In this issue…
- NOTES FROM RHS1
- Treasure…Odyssey Update…
- A SPECIAL TREAT FOR AGATE LOVERS (FREE BOOK)
- URAL MOUNTAINS ALEXANDRITE
- WOMEN ARE SOLID GOLD IN HUMAN METAL HISTORY
- EARTHQUAKE WATCH
- Earthwatch.. CO2
NOTES FROM RHS1
A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL from the staff at RHS1 Here’s hoping that 2010 ROCKS for each and every one of us!
Traffic is picking up now in the new forums. We are seeing many people reading. Please don’t feel shy to come in and join us – the community is here for your enjoyment, and if you are shy because you are new to the activity, please don’t be. We all start somewhere and you will find no other community in which experienced members are so willing to help you learn and enjoy your hobby. If you are a reader and see a question being asked that has not been answered, please stop in and help the person out a bit. The forums are still new and all to often people wait until spring to get involved. At the time we have a member from NE Texas wondering where to start a child into the hobby of collecting. If you know that area of the globe, I’m sure it would be much appreciated if you can offer some advice to this member.
PROBLEMS REGISTERING OR POSTING PHOTOS?:
For anyone experiencing problems with registering for the forums – please contact us via our “contact us” button if you have a problem with registration and I will set your account manually. You wil need to send me the name you want to register under and the email you want to use. I will designate a password to you so you can get into the forums so you will want to change your password in your profile once you login.
For those of you experiencing problems with posting your pictures in the photo gallery – please note that pictures do need to be sized before you enter them into the gallery. If you need help with that, please post an inquiry at the “Help Desk”. Dave has also created a step by step video that is posted in the “Help Desk” forum that will show you step by step and click by click how to post a picture there. Again – if you have problems, you know where to find us. We are always willing to help members enjoy the features of our forums.
A SPECIAL TREAT FOR AGATE LOVERS
Okay folks – we’re rockin’ in the New Decade with a gift from a very special rockhound with whom I have recently had the pleasure of making acquaintance. I am happy to have the pleasure of introducing you all to John Marshall of Oregon. John started his rockhounding adventures in his original territory of Minnesota at the ripe old age of 7. These are John’s words about his early years as a rockhound
Turns out one of the regions top ‘hounds, Ray Lulling ( discoverer of Silkstone ) lived a half block away. He and his sons taught me lapidary. Then, still as a young boy I met William Bingham ( discoverer of Binghamite ) who gave me further lessons in lapidary…..all this between the ages of seven and about twelve. So I learned to love it early.I’m in Oregon for the ocean, mountains, smell of the air, and Crater Lake…among other things. My heart still resides partly where I was raised in Minnesota.
Why meeting John might be a little exciting for us all (besides the fact that he’s a pretty kewl rockhound) is that he has created one heck of a masterpiece book about Lake Superior agates. This news is extremely exciting because John has cordially allowed RHS1 the privilege posting his book here for you to download free of charge in a pdf. When you see this masterpiece, you will be just boggled that he is actually giving it away. To me, that’s pretty exciting – and just downright neighborly, to say the least.
This is what John has to say about the creation of his book.
It began in the mind of a child. By age sixteen I’d had an article about agate formation published in the Lapidary Journal and never stopped reading and wondering about the topic. It was largely written 15-20 years prior to the first edition being published. But….I waited for the technology to catch up to actually put it down on paper ( uh, in a file ). Having spent my career in high tech I was wanted to do things ( with the book ) that I could not do yet digitally. I wanted an all digital product. So I had to wait for digital cameras and reproduction to reach the right point. The book was one of the first in the genre done all digital.
Having met with a bit of confusion about what he actually does in the rockhound community since the publishing of his book, John also has this to say about his participation.
I always enjoy trying to identify agates for people. I’ve seen some crazy specimens. Email, high res photos etc make this much faster and easy. It’s probably worth mentioning that I don’t sell agates. I also don’t do polishing for others. People ask both these questions now that the book is more widespread via the Internet. I do occasionally buy agates and the general rule of thumb for what I’m looking for is “the stranger the better”. Many times I buy agates no other collector even wants.
