RHS1 Connector – July/August 2008

RHS1 Connector – July/August 2008



Gold in a tube.
With the publicity of the California gold rush and subsequent mining in the Western states many people may have been led to believe that you have to hitch up the mule and move West to prospect in the US. Not so. The first US gold rush, in fact, actually took place in Georgia around 20 years BEFORE the call of “there’s gold in them thar hills” went up in the Western states.

So where can the would be gold prospector in the US go to find gold? Actually most states contain gold of differing amounts.

States which are known to produce impressive amounts of gold are:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Gold can be also found in lesser amounts in:

Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

No matter where you are, you are not far from where you can do some prospecting!


Gold in a pan.


I just received this heads-up that Florida is out to grab some more collecting rights from the public. Not a surprise from a state which has been known to prosecute tourists for collecting souvenir jars of beach sand, but definitely an action that needs to be put to rest. While many of us will never participate in underwater treasure hunts and salvages, as rockhounds we can all relate to losing our rights to hunt in certain areas or for certain types of items. Many of us can still remember when you could collect a vertebrae fossil and have it identified without fear of prosecution or fines.

Here is the warning and below it is a letter you can copy and send to the email in the warning notice. If you prefer to write your own letter, that is terrific and we would encourage that for those of you who have the time and ability to do so.

Below the letter I have included a link so you can read the present Rule 1A-31 and the proposed amendment.

The Department of Historical Resources, Bureau of Archaeological Research, Florida Department of State, is attempting to change the State laws (1A-31), by which Private Citizens and Corporations have the LEGAL RIGHT to recover shipwreck treasures in Florida Waters!!! Please sign and return to this letter to Morgan<1715@comcast.net> at the Mel Fisher Museum, Sebastian, Fl. This is the right of every American Citizen and should not be decided by a group of bureaucrats that have their own private agenda!!! Your help in this matter would be greatly appreciated. Please do not let the State of Florida strip away our freedoms and right to look for and recover treasure!!!

To: Department of Historic Resources
Florida Department of State

Re: 1A-31 Rule Amendment
Bureau of Archaeological Research
500 S. Boronough Street, MS #8b
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250

July 04, 2008

To Whom It May Concern:

On this Independence Day it is appropriate that we all remember the reasons why this country was founded. It was a move against overbearing government actions.

I am a citizen of the State of Florida and have been made aware of the attempts by the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research to change the rules (1A-31) by which private citizens and corporations can help recover the lost and threatened shipwreck treasures that are in the State of Florida’s coastal waters.

Florida and the United States have long enjoyed the results of private sector recovery and documentation of these lost shipwrecks. Private salvors have contributed to this sum of knowledge for the past 60+ years. Museums have benefited here in Florida as well as throughout the USA and the World. Traveling exhibits have promoted not only the knowledge and history of these sites but also the State of Florida and its beauty. Numerous documentaries by National Geographic, Discovery and the History Channel have chronicled private salvors successes. Thousands of periodicals have done the same. Books have been written about these quests and added to the Florida History textbooks in our schools. The contributions of the private sector far outweigh those of government, institutions and university efforts whose work is rarely heard of, if at all, not to mention, paid for with taxpayer dollars.

I agree that there needs to be in place a plan, rules and guidance by the State of Florida in the management of these treasures. I strongly disagree with any proposed changes that would impede or prohibit the involvement of private citizens or corporations. This resource is much too important and wonderful to be left to rot by natural elements or to potential pilfering by non law-abiding persons who encounter these shipwreck sites. A fundamental shift in policy to one of support and guidance is key. This was clearly the Florida legislature’s intent in the formulation of 1A-31.

I urge the Division of Historic Resources, and the Department of State to halt this rule change as written and to work closely with the Private Salvage Industry who has contributed the majority of success in rescuing Florida’s great wealth of underwater treasures.

Respectfully Submitted,


Hya folks…Last month we ran this article (below)…However because I was charged and stomped on by a rabid Moose and had both legs broken, then pitched down a mine shaft and drowned in 10 feet of bat droppings, I forgot to put the link in for this arcticle… My apololgies…So here we go, second try. -O)…Indiana .

