RHS1 Connector – February/March 2009

RHS1 Connector – February/March 2009

In this issue…
  • Fun Fact…
  • FEATURE ARTICLE…Mining cell phones for minerals…
  • Treasure…Odessy Update…
  • THOM’S COLUMN…Rockhound Recipes and Tips…
  • TRAVEL…ARIZONA part 2….
  • Earthwatch.. Earthquakes 3 Years stats + “Earthquake Report”
  • FEATURE ARTICLE… Meet the members…
  • RHS1 News.

FUN FACT: Non fuel mineral.

In the US, non fuel mineral production reached a 66.5 billion dollar industry by 2005. Twenty-two states account for 80% of the 66.5 billion dollar non fuel mineral production.

Arizona is the leading non fuel mineral producing state. The other 21 leading producers in descending order of production are: Nevada, California, Utah, Florida, Alaska, Texas, Minnesota, Georgia, Missouri, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Alabama, New York, Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Montana, North Carolina.



Some of you might remember F. Scott Crawford of http://www.StoneBreaker-FSC.net from the beautiful report about knapping at Glass Butte, Oregon. If you enjoyed that – you’re really going to love this new review he has offered for our reader’ enjoyment and education. In his review, “AA&A Arrowheads Ancient & Authentic”, Scott tells us all about different types of arrowheads. Whether you are interested in Arrowheads from an Archaeological aspect or whether you are interested in knapping, this review is chocked full of information you will find both entertaining and useful. If you aren’t a reader, relax and enjoy the awesome pictures. It seems Scott is as talented at photography as he is at writing informative material.

Scott – I really enjoyed this review. Thanks so much of thinking of us here at RHS1. You ROCK, guy!

OH – By the way, here’s the link again to Scott’s website if you want to see more about arrowheads.


PDF Format

Admiral Balchin’s HMS Victory Discovered by Odyssey Marine Exploration

World’s Mightiest Ship Was Lost Without a Trace in 1744 – Mystery Solved Discovery Channel’s “Treasure Quest” program reveals behind-the-scenes look at the discovery and exploration of the deep-ocean shipwreck site

Tampa, FL – November 18, 2008 – Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NasdaqCM: OMEX), pioneers in the field of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, has discovered the long-sought shipwreck of HMS Victory lost in 1744, solving one of the greatest mysteries in naval history. The direct predecessor and inspiration behind Nelson’s flagship, Balchin’s Victory was the mightiest and technically most advanced vessel of her age. She sank during a storm in 1744 with all hands and was the last Royal Navy warship to be lost at sea with a complete complement of bronze cannon. Two of the greatest admirals in English history, Sir John Norris and Sir John Balchin, called her their flagship. Research indicates that Balchin’s Victory sank with a substantial amount of gold and silver specie aboard.

Odyssey has been cooperating closely with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) on the project, and all activities at the site have been conducted in accordance with protocols agreed with MOD and Royal Navy officials. Terms of collaboration between Odyssey and the UK MOD on the project are currently being negotiated, and an agreement similar to the Sussex Partnering Agreement has been proposed. “Finding this shipwreck has solved one of the greatest shipwreck mysteries in history. Having discovered it in deep water far from where history says it was lost has served to exonerate Admiral Balchin and his officers from the accusation of having let the ship run aground on the Casquets due to faulty navigation,” commented Greg Stemm, Odyssey’s Chief Executive Officer. “We have worked closely with the MOD on this operation, and anticipate that we will continue the excellent cooperative relationship that we have enjoyed working together on the Sussex project. Fortunately, this shipwreck is not in waters claimed by any other country, so we do not expect any interference in further exploration of the site.”

Odyssey discovered the site nearly 100 km from where the ship was historically believed to have been wrecked on a reef near the Channel Islands. In an operation conducted in cooperation with the MOD, Odyssey has completed an archaeological pre-disturbance survey of the site, conducted limited test trenching, and recovered two bronze cannon to confirm the identity of the shipwreck. The cannon recovered include a 12-pounder featuring the royal arms of George II and a 4 ton, 42-pounder bearing the crest of George I. The huge 42-pounder recovered is the only known example of a gun of this type and size currently in existence on dry land. The only other artifacts recovered to date were two small brick fragments that were brought into U.S. federal court in order to file an admiralty arrest of the site.

