RHS1 Connector – July 2007

RHS1 Connector – July 2007

In this issue...TREASURE HUNTING… The “Black Swan”… THOM’S COLUMN… Rockhound Recipes and Tips… FEATURE ARTICLE… The Fight for Rights… FEATURE ARTICLE… Meet the members… TRAVEL… France… EARTHQUAKE WATCH… New information —RHS1 News.

A Wolly Mammoth.
image source: wikipedia


Durable Art: Figurines carved from Mammoth Ivory
Will Last 35, 000 Years or More.

The world’s oldest figurines carved from Mammoth Ivory known to exist at this time were found at Vogelherd Cave on the Swabian Jura Plateau in Southwest Germany. The figurines have been finely handcrafted, suggesting the early humans were advanced artisans. The recently discovered figurines have been dated to be approximately 35,000 years. One of the figurines is a well preserved Mammoth, 3.7 cm long and 7.5 grams in weight, another is a lion which is 5.6 cm long.

These datings of the figurines concur with, and the artifacts are atributted to, the Aurignacian culture which is thought to have been some of first modern humans in Europe. The many artifacts and cave paintings of this culture to have been found have been dated between 34,000 and 23,000 BP (before present). These figurine findings push that date back a thousand years or more. They just don’t make em like that any more!

These incredible works of prehistoric art will be on display at the Museum of Prehistory in Blaubeuren starting June 24, 2007 thru January 13, 2008.


The battle between the Florida based treasure recovery company Odyssey Marine Exploration and the Spanish Government seems to be becoming deeper than the shipwreck itself.

The wreck, which has been code named “black swan” by the finding company, has reaped coins and artifacts totaling at least 5 million dollars. It was found during what Odyssey purports was a legally permitted hunt for a British war ship. The identity of the ship they actually found has either not yet been determined or has just not been disclosed, and the location of the wreck has not been revealed by Odyssey yet. Odyssey has shipped treasure from the wreck (over 500,000 silver coins, hundreds of gold coins, and artifacts) back to America and claims that the wreck is not in Spanish waters and is not sovereign to Spain. Spain claims it is and claims other rights of ownership.

In September Odyssey filed a claim in US courts regarding a wreck discovered at Land’s End in the Gibraltar area. This wreck is believed by some to be the Merchant Royal, which is not a sovereign Spanish ship. The Spanish government thinks that the wreck may be that of the Mercedes which was a warship and would be sovereign, entitling Spain to the treasure. It would also enable them to stiff the finders out of every red cent they spent finding the wreck and salvaging the treasure. While non-sovereign treasures can be claimed by governments, payment to the finders for these booties is usually upward to 90%.


Odyssey co-founder Greg Stemm and Project Manager Tom Dettweiler examine a coin recovered from the “Black Swan” shipwreck by Odyssey Marine Exploration


Odyssey co-founder Greg Stemm and Project Manager Tom Dettweiler inspect
coins recovered from the “Black Swan” shipwreck by the Odyssey Marine Exploration team.

credit: Aladar Nesser/Odyssey Marine Exploration
Copyright 2007 Odyssey Marine Exploration

The Spanish government, who has severed communications with Odyssey and called for the arrest of the two ships involved in the hunt before even establishing whether they have legitimate claim to the find, may not be so willing to pay anything for the salvaged goods regardless of the fact they may have never been found otherwise.

Odyssey, on the other hand, has not made things easy for themselves, thus far refusing to identify the location of the treasure, which they state they have kept silent about for security purposes. Pictures they have taken of the coins have also raised questions about the date of the coins coinciding correctly with those of the Merchant Royal. Being that as it may, no formal statement has been forthcoming on the true identity of this wreck. They have, however, disclosed that the presence of their ships in the Gibraltar area was due to actions subject to a nondisclosure agreement involving their part in a promotion by Volvo for a Disney film and this as the reason for Spain’s confusion about the wreck possibly being found in their waters.


Odyssey co-founder Greg Stemm and Project Manager Tom Dettweiler examine a coin recovered from the “Black Swan” shipwreck by Odyssey Marine Exploration


Ground crew unloads more than 17 tons of silver coins recovered
from the “Black Swan” shipwreck by Odyssey Marine Exploration

credit: Jonathan Blair/Odyssey Marine Exploration
Copyright 2007 Odyssey Marine Exploration

Being that Spanish government has had lawyers motioning US courts to demand information about the identity, contents, and whereabouts of the wreck, it seems that answers to this most bizarre and intriguing mystery will be forthcoming. One other interesting note that may keep the buzz on this treasure echoing for some time even after legal issues have been decided and put to rest is the discovery that John Edwards, Democratic presidential candidate nominee, is a major investor in Fortress Investments which owns a 10% share in Odyssey. The Spanish claims may not be too good for Fortress Investment’s share prices which jumped 81% in reaction to Odyssey’s discovery.