STONE KNAPPING: Keeping an Ancient Art Alive

Midnight Lace Obsidian — Knapped Of Stone From Glass Buttes
In Eastern Oregon. This “Dovetail” Style Blade Is Backlit To Demonstrate
The Clarity And Transparency Of This Volcanic Natural Glass. 2005 A.D..
In the distant prehistoric past humans began to use stone as tools. Ancient craftsmen became adept at using one stone to chip another stone into shapes that made precision tools for different tasks, such as arrowheads for bringing down game animals and scrapers for cleaning skins. The art of chipping the stones into tools is known as “knapping”. This art has not died out.

This month F. Scott Crawford of StoneBreaker-FSC.com is reporting to you about the art of knapping. His report features a knapping class trip to Glass Butte, Oregon. Glass Butte is famous for it’s fine obsidians of many varieties, and obsidian is a highly workable and beautiful crafting stone.

Scott’s trip report also includes so many wonderful pictures of not only knapped items but of Glass Butte itself. The pictures you see here are just a few that you will see in his highly entertaining report. He’s got just as much of a knack with writing as he does for stone work. I had as much fun reading it as I did looking at the pictures. So enough chat already.

You can send an email to webmaster@rockhoundstation1.com to request a copy of this PDF.

Thanks so much for this entertaining and informative report Scott. Be expecting many visitors to your site who will want to know much more about knapping.

Fossil News

World’s Oldest Tetrapod?

Fossil remains found in Latvia are presumed to belong to the world’s oldest tetrapod (four legged animal). The 365 million year old remains belong to an animal called Venastega Curonica.

The skull, shoulders, and pelvis found of this animal are important in that scientists were able to tell from the structure of the shoulders and pelvis that the animal had limbs rather than fins. This discovery is helping paleontologists understand the transformation of life from fish to animals such as amphibians, reptiles, dinosaurs and birds. Despite having limbs rather than fins, it is suspected that the Venastega was still more aquatic than terrestrial and that it probably lived in swamps or lakes.

The animal is described as being similar to the finned Tiktaalik, and is thought to have looked much like an alligator. Scientists estimated the size to be from 3-4 feet long.

Two-ton, 500 Million-year-old Fossil Of Stromatolite Discovered In Virginia, U.S.

Stromatolites at Lake Thetis, Western Australia.
Virginia Museum of Natural History scientists have confirmed that an approximately 500 million-year-old stromatolite was recently discovered at the Boxley Blue Ridge Quarry near Roanoke, Virginia. This specimen is the first-ever intact stromatolite head found in Virginia, and is one of the largest complete “heads” in the world, at over 5 feet in diameter and weighing over 2 tons.


Boyhood Residence of George Washington Found

Archaeologists believe they have found the childhood home of the first US president, George Washington. The long search for the home, Ferry Farm, ended ner Fredricksburg, Virginia at the site where remnants of the home were discovered on the bank of the Rappahanack River. Among what was found were 4 cellars, foundations, the home’s kitchen and slave quarters. Work continues to locate other outbuildings, and restoration of the home and grounds will be undertaken to return the property to it’s 1740’s state. While it has been believed that Washington grew up in a small cabin, this house was actually a one and a half story, comfortable, and larger than average home for the period. It had also been historically believed that the home was destroyed by fire on Christmas Eve of 1740, yet findings are that the fire was actually only a small one and contained to a localized area and the home was repaired and enlarged. Many artifacts were found at the home site including a tea set and a pipe that bears a Masonic symbol. Washington was known to have become a member the Fredricksburg Masonic Lodge in 1753, the year he moved to his more well-known home, Mt. Vernon. The house was destroyed during the civil war and it’s exact location had been lost. While the remains of some tools were found among the remains, no hachet has yet been recovered.


Chicken Skillet Supper

With all the rain we have been having the last month I don’t know when any one gets outside, let alone start a fire to cook on. But we have had a few good days and as always we make the best out of what we get. This recipe helps you make the most of your time by not taking much time to prep and cook.

If you want you could even make it before you head out and store it in a plastic air tight container till you’re ready to heat it up again and eat. I imagine it would even taste pretty good cold if you where in the mood. Anyways, it is best served over rice, but if you don’t have the time or rice to cook it can be eaten like a stew with plenty of bread to sop up the broth.

Any way you look at it it is real good eating.

  • 1 pound Chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons Canola oil
  • 1 medium Onion — chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Oregano leaves — crushed
  • 1/2 cup Chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups V8 juice
  • 19 ounces Canned kidney beans

Preparation time = 30 minutes.
Chicken breasts should be skinned and boned.
Any suitable oil can be substituted for canola oil.
Chicken broth may be purchased as instant and mixed with water. V8 juice is a brand name vegetable juice.