The pictures you are seeing are from the front and back covers of John’s book. For technical reasons, he has had to put them in a separate file, so you will need to download these, too, if you would like them to keep. We have reproduced the inside front cover below to give you the introduction to Lake Superior agates in case you are not familiar with them. You will Most definitely want these cover pages.
(This book is temporarily unavailable, Please email to webmaster – At – rockhoundstation1.com to reserve a copy)
I want to thank you so much for this gift to the rockhound community. There is no doubt in my mind it will be appreciated and treasured by many. The amount of effort you took to bring this to us is apparent on every page of this work and your pictures are absolutely incredible. It is my hope that you will join me with some of the other RHS1 members this summer on a hunt for some of the spectacular treasures the West has to offer. So much to find…..so little time!
‘Black Swan’ Case to Move to Appeals Court Judge Rules Recovered Coins to Remain in Odyssey Custody through Appeal
Tampa, FL – December 23, 2009 –
Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NasdaqCM: OMEX), has received notification from the U.S. District Judge that he has adopted the Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation in the “Black Swan” case in favor of Spain. Although the Judge complimented Magistrate Pizzo’s Report and Recommendation, he also made it clear that he felt a separate opinion by him would “add only length and neither depth nor clarity (and certainly not finality) to this dispute.” The Judge also stayed the order vacating the arrest warrant and the return of the recovered coins to Spain until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit rules in the case, which serves to keep the coins in Odyssey’s possession pending the outcome of the case.
“Judge Merryday’s ruling serves to move this case to the appellate court faster, where we feel confident that the legal issues are clearly in our favor. The ruling yesterday does not affect the current operations of Odyssey, and we have not been counting on any revenue from the “Black Swan” in any of our budgets since it was clear that this case would go to appeal no matter which way the judge ruled,” said Greg Stemm, Odyssey CEO. “We are moving ahead with our other current projects – and it is important for people to understand that the vast majority of our shipwreck projects don’t have the same potential legal issues that have surfaced in the “Black Swan” case. Our focus for 2010 is on projects that are either under specific permits with governments or commercial vessels. We take heart from cases like the shipwreck of the Atocha, which seemed lost at the district court level but was won during the appeals process, granting the salvor the majority of the coins and artifacts from that shipwreck. The Central America shipwreck case was also reversed on appeal and the salvor’s position in the case of the RMS Titanic was substantially vindicated by the Fourth Circuit court of appeals in 2006, so the three most famous shipwreck cases to date were reversed on appeal. I believe that this shows that it is not unusual for district courts to miss key legal principles in shipwreck cases because of their complex admiralty issues. ”
“We do not believe the Magistrate applied the correct legal analysis to the discussion of commercial activity, so we look forward to presenting our case that even if the coins recovered were once part of the cargo of the Mercedes, that ship was not entitled to the sovereign immunity enjoyed by warships on strictly military service under U.S. law and policy as well as under applicable international law. The Mercedes was serving a well-documented commercial – not military – purpose when she sank. More than 70% of the coin cargo aboard never belonged to Spain. Private individuals and merchants paid a freight charge to have their private property transported. Some of the descendants of these people have entered into this case to voice their claims. The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act only applies to sovereign governments and their property and has been misapplied by this court,” said Melinda MacConnel, Odyssey Vice President and General Counsel. “We will file our notice of appeal with the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Florida and Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals within the required time and look forward to presenting our case in that forum.”
For more information about Odyssey’s legal arguments in the case, please review Odyssey’s legal filings available here: http://www.shipwreck.net/blackswanlegal.php
About Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.
Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NasdaqCM: OMEX) is engaged in the exploration of deep-ocean shipwrecks and uses innovative methods and state-of-the-art technology to conduct extensive 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 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.” In February 2009, Odyssey announced the discovery of Balchin’s HMS Victory. The Company also has other 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, television, merchandise, and educational programs.
Odyssey’s operations are the subject of a Discovery Channel television series titled “Treasure Quest,” which is produced by JWM Productions. The 12-episode first season aired in the US and the UK in early 2009 and is scheduled to air worldwide throughout 2009. Production on a second season is underway.
Following previous successful engagements in New Orleans, Tampa, Detroit, and Oklahoma City, Odyssey’s SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure is currently on exhibit at Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC. Additional information is available at www.discoveryplace.org.
