RHS1 Connector – September 2009

RHS1 Connector – September 2009

In this issue…
  • Welcome back…
  • Treasure…Odyssey Update…
  • Readers Question?
  • Earthwatch.. Planet in crisis




I’ve been getting a lot of letters asking about whether the forums and photo gallery will be back online soon. Yes they will be. Some months back we were subject to hackers and a virus attack that pretty much toasted these programs. But our new tech, Dave…um…take a bow, Dave (he’s another one of those wild North Carolina guys), is working with Indy putting us back together again so we’ll be hauling full steam again before too long.

At the moment Dave is busy seeing if any of the old forum and photo gallery posts are going to be safe to put back up. We might have to start from scratch. That’s not the best news in the world – but I’m sure that we can make up for lost time without too many problems. You will probably have to register again, though. Not a problem – it’s still no charge for membership.

One note I’d really like to share here, though, is that there are some very wicked viruses going around right now that many of your anti-virus programs won’t detect. AVAST is a free anti-virus program, and it’s one of the only ones online that will tell you if you are in contact with, or already have, some of these viruses, so you might want to download that program and run it before you sign up on ANY forums so you don’t crash the forum just trying to be friendly. It’s a good idea even if you aren’t going to sign up for any forums because these particular viruses create holes that will let in root kits, and those are mean little things that can track everything you type and steal your identity. Thanks for keeping yourself – and our site safe!

So that’s the update for this month. Keep an eye open and pretty soon you’ll be able to sign up and chat with other rockhounds again. I am looking forward to hobnobbing with the old crew again myself! We also have something very exciting in store for you soon besides having the forums and photo gallery up for use again so stay tuned. We’re getting ready to do some heavy duty rockin’ this time around!


Odyssey Marine Exploration Completes Phase One of “Symphony” Project

Tampa, FL – August 27, 2009 –

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NasdaqCM: OMEX), pioneers in the field of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, recently completed the first phase of survey in the search area code named “Symphony”. The work was conducted under a government permit in an exclusive claim area and in conjunction with a project partner. Results of the survey are being analyzed and compiled into a report which will be provided to the government before the next phase of work is commenced. Preliminary review of the data suggests that four shipwrecks have been located in the phase one search area, but at this point, none of the sites have been conclusively identified.

“This new search area has long been considered a target-rich environment for valuable shipwrecks and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work here in cooperation with the government,” said Greg Stemm, Odyssey CEO, “Research suggests that at least two shipwrecks in the ‘Symphony’ area are commercial vessels with significant cargoes of gold coins, which are very hot commodities today in the collector market.”

The expedition was conducted by the Odyssey search team on a chartered vessel. To protect the security of the search area, specific location details are not being released at this time. Proceeds of any recoveries from this search area will be split with the government and project partner with an anticipated 78% of the gross income of the project retained by Odyssey.

About Odyssey Marine Exploration

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 (reg) 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, videos, merchandise, and educational programs. Odyssey’s “SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure” exhibit is currently on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, FL. For details on the Company’s activities and its commitment to the preservation of maritime heritage please visit www.shipwreck.net.

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

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

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

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


With the forum out of play for the time being, I’ve been getting a lot of letters from readers lately and figured it might be a good idea to start posting some of them now that the newsletters are back up and running. This month’s featured letter is from Sue in Ohio:

“I live in the southwest area of Ohio. I am interested in taking my son (16) and daughter (19) to look for Geodes. I came across a creek in southern Indiana that was FULL of them! I can’t remember where that was though…Do you have any recommendations for us on where we could go? We are moderate climbers and NOT afraid to get dirty or do hard work. I have looked around on the Internet and really can’t pinpoint an area to start looking. I had a friend in CA who was a rock hound, thus made me think to contact you!

I would appreciate any help, be it geodes or any interesting things to dig up!”

Hi Sue, Thanks for writing. I can understand how hard it can be to find locations in states not famous for their rockhounds. I was raised in the Midwest and never even knew there was anything to hunt! Here’s some info I dug up for you about geode hunting out in your neck of the woods, along with some other stones of interest to rockhounds. I hope this helps. If I get any further info this month from any of my readers, I will post it in next month’s letter so keep reading!