Whether Spain will continue to attempt to stake claim to this treasure if the wreck is found to actually be that of the Merchant Royal is also a question. While that ship and cargo do not fall under sovereign status, the origins are thought to be Spanish. From what we discovered and reported in our July 6th, 2006 issue, Odyssey is not the first salvage company to have had less than cooperative dealings with the Spanish government.

In the link below is a letter to Deep Blue Marine in regards to their plans to search for vessels of Spanish origin well outside of Spanish waters, and many of which were thought to have carried treasures stolen from the Americas in the first place. Below the letter is a copy of Maritime law.

LINK…www.rockhoundstation1.com…Maritime Law

We will leave you to decide for yourself how closely Spain follows policy when making demands. We will have to wait with the rest of the world to find the true location and identity of this shipwreck and who is rewarded with what rights to the treasure and the wreck itself. Either way that the story ends, it will serve proof that Pirates are alive and well in the year 2007.

Sally Taylor…RHS1.

Odyssey Marine Exploration…Last press release.


World’s Largest Historical Shipwreck Coin Recovery Produces Record 17 Tons of Silver Currency

Tampa, FL — May 18, 2007 — Odyssey Marine Exploration (AMEX: OMR), the world’s leader in the field of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration announced today that it has completed the pre-disturbance archaeological survey and preliminary excavation of a Colonial period shipwreck site code-named “Black Swan” in an undisclosed location in the Atlantic Ocean.

The artifacts recovered from the site include over 500,000 silver coins weighing more than 17 tons, hundreds of gold coins, worked gold, and other artifacts. All recovered items have been legally imported into the Unites States and placed in a secure, undisclosed location where they are undergoing conservation and documentation.

It is believed that this recovery constitutes the largest collection of coins ever excavated from a historical shipwreck site. They were recovered in conformity with Salvage Law and the Law of the Sea Convention, beyond the territorial waters or legal jurisdiction of any country. The Company does not believe that the recovery is subject to sovereign immunity by any nation pursuant to the Law of the Sea Convention.

The work accomplished to date on this site has diligently followed archaeological protocols using advanced robotic technology, and the artifacts are now undergoing a meticulous conservation process by some of the world’s most experienced coin conservators.

The Company is not prepared to disclose the possible identity of the shipwreck at this time, and may only do so after thoroughly examining the artifacts, analyzing the research and proving the identity, if possible, of the shipwreck.

“Our research suggests that there were a number of Colonial period shipwrecks that were lost in the area where this site is located, so we are being very cautious about speculating as to the possible identity of the shipwreck”, said John Morris, Odyssey Co-founder and CEO. “Nevertheless, we have treated this site with kid gloves and the archaeological work done by our team out there is unsurpassed. We are thoroughly documenting and recording the site, which we believe will have immense historical significance.”

“The remarkable condition of most of the first 6,000 silver coins conserved has been a pleasant surprise, and the gold coins are almost all dazzling mint state specimens.” said Greg Stemm, Odyssey’s Co-founder. “We are excited by the wide range of dates, origins and varieties of the coins, and we believe that the collecting community will be thrilled when they see the quality and diversity of the collection.” The excavation of this site follows Odyssey’s successful excavation of the SS Republic┬«, a shipwreck lost in 1865 off the US coast. The deep ocean robotic archaeological excavation of that site produced approximately 65,000 artifacts, including over 50,000 coins with a retail value of over $75 million.

The company is continuing operations on several other projects with its ships and ROV systems, and is currently awaiting the appointment of Spanish archaeologists following an arrangement with the Spanish Government and the Junta of Andalucia prior to resuming operations on the Sussex project pursuant to an agreement with the UK Government.

For security reasons, as with the “Black Swan” project, the company may only announce the results of the other current projects after completion of the excavations or delivery of the artifacts to a safe location.

About Odyssey Marine Exploration

Odyssey Marine Exploration is a Publicly Traded US Company with several shipwreck projects in various stages of development throughout the world. Additional information about Odyssey, the “Black Swan” project, and the Company’s other activities is available at shipwreck.net.

For additional information, please contact Natja Igney, Odyssey’s Manager of Corporate Communications, at 813-876-1776 ext 2553.

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.

Copyright, 1998 – 2007, Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc., Tampa, FL 33679-2057, USA – All Rights Reserved



This month RHS1 members Claudia and Ricardo Birnie are sharing a short video they have taken to show the parallax effect in a Patagonian agate. Parallax effect is when something close seems to change it’s position relative to something further away when you look at from another angle. In this video you can see how the deeper patterns of the stone seem to change placement within the stone under the surface as it is moved. Enjoy your close up of one of their spectacular Patagonian agates.


