Explosive Magma Can Lurk for 100000 Years
September 12, 2013 | University of Washington

“Reservoirs of silica-rich magma — the kind that causes the most explosive volcanic eruptions — can persist in the Earth’s upper crust for hundreds of thousands of years without triggering an eruption, according to new University of Washington research.”

Popular for August 2013
September 3, 2013 |

40 Maps that Explain the World

A Spanish Fort in the Appalachians in 1567?

12-Year-Old Finds a 5-Carat Diamond in Arkansas

Sinkhole in Western Kansas

Rare Eruption of Steamboat Geyser

Origin of the Antarctica Ice Sheet?

Frozen Landslides in Alaska

Solar Magnetic Field is about to Flip?

Flash Flooding Near Page, Arizona


Magmatic Water on the Moon?
August 29, 2013 | United States Geological Survey

“Scientists have detected magmatic water — water that originates from deep within the Moon’s interior — on the surface of the Moon.” Quoted from the USGS press release.

The Many Uses of Marble
August 21, 2013 |

From monuments to crushed stone to cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, very few rocks have as many uses as marble.

Related: Limestone, the Marble Protolith.

CO2 Sequestration Potential in Arizona
August 1, 2013 | Arizona Geological Survey on YouTube

Brian Gootee of the Arizona Geological Survey describes recent work on Carbon Dioxide Sequestration Potential in Arizona and new publications for the Luke and Higley Basins.

Most Popular: July 1 to July 15
July 17, 2013 |


Caves Discovered by Construction Projects

100 Million Barrel Discovery in the Gulf?

Six Planets – Three in Habitable Zone

Oil Industry Job Profiles

Monsoon Rains and Debris Flows in Arizona

Sky Islands

Yosemite Falls

Using Ophiolites to Reduce Atmospheric CO2?
July 14, 2013 | Columbia University

Rocks brought from earth’s mantle react rapidly with carbon dioxide at the surface. Can these rocks be used to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere?

Half Dome
July 14, 2013 | Yosemite National Park

“The granite monolith of Half Dome is recognized throughout the world as an icon of Yosemite National Park. Thousands of visitors hike to the summit each year, rewarded with spectacular views and an experience that is not easily forgotten.” Quoted from the Yosemite National Park video description.

Concrete Canoe Race
June 26, 2013 | New York Times

At the National Concrete Canoe Competition, civil engineering students race in canoes that they have designed and made – out of concrete.

Yosemite Rockfall Data
June 25, 2013 | USGS

The United States Geological Survey and the National Park Service have produced a publication: “Historical Rock Falls in Yosemite National Park, California (1857–2011)“. It contains information about rockfall events, types of slope movements, triggering conditions and much more in maps, tables and text.

Rocks on Mars
June 13, 2013 |

The Mars Rovers have helped identify a number of different types of rock on Mars. Many of the planet’s rocks are similar to the shale, conglomerate, basalt and scoria found on Earth. and are
both websites.
Fee Mining Sites
May 24, 2013 |

Lots of people enjoy going to fee mining sites where you can prospect inactive surface mines, mine tailings, soil, sediments or outcrops and keep any rocks, gems, minerals or fossils that you find. Examples include: Herkimer Diamond Mines where you can search for doubly-terminated quartz crystals, and Crater of Diamonds where you might be lucky enough to find a real diamond.

Second Drill Site on Mars
May 10, 2013 | NASA

“The team operating NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has selected a second target rock for drilling and sampling. The rover will set course to the drilling location in coming days.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

We are constantly looking for interesting items related to geology and general science. When we find something interesting we share it here. Bookmark this page and visit often. You can also receive our news for free by RSS feed or email. We publish updates three or four days per week.

Homeowners InsuranceHomeowners Insurance usually does not cover damage caused by floods, landslides, earthquakes and other geohazards.
frac sandFrac Sand is a high-purity silica sand used in hydraulic fracturing to enhance the flow of oil and gas from tight rock units.
Diamond formationDiamonds from Coal? Diamonds form under a variety of conditions that rarely involve coal as a source of carbon.
fluorescent mineralsFluorescent Minerals glow with spectacular colors when illuminated in the dark with an ultraviolet lamp.
Uses of heliumHelium is a byproduct of the natural gas industry. Its most important use is in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines.
Canada diamond minesCanada Diamond Mines: Canada is the third largest producer of gem-quality diamonds in the world.
Utica shaleUtica Shale: New wells in eastern Ohio prove that the Utica Shale will be a major source of natural gas and natural gas liquids.
Green River fossilsSpectacular Fossils of the Green River Formation. Some of the world's best-preserved fossil fish from an intermountain lake.
OpalOpals: Gem quality opal is one of the most spectacular gemstones. A single stone can flash with every color of the spectrum.
NovaruptaMost Powerful Eruption of the 20th Century: People in Juneau heard the volcanic blast - over one hour after it occurred.

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