For those Ohio rockhounds who are interested in Geodes, just next store in Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois you can find your fill of interesting geode specimens. In Indiana in geodes are prevalent in Monroe County. Harrodsburg and Salem Indiana are good sources of crystal filled geodes. Harrodsburg is extremely well known for these treasures. Perry and Harrison County are also good areas to hunt for geodes in Indiana. Hancock County in Illinois is also a nearby location for geodes lined with quartz, many of which have inclusions of pyrite to add to the dazzle. In Lincoln County in Kentucky you will also find many areas to hunt these prizes. For gemstones other than geodes there are also many areas of Ohio that you will find interesting.

Huron River is a mineral locality where one can collect somewhere other than a quarry. The area contains brown Dolomite, Barite, Calcite along with exciting specimens of water clear Herkimer-style Quartz crystals with clarity and luster that rivals the best of the Herkimers in New York. I have no information at this time about where on the Huron that these would be found but you may check the rock and gem clubs in cities along the river and I am sure they can give you a bit more to go on.

Auglaize Quarry in Junction, Ohio in Paulding Counting is known for pockets of purple Fluorite sitting on top of dark brown, iridescent Fluorite with or without Calcite. The area also produces purple Fluorite phantoms of excellent quality and quality Sphalerite crystals. In Clay Center and other nearby quarries in Genoa, Lime City, Pugh et celestite, fluorite, and calcite, and sphalerite crystals are the minerals of interest.

Glaciers also dropped many a fine stone in Ohio. While it is not as easy to find gemstones that have been dropped in glacial till as it is when the source of the stones is right under foot, there are many interesting discoveries within the glacial till that runs from the Southwest to the Northeast corner of the state. The glaciers left behind gold deposits. The amounts of gold may not be of commercial interest, but for the hobbyist, the flakes that were left make for some rewarding panning. In areas where glacial gold is found, the persistent rockhound can also win garnets, sometimes rather sizable ones at that. Some collectors have even been rewarded with diamonds in the Ohio glacier paths. Lake Superior agates have been found in glacial till as far south as Kansas.

If fossils interest you, Ohio isn’t a bad place to be, by all means. The Ohio State fossil is the Trilobite. The avid hunter will also find a full array of marine fossils in Ohio, N. Kentucky, SE Illinois.

Wherever there is shale or limestone in Ohio and neighboring state areas, you are likely to find fossils of some sort. It may take you some gas to find areas where the limestone and shale layers are exposed, but many an Ohio road cut and spillway are rich sources of all sorts of marine flora and fauna fossils.

In Hamilton County road cuts abound with excellent specimens and anywhere you go in the Cincinnati region you are bound to claim a find of some sort. A road cut 15 miles E. of Cincinnati on route 52 is a rich source of specimens. Road cuts in the Georgetown area are also good bets for the hunter. Two prominent cuts in that region are just E. of Georgetown on Route 125 and Route 68 west of Georgetown. East Fork Lake Spillway is another prime source in the Cinci area. Road cuts in the Dayton area are another good bet. Abandoned quarries S. of New Middletown are good sources, as are quarries E. of Poland on Route 224. Do make sure that where you decide to hunt is private property that you get permission before hunting. Hunters who hunt private grounds without permission risk everyone’s collecting future.

Many of the state parks in Ohio allow fossil hunting, but some require permits. There are parks that do not allow collecting under any circumstances. Do yourself a favor when hunting in parks and check whether collecting is permitted and if you need a permit or not before hunting. The list below will give you some state parks where you can start your hunting experiences.