During these operations, evidence was discovered of substantial damage to the site from natural deterioration, scouring, extensive fishing trawl net damage and the intrusion of modern trash and debris. “Rather than staying frozen in time beneath the waves, this unique shipwreck is fading fast,” warns marine archaeologist Dr. Sean Kingsley, Director of Wreck Watch International., “The Victory lies in an area of intensive trawling, and her hull and contents are being ploughed away by these bulldozers of the deep day in, day out. Leaving the Victory’s rich archaeology so vulnerable to the ravages of man is like allowing a motorway to smash straight through a historic site on land without excavating it. The archaeological recovery of the artifacts from the site should begin as soon as possible or the story of England’s most important lost man-of-war may not survive to be told.” Sir Robert Balchin, descendant of Admiral Sir John Balchin, stated, “This is the most astonishing news; for generations my family has wondered about the fate of Sir John and the Victory. Now that the wreck has been found, I and my family hope that as many of the artifacts on it as possible will be raised to the surface; our fear is that erosion, or trawler fishing will destroy what is there within a very few years. It would be wonderful to see these historic artifacts on permanent display in a museum where they will give a unique insight into naval warfare in the mid 18th century.”

A preliminary archaeological report detailing research and work to date on the site, which identifies the shipwreck as that of HMS Victory is available at www.shipwreck.net/publications.php Odyssey’s work on the Victory site was all conducted while cameras for Discovery Channel’s “Treasure Quest” were rolling. In the United States, the “Treasure Quest” episode featuring the identification of HMS Victory will air on Thursday, February 5 at 10PM ET/PT. In the United Kingdom, a special presentation of “Treasure Quest” featuring HMS Victory will premiere on Sunday, February 8 at 9:00 PM. “Treasure Quest” is produced by Primetime Emmy Award-winning JWM Productions. Additional information about Odyssey’s discovery and work to date on Balchin’s Victory is available at


About Discovery Communications

Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world’s number one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 170 countries. Discovery empowers people to explore their world and satisfy their curiosity through 100-plus worldwide networks, led by Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Science and Discovery HD, as well as leading consumer and educational products and services, and a diversified portfolio of digital media services including HowStuffWorks.com. Discovery Networks International distributes 17 international brands, reaching 885 million cumulative subscribers with programming available in 35 languages. For more information please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.


About JWM Productions

JWM Productions is one of the world’s leading non-fiction production companies. Their clients have included almost every major broadcaster in the US, the UK and around the world. Founded by multiple Emmy Award-winning producers Jason Williams and Bill Morgan in 1996, JWM has now filmed over 200 hours of high-definition broadcast programming, on six continents and in every situation imaginable. “Treasure Quest”, their latest Discovery Channel series, was filmed between May and November in the Western Approaches to the British Isles as well as in the English Channel. During production, a rotating crew of producers, cameramen, and technical assistants lived, ate, and worked alongside the Odyssey Marine Exploration team. Further information about past and current JWM Productions projects can be found at www.jwmprods.com.


Odyssey Marine Exploration Concludes Deal With Intersal, Inc. On North Carolina Shipwreck Site

Tampa, FL – October 15, 2008 — Odyssey Marine Exploration (NasdaqCM: OMEX), the world leader in the field of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, announced today that it has reached an agreement with shipwreck exploration firm Intersal, Inc. to pursue operations at a site off the coast of North Carolina.

Intersal holds an exploration permit from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, which includes the site and additional surrounding areas, some of which correlate with Odyssey’s “Firefly” shipwreck project. Odyssey and Intersal are committed to continuing Intersal’s policy of maintaining high archaeological standards and close co-operation with the North Carolina State Government.

The agreement also entitles Odyssey to share in substantial research and data acquired by Intersal over the years relating to the target shipwreck and the work completed to date in the permit area. A number of artifacts have been recovered from the site, which is the subject of an admiralty arrest action by Intersal in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Documents are being prepared to request the substitution of Odyssey as Plaintiff in the case. By taking over the arrest, Odyssey will assume certain rights and obligations associated with continuing operations at the site.

The area covered by this permit and arrest is located near Odyssey’s current “Firefly” project, which was acquired by Odyssey from BDJ Discovery Group in 2007 and includes one arrested site that has already produced a small number of gold and silver artifacts. This new Intersal site and permit area may also be related to the high-value, Colonial-era merchant vessel believed to be located in the area. The agreements with BDJ and Intersal are similar but separate and the areas do not overlap.