Thanks To Claudia and Ricardo “Agates from Argentina” for sharing!

Click Here to visit Claudia and Ricardo’s website




A Friendly Warning


A “friendly warning”.


The days of the average citizen being able to go out and collect fossils and artifacts at will are long gone. In the past, amateur hunters, commercial hunters, and scholarly organizations shared equal rights to find and to keep fossils and artifacts. Abuses of this freedom led to much debate and subsequent legislation pertaining to collection of items that had significant scientific value.

Unfortunately, legislation is now favoring special interest groups and education institutions who seem to feel that a position in academia gives them exclusive right of ownership to anything lying on, in, or under the ground and waterways. The idea that the word “public” means owned by the public has been lost.

While many justifiable reasons exist for legislating hunting for artifacts and fossils, many laws are just going too far overboard. No individual or group can view their hobby as safe from legislations which go too far even in light of no scientific benefit coming from such legislation.

The following excerpts are from “A Call for a Return to Fair and Balanced Preservation Laws” by The Avocational Archaeology and Paleontology Council, Inc.. You will find their website address below and can view the entire page there.

I have chosen these particular excerpts as I feel they outline the true nature of the issue we are all now facing and feel they should serve as an eye opening warning to rockhounds everywhere. I am hoping that these excerpts will spur you to read their whole page – and then react accordingly.

Do not think that because you do not live in Florida that this is not a concern for you. All rockhounds need to act by sending information to their own legislation before the same travesty is committed in other areas as well. We are all well familiar how legislations of this nature slowly creep from one location to the next and become all-encompassing law when not halted from the start.

I have also included a link for you under the link to the AAPC website where you can find how to contact your local legislations and tell them how you feel about what Florida is doing and about further restricted hunting rights or offer ideas you may have for policies that will allow all groups and individuals to benefit from and to enjoy and participate in the discovery of the scientific wealth of our lands.

EXCERPT 1 – A Call for a Return to Fair and Balanced Preservation Laws!

The Avocational Archaeology and Paleontology Council, Inc. (AAPC) was formed by 153 Isolated Finds Policy participants for the purpose of representing stakeholders interested in the development and administration of fair and balanced public preservation laws and policies. Specifically, the AAPC supports reinstatement of the Isolated Finds Policy, which provided a method for the general public to recover and report isolated cultural objects encountered while recreational diving in Florida Rivers. (F.S. 267.115(9)

State Parks, National Parks and designated archaeological management areas are specifically set aside for comprehensive preservation management by the state. However, the Division of Historical Resources has now declared eminent domain over all public submerged lands by abolishing the Isolated Finds Policy to “protect” what, until recently, were considered by the Bureau of Archaeological Research as non-contextual cultural objects. This is disproportionate with any practical preservation goal and poor public policy.

Florida Statute 267 (Historical Resources) has been so flagrantly corrupted from its original intent to serve the public interest that it now serves only a select group of state bureaucrats and networked academic institutions and their related special interest organizations. In fact, it is so over-reaching as to place all of Florida citizens and visiting tourists in jeopardy of unknowingly committing criminal acts.

Any man, woman or child who now disturbs or removes an arrowhead or broken pottery fragment lying on the surface of a river bank or river bottom is subject to arrest and prosecution.

EXCERPT 2 – A Call for a Return to Fair and Balanced Preservation Laws!

By rubber-stamping the Florida Historical Commission’s (FHC) recommendation to abolish the Isolated Finds Policy and by callously refusing to consider a codified program, the Division of Historical Resources is robbing the public and the academic community of the scientific data that the IFP generated. It is also preventing the regulated preservation of at-risk cultural objects in cooperation with the state by responsible participants. Yet, the state routinely issues contracts for dredging operations to remove sediments that contain cultural objects, such as the Florida Wildlife Commission’s Battle Bend Project (FWC Document 00021) recently completed on the Apalachicola River.

That project alone removed an estimated 64,000 cubic yards of sediments which were transported by barge and then trucked 23 miles to be used as fill dirt. This project was sanctioned by the Division of Historical Resources in spite of the fact that the Apalachicola River is well known among professional and avocational researchers as being rich in cultural objects due to its continuous subjection to high energy, erosive flooding events.