  • Caesar Creek State Park – Clinton and Warren counties. Hunt near the dam spillway. Permits are necessary and can be obtained at the US Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center.
  • Cowan Lake State Park – Clinton County Fossils are found in the Eastern Edge of the Cincinnati Arch. Permits are necessary and can be obtained from Ohio State Parks.
  • Hueston Woods State Park – Preble and Butler counties. Fossils are prevalent in the dam spillway area and Rock Quarry picnic area. No permits are necessary.
  • Stonelick State Park – Clermont County Hunt near spillway. Permits are necessary and can be obtained at the Visitor Center.
  • East Fork State Park – Clermont County Hunting here also is best in the spillway area. Permits are necessary and can be obtained at the Visitor Center.
  • Fossil Park – Lucas County Information about hunting in Fossil Park are available via telephone: 419-882-8313 Those are my suggestions for you, Sue. If anyone else out there has any further information about rockhounding in Ohio, particularly South Idaho or nearby state areas, please feel free to send me an email (just click “contact us” on the menu bar and I’ll be glad to include your info in the next newsletter.If you have questions you would like answered in the newsletter or anything of interest to the rockhound community to tell about, please send questions and comments to me also via “contact us” and we will be glad to post them.

    Life’s short – Rock hard.




This month, Steve Cantiello, a New York rockhound pal of ours took a trip to the ST Lawrence Co. Mineral Club Show in Canton NY. He took a few side trips while he was down there – of course, anyone who knows Steve already knew that. He’s not a guy you see go places without stopping for some digging here and there. It surprises me that he can even make it to work without stopping and pounding a rock or two on the way.

Here’s how that trip went for Steve:

I arrived in Canton NY at 12:30 pm Friday.It was a three hour drive from my home.I was greeted by my friend George from Canada and we talked for awhile about how the year went. I then went and set up my tables for the show, talked a little bit more with a club member and it was about 3 when I went out to collect.

I drove to West Pierrepont and parked in the state forest. There are beautiful green tremolites there. My mistake was I forgot to pack my heavy chisels in the car. Oh well, there were small pieces scattered here and there from pass collecting. I checked the area out for future collecting possibilities. I went back to the show grounds and socialized for about 3 hrs .At about 9 I met up with Matt Lambert for a fluorescent collecting trip .We went to W.Pierrepont. The old ZCA mine there has fluorescent calcite, diopside, phlogopite, and some other glow rocks. We found calcite and some diopside and phlogopite combinations. It was about 11:30 when we got back to camp.

I woke up at 500am Sat. and went to town for coffee! Got to have my coffee. Came back and started setting up my tables for the show. At 9 people started showing up and it was steady till 12 noon. I was no stop with buying and non buying customers. The day turned out nice with sunshine and there were a lot of people at the show. I had a good day. Most of my sales were small 1 buck items that the kids like.

At 5:30 I went to Pierremont to collect uvite at Powers Farm. I was surprised to see a lot of work done there from what I had seen last year. I collected some calcite with uvite in it that I will try to etch out with acid. Not much to be found as a Friday trip by others and a show trip earlier Sat. seems to have depleted the easy crystals. I went back to the camp and we planned a trip to Harrisville for fluo.minerals. I collected wollastonite and norbergite there. That to had been picked over before I got there because not much was left around. I arrived back at camp about 2 am.

Up around 6 am Sunday and went to town for COFFEE! I was beat from the collecting trips. The day was overcast and not many people came to the show all day. I didn’t sell much that day. Spent 100 on minerals, though, and left the show about 5pm. Got home and went to sleep before going in to work at 12am.

All in all it was a good weekend. I plan to go back to the area for some collecting before winter.

Thanks, Steve. Now you all you folks out there can see what I mean about Steve taking side trips to hunt rocks. Of course, he was on a rock show weekend – but the more you hear from Steve, the more you find that he rarely makes it anywhere without a stop or two at a rock site. Trust me on that one. Steve and I took some trips together while I was in New York and you can believe me when I say his car stops at every road cut!




staff waving

Untreated yellow sapphire

I recently had the pleasure of discussing sapphires with Ricky Mendoza of Kingdom Mines. He is a wealth of information about both sapphires and rubies. It was interesting to hear about the different treatments that these stones can undergo before they get to your ring or necklace and I asked if he might supply a bit of information about the treatments for my readers. He was not only happy to do so, he also has supplied a link for those of you who might like to obtain a free gemstone from Kingdom Mines. You will find that link at the end of the article. I hope you visit his site and pick up one of these for yourself.

With that said – here’s what Ricky has to tell us about sapphire and ruby treatments.