“This agreement with Intersal is a win/win situation for both parties. Intersal’s remarkable body of research and preliminary work has already yielded promising results, including the recovery of several interesting artifacts from the site. We are looking forward to using our own advanced technology and expertise to further explore the search area and are committed to continuing Intersal’s excellent relationship with the state and local governments of North Carolina,” said Mark Gordon, President of Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. “Even though our own arrested “Firefly” site falls outside the State’s jurisdiction, we anticipate including them in archaeological activities at that site as well as Intersal’s.”

Renowned for his work associated with the Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwreck project, Intersal’s late President Phil Masters spent 15 years conducting research around the world before moving to Beaufort, NC in 1998. During the ensuing decade he developed close relationships with the local community there as well as within the North Carolina State Government. Masters and Odyssey’s CEO Greg Stemm worked together in the creation of the Code of Ethics and best practice commercial archaeological standards promoted by the Professional Shipwreck Explorers Association.

“We lost a great friend and spokesperson for responsible commercial underwater archaeology last year when we lost Phil” commented Greg Stemm, Odyssey’s co-founder and CEO. “Phil made a great impression on everyone he met, and really took the lead in proving that private groups can excel in underwater archaeology through his work in North Carolina. Continuing his work on this project with his son John, who brings a lot of experience to the table himself, is a real privilege.”

“Odyssey is the recognized world leader in ocean exploration, and best able to complete the work my father began years ago. He would not have partnered with anyone but the best in the industry, and I believe teaming up with a company of Odyssey’s caliber and quality is the surest way to make his vision a reality,” said John Masters, who is Director of Operations for Intersal.

Since late Spring 2008, Odyssey has been focusing marine resources and personnel on the “Atlas” project, which covers over 5,000 square miles in the area of the English Channel.

“The “Atlas” project has shown some productive results this year and has demanded our full focus. Not including the Ocean Alert, which has remained in Falmouth, the Odyssey Explorer and several other ships were utilized in the course of our survey, inspection and archaeological operations during 2008. This unprecedented level of activity has stretched our operational capacity and prevented us from putting a team off the coast of North Carolina so far this year. As the weather window in the “Atlas” area closes this fall, we will be shifting some of our focus to pursuing projects closer to home and plan to see significant progress on this North Carolina project during 2009,” added Greg Stemm.

Intersal was represented in the negotiations by David Paul Horan, the admiralty attorney who in 1982 won Mel Fisher’s high-profile Atocha case before the Supreme Court.

About Odyssey Marine Exploration

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NasdaqCM: OMEX) is engaged in the exploration of deep-water shipwrecks and uses innovative methods and state-of-the-art technology to conduct extensive deep-ocean search and archaeological recovery operations around the world. Odyssey discovered the Civil War era shipwreck of the SS Republic in 2003 and recovered over 50,000 coins and 14,000 artifacts from the site nearly 1,700 feet deep. In May 2007, the Company announced the largest historic deep-ocean treasure recovery of over 500,000 silver and gold coins, weighing 17 tons, from a Colonial era site code-named “Black Swan.” Odyssey has several shipwreck projects in various stages of development around the world.

Odyssey offers various ways to share in the excitement of deep-ocean exploration by making shipwreck treasures and artifacts available to collectors, the general public and students through its webstore, exhibits, books, videos, merchandise, and educational programs. Odyssey’s “SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure” exhibit is currently on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, FL. For details on the Company’s activities and its commitment to the preservation of maritime heritage please visit www.shipwreck.net.

For additional information, please contact Natja Igney, Odyssey’s Manager of Corporate Communications, at 813-876-1776.

SS Republic is a registered trademark of Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc

Odyssey Marine Exploration believes the information set forth in this Press Release may include “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Act of 1934. Certain factors that could cause results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements are set forth in “Risk Factors” in the Part I, Item 1A of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Odyssey Marine Exploration P.O. Box 320057 Tampa, FL 33679-2057 www.shipwreck.net

Mineral Economics – Recycling Cell Phones

The mineral crunch is bringing many rockhounds (and others) into an extremely metal conscious state of mind. Many are investing in prospecting equipment to allow them to dig up paychecks while others are investing heavily in the metals markets or just moving money to metal backed currencies. A few are taking another look at recycling.

Recycling has a lot of advantages on the larger scale of mineral economics. In a world where we are now experiencing the realities of both actual and man-made shortages it is wise for us to become more conscious about using what we have invested in obsolete equipment rather than stashing old metal bearing appliances and gadgets in closets or drawers – or dumps.

