Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Moon Rise, Rainbow, and Unusual Agate

Today I will post a few more photos from this past weekend.  Friends, Jamey and Lois, came out to the Rock On Agate Show on Saturday night to join me for the dinner that is put on by the Muskallonge State Park crew.  I think this is the third year that they have fed us dealers -- they do a great job!

After dinner we hung out for a bit waiting for it to get dark.  Then we headed down to the Lake Superior shoreline hoping to see the Northern Lights. 

Someone constructed a tee pee at the bottom of the steps.

We spotted this monarch butterfly.

Unfortunately we did not see the northern lights, so Jamey and Lois headed back to Grand Marais.  I decided to give it one more try and I headed back down to the beach.  At one point I started to see a bit of a glow on the horizon.  Since it had clouded up, I thought that maybe there was just a peak at possible northern lights.  Then I realized it was the moon rising.

Sunday we had spotty rain showers intermixed with some sun.  Finally, a rainbow did form.  I got a few photos from my back yard.

The other day repeat museum visitors brought in a weird agate that they showed me earlier this year.  After arriving home, they soaked the agate over night in CLR.  There was a black material mixed between the agate section.  The CLR successfully removed the black material.



Monday, September 15, 2014

Rock On Show -- Muskalllonge State Park

This past weekend I had a booth and gave two talks at the 7th annual Rock On Agate Show at Muskallonge State Park, located 20 miles east of Grand Marais.  The weather was a bit chilly, but it did not rain during the event.  Considering that this park is remotely located, it was well attended with over 1,500 attendees.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by my booth and/or attended my talks.

Here are a few photos I took of some of the collection displays as well as a few of the dealers' rocks for sale.

Jeff and Bob Anderson.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mars Rover Update

For those of you who are in the U.P. this weekend, you may want to think about heading over to Deer Park, MI.  The seventh annual Rock On with Lake Superior Agates show is taking place this weekend at Muskallonge State Park, which is located 20 miles east of Grand Marais (H58 to CR 407).  I will have a booth and will be also giving two lectures, one each day. 

It has been a while since I checked in with the Mars Rover, Curiosity, so I decided to do so for today's posting.  This mosaic, below was taken with a camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, that is circling above the red planet.  The photo shows the planned route (in yellow) of NASA's Curiosity rover from "Pahrump Hills" at the base of Mount Sharp, through the "Murray Formation," and south to the hematite ridge further up the flank Mount Sharp.

The image below was also taken with the rover's camera.  It shows distinct bands of alternating tone and brightness within the "Murray Formation" on Mars. Outcrops like this are common throughout the formation, although the origin of the banding is unknown. These bands may represent aqueous processes that occurred either during or after the sediments of Murray Formation were deposited.  The rover will explore these bands and try to determine their origin.

The image below shows a mesa within the "Murray Buttes" area on Mars.  This geologic formation is part of a complex fracture pattern (black arrow) protruding from the eroding rock. This mesa, which likely represents a remnant of crater floor sediments, lies on top of the sedimentary rocks of the Murray Formation. NASA's Curiosity rover will be exploring this formation.

Below is a map of lower Mount Sharp on Mars, showing the major geologic units identified from orbit. The rocks of the "Murray Formation," mapped in green, likely represent the oldest layers of Mount Sharp that NASA's Curiosity rover will explore. The Murray formation is in contact with two other major units: The sedimentary rocks of the crater floor that Curiosity has been exploring for the past two years, and the hematite ridge, a feature on Mount Sharp that shows a very distinct mineral composition from orbit. The segment A to A' corresponds to the geologic cross-section presented in the second image below.  This second graphic shows the geologic cross-section through lower Mount Sharp on Mars, corresponding to the segment A to A'.  This cross-section provides an interpretation of the geologic relationship between the "Murray Formation," the crater floor sediments, and the hematite ridge. The cross-sectional view also highlights the impressive thickness of the Murray Formation - around 650 feet (200 meters). NASA's Curiosity rover will be exploring this formation.  

The color mosaic shown below was taken by NASA's Mars Curiosity rover.  It shows strata exposed along the margins of the valleys in the "Pahrump Hills" region on Mars. The scale of layering increases upward, providing what's called a "thickening upward" trend. This is consistent with a variety of ancient environments, in particular those that involved water. 

NASA's NEOWISE mission detected comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring on July 28, 2014, less than three months before this comet's close flyby of Mars that will take place on Oct. 19th.

NEOWISE took multiple images of the comet, combined here so that the comet is seen in four different positions relative to the background stars.

The pale rocks in the foreground of the fish eye image shown below was taken on Aug. 14, 2014, during the 709th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars. The view faces southward, looking down a ramp at the northeastern end of sandy-floored "Hidden Valley." Wheel tracks show where Curiosity drove into the valley, and back out again.  The largest of the individual flat rocks in the foreground are a few inches (several centimeters) across. For scale, the rover's left front wheel, visible at left, is 20 inches (0.5 meter) in diameter.

Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech, NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona, NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lake Superior Waves and Shoulder Separation to the Third Degree

Yesterday the wind and waves were intense.  It certainly felt more like November than September.  The waves were crashing over the new breakwall.

We are not sure who owns the sailboat that broke loose and crashed into shore.

This is a custom agate window that I just finished for a customer in Marquette.

As some of you know I fell a week or so ago and separated my shoulder.  This is different than dislocating your shoulder when the arm bone separates from the shoulder bone.  In the case of most shoulder (AC) separations, the ligaments holding the color bone to the shoulder bone tear.  In my case, two ligaments tore causing the color bone to stick up above the shoulder.  Apparently, this "bump" is permanent.

I had the choice between surgery and physical therapy.  Because of the high probability of doing more harm than good with the surgical option, I am choosing physical therapy.  This non-surgical treatment builds up the muscles and helps stabilize the joint. Once the pain has eased, I will set up PT and start range-of-motion exercises followed by a strength training program. With most cases the pain goes away after three weeks. Full recovery can take up to twelve weeks.

James Heilman, MD http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ACseperation.png

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Harvest Moon

For today's blog posting I am including photos that I took of the full moon.  This month we have a double treat.  The full moon is both a supermoon as well as a harvest moon.  A supermoon occurs when a full moon makes its closest approach to the Earth on its elliptical orbit.  A Harvest Moon occurs when a full moon falls closest to the Northern Hemisphere's fall equinox, which occurs on September 22nd.  Its name derives from the extra light it allows farmers to gather crops during harvesting.

Throughout the year the moon rises, on average, about 50 minutes later each day. However, during the fall equinox, the moon rise difference from day to day shrinks to only 30 minutes as the moon’s orbital path makes a smaller angle with the evening horizon.

According to NASA the Harvest Moon, and other supermoons, appear 14 per cent larger and around 30 per cent brighter than usual moons.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Agate Close Ups

It has been quite some time since I posted some agate close ups from the photography in my agate book Agates Inside Out.  As many of you know, the photographer I hired for the book is Tom Shearer.  I love looking at the detail.

Kentucky agate...

Lake Superior agate....

Mexican Laguna agate....

Mexican Laguna agate....

Montana dry head agate....

Lake Superior agate....

Kentucky agate....

Argentina puma agate...

Lake Superior agate...

Lake Superior agate...