Monday, February 8, 2010

Gem and Mineral Show

One of the coolest things ever about homeschooling are the wonderful field trips that you get to take.  The past couple of months we have been learning about some earth science.  Specifically, rocks, minerals and gems. The boys have been learning so much about the different types of earths rocks and minerals.  There are so many kinds and types and so much information that it would take years and years of learning and studying to even begin to come close to learning everything that this earth has to offer.

This past week we took a couple of days and hit the road to attend one of the worlds largest Gem and Mineral shows.  It is located right down the road from us in Tucson.  We met some family there who attend every year.  They know the place and the vendors like the back of their hand. They were our tour guides, so to speak. It was great to have them there to show us around and tell us where all the good deals were for a few items that we purchased and brought home with us.

Here are a few things that caught our interest and decided to bring home with us:

This is a small Amethyst Cathedral.  It is amethyst crystals that are what is called "In Matrix" or their natural form.  These are pretty pricey just to walk into any retail gem shop and purchase.  One like we purchased would cost anywhere from about $50 to $80.  We were able to get it for $14 at the Gem show.  It is the coolest thing, specially at a price like that! The Cathedrals are priced based on their size and the quality of the crystals.  The larger and darker the crystals the more valuable they are.  Maybe next year we will get a larger one.  

These are different types of lava rocks. The name "Lava" is their everyday street term.  The scientific name for the top one is Spider Web Obsidian.  The spider web name comes from the small lines throughout it that looks like spider webs.  This type of lava is real smooth and looks almost like glass.  The bottom rock is called Hematite and has little bubbles all over its surface.  The differences in the two rocks is determined by the rate at which they cooled after erupting from the volcano. The top one has a glassy surface becasue it is cooled at a very slow rate where as the bottom one has bubbles all over it becasue it cools almost immediately after leaving the volcano.  The bubble rock probably came from an underwater volcano and cooled instantly upon hitting water after the volcano erupted.

This is what is know as Peacock Ore, or more scientifically speaking, Chalcopyrite.  This is a type of rock that naturally has all different colors through out it.  It is just amazing all the things that God created...even rocks!

We brought home quit a few more samples with us but I don't have any pictures of them.  One that I don't have a picture of is a rock that looks like it was perfectly polished by humans, but actually was not.  It is a rock that is only found in a river in India.  They are all the same shape (an oval egg shape).  They are called Shiva Lingam rocks.  They are known, mostly in Asia, for their spiritual powers.  That is not the reason why I think they are cool.  Again, I see it as another amazing act of God.  He isn't just our creater of all things he is also the perfecter of all things.


Jen said...

Those rocks are beautiful!! I always enjoyed teaching my 2nd graders about the rock cycle and different types of rocks. In fact thinking back I LOVED my geology classes in college!!

I am glad you all had a great time! You were definitely with the BEST tour guide!!

I love your last line about God not only being the creator but the perfecter!! LOVE IT!!!!

Lisa (the girls' moma) said...

I heard you guys went to the show, but it's really cool to see how you can use something like that for homeschool. I know this has been a new adventure for you, Ames, but it looks like you are rockin' it!

Uh, no pun intended... ;)

Love you!

Jennifer said...

That is AWESOME! I also home school my son and we live in Tucson. Too cool. Love your finds from the show.