Different Kinds Of Treatments For Sapphires And Rubies

Now people might be thinking, does treatment make any difference in the rubies and sapphires that I have?

Well the answer is that it makes a huge difference not only in price but certain treatments can even be harmful to the wearer. We will now discuss some of the different treatments there are.


This is where there is no treatment done on the stone at all. Although it may sound very nice, it will probably cost you very dearly. This is because the unheated stones for rubies and sapphires only represent less than 5% of the entire gemstone market. This means an unheated sapphire will cost at least 300% – 500% more than a lightly heated stone.

Heated yellow sapphire


This is the most common kind of treatment. This is when the the ruby or sapphire is heated lightly to increase the clarity of the gemstone by 10%. This treatment in no ways changes the color of the gemstone itself. This is a very ethical kind of treatment and is accepted by all gem broker and exchanges. This treatment is permanent.

Fractured Filling

This is a treatment that only works for rubies. This treatment is very famous, especially for the Thailand ruby. This treatment is also known as pure 20. It simply means that the ruby is 20% ruby and 80% foreign material. Some people may also call this lead glass treatment. This is unethical treatment if the buyer is not informed. A lot of gem sellers misrepresent the pure 20 ruby for the pure 80 ruby. They do this simply to have higher profit margins. In the case of the pure 80 ruby most are from Madagascar and the most famous is the Madagascar blood ruby that has the color of blood itself. When buying this type of ruby always insist on pure 70 and above as only pure 70 and above is accepted widely. This treatment is permanent.

Surface Diffusion

This is a very famous treatment for sapphires especially for blue sapphires. This treatment involves taking a very low quality pink sapphire and heating it with a very special powder. This powder will then cause a layer of blue of the highest quality on the low quality sapphire. When the immersion test is used on this gemstone, you will be able to see two layers of colors, one of high quality blue sapphire on the outside and a low quality pink on the inside. This treatment can be detected easily by most gem labs using the immersion test. This means the gem has been artificially colored. This treatment is permanent.

Beryllium Heated

This treatment has caused the largest headache for gems labs all over the world. How does this work? Beryllium is added to the sapphire or ruby to increase its clarity and luster by a minimum of 100%. Now you may be thinking, no problem the gem labs can detect this treatment. You are wrong, the beryllium treatment remains undetectable today. It remains undetected because the beryllium penetrates the entire stone. This is why its very important that when you purchase any stone always insist on a mining certificate. Anyone can produce a lab certificate but those that cannot produce a mining certificate are the ones you should avoid as some hanky panky has probably happened. The miners are the ones that usually add the beryllium and gem sellers try to hide that fact by not producing the mining certificate. The gem sellers are also not afraid claiming that a beryllium heated stone is a naturally heated one because they know the gem labs cannot detect this treatment. This treatment is permanent.


This treatment is still being used, especially for diamonds, but most sapphires and rubies still treated in this manor. In this treatment inexpensive gamma rays are used. You know the cognac diamond – yes they are irradiated. This will cause the gemstone look very brilliant and beautiful but here is the kicker – it is very dangerous as there are still radiation traces on the gem and it is carcinogenic. You should avoid this treatment for gems at all costs. This treatment is permanent.


This treatment is only being used in emerald gemstones and very seldom if at all used in rubies and sapphires. This is a treatment in which usually the oil seeps into the fissures of the gemstone itself. This treatment is permanent.

Is It Ethical?

A gem treatment should be considered to be ethical as long as it is disclosed. You can see certain gem labs reports and you will see they don’t list the treatment, or the person you are buying the stone from has no idea what you are talking about. If that is the case slowly back out of the place you are making that purchase from. Remember only gem dealers that can produce the mining certificates have nothing to hide.

Is It Dangerous?

For most treatments like light heating, beryllium heating, surface diffusion, oiling and fractured filling are all very safe for the wearer. The only dangerous one is irradiation and that is carcinogenic to the wearer because it emits radiation. As you see, treatment in sapphires and rubies can make huge difference in the gemstone. I hope the future gemstones that you purchase bring you as much happiness as our mining business has brought us.