But what kind of money is to be made by those who want to strip metals from items and reap the rewards for themselves? Some things can bring in money in not so negligible amounts in a pinch – some do not. Picking up aluminum cans in some states, for instance, can bring in enough money to make the stooping to pick them up very worthwhile exercise. When I take my dog walking, I never pass a can that can be turned back in for cash. In Idaho I was rewarded only 15 cents per pound for these cans, but a summer of collecting would reap enough to buy me a nice treat or to pay a bill by the end of hunting season. Here in New York where cans are nothing more than nickels lying on the ground, the pup and I bring home enough of them some months to put a full tank of gas in the car. When that rock pile is a tank of gas or more from the house, that’s a welcome bonus by all means. Turning in old gold or jewelry can also reap some nice rewards during high metal market prices.

Unless you are going to go on a major drive collecting vast amounts of some items, you are not going to see much benefit from your efforts, however. Cell phones are a good example of items which are wise on a larger economic scale to recycle, but saving your phone on it’s own to strip down for the cash isn’t going to reap you a noticeable amount of cash. To demonstrate that point, take a look at the statistics below.

The average cell phone in 2005 was approximately 113 grams.

Here is the breakdown of the amount of metal in each cell phone and it’ current value.

  • Copper — 16 g (grams)— $0.10
  • Silver —– .35 g ————- $0.13
  • Gold —— .024 g ———– $0.74
  • Palladium .015 g ————-$0.11
  • Platinum – .00034 ————$0.01

The total you can get from these scrap metals in your cell phone is $1.09 give or take a bit for rounding off the figures and daily change in metal prices. Only you can decide whether the time it takes to recover these metals from your phone is worth the price. The more phones you can dismantle, of course, the more you make – and the more time you spend recovering the scrap metals.

If you had one metric ton of these phones the amount of metal for recycle would breakdown into the following amounts:

One metric ton of cell phones without batteries – That is around 9583 cell phones – contains the following amounts of metal.

  • Copper – 140 kilograms —— approx $933.00
  • Silver 3.14 kilograms ——— approx $1233.00
  • Gold 330 grams ————— approx $10,167.00
  • palladium 130 grams ———- approx $928.00
  • platinum 3 grams ————– approx $138.00
  • Total $13,399.00

Now you have some valuable amounts of metals – if you can offset the cost of getting the metals separated from the phones, you have a good chance to make some good money recycling.

In 2005 there were 18 million cell phone subscribers. If each had just one cell phone that would amount to 20,000 metric tons. But many people have more than one cell phone. While some turn these phones in, many find their way into boxes or drawers where they lie dormant instead.

Just an interesting note here —

In 2005 $82,000,000 in these metals were recovered from recycled cell phones.

  • $4.6 mil – copper
  • $7.9 mil – Silver
  • $52 mil – Gold
  • $16 mil – Palladium
  • $1 mil – platinum

It is estimated that the 2005 value of metals in obsolete cell phones being stored rather than recycled was roughly $314 million dollars. These figures do not consider the cost of recovering the metals from the phones.

As of 2005 we can see that many people were not recycling their old cell phones, and in subsequent years, more people are buying more phones. A person interested in recycling for cash might stand a chance of getting enough phones to make the effort worth their while if they are good at quickly recovering metals.

As for myself, I think I will stick to picking up cans and consider cell phones a donation.

RHS1 Members News

First of all this month, I’d like to say that I am very happy to have the news back online. We’re sorry about the absence and hope you enjoy the new issue – finally.

For our shoppers on the site, you may have noticed some ads here and there for ipods, Led Zepplin posters, and that type of oddity. Try as I might, I have not been able to get our merchant to understand there is a difference between Rock and Roll and rockhounding equipment. Hey, stuff happens. Relax, those ads will be disappearing and replaced with some good rockhound deals from ebay very soon now. We hope you will find what you are looking for!


Baked Stuffed Apples

Well Autumn is here and the apples are riping fine on my two apple trees.

Usually because I don’t spray my trees the apples look a little strange at times but they are still good to eat and great for making pies, sauce and stuffed apples. Here’s a couple of easy recipes for you to try with any apples you may have. The first one does require some better looking apples then the second, so pick out your good looking ones for the first recipe and the not so good looking ones for the second.