For details on the Company’s activities and its commitment to the preservation of maritime heritage please visit www.shipwreck.net.
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
WOMEN ARE SOLID GOLD IN HUMAN METAL HISTORY
When we look back into the distant past and wonder about when humans started using metals, it might be more correct for us to wonder about when WOMEN started using metals.
Recent Archaeological investigations have turned up a rather startling discovery that ancient society existed in Europe in the area that is now Bulgaria, Romania, and Moldova along the Danube river. The ancient European culture appears to date back to 5000 BC and was already a sophisticated society by the advent of the more well known ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian culture. The society apparently was one in which females were empowered and goddess worship proliferated. That finding did nothing to diminish the surprise of the later discovery that women, not men, can be attributed credit for the beginning of the Copper Age.
The use of metal started with the craft of making of pottery, which was the craft of the women in the society. In the course of making the elaborately designed pottery women also experimented with elements that they could use to color their crafts. Ground up blue and green stones ending up in the kilns produced puddles of copper in the bottom of the kilns. The discovery of these puddles led to copper smelting in its own right and to the crafting of axes, jewelry, and other items of practicality and bling. The discovery also led to experimentation with, and the use of other metals shortly after.
In the gold rush of the 1800’s women again took a vital role in metal industry. Gold was becoming expensive to produce and much of the smaller particles were lost during processing. One miner’s wife, Mrs. C.J. Everson of Empire, Colorado made her fortune, and that of many men behind her, when she discovered and patented a new means of concentrating metals by pouring pulverized ore in a solution of water and an oily substance and agitating it. The new method of concentrating allowed many local mines to double and triple their production of gold and silver.
It appears that in the history of human use and production of metals that women have been the leaders in social development. In more common terms, you could say that they have been shown to be “solid gold”.
LETTERS FROM READERS:
URAL MOUNTAINS ALEXANDRITE
This month I am featuring a note I received from Marie, in France.
I was wondering… how can i get a chunk of raw alexandrite (preferably from the Siberian mines) without being ripped off? Non-gem alexandrite from India, Brazil, Srilanka, Madagascar or even Myanmar are fairly easy to find but Siberian alexandrite seems difficult to come by.
This is really a great question, Marie. First off, I would like to explain, for those reading who have never seen one of these exquisite gemstones, that alexandrite is a rare form of chrysoberyl which changes colors in different lighting. It may be a beautiful green in daylight, but a wonderful raspberry under incandescent lighting, but I will say more about color later.
Natural alexandrite from any source is not an easy find. Alexandrite is actually a rare type of chrysoberyl, which in itself is a rare mineral. When you consider that alexandrite is a rare occurrence of a rare mineral species, you can start to understand why it is so hard to find in its natural form. It is not a gemstone that is found on the mass market. It’s price, which can run thousands of dollars for even a small raw piece of stone, is also prohibitive to the average gemstone buyer. Most of these stones that do find their way into the marketplace are snatched up very quickly. For a long time the Ural Mountains were the only source for these gemstones. While a few other locations, which you mentioned in your question, Marie, have eventually been added, there are still only a few locations known worldwide for this gemstone. The value of the stone has not decreased at all since the few new locations have been added. It is still a very rare and very coveted stone.
Alexandrite stones of over one carat are extremely rare. A stone of two or more carats can actually sell for between $500,000 and $1,000,000! Quality stones of over a carat can run $10,000 per carat. A piece of non-gem quality raw can be purchased fairly cheaply, but once a stone is classified as gem quality, be ready to see a very impressive price tag attached to that gorgeous stone.
While clarity is the most important feature of most gemstones, color change is the most important feature of an alexandrite. The more the color change the better the stone. Any grey or brownish effect in color change will lessen its value. Color change will be expressed from between 30 and 100% – 100% being the most valuable. Some will argue that 30% doesn’t qualify as real alexandrite. . The change in a high % color change stone is most often a bluish-green to a purplish-red. The closer a stone is to true green in daylight and more it changes to true red, the more valuable the stone. The clarity of the alexandrite will tend to be similar to that of a fine ruby, although some with a more silky appearance will be cut into cat’s eye cabochons rather than faceted. The cabochons will also be valued according to their color change.
