I love rocks. I have collected them my whole life. So, when I was asked to pick a science in college, geology was a pretty easy call. I enjoyed learning about how mountains form and marveled at the tectonic plates that move our continents around ever so slowly. I can’t pass a road cut without trying to identify the colorful sedimentary layers and when I stare at the stars I remember being taught about the solar system and how it formed.
I mention this because after I took three geology courses, the thrill wore off. It wasn’t my love of rocks and minerals that waned, it was how complicated geology had become.
“Today we’ll be talking about cryptocrystalline structures,” my professor said one day in class. He went on to explain complex things I didn’t understand and no longer remember. What I do recall is that I realized I didn’t care. I loved rocks because they were beautiful or fascinating. Perhaps you now think me shallow, but that rocks were pretty was enough for me from then on.
Today, thanks to the Internet, I’m a member of several Facebook pages for mineral enthusiasts. There are thousands of us out there, so I feel a little
better about my rocking addiction. Every day, I look at photographs of lovely specimens from around the world. But recently, things have gotten problematic again.
Take this post, for example: IMO it is a water-worn cobble of plagioclase porphyry: phenocrysts of bladed plagioclase feldspar in an aphanitic basaltic matrix.”
And this one: Mesolite is a tectosilicate mineral with formula Na₂Ca₂(Al₂Si₃O₁₀)₃·8H₂O. It is a member of the zeolite group and is closely related to natrolite which it also resembles in appearance. Mesolite crystallizes in the orthorhombic system and typically forms fibrous, acicular prismatic crystals or masses.
Can’t we just admire beauty without all the scientific mumbo jumbo? One wonders whether the above mineral descriptions are just a bit of braggadocio. Or maybe it’s me. Perhaps, if I’d taken more of those geology classes, I could confidently craft my own long-winded, science-laden description of a clump a beautiful fluorite crystals.
So, do I regret my decision to pass on higher-level geology? Let me think on it.
Doo doo da da doo doo da…
Nope! Pretty works just fine.
The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.
February 2, 2022
In 1939, archeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate bead work, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine hundred years earlier, was a magician.
Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.
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