Baked Stuffed Apples

There are many ways to make stuffed apples. This way is very simple and ideal for campfire cooking.
  • Take as many apples as you need and core them to within a half inch of the bottom. If you go all the way through that’s ok and you can still use the apples.
  • Soften enough butter to fill the hollowed out apples.
  • Add some Cinnamon and sugar to taste to the butter and mix it all up well.
  • Stuff the apples with the mixture and wrap in aluminum foil, mark the top so you know which end is up.
  • Set the apples in the coals of your fire or in a 350 degree oven and baked for about 20 to 30 minutes or until you can slide a knife into the apples.
That’s it, eat and enjoy.


Applesauce is so easy to make that I don’t understand why people buy it.
  • Start with any number of apples you want and peel, core, and cut into wedges. The smaller the wedged the faster the sauce will cook.
  • Place prepared apples in to a pot with about a half cup of water. Cover and cook over a medium low heat. When the apples are soft, mash them with a potato masher. If you like a smooth sauce then mash then till there are no lumps. If you like a chunkier sauce then don’t mash as much.
  • When the apples are mashed and enough sugar to sweeten the sauce followed by cinnamon to taste and a dash or two of nutmeg.
  • Cook over low heat until the sugar and other spices have blended. That’s it now try to not eat it all yourself and save a little for your family, ok?


  “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”
Hunter S. Thompson



There’s Gold In Them Thar Hills,
and Bunches of Other Stuff, Too!

Last month we took you on a brief tour of the metal and treasure hunting experiences Arizona offers the hunter. Because of the wealth of the hunting experiences to be found in the State we had to break the exploration into two parts.

If you haven’t packed for an adventure in treasure hunting or gold prospecting in Arizona yet, I am assuming you are just hanging around here waiting to hear about gemstone and fossil hunting possibilities to enjoy between your panning and metal detecting (or ghost hunting). You won’t be disappointed. Arizona is a well recognized leader in gemstone production.

Arizona Peridot.
Arizona is the world leading producer of gem quality peridot. While the peridot comes from Peridot Mesa on the San Carlos Apache reservation and collecting is not allowed by the public, there is another location that peridot lovers can win fine gemstones. That is in Buell Park in Apache county, about 10 miles north of Fort Defiance.

Arizona’s fine turquoise has been used in jewelry making by Native Indians for thousands of years. This gemstone is designated the Official state gemstone. It is associated with copper can be hunted wherever copper is found throughout the state. While you may find nice pure blue stones, the spider-webbed stones are also desired and valuable so be sure not to pass those up when you come across them.

Arizona Turquoise.
Fire agates are another widely coveted gemstone that are plentiful in Arizona. These stones can be found at several locations, and once you find one, you might have to buy some property there because you will be hooked on these beauties.

Black Hills Rockhound Area is a popular location for hunting these fiery stones. From the intersection of Highway 70, east of Safford, travel 10 miles north on Highway 191 to Black Hills Rockhound Area. Follow the dirt road 2 miles to the center of the rockhound area. Another good hunting grounds is near Tonopah in the Saddle Mountain area where you can find these beauties all over the mountain and lower grounds. The Kingman and Safford area also produce these gemstones and in the Safford area you can win Apache tears as well.

Another rare and interesting mineral worth hunting in the Benson area is Selenite Roses. These can be found South of Benson in the hills west of the Powder Plant.

Selenite Rose.
A trip to Arizona isn’t complete without hunting some of the petrified woods the state is also famous for. Woods can be found in many locations in the Phoenix, Safford, Yuma, Winslow, and Holbrook areas (just to name a few).

Arizona Petrified Wood.
These are just a few of the enticements for a rockhound to pursue in this state. Opals, garnets, amethyst, jaspers and a variety of agates and quartz crystals can be found throughout the state lands. If you can go to Arizona and come back with no gemstones, you were trying very hard to miss them. If your interests are more in the line of fossils, you won’t be disappointed with this state either, though.

In Arizona, as in other states, it is illegal to collect vertebrae fossils without a permit, and when permits are given it is expected that you turn your finds over to the authorities. Life in Arizona was diverse and remains of fish, dinosaurs, reptiles, and mammals grace the hot dry lands of the state. While many of these are off limits to hunters, there are still many very interesting legal fossil species around the countryside, though, so you will still can have a good time finding great specimens for display.