  • 1. Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • 2. In hot oil, cook chicken, onion, chili powder, cumin and oregano until the chicken turns white.
  • 3. Stir in broth and juice, heat until boiling, then reduce heat to low.
  • Simmer 10 minutes.
  • 4. Dump in beans, liquid and all, stir, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Stir occasionally.

Serve over rice.

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



Farm near Klingerstown, Pennsylvania. .
When you think of Pennsylvania your first thoughts are probably about the rich political heritage of the state and all of the wonderfully preserved historical sites to be found there. For the rockhound, the 303 minerals found in the state, fossils, and the many legends of lost treasures add some reasons to add the state to your “places to go” list.

While in this state you may find yourself stopping at road cuts containing many types of minerals but public hunting ground is mostly limited to quarries, fee digs, and mining areas in this state, there is no loss of these places for you to hunt so don’t worry about being limited in your choices. Private property can also be hunted with permission from owners. Local chambers of commerce will have information on areas open to you to hunt as will local rock clubs. So with that said – what is there to hunt in this state?

In Delaware county amethyst, alamandine garnets, aquamarine, and in Lehigh county corundum can be found. Quartz crystals are a prize and Crystal Point Diamond Mine is a favorite of visitors to the Raytown and Williamsport areas. This mine produces quartz crystals fine enough to impress even the most jaded of quartz hunters. At Prospect Park SW of Philidelphia you can prospect for Kyanite and large orthoclast feldspar crystals. At Codorus Stone Co. Quarry just north of York, 26 minerals can be prospected including fluorite, quartz, hematite, malachite, and goethite. Mineral Hill Quarry area produces moonstone, serpentine, and quartz. Some of this area is private property, but some is still free to hunt.

Celestite crystal.
Celestine came very close to being the state mineral and can be found in numerous locations. Malachite, copper minerals, spalerite, azurite are also minerals of abundance in this state. With hundreds, and possibly thousands, of mines stretched throughout the state, hunters have a wide variety of minerals and experiences to choose from – even if your tastes are more in the lines of gold prospecting.

Forksville Covered Bridge.
In York County any stream in the Wellsville, Dillsburg, and Grantham will produce gold. In SE York County the slate bearing streams of the Delta area are gold bearing up to the Muddy Creek area and West to Constitution. In the Pigeon Hill area the seasonal streams produce gold flakes but during dry seasons sediment collected will need to be transported elsewhere to pan. Spring Valley County Park has a Gold Panning Seminar on the last Saturday of July. If you are in the area during that time you might find this a worthwhile event to attend. The East Branch of the stream that runs through this park is gold bearing and quartz peppered with gold may be found there. Peters Creek in Lancaster county produces placer gold, but permission must be obtained from property owners to pan here. In NE Pennsylvania glacial deposits of gold can be found in the borrow pits in the Pocono Mountains and investigation in these areas may turn up more gold.

The gold in this state is placer gold and panning equipment will be appropriate for the gold hunter in this state.

For those with an interest in artifacts Highland Hills Farms in Fountainville may be contacted for artifact hunting in Milan. The hunting area is on the site of an Indian village which was destroyed in 1778. Artifacts dot the area and are legal to hunt as the property is on private land. The owner does charge a small fee for hunting, but you will find few areas to legally hunt artifacts so this is a good deal. The property also contains fossils and minerals, so the avid hunter can have a good experience finding multiple types of prizes here.

Fossil hunters will find many other options in this state for interesting prizes. In the Eastern section of Swatara State park in the Swedburg fossil site fossils such as trilobites, gastropods, and brachiopods can be won. The prize in this area is the rare fossil of the stelleroid, commonly known as the starfish. St. Clair, Pennsylvania fossil ferns are famous for their beautiful white color and clarity. Over the ages the 250 million year old plant material was slowly replaced with pyrite, which in turn was replaced with pyrophyllite. If you have never been thrilled with finding a plant fossil before, these spectacular specimens will change that. In Beltville State Park, there is a man-made lake which is in a mid-Devonian fossil bed. You can find fossils here by wading in the water and looking through the rocks. These fossils include a variety of Devonian life and are free for hunters to take, but it is asked that you are conservative in your collecting so future hunters can enjoy the area, too. Trilobites can be won in the Seven Stars area, Deer Lake, and Carbon County.