The FHC’s stated justification for IFP abolishment was poor reporting by the participants. In fact, a public records request made by the AAPC reveals that 1,054 Isolated Finds Reports were filed during the policy’s active period by 153 participants, several of which were professional archaeologists. Those reports collectively added data to the archaeological record on 10,135 cultural items and, of course, allowed them to be privately preserved and curated for future enjoyment and study. Not a single IFP reported artifact was considered essential by the Bureau over the 9 year period it was active. Therefore ownership of the recovered objects was officially transferred to the individuals who reported them.

I’m sure you have found the above information interesting. You will find the website equally so. It holds some valuable clues about funding, special interest groups, and legislation. Once you are done reading, click on the link below to find out how to contact your own legislators. Remember it is much easier for your legislators if they understand your side of the issues, opinions, and possible solutions BEFORE they are faced with special interests quests for restrictive laws. It also keeps them honest and less likely to seek legislation that can be taken as gross conflict of interest or self-enrichment opportunism, and serves no purpose other than to restrict the freedoms of the people.

RHS1 Members News

I am humbly saddened to report the death of member Ed Benjamin “Editor Ed”. Ed served 20 years as the Editor of the Arrowhead News of the Indian Mounds Rock and Mineral Club and was a several time award winner as a bulletin editor for the Federation. He has touched and taught many through his work, contributions, and play as a rockhound and lapidary artist and will be missed by all whose lives he touched.

We send our prayers and respects to his family and friends.



“Camping In A Food Store “

I was visiting a friends garden the other day. He had about 6 incense sticks burning in different places around where he was weeding. When I asked about them, he told me about a visit he made to a Vietnam village back in the late 60’s. He said every where you looked there was incense burning. He asked one of the villager’s if it was for their religion. The villager looked at him funny and said, “naw, it keeps the bugs away”.

So anyways, I have been thinking all month on what I wanted to write about and had many ideas that just didn’t seem right. Then I got to thinking about the camping I did back in the 80’s.

Besides from my sleeping bag, tent, and cloths, I only brought cooking gear, instant coffee, sugar, creamora, and salt and pepper. I also carried my fishing pole, knife, and emergency c rations. All that I ate I either gathered or fished for.

I almost always went to 13th lake in the Adirondacks of upstate New York. The lake was filled with Landlocked Salmon and Brook Trout. Depending on the season I would also have Morel Mushrooms, wild Strawberries, Cattail root, roasted chicory root, blueberries, red raspberries, Puff Ball Mushrooms, and in the fall Hen of the Woods Mushrooms. A few times I was able to catch enough crawdads for a nice little meal.

Now I don’t know where you are or what is edible where you go. What I am saying is that it doesn’t hurt to learn whats is edible where you are and how to identify it and prepare it.

Carry a couple of pocket guides with you, that is a mandatory if you plan on eating any type of wild mushroom. The golden rule with mushrooms is, if you aren’t 100% sure what it is, don’t eat it. Get in the habit of looking for wild edibles when you’re hiking or going to your place to dig. Not only can you lessen the amount of supplies you have to bring in, but if you are ever lost or need to extend your stay you will at least know if you will have enough to eat.

Oh and before I forget. Happy Independence Day to all ya’ll in the U.S. and Happy 4th of July to the rest of the world.

About Thom…

Thom Meyer is a retired professional chef who has a degree in Culinary Arts – Also an avid camper and most importantly a person who likes to eat. Lately he has been involved in marketing and building websites when not using WordPress for them, a process of which in some circles he is considered an authority. Among his many websites that he maintains are www.recipes-4-all.com and www.wp-revealed.com

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


Rockhounding in France

Satellite image of France. Country borders in yellow.
Image credit: Google Earth.
Vineyards. Sun washed beaches. Awe striking ancient history, art, and architecture. Sensuous cuisines. Life loving people. And rocks. Quartz crystals, amethyst, opal, topaz, gold, fossils, and the list goes on. That’s right, rockhounds if you thought you had to give up your favorite pass time in order to enjoy some of the splendors that France has to offer, you have been sorely mistaken. Culture and history are not the only wealth to be found in this geological paradise.

Locations inFrance.
For the gold prospector, the rivers of the Cevennes and in Ariege in the South are rich with nuggets and gold dust. Panning the waters can be rewarding, but don’t ignore the rock bars which produce fine small nuggets as well. While not as productive as these areas in the south, areas such as Brittany, Limousin, the Rhine, and Auvergne also can prove rewarding to both the casual and the motivated prospector. The Alps also offer fine areas for prospecting enjoyment. It seems that for the gold prospector, the smart thing is to make sure you have access to your pan wherever you go in France. Gold isn’t all that glitters in France, however.