Written By Kingdom Mines, Cambodia

Email: kingdom_mines@singapore.com


Thanks so much for taking the time to explain the different treatments to us, Ricky. I’m sure the information you have given may come to a complete surprise to many gemstone owners and wearers.

For all of you reading, don’t forget to get over to Ricky’s blog spot and find out how to get a free gemstone of your own.



Obvious water pollution:

While marine pollution can be obvious, as in the case of the marine debris shown here, it is often the pollutants that cannot be seen that cause most harm.

For those of you following the Earth Watch series, we are back. We left off in the beginning of 2009 due to circumstances beyond our control, but we did complete the 3 year Earthquake series. If you didn’t get to see a copy of the 3 year quake report – you can get that (by clicking the link at the bottom of this article).

We will continue this series starting January 2010 to see if there is any increase continuing after a year off. That magnetic pole is still cranking at high speed toward Siberia, so we’ll be keeping an eye on that and will be watching any correlations between a magnetic shift and what’s going on with disasters and quakes.

At the moment, we feel there are some more vital events going on that we should be following that everyone should be watching very carefully. It seems that scientists are completely in agreement that planet earth and the human species are now in crisis with not one doubt. You will still hear politically funded scientists arguing for methods of dealing with crisis that will bring governments more money from the people – gee, go figure. You will hear non-politically funded scientists warning that fighting politically purported causes will cause further crisis rather than help situations. You, however, won’t hear too many scientists, if any at ALL, stating that there is no crisis. We’re past that point. Every scientist on the planet is now in agreement that we’ve crossed the line of ecological balance and are on a race to solve the problems at hand before the clock runs out on us. A look at what we are facing is enough of a fright to put even the best of horror fiction to shame.

Sahara: Linear dunes of the Sahara Desert encroach on Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania. The dunes border a mosque at left (photograph by Georg Gerster).


Earth is now losing millions of hectacres of arable land to desertification yearly. In Nigeria alone 350,000 hectacres are lost yearly. It is now projected that by 2025 Africa will be able to feed only 25% of its growing population. The Sahara is growing by approximately 48 kilometers a year. Since 1980 almost half of the once arable lands have been abandoned due to desertification in Kazakhstan, and Afhighanistan and Pakistan stand to lose 80% of the land. 124 villages in Iran have been completely covered in sand. China is now making a valiant effort to reclaim over a quarter of a million square kilometers which has been claimed by desertification even as the problem spreads. 23% of Asia’s arable land has been lost, and the loss is continuing. In Mexico very nearly 50% of arable land now lays in waste.

Raw sewage and industrial waste flows into the U.S. from Mexico as the New River passes from Mexicali, Baja California to Calexico, California.

Water Crisis:

Nearly one billion people have no access to clean, safe drinking water and almost triple that amount have not enough clean water for sanitation and waste disposal. Waterborn diseases claim the lives of more children under five years of age each year than any other cause. It is estimated that 88% of all diseases are now caused by inadequate clean water supplies. Overdrafting – the excessive use of water is causing diminishing crop yields. Pesticides, factory waste, and other sources of water pollution is endangering biodiversity. Re-routing of groundwater for human use has dried many wetlands and rendered them desertificated. Erosion from desertification pours silt into previously clean waterways. Drought taxes already strained resources that were once able to sustain throughout drought periods. Desalination of oceans is unaffordable to many strained economies and would lead to further problems as ocean waters become ruined for salt water marine life. Regional conflicts result in areas in which water sources are scarce.

Deforestation: Jungle burned for agriculture in southern Mexico.



Half of our planet’s rain forests have been cleared. Some scientists speculate that by 2030 only 10% of our planets rain forests will remain. Deforestation is causing changes in climate in large areas of the world. Water cycles are affected by deforestation and climates become dryer. Land erodes and desertificates and waterways become polluted. Extinctions proliferate and biodiversity dwindles. Rains that were once beneficial cause flash flooding and landslides. Oxygen becomes depleted and carbons are not removed from the atmosphere. Fresh water produced by tropical rain forests becomes scarce.

Santiago:Opaque air seen in Santiagos skyes is smog, major pollution problem.