Many types of arthropods fossils can be won in Arizona. There are varied types of trilobites, horseshoe and other crabs, eurypterids, spiders, scorpions, and insect fossils to be found throughout the state. Corals, sponges, echinoderms, brachiopods, leaves, conifers, ferns, and other plants also give the fossil hunter a diverse collecting experience.

Throughout the state fossils can be found in sandstone, shale, and limestone deposits. Many areas are open to hunting, however, in the Grand Canyon, no collecting is allowed, even of invertebrate fossils which it is legal to collect in other locations.

Coconino County has a rich array of fossil species scattered throughout the county, as do Pima and Apache counties. Navajo county also contains many great locations for avid fossil hunters.

While Cochise County is generally known for it’s fine vertebrae specimens of camels, mastodons, turtles, and Glypodons, the limestone ridges in the area of Tombstone contain lots of good specimens of invertebrate fossils the public is allowed to collect. The Navajo County Ninety-one Hills area is a great place to mix your hunt for petrified wood and marine invertebrate fossils. The badlands in the Northern area of the state continue to produce fossils of both invertebrate and vertebrae species and In Yavapai county in the Black Mesa area trilobites can be found among corals and crinoids. Fish teeth and scales are a frequent find throughout the state. There truly is no end to the possibilities of fossil finds in Arizona.

Arizona forest.
Arizona heats can be deadly in the high summer months. Temperatures of 120 degrees are not uncommon and in many locations there is little shade. Temperatures are more comfortable for hunting in off summer months. Many of the good hunting areas will be dry so it is necessary to take water, in abundance, with you. Wildlife includes rattlesnakes, scorpions, and spiders so be careful as you poke around the rocks.

Arizona Landscape.
Between the gold and copper, gemstones, and fossils to be found in this magical state, a hunter could easily become lost for years or a lifetime. If you travel there and find yourself having your household delivered to you there instead of going home again, you won’t be the first.


This month we are saying hello to member “amylapointe”, a.k.a. Amy LaPointe, a recent college grad from New Jersey. Amy and her boyfriend recently joined the rockhound community after starting the hobby as an answer to inexpensive outdoor activity – and it looks like she got hooked!

Recently Amy contacted me about more information from a trip report I had posted on RHS1, and she has her own trip report from her recent trip to the Herkimer area of NY for us to enjoy. Here’s Amy to tell about her rockhound weekend in NY.

Last weekend I decided to go on my first-ever fossil hunt! I already had plans with some friends to go up to Herkimer NY to do the Herkimer diamond mining up there, and was trying to find other things to do in the area. After reading a few forums on Rockhound Station 1, I realized that the campground we were staying at in Herkimer was pretty close to a place NatureLady had found trilobites. I contacted her, and found out where she had gone, and was soon on my way to finding my own prehistoric fossils!

Coming from New Jersey, on a Friday evening during rush hour, was probably not the best thought out plan. My boyfriend and I live close to NYC, so the traffic there added on at least an hour to our already 4 hour trip. Luckily, our friends were leaving from Connecticut, and were able to leave much earlier in the day. They set up an extra tent for us, so by the time we got there (around 10:30-11:00pm) we didn’t have anything to do except make s’mores and go to bed.

Saturday morning we got up early and hung around the campground. We were right alongside a creek, so we took a look in the water. There were lots of rocks in the shallow water, so I picked up a few and took a look. I was so excited to realize that I had already found fossils (in the rocks), and the day had only just started! They were just small fragments of shells, I think, but it was a pretty neat discovery.

We had planned to go Herkimer diamond mining, so we headed out to Crystal Grove mine. I had been there the week before, so I knew a little more than my friends did. We searched through the rocks, and found some decent sized crystals, until it started to rain. There was nobody else there, and we decided to follow suit and get out of the rain. I didn’t have directions to the trilobites yet, as NatureLady had emailed them to me after I left for the weekend, so I called my father to check my email for me.

My father is completely computer illiterate, so it took more than a half hour to get the directions. I had to explain how to get into my email quite a few times, and he finally found them. Unfortunately, due to my poor phone reception, I was only able to hear bits and pieces of what he was saying. I eventually pieced together parts of what I heard, and used my GPS to find the approximate place.

We drove to Little Falls, NY, and found the stream that was supposed to hold trilobites. After driving alongside it for quite a while, we couldn’t figure out where NatureLady had parked. A kind man playing with his dog outside directed us toward a town barn, saying there would be parking there, and that we could walk from there to the creek. We thanked him and were on our way.