River Gold
For the rock and gem hunter, France holds a vast array of materials to suit all tastes and interests. The areas of Realmont, Tarn, Vigne, Frejus, the hills of Esterele, and throughout the Midi-Pyrenees produce beautiful agates and thundereggs. A wide assortment of crystals and minerals can be sifted from the many mine dumps scattered throughout this part of the country, such as those in the Languedoc-Roussillon region where a broad assortment of crystals, minerals, and metal specimens can be won. In the Puy-de-Dome volcanic area In the Chaine des Puys, in South Central France, hunters can find amethysts, hematite, Augite among others.

In Central France in the Montebras area hunters can delight in finds of Montebrasite, which, named for this locality, is a unique clear crystal – a very striking find for those seeking something a bit unique. Better known minerals such as chalcedony, topaz, beryl, quartz, garnets, wavellite, turquoise, and tourmaline also can be won in this area.

In the Brittany (Bretagne) area, Cotes d’Armor, Finestere, Morbihan, and Ille Il Valaine are just a few of the mineral bearing areas of the region which are described as sites where everyone can find something with a little search and effort. This region boasts 68 minerals waiting to be discovered by the fortunate hunter. Some sites in these areas are on private property, though, so be sure you have persmission before wandering on to someone’s private land.

The Alps are a source of many pleasures for any traveler, gemstones being the just the icing on a rich and flavorful cake. In the areas of Alpe d`Huez, NE Bourg d`Oisans you may hunt quartz, rutile, barite, galena, and cerussite and in the Saint-Christophe-en-Oisans district beryl, calcite, quartz, monazite, hematite, stilbite, rutile, and albite will keep hunters well occupied. In the Trimouns Talc deposit – 6 km NE of Luzenac near the German Border Range, 50 minerals including almandine, quartz and smokey quartz, dolomite, epidote, and malachite provide diggers unmatched entertainment, reward, and scenery.

Fossil hunters also have bountiful possibilities of fulfillment in this diverse natural playground. In Northern France the seaside cliffs and lands of Ault, Mers, and Arromanches hold treasures of bivalves, brachiopods, and sea urchins. Those collecting from the seaside cliffs should be fair warned that it is a good idea to wear a hard hat while working the cliffs as birds can loosen rocks above and send them falling. Being hit on the noggin with a fossilized sea urchin is not the best way to discover it.

In the areas of Gisors and Bekken van Prarijs fish and reptile remains can be discovered, while in Pontlevoy and Pauvrelay, quarries of gastropods, bivalves, bryozoa, sharks teeth, ray teeth, sponges and petrified wood abound. In Doue la Fontain produces mammal, fish, and petrified wood are also a favorite catch. A bit further south in the La Bourboule region insect and leaf fossils are plentiful. Also in the South from Borreze, Caronol, to Digne-les-Bains, a proffusion of fossil species can be found in many locations Plant fossils can be found North of Barles, and North of Dign on the road to Barles you will find the Dalles aux Ammonites, which is probably self explanatory for hunting possibilities.

While all of these wide range of treasures are just a tip of the many places and types of collecting available to the traveler in France, they serve as a reminder that you may need to book extra time for your visit to this bountiful country. Weather can be adverse at times even in summer, especially in mountainous areas so pack your wardrobe accordingly. Don’t forget to take some special clothes for browsing the towns as well as the countryside as you won’t want to miss the ancient buildings, museums, and the heavenly cafes and restaurants along the way. Make sure you have permission to go onto private property and do visit local authorities to make sure that your hunt is a legal one. Remember that you might be subject to export laws and tariffs when taking your finds home, too.

A word to my American pals who plan to visit France (or any other country for that matter). Learn at least a few phrases of French before you go. The French are exceptional hosts and appreciate attempts you make to show respect by speaking their own language to them. Don’t worry about how well you can speak it it’s not a matter of skill, it’s more a matter of good manners.




This month we have some wisdom and wit from some of our members for you. If you are a rockhound you will probably just nod as you read along. There is not an answer here that rockhounds cant relate to. If you are new to the idea of rock and gem hunting and don’t understand what makes a rockhound tick, maybe after reading you will understand what keeps us doing what we do hunt rocks. Or relics. Or fossils. Or Treasure. Or gold. It can be frustrating and hard work sometimes, but we just keep right on doing it. Sometimes we get some pretty astounding rewards for it, too. Those rewards aren’t always gemstones as you are soon to find out.

This month the question that our rockhound members are answering is:


Here is what members have to say about it:

The one thing I would say that I learn from rock-hounding, is that: “Our world, its’ people, and the Universe appears formed with such variety that it is impossible (but fun) to try and grasp onto a piece of it.”