Air Pollution:

Air pollution has become a major problem, particularly in urban areas. It is caused by factories, cars, burning fuels for heat, volcanoes, deforestation, paints, hair spray, varnish, areosol sprays, forest fires, landfills in which waste creates methane, Radon gas from radioactive decay, dry cleaning, plastic, synthetic cloth, air fresheners, building materials, pesticides, and the list goes on. . Even reactions of some elements of pollution with other elements in our air can form more pollutants.

Polluted air, in turn, causes acid rains which destroy plant life and pollute water and soil and harm wildlife. Air pollutants cause disease and death in humans as well. Air pollution causes illness and death from asthma, heart attacks, bronchitis and emphysema, pneumonia, heart disease, respiratory allergies. In Europe alone it is estimated that over 300,000 deaths per year can be linked directly to air pollution. Occasional pollution crises have claimed thousands of lives in just a few days and in one case in India in 1984, left over a half a million injured when a factory leaked toxic gases into the air.



Greater Tokyo Area is the world’s most populous metropolitan area with about 35 million people.

Over Population.

Back in the 60’s scientists started to warn that if we did not slow our human population growth we would soon be looking at over-carrying capacity population levels. They set the critical mass bar at 6.5 billion. That level was reached last year. It is estimated that by 2030 there will be over 9 billion people. It is being contested that we can not sustain any further growth now and that 9 billion cannot be reached at all. At current rates of population growth, which is a growth of between .25 mil and .40 mil per day, the world will be shoulder to shoulder humans by the year 2,600. There probably isn’t anyone who doesn’t know that this would be an impossible figure to approach without extinction of every life form on earth, including humans. There are many that do not believe that we have reached our limit yet, however. Exactly what are our limits and how do we tell when we have crossed it? A quick look at some vital facts will explain what we must consider when deciding carrying capacity.

Carrying capacity is the amount of a population that the land can sustain keeping the ecological balance. If there are not enough resources to sustain the population, the region is over carrying capacity. Populations need food, clean water, clean air, and energy to survive. If there is not enough of these resources to sustain a population, the area is over carrying capacity. There is no magic number that signals an alarm in any given area. If an area can support 50 people in reasonable health and there are 25 people in that area, there is no problem. If you have 75 people in that area the land is pushed beyond carrying capacity and the population will have to migrate or the population will begin to die off.

Overgrazing has made the Rio Puerco Basin of central New Mexico one of the most eroded river basins of the American West and has increased the high sediment content of the river (photograph by Terrence Moore).
It should also be noted that carrying capacity will diminish as population numbers rise. As resources are used up, fewer are available for use and the fewer people are able to be supported in the area. The usage of resources will, however, increase as populations in areas that sustain them tend to increase. Once the population becomes so large that the forests are cleared faster than they can replenish themselves, desertification will set in. As the population grows and arable, crop supporting, land shrinks and water and other resources become strained, the population will be forced to migrate. When other areas are forced to absorb the migrating populations these areas can quickly become over carrying capacity, too, so the problem spreads. As long as population increases, the problems will spread.

At the time, many countries are being pushed beyond carrying capacity. Some have been sustained by artificial means of aid rather than by natural means of die off. As more resources run low and more land succumbs to desertification, the world is being pushed beyond its limits to sustain it’s burgeoning populations. Climates are changing and uncontrollable disasters are becoming rampant. Ground waters are becoming polluted and rendered unsafe for ANY life form, when areas retain any water whatsoever. Air pollution is causing acid rains in densely populated and industrial areas causing further damage. Energy resources are being used at unsustainable rates.

Planet earth is now reached the crisis point. Nations are all concentrating on solving problems of re-forestation, clean water, food supply, and population growth control.

There are now one billion people starving in 33 countries. Grain and other food storages have been depleted in most countries. Hundreds of countries are no longer able to feed their own populations and rely on aid for sustenance. The populations of these countries continue to rise despite the inability for their land to support them with either clean water or food. While aid is given in humanitarian efforts, it also keeps populations artificially supported and allows increases that cannot continue to be sustained from outside sources which are also becoming taxed. The world depends on the US alone for around 50% of grain exports. US crop failures could spell famine of mass proportions. Five other countries are also major exporters of grain. What happens when one of those countries experience crop failure? With climate changes due to desertification and deforestation, and a cooling phase beginning (due to sun activity), crop shortages are a threat to populations globally.