Because of its scarcity and it’s astronomical costs, it is vital that one knows what they are getting when purchasing such a treasure. There are many ways to fool a buyer who is not on their toes, too. Sometimes look-alike stones are passed off to the unwary buyer. Color change garnets or sapphires often make their way into the collections of inexperienced buyers. Some dealers may dye a stone making it appear more valuable than it actually is. The most frequent ruse is the synthetic alexandrite, however, which can be passed off to unsuspecting buyers fairly easily. While it is illegal to sell a synthetic stone as a natural one, it is far from an unusual occurrence. Many of the stones coming from Turkey are actually synthetic, yet, despite laws against the practice, there is no shortage of dealers who do not come forward with the information that the stones are synthetic.
While the synthetic stones will look clear, they do have inclusions in them, and they are of a different form from those of natural stones. These inclusions often can only be seen under magnification. Natural stones often have silky patches in them that are good indicators that the stones are natural. Even these rutile silk patches are not a 100% surety any more as some synthetic stones were produced in Japan that had these inclusions.
All in all, unless you are willing to take the pains of some in depth learning about alexandrite and the varied inclusions of real and synthetic stones and are comfortable with that knowledge when picking out a specimen the best suggestion I can make is that you should never buy the stone without a verifiable certificate of authenticity from a credible appraiser and a written agreement that the finalization of the sale is dependent upon independent appraisal of the stone.
The certificate is another factor of which you should be wary. Do not accept a certificate from the dealer themselves. It must be from a verifiable appraiser. Even then, you need to follow through with verifying the certificate. It does not take much creativity or skill for a sly dealer to make and laminate a certificate themselves. It is always a good idea to have any stone of which you are not able to accurately judge the authenticity appraised by a reputable appraiser.
I hope that answers your questions, Marie. I also hope you are successful in finding a stone that delights you each time you see it, no matter what light you see it in.
EARTHQUAKE WATCH TO CONTINUE IN FULL FORCE IN 2010
RHS1, as of January 1st begins another year of full scale Earthquake Watch. We will be recording ALL quakes globally which register in as magnitude 5.0 and over, the day, and location of the quake.
We will also be recording the depth in Kilometers. The depth can make a big difference whether the quake is felt by those on top or not. If you have a 5.0 quake at less than a kilometer deep, you are looking at one strong shaker. A mag 7 quake at 550 km might and might not even be felt by those sitting right on top of it.
About EARTHQUAKE WATCH
We started Earthquake watch in the first months of 2006 in reaction to the December 2005 event of Chandler’s Wobble standing still. This had never happened before and many predictions were cast about what this event might precede. More and more stronger quakes was a prevalent prediction. SO we tracked. There were indeed more very strong quakes.
In 2009, after a full three year report on the results of our tracking some idiot hacked down our php system and we stopped tracking — and started looking for ways to rebuild and renew what was torn to ribbons. In the later part of the year with the forum and photo gallery back online, I took a few looks at what had been taking place in our absence. Nothing real new and different has gone on from the last three years other than what you will find already mentioned in the new Earthquake Watch forum. I will give a small report on 2009 Earthquakes in a week or two, though, so stay tuned for that.
Now here we are in 2010 and many scientists, despite our politicians wishes, are dumping political restraints and coming out of the closet that we are going into cooling. Some will still try to get out the taxable idea that cooling is a result of warming……uh…….whatever. Right now we have a major indicator of cooling – our politicians have even dropped the word “warming” and are now concentrating on how to tax climate “change” instead.
The facts right now are that there are many things going on that will create cooling. Our earth has always gone through cycles of warm and cool. The last 100 years was a very warm cycle – but far from the first of its kind. How factors work together to produce cooling is just now being understood. The sun’s radiation, the tilt of the planet, wind patterns, water patterns – you name it. Our planet is extremely synergistic and to pull one factor out of the mix to point to is like pulling a chapter out of a good book to read to get the whole story. Anyway – I’m not here right now to talk about climate other than in one sense.