-Daniel… “Spirestar”
I grew up rockhounding with my parents. Some of my earliest memories are of trucking out through the deserts of California, Nevada, Arizona and Oregon from site to site looking for petrified wood, jasper, thundereggs, opal, turquoise and other “treasures”. A lot of the time Dad would end up making trip after trip back and forth to our pickup truck with normally very large and numerous specimens that we just couldn’t live without, whether it was “LeaveErRight” or some other really cool rock or mineral.

One of the most important things I learned back then which has stayed with me through the years is to use my eyes to “see” what is there, not just “look”. Most people “look” as they go through life, but rockhounds learn to “see” as well. There IS a vast difference. Even today, the majority of people I meet seem to be “lookers”. These are the same people that “hear” but don’t “listen”. This ability, learned though rockhounding, has helped me in my Job and in my life. The absolute beauty one can find while rockhounding is without compare. The next time you pick up a piece of petrified wood and examine it, take a moment to reflect on how long it’s been on this rock we call Earth. We are here but for a mere moment in time, geologically speaking…..amazing, isn’t it?

Luke… “OregonRockDude”

The single one most important thing that I have learned from rock hounding is the existence of an amazingly intelligent and artistic creator who designed and formed the complex and beautiful facets and features of so many varied and awe inspiring rocks, gems and mineral deposits. Rock hounding is one of the ways that the creator drew my attention to himself. The breathtaking beauty of nature, and the mind boggling complexity of this planet leaves me with no doubt of an intelligent designer behind it all.
Howard… “Herkimer”

The most important thing may be….there is still some very important valuable rock rough to be found here and there if one pays attention…..the kind that can be mined with a claim for a very good profit over the years. The second most important would be ” Don’t stand on a Rattle Snake while looking for that mine as I did once.
Wayne… “wayne petersen” aka Range Rider.

I have been rockhounding for less than a year and in that time have spent less than a handful of days actually hunting. My first experience was in NC hounding sapphires and I love the hunt but was also seeing dollar signs. Pretty quickly I learned that the $ part of the equation was pretty unrealistic. So I guess the most important thing I have learned to date is to put the financial gain part of it if not out of my mind at least stuffed in a dark corner so it can’t taint my true enjoyment of the hunt.
Gregg… “hawkeye17”

Beauty can be formed through chaotic events.
Anthony… “solartone”

The most important thing I have learned from rockhounding would be to see the world in a different light. I have a strong spiritual center and appreciate all living creatures. However, when I became interested in rocks, I was exposed to wonders of the complexities of how the world is a living organism. Each mineral, agate or fossil has in its own right a niche that completes the cycle. If one looks hard enough this cycle is repeated throughout the geological history of the planet. As with all living things, some die so that others may live and others are reborn better to adapt to new surroundings. I have come to appreciate the natural beauty of each aspect of the rock world and am left at awe with the wonder of it all.
James …”Dragon”
Now you have some of the answers to questions you might have about what keeps us doing what we do from the mouth of both professionals and beginners. For a final word (it’s nice to own the site because you always get the final word), I’d like to add my two cents. While I have seen, experienced and learned all of the above, as all rockhounds eventually do, I also have one other lesson that is terribly important to anyone rockhounding the Great Northwest:

If it’s wet, it’s not a road. Trust me on this one!

Sal RHS1 Admin…”Naturelady”


Rock Hound Station 1

Global Rockhound Community



  • Michael Wells Mandeville’s Earthquake/Volcano studies and Global Warming.
  • Earthquake Statistics: First quarter of Watch Year 2.
  • Where’s It All Going Now?
If you have been following our earthquake watch, you probably know by now that the figures we are using date from averages that have been configured from 1990 until present. The reason for this is that until then there was no organized worldwide tracking nor the technology that is presently in use. We have found however that there was someone tracking of these events very closely way before 1990. From his records and accompanying work, he also found some answers about Global Warming that are pretty darn interesting.

In the 1930’s Edgar Cayce predicted that after 1958 the world was going to experience geological changes and that in 1998, these changes were going to accelerate. In an attempt to find if these predictions were solid, Michael Wells Mandeville began to compile world data which he later related to to Chandler’s Wobble, also known as vortex tectonics.

Chandler’s Wobble is the name of the action of the Earth wobbling on it’s axis. The earth wobbles slightly as it spins, thus changing the exact location of the North and South Poles. Seismic and volcanic activity have been found to correlate with these fluctuations in accordance to 14 month and 6.5 year cycles of the wobble. As the Wobble epicenter moved toward the Great Lakes surrounding Michigan, USA, over the last 50 years, Mandeville, compiled world records into databases and found the amount of seismic and volcanic activity were actually increasing as Cayce had predicted.

Mandeville’s graph tracking Earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 and over from 1973 to 1998 shows an ever upward flow from just over 4,000 per year in 1973 to almost 18,000 by 1998.