Presently, food crisis has resulted from a combination of man made ecological, political, and natural causes. Recent droughts have cost many crops and political and military actions have dessicated many prime croplands. As populations rise, any crop failure will become deadly. While some argue that more land is still available for planting crops, further clearing of lands for crops and livestock will only lead to deepened problems of desertification and deforestation. Heightened amounts of meat in the diets of some countries has meant heightened amounts of livestock, which in turn, require more grain for food. Livestock waste, in it’s own turn, further contaminates water and soil with ecoli bacteria and further threatens the health of the people.

We are now seeing a domino effect in which one problem in any area leads to many other problems. One problem cannot be solved easily without causing problems on another end of the ecological cycle. Do we clear more land for crops to feed the hungry and risk further desertification? Do we use water for irrigation of crops to feed the hungry and cause shortages of potable water for a village which will succumb to diseases if they don’t get water needed for sanitation? Do we outlaw the cutting of forests which are needed to maintain biodiversity and climate control or allow populations that rely on the wood for cooking and heating take their toll on the forests? The very necessity of needing to juggle resources serves as testimony to the depth of the problem and lends credence to the scientists who proclaim that we have stepped over the line of global carrying capacity.

We have only been able to lightly touch on some of the main causes and problems created by massive human populations within this article. In future months we will be tracking the crises, domino effects, and hopefully, finding what solutions are being instated that will help relieve the stress to our planet that we have created. Will we find that our technologies can help us reverse the damage we have done to ourselves and the planet or will we find we are watching the countdown to our own extinction?

Sally Taylor…RHS1 Earthwatch.


  • http://nasadaacs.eos.nasa.gov/articles/2005/2005_mea.html
  • http://news.mongabay.com/2006/1214-unu.html
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desertification
  • http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/deserts/desertification/
  • http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2002/of02-349/
  • http://www.earth-policy.org/Updates/2006/Update61.htm
  • http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/09/soil/mann-text.html
  • http://www.alin.or.ke/
  • http://www.yubanet.com/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/31/62235
  • http://www.gsafweb.org/TrusteeNews/desertdevelopmen.html
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deforestation
  • http://rainforests.mongabay.com/0816.htm
  • http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/the-great-rainforest-tragedy-542135.html
  • http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3973
  • http://www.worldwatch.org/node/4521
  • http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/society/deforestation.htm
  • http://darwin.bio.uci.edu/~sustain/bio65/lec24/b65lec24.htm
  • http://www.commodityonline.com/news/Global-starvation-imminent-as-US-faces-crop-failure-18791-3-1.html
  • http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/
  • http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/164832
  • http://dieoff.org/page174.htm
  • http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120053698876396483.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
  • http://www.earth-policy.org/Books/Out/Ote1_5.htm
  • http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/wpm/wpm2001.pdf
  • http://earthtrends.wri.org/searchable_db/results.php?years=1961-1961,1962-1962,1963-1963,1964-1964,1965-1965,1966-1966,1967-1967,1968-1968,1969-1969,1970-1970,1971-1971,1972-1972,1973-1973,1974-1974,1975-1975,1976-1976,1977-1977,1978-1978,1979-1979,1980-1980,1981-1981,1982-1982,1983-1983,1984-1984,1985-1985,1986-1986,1987-1987,1988-1988,1989-1989,1990-1990,1991-1991,1992-1992,1993-1993,1994-1994,1995-1995,1996-1996,1997-1997,1998-1998,1999-1999,2000-2000,2001-2001,2002-2002,2003-2003,2004-2004,2005-2005&variable_ID=180&theme=8&cID=&ccID=0
  • http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article3782.html
  • http://environment.about.com/od/environmentalevents/a/waterdayqa.htm
  • http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/circ1139/
  • http://www.epa.gov/owow/nps/agmm/

Image and info credits for this edition:

Wikipedia: Odyssey Marine Exploration: : Ricky Mendoza:Nasa:

Rock Hound Station 1
Global Rockhound Community