Fossils can be found in numerous areas of the state. Park and Recreation or BLM offices, and many chamber’s of commerce can offer good information to those wanting to hunt as well as information about what is legal to keep. State fossils include fish, trilobites, insects, reptiles, corals, brachiopods, phylum bryozoa, gastropods, pelecepoda, cephalopoda, phylum echinodermata, plants (ferns, cones, fruit, roots, leaves, etc.) The list is plentiful and diverse enough to please the fossil hunter of any inclinations.

Treasure hunting can also be a rewarding pursuit in Pennsylvania where a long history of settlement and conflict has left treasures scattered across the state. If you are in the mood for some serious treasure legend hunting you can find plenty of legends to start you on your way in Pennsylvania.

The most famed lost treasure is perhaps that of General Braddock’s gold. Braddock was carrying his troop’s pay (which was gold in those days) and before a battle with the French and Indians, decided to hide the gold to keep it out of enemy hands. Before getting back to the gold Braddock and his men were ambushed and massacred and the gold still remains. The clues available to find Braddock’s treasure are that the troops were camped at Circleville and Braddock, with two soldiers, followed Crawford Run to the Youghiogheny River and buried the gold under a walnut tree.

Another lesser known treasure legend is of a sizable cache of gold that French Jesuits buried in fear of the Seneca Indians. The kegs of gold are said to rest near a rock on which they carved a cross. The legend contends that the party turned South from North Couderspot and headed toward Borie valley where they buried the gold and marked the rock.

Lost mine legends are also common in Pennsylvania where people are still searching the Appalacian mountains for the lost mines and caches of Jonathan Swift. The whereabouts of the supposed Indian silver mine in the area of the Ice Mine in Potter county still remains a mistery.

While these are perhaps the more famous tales of lost treasure in the state, lesser known caches are still fabled to be waiting for the lucky hunter. While the loot buried at the Ulich Mansion is thought to have been mostly retrieved, it’s existence tells of the propensity of our Pennsylvanian forefathers to bury caches of their own fortunes, large or small, on their own land for safekeeping. Wherever the treasure hunter wanders in Pennsylvania they will be able to find local residents or historical societies just bursting with legends of local treasures buried during times of strife and just waiting for re-discovery by a fortunate hunter.

Pennsylvania is a fairly humid state, with warm summers and cold winters. Travelers should have rain gear and a variety of clothing for both hot days and chilly evenings in the summer. In the winter, snow can prohibit hunting and winter travelers. Autumn and spring are wonderful months to travel for those who have an aversion to hot and humid summer weather.

Between all of the rockhound and treasure hunting opportunities, the wonderful Historical areas such as Gettysburg and Bunker Hill, and the many caves, parks, and museums in Pennsylvania, it would be very wise for the vacationer in this state to make sure you have a few days or weeks to rest when returning home!


This month we are saying Hello to Dan aka “HighPlainsDrifter”, a member who is as colorful as some of the rocks he collects. Here’s Dan to tell you about himself:

My name is Dan (aka High Plains Drifter) and I’m currently living near Hillsboro, Oregon. I am originally from Loganville, Pennsylvania and have lived in New York, California and Florida also. Oregon has really grown on me and I hope to stay for a long time. I love the wide variety of ecosystems, geology and outdoor activities. For my day job, I am a Materials Scientist. I obtained my Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. I have been working for Intel the last four years in their D1D factory (Hillsboro). My job is in the area of Microlithography. I completed my undergrad college at Penn State. I have been married for 7 years and my wife also works at Intel. I currently don’t have any kids.
I have many hobbies and interests. My favorite activity is rock collecting. Lapidary materials are my favorite items to collect. I am also very interested in U.S. history, particularly westward expansion and the Oregon Trail. I love to read stories of the early settlers in the west. I am also addicted to music, especially the Grateful Dead. I have hundreds of digital live shows and was lucky enough to attend over a hundred shows myself. My favorite outdoor activities are hiking, kayaking, landscaping/gardening and traveling backroads by car. I particularly love to explore the desert.

I got into rock collecting as a kid in Pennsylvania. I still have and remember receiving the first two pieces in my collection. My uncle had been to the Petrified Forest and brought me a piece of Petrified wood. He also gave me a great brachiopod fossil from one of the creek beds in PA. I was a pretty wild teenager and took off to travel the country with $100 and my Dodge Omni when I graduated High School. I spent three years “on the road” visiting National Parks, going to Grateful Dead shows, and of course collecting rocks. Back then, I was more interested in crystals and spent lots of time in the Herkimer area. I still have a great collection of Herkimers.

