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Trilobites - Simply The Best

Trilobites - Simply The Best

Geez, where do I even start with trilobites?!  They are my favorite animal and my favorite fossil to work with. I find them to be very adorable and endlessly interesting. I could go on and on about why they are so dang cool, and I probably will in future posts, but let's start with the basics today and I will save the deep dives for another time.  An array of Elrathia kingii trilobite fossils used in my latest collection. Trilobites are an extinct type of ocean dwelling arthropods; animals with no back bones that have a hard exoskeleton, segmented bodies...

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Mookaite: Earth's Most Beautiful Ooze?

Fossils and Minerals

Mookaite: Earth's Most Beautiful Ooze?

Mookaite is a type of radiolarite, and radiolarite is made from radiolarian oozes. Simple as that, end of blog post!  An uncut slab of mookaite showing nice color variety. I generally prefer the purple and pinkish colors over the yellow tones, but that's just me ;) Pic from mindat.org Kidding, kidding. This whole saga might be the coolest thing I learned about this year, so I’m going to need to ramble about it a bit more than that. Let’s start with radiolaria, which you may know better as plankton. Teeny tiny plankton, like 0.1 to 0.12 millimeters tiny! These little...

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Oolites: they're made from ooids!

Fossils and Minerals

Oolites: they're made from ooids!

Researching this blog post led me down a big ol’ oolitic rabbit hole, and introduced me to some very fun words!*   First cool word - ooid. An ooid is a spherical grain made up of concentric layers of minerals. They are usually smaller than 2mm, if they grow larger than that they become giant ooids - very scientific! To make an ooid you’ll need a shallow sea with lots of dissolved minerals hanging around. It’s not necessary, but often a little bit of organic material like a shell fragment starts the process, and minerals begin to deposit around it, building...

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Malachite - It's Just Like Cake Pops!

Fossils and Minerals

Malachite - It's Just Like Cake Pops!

Malachite’s beauty really speaks for itself, so I am not going to bother with all that. Instead, let’s talk about the fun stuff; chemistry and geology!  A gorgeous example of a malachite stalactite from crystalclassics.co.uk To begin this journey, we need to know about primary and secondary minerals since malachite often occurs as a secondary mineral. A primary mineral is one that forms during the original solidification or crystallization of the rock. For example, minerals that formed from lava flows or deep underground under immense heat and pressure. When these original rocks undergo weathering (either physical or chemical) they are...

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Larsonite - The prettiest thing to come out of a 14 million year old bog?

Fossils and Minerals

Larsonite - The prettiest thing to come out of a 14 million year old bog?

Today, we’re talking about a distinct type of petrified bog wood that goes by many names. It is only found near McDermitt Nevada and was first mined by Gary McIntosh and Ray Larson - so you can call it McDermitt Jasper, or Gary Green Jasper, or Larsonite.  I usually call it  Larsonite because it sounds the most sciencey, and that’s just the kind of nerd I am. Sorry Gary. A painterly close up of Larsonite from fossilera.com. Those colors! That pattern! This polyonymous (new word I just learned!) stone is known and loved for its attractive shades of blue and...

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