Mandeville’s further study of Volcanic activity also shows a major increase. His study records the days of activity of the world’s volcanoes, however, major volcanic activity zones were excluded because they were remote and monitoring was impossible until more recent years. What the addition of these zones might have done to this graph is unknowable, yet odds are that these areas would most likely follow in the same pattern as those areas in which continual monitoring statistics were available. The graph shows dips and increases are plentiful, but the pattern of acceleration is vivid. Throughout years between 1875 and 1950, seismic days of activity ranged between a low of just under 1,000 and a high just under 3,000. Between 1950 and 1958 lows rose to just under 3,000 and highs were recorded at around 3,750.

Since 1960 there have been no lows under 3,000 and highs have peaked over 6,000, with the general mass of activity in a continual pattern of escalation. While the graph stops at 1992, Mandeville reports that volcanic activity increased to 15,000 by 1998, the date given by Cayce as peak activity. It is unknown to me at this time whether that figure has increased in the last 9 years. Mandeville’s figure are a bit sketchy when applied to recent figures (if any exist) in light of new technological advances which monitor world wide activities that include major zones which were once too isolated to monitor.

Edgar Cayce, in his predictions of heightening seismic and volcanic activity, had sighted cosmic causes for the anomaly, so Mandeville began studying possible cosmic explanations. He found in answers in the activity of Chandler’s wobble, which is a response to the pull of the sun and the moon on the earth’s rotation. Each spiral of chandler’s wobble takes 14 months to complete and the accompanying circular motion varies from about 3 to 15 meters throughout the 6.5 year spiral cycle. Mandeville accordingly followed the earth through it’s 6.5 year cycle by plotting the position of the pole throughout the wobble and created a waveform which he then integrated into charts of seismic and volcanic activity, finding that activity did, in fact, correlate to the waveform which he had created.

Not only did he find correlations between the waveform and seismic and volcanic activity, but also a correlation in peaks of volcanic activity to El Nino years. While he postulates that there may be a direct correlation between El Nino effects and underwater volcanic activities, he admits the lack of available monitoring to test that thesis. There is enough evidence, however, in his terrestrial tracking and measuring to show beyond a reasonable doubt that Chandler’s Wobble is tied to volcanic activity peaks, which are in turn involved in the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere.


Since 1950, Mandeville cites, the axis of the wobble has been moving steadily toward the Great Lakes, causing an increase of crustal reshaping and a resultant increase of seismic and volcanic reaction which, in turn, is responsible for the increased the amount of warming we are experiencing. Thus humans, according to Mandeville’s lengthy and enlightening studies, seem to be exonerated from blame for the heating crisis we are now experiencing on our planet.


Mandeville’s study, while rendering much information important beyond testing Cayce’s predictions, ceased in 1998, the year which Cayce cited as “Peak Year”. Unfortunately, event’s have not begun to cool down since that date.

We can not be totally certain of the complete figures before 1990 as the global tracking systems for earthquakes and volcanic activity were not in place before then. Much that went on could have easily been missed. For example, as Mandeville cites having left out certain major zones of volcanic activity due to lack of tracking, many quakes in those areas can also be presumed to have been missed completely, especially at the lower ends of the Richter Scale.

Candler’s Wobble decided to throw a wrench into the scientific community’s machinery by ceasing completely for a several week period in December of 2005 and January of 2006. This had never in known history happened before, and theories abounded that this event would signal an even further increase of seismic and volcanic activity in future years. The North Magnetic pole is now shifting swiftly toward Greenland causing further stresses upon the tectonic makeup of our planet, which in accordance with Mandeville’s studies, will produce even more warming in result.

RHS1 has been tracking major Earthquake events for over one and a quarter years to watch for the predicted increases. The figures we use for averages are the averages given by the USG who have arrived at the averages via our modern global tracking systems. The results of our tracking are expected to produce patterns of accelerating rates of major seismic activity in accordance to both Mandeville’s study results, and theory presented in reaction to the temporary cease of Chandler’s Wobble.

The most significant finding from our tracking to date is the occurrence of 3 major quakes 8.0+ magnitude within a 6 month period. Normal activity is one, if any per year. The total results of the first quarter of the second year follow:


Earthquake watch statistics start the new year of the watch at the first day of March. The reason that the watch was started at dates other than the normal calendar year was that we didn’t know anything different was going on until the last week of February last year. Once we found out that Chandler’s Wobble had paused and read the predictions for some rough times ahead we got curious and started keeping track. Last year was fairly normal until the end of the year. In fact it was a little bit calm at times.

The last quarter of our first year of watch exploded with two massive magnitude 8 quakes. What has this new year looked like – or should I say felt like – so far? Take a look at what we’ve found so far.