As we headed toward the barn (yes, we were confused, as we hadn’t known about any barn), we passed a large pile of dirt on the left hand side of the road. I knew this was the spot! There were rocks on one side, and lots of dirt, with a little trail down to the creek. We parked our cars and headed for the water!

I wish I had taken photos of the location, it was beautiful. Shale walls at least 20 feet high surrounded us, and there was absolutely nobody around. It was so peaceful, in the middle of nowhere. The water level was extremely low, only a few inches in the deepest parts, so we walked around and started splitting open shale. We were so excited to find real fossils! Trilobites!

We found trilobites of many different sizes. The only complete one I found was the size of my thumbnail; all the others were just pieces (just a head or body). It’s interesting that the heads and bodies are not frequently found together, as that one I found was the only complete one for the day.

We spent a little time there on Saturday, but soon it was getting dark, and we were hungry. The addition of bad weather forced us to head back early, as we hadn’t used the tent spikes, and needed to make sure our camping materials weren’t blown away! Luckily, we got back just in time. The tarp on our tent had blown off, but we caught it before it went in the stream at the campground!

We decided to head back to the fossils on Sunday, and found some nice pieces. Once again, it was exciting to break open pieces of shale, and to know we were the first people to see those exact specimens. The trilobites ranged in size, from the tiniest complete one I found, to bodies that were over 2 inches long!

Unfortunately, the creek is also a local hangout spot, in good weather I guess. No, people don’t come down to picnic or walk around; they bring their 4 wheel drive vehicles and drive through the creek. My boyfriend and I were crouched down working on a piece of shale (our friends had gone home early), when we heard vehicles getting closer and closer. I was afraid that we were trespassing and were about to get in trouble, but that was not the case. Instead, a big truck and another jeep came down the embankment. The teenage guys in the truck waved, and splashed around lots of water with their vehicles. There was a guy on top of the jeep, and they drove it really close to one of the shale walls, where the guy was pulling out random pieces of shale. I was sure he was going to cause part of the wall to collapse, that shale is rather delicate, and the trees on top are partially falling off.

We were disappointed that our new “friends” had no intention of leaving, and were cracking any pieces we had put on the sides of the creek. They kept driving around in the creek bed, so we decided it was our time to leave. It was probably a good choice, as we had that long trip back to New Jersey.

Overall, though, it was an amazing first fossiling trip, and now we want to go again! My boyfriend researched some places in western New York, and we’re excited to explore the area the next time we have a long weekend. Unfortunately, the almost 8 hour drive each way will prevent us from heading there anytime soon, but we’re waiting for our next chance. For now, we’ll look for some rockhounding adventures a little closer to home!

Thanks for that great report, Amy. I’m glad you enjoyed hunting the trilobites as much as I did. Be seeing you in the forums!



Three years ago the Earth did something very strange. In the last week of December of 2005 Chandler’s Wobble, the wobble of the earth on its axis, stopped dead for a period of almost two weeks. In our scientific knowledge it had never done so before. Predictions proliferated about what the result of such an anomaly would be.

One of the predictions was that the magnetic poles would shift. This is happening. The magnetic North pole is moving rapidly toward Siberia. It is moving at the rate of 25 miles per year. If you are keeping up with our Earth Watch series on RHS1, you are not extremely worried about the magnetic pole shift itself. Magnetic pole shifts are periodic events and will not end life on the planet as many have been lead to believe. Other results of the event were not predicted to be so benign.

The other prediction was that the event was initiating some tectonic plate movement. Such movement would cause major earthquake and tsunami events. So we started watching to see if earthquakes were increasing – in either size or amounts.

To determine average amounts of earthquakes we have used USGS data averages. Their current averages have been compiled from recordings of quakes from 1990 to the early 2000’s. Before 1990 global tracking systems now in place were not available globally which means records from before that time could be incomplete.

At times quakes can be initially recorded as being a different magnitude than they are later verified so data sometimes needs a bit of updating. This happened just this year when the 7.9 magnitude quake in China that took so many lives and wreaked so much damage was recorded initially as an 8 magnitude quake. I’m sure it’s not really a significant factor for those who lost lives, loved ones, or homes in that quake, but we have updated statistics as frequently as possible to keep them as accurate as possible. That is why if you follow the Earthquake Watch series in the forums you will see data periodically change or will find the statistics compiled here just a tad different from what you had expected.