Living in Oregon has really awakened and intensified my interest in rock collecting. I spend most of my vacations down in Central Oregon prospecting and visiting the many known digs. I love to dig for thundereggs and my favorite spots are Richardson’s, Lucky Strike and the many Ochoco mountain digs. My favorite lapidary material is the Old Blue Biggs Picture Jasper. I also love the old Deschutes Picture Jasper. I have a great collection of both. Lately, I’ve really been enjoying hiking off trail around the Ochoco’s and prospecting.

Oregon has so many fun and productive digging/collecting sites, it is hard to pick which ones we’ll visit on our vacations and which ones we’ll leave out. My wife and I usually alternate who picks the dig of the day. She actually has the better eye for great finds and just pulled a beautiful 25 pound piece of plume agate from the hills near Prineville.


Thanks for that introduction, Dan. I’m sure you will find a lot of RHS1 members out there in the Great NW will want to know more about some of these incredible finds of yours.



Well here we are finishing up the first half of 2008 already. The year in relation to earthquakes started out pretty calm, but in the second quarter quake frequency started picking up speed again. With luck the frequency won’t keep intensifying through the third quarter as well. Here are the statistics for the second quarter of Year Three:

Magnitude 8 and Stronger:
Average for these quakes is one, if any, per year.
There were none of these in the first quarter this year either.
Last year there was one of these in the second quarter, and one in the first quarter, as well as 2 in the last quarter of the year before. We can be fortunate that these have decreased.

Magnitude 7.
There were 4 this quarter.
Average per year is 17.
In the 1st quarter of this year we experienced 3.
The six month total of 7 mag 7 quakes puts us at under average by 8%. This is a welcome change and with luck will be a continuing trend. Last year by the second quarter there were only 3 of these quakes.

Magnitude 6.
There were 43.
Average per year is 134.
In the first quarter we experienced 46.
While we are actually down 3 of these quakes from first quarter we are at 66% of average for the year already. Last year there were only 37 of these quakes in the second quarter.

Magnitude 5.

There were 339.
The average per year is 1319.
In the first quarter we experienced 271.
While the number of these quakes were under average by 18% in the first quarter, we were actually over average in the second quarter. For the year we are approximately 8% below average for these quakes.
Last year there were 342 of these quakes in the second quarter.

So far this year is much closer to average statistics than last year. There have been none of the monsterous 8 magnitude quakes we began experiencing during the last quarter of year one and continued to experience until the last quarter of last year. Even the disasterous quake in China in May that killed 87,652 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings, didn’t hit magnitude 8, although at 7.9, it came extremely close. As we can see, we don’t want one of these monsters happening — especially in populated areas. We can be thankful that the freak 15 month string of 5 of these quakes did not continue.

Magnitude 7 quakes had subsided during the string of magnitude 8 quakes and are beginning to increase now. This last quarter was around average – give or take one extra somewhere during a year. Four per quarter is average. The frequency of magnitude six quakes has been above average consistantly, while magnitude 5 quakes fluxuate quite a bit from one quarter to the next.

One thing that must be considered when looking at a quarterly report is that the vast average number of magnitude 5 earthquakes makes it easy to have one very high quarter and still come out around an average number the quakes for the year, unlike magnitude 7 quakes of which there is only an average of 17 per year. If you have one quarter that experiences no magnitude 7 quakes, unless the whole rest of the year is high in frequency, you will have fewer than average quakes of that magnitude. The difference of 68 quakes of magnitude 5 between the first quarter of this year and the second is almost a moot difference in calculating the average for the total year. If all quarters were as high as this one, the averages will show a good percentage of difference – but the first quarter was actually very low and already the average is equalizing. A quarter that shows extreme highs in all magnitudes of earthquakes might be indicative of earth events in play, so while this data may not be important to yearly totals, it may later show important correlations with other earth or space events.

While our tracking can allow us to see the trend in earthquake frequency, other studies are needed to interpret the data we record. We can tell by this tracking that earthquakes are generally on the rise or fall in frequency. We can not within the scope of these reports determine exactly why the quakes are or are not happening. At this point of our tracking we are still in the process of determining whether quakes on the whole are actually increasing in frequency or whether the increase is just a temporary phenomena that might later be attributable to some other events now taking place. No further study will be possible without the statistics we are gathering now.

Sally Taylor…RHS1 Earthwatch.

Image and info credits for this edition:

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

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