Year 2 first quarter statistics:

Magnitude 8 or higher: Average is 1, if any, per year.
After 2 of these beasts in the 4th quarter of our last (and first) watch year we recorded 1 of these this quarter as well. Last year, first quarter there were none. We are so far at the year quota for these devastating shakes’

Magnitude 7 Average is 17 per year.
We had only 1 of these strong shakes this quarter. With any luck we will stay below average for these killers. Last year during 1st quarter we also experienced a below average number of these with a total of 4 for the quarter. So far the rate is dropping rather than rising as predicted.

Magnitude 6 Average is 134 per year.
We had 49 of these strong quakes the 1st quarter. If we had the same number each quarter that would put us above the average mark by 62 quakes that is a whopping 46% we are working on. Last year we had 39 of this magnitude quake which was still a higher than average number. It seems that this level quake is becoming continually more predominant.

Magnitude 5 Average is 1319 per year.
We had 368 of these moderately strong shakers during this quarter. Equal figures each quarter would bring us to 1472 for a year, 11% over normal. Last year we were also above average for these quakes with 338 for the quarter, 30 less than this year.

So there are the stats for the 1st quarter of Year 2. The only magnitude which is not running above average or at least at high average is the magnitude 7 earthquake. Whether that is comforting or not would be judged by your own comfort thresholds.

Stay tuned into the Earth Watch forums to keep abreast of any surprises, or lack of, that we have yet in store for us this year.


Please note one error on this report there was only one 8 magnitude earthquake in the 4th quarter of our first watch year the other, which I erroneously reported as being also in the 4th quarter actually occurred in the last 2 weeks of the 3rd quarter. Now -doesn’t that make you feel much more comfortable?


Compiling the statistics on the first quarter of this watch year, it was apparent that the figures during the first quarters show patterns of activity acceleration. During the 2nd and 3rd quarters of the first year activity dropped. From what I have seen in the weekly reports for this 2nd quarter so far, activity has also dropped.
Does this mean that overall activity is not accelerating? Not necessarily, but it does indicate seasonal patterns of activity which would stand mostly to strengthen Mandeville’s position that activity correlates with the position of the axis of Chandler’s wobble. It may take a few more years to really develop a reliable pattern of acceleration and seasonal activity patterns.


Theories regarding the cause of the present global warming crisis currently run rampant. Even scientific groups seem to disagree about the human part played in the currently disastrous warming trend. Reasons for the discrepancies of information we receive have been partly blamed on bias toward funding sources of studies enacted. President Bush was also caught at editing reports to hide facts that did not correlate with his own agendas. Studies such as Mandeville’s show a natural cause for the warming. Studies which concentrate on deforestation or CO2 emissions show that these factors also figure prominently in the workings of the crisis. The strains of energy and resource consumption of an out of control population increase have also raised alarm.

At this late date and time when warnings abound that we are viewing the last years of the death of our planet, it seems we might want to take a holistic view of our situation rather than picking out pieces of the puzzle on which to concentrate our attention. There are too many sources with evidence that there are natural causes of the global warming crisis to ignore, but at the same time, there are too many human factors aiding the acceleration of the situation to ignore as well.

At some time preferably now, we humans need to realize that while the situation might not be totally within our control, we can surely lessen the warming and it’s effects if we choose to do so. And we must do so.

The rate of extinctions of species of life forms on the planet has gone beyond the 40% mark within the last 50 years one species per hour is cited as the current extinction rate. This is equivalent to the rate of extinctions from a major meteor impact. Deforestation is causing startling changes in climates and oxygen levels at the same time that CO2 is being poured into the atmosphere at alarming rates. The human population is now using half of all available energy and resources available on the planet and at the present rate of growth a population of a staggering 9 billion is predicted in the next 50 years and humans will stand shoulder to shoulder over the planet by the year 2,600.

It seems that humans may be looking at the pronouncement of “natural causes” of global warming to give them excuse to continue on a purely genocidal path of action which seems to have a singular goal of taking every living thing on the planet down with us.

When does it stop? When do we get the drift that just because nature throws a curve in the cycles of our planet it does not give us the leeway to ignore the consequences of our own actions? It would seem high time, if we are actually the intelligent and “special” species that we presume ourselves to be, to stop using “natural causes” as an excuse for rampant irresponsibility to our environments. We may not be able to completely stop what is happening, but we can work to make earth, and leave it, at least inhabitable for ourselves and other life forms in the future.

Sally Taylor…RHS1 Earthwatch

Image and info credits for this edition: Wikipedia: Utah Geological Survey: Roger Weller, Cochise College.

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