It was thought here and there throughout the scientific community that warming meant more earthquakes. It was warm and we had elevated numbers of them. Now it’s getting colder. This year (and probably throughout others subsequently) we will be tracking to find out if the number of quakes continues at a high level or if they actually do subside as the planet cools again.
We will be listing the quakes here around twice a week in the Earthquake Watch forum. I have no set schedule to post as this is not my full time job and other priorities sometimes take precedence on any given day, but you will find the listings there weekly so if the new one isn’t up when you look for it, come back in a day or two and you will find it.
Also for you newcomers, or for the old members who missed it in the chaos of our php system crash, Dave has posted the 3 Year Earthquake Report at the top of the Earth Watch forum for you, so you can catch up with what’s been shaking on planet earth over the last several years.
WORLD FOOD REPORT:
It seems that the recent wet is having major wonderful effects, in general on the world crop situation. There are a few places such as In the Philippines and Eastern Argentina where minor flooding of croplands has occurred, and a few other areas where drier than normal conditions persist such as in the US Southern Plains, Iraq, and Turkey. Lack of protective snow cover in many areas has driven many winter crops dormant, as well. Areas affected are FSU – Western, Western Iraq, Central Turkey. In November an early hard freeze affected crops in Eastern Asia, but a later snow brought protective cover. While in some areas the weather has been playing havoc with harvest and winter crops, in other areas the moisture has been beneficial and promises good yields yet to come.
HIMALAYAS GLACIER MELT – NO PROBLEM?
It seems that scientists studying the glaciers in the Himalayas do not agree with the “official” claims of the dangers of melting according to a paper released by the government there.
The rate of glacial thaw has actually slowed down over the last decades according to the paper which includes compiled data that was collected the Geological Survey of India and observations from academic institutions. Other data given has included satellite images and field trips to the Gangotri glacer from geologist Anjani tangri of Utlar Pradesh Remote Sensing Applications Center and from Rdjinder Ganjoo, a geologist at the University of Jammu who visited the Siachen glacier to find a 60 cm rate of snow retreat rather than the 7.5 m that was reported by others involved with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN task force which reviews research on warming. This panel had reported the disappearance of these glaciers by the year 2035.
Rameshwar Bali, Associate Professor of Geology, University of Lucknow, has called the UN forecasts “nonsense” and “organized propaganda by climate change activists”. According to the research included in the Government paper, the rate of the retreat of the Pindari glacier has slowed by 14 m – from it’s 20 /year between 1906 and 1958 to a mere 6m/year since 1966.
While the Glaciers are receding none of the scientists who actually are involved with studying and charting the glaciers find the rate of recession alarming and feel there are no indications whatsoever that these glaciers are going to be disappearing any time in the near future.
Scientists in Zurich have discovered recently that the Swiss glaciers were melting faster in the 1940’s than they are today, as well. This phenomena is being studied because it was actually colder during the 40’s than it has been in the last two decades.
Reasons for glacial melt is now quite a hot topic for scientists who are now looking into factors such as solar radiation levels, amount of snow precipitation, and even rock fall as being relevant in the increase or melting of glaciers.
Wave of frigid air over Europe and Russia from the Arctic
THE BIG FREEZE
A wave of frigid air spilled down over Europe and Russia from the Arctic in mid-December, creating a deadly cold snap. According to BBC.com, at least 90 people had died in Europe, including 79 people, mostly homeless, in Poland. In places, the bitter cold was accompanied by heavy snow, which halted rail and air traffic for several days during the week of Christmas.
This image shows the impact of the cold snap on land surface temperatures across the region from December 11-18, 2009, compared to the 2000-2008 average. The measurements were made by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. Places where temperatures were up to 20 degrees Celsius below average are blue, locations where temperatures were average are cream-colored, and places where temperatures were above average are red. Light gray patches show where clouds were so persistent during the week that MODIS could not make measurements of the land surface temperature. The biggest anomalies were in northern Russia, but a swath of below-average temperatures stretched across the countries around the Baltic Sea as well.
“Good Morning” Florida:
Sally Taylor… RHS1 Earthwatch.
Image and info credits for this edition:
Wikipedia: Odyssey Marine Exploration: John Marshall :
Rock Hound Station 1
Global Rockhound Community
Rock Hound Station 1
Global Rockhound Community