Our tracking includes quakes of magnitude 5 and over. There are two reasons for this. The first is that it is at this strength that quakes usually start to cause damage. We may feel a 4 or even a 3 magnitude quake, but at magnitude 5 you have reached a danger point. In ten years of statistics no deaths or major amounts of damage have been recorded to have resulted from a magnitude 4 or weaker earthquake. The second reason is that at magnitude 4 and under you have tens of thousands of quakes per year, and face it, I have a day job and just plain would not have the time to do that kind of extensive reporting. If you are interested in magnitude 4 quakes, I did include the number of mag 4’s that occurred during each timespan reported in the statistic recordings in the Earthquake Watch thread in the forum, but no details were recorded on those quakes. It’s normal to have between 20 and 40 of them a week.

So with all that said, lets take a look at the last three years of earthquakes.


The average: 1, if any, per year There were no magnitude 9 quakes in any of these three years. Magnitude 8.0 – 8.9
  • 2006 = 2
  • 2007 = 4
  • 2008 = 0

The 3 year average = 2 per year. 200% higher.

While 2007 was one frightening year, with 400% the normal number of these shakers, but in 2008 the earth seems to have calmed down again. The number of these quakes actually add up to double the average number. How this roller-coaster trend will continue will be interesting to watch.


The average: 17 per year. The number of these quakes has been lower than average for three years running now.
  • 2006 = 8
  • 2007 = 14
  • 2008 = 12

The 3 year average = 11 (rounded). 35% drop in frequency. This is a very welcome trend, indeed.


The average: 134 per year. This figure has been exceeded for three years in a row now.
  • 2006 = 139
  • 2007 = 180
  • 2008 = 159

The 3 year average = 159 (rounded). 16% acceleration in frequency. This trend is discomforting as these quakes can cause massive destruction and casualties.


The average: 1319 per year. Frequency of these quakes has fluctuated. 2006 = 1230 2007 = 1390 2008 = 1205 Three year average = 1275. 5% drop in frequency. Another welcome trend.


The lives lost in a quake are not always determined by the strength of the event. A magnitude 6.5 quake happening just 10 kilometers underneath a town can wield unconscionable destruction and death, while the same quake at a depth of 200 miles beneath the surface may go totally unnoticed. Likewise, a quake happening in the middle of nowhere might go unnoticed no matter how close to the surface it may be. It’s really a toss of the dice whether a person will be killed by a magnitude 5 quake or will survive a magnitude 8. Those living in subduction zone areas are the most prone to experience extremely large quakes, however.

In the three years we have been tracking 95,146 people lost their lives in earthquakes.

  • 2006 = 6,559
  • 2007 = 681
  • 2008 = 87,906

While numbers of quakes other than magnitude 6 events were lower than average during 2008, 87906 lives were lost in ten of these quakes. The most devastating being the 7.9 magnitude quake in Eastern Sichuan China which took 87,587 lives on its own and displaced millions. To those lost in these quakes, it doesn’t matter what the magnitude was finally confirmed to have been.

In 2007 we experienced a very heavy quake year and had an unprecedented amount of magnitude 8 quakes for one year. Only 593 lives were lost in three of these magnitude 8 quakes. Of the six magnitude 8 quakes throughout 2006 and 2007, only three of these monstrous events claimed lives.

Some years will be worse than others, and as the magnetic pole and mantle rotation continue to shift we may expect more turbulence as plates crush together or as crustal blocks drift apart. It is crucial to understand that just because you live in an area not accustomed to having quakes does not in any way, shape, or form mean that you will never experience one there. Many of our planets faults and fissures are yet undiscovered – especially in areas where earthquakes are not normal. It is the areas in which seismic activity is frequent that are receiving the most study and monitoring and our earth is continually changing.

It is vital for each of us on this planet to know about safety measures to take to ensure survival in a catastrophic earthquake event. Below, you will find a link to a free PDF file from RHS1 which discusses earthquake safety. We hope it you find the information valuable. While we advise you to know it, we also hope you will never need it.

Sally Taylor…RHS1 Earthwatch.

Image and info credits for this edition:

Wikipedia: Odyssey Marine Exploration: Nasa: F. Scott Crawford: Sean Dougherty:

Rock Hound Station 1
Global Rockhound Community


Rock Hound Station 1

Global Rockhound Community