This page was designed using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and looks best in a CSS-aware browser. Unfortunately yours is not. However, the document should still be perfectly readable, since that's one of the advantages of using CSS.

Return to the Rockhound Rambling Center.
You may also go to the VGMS Home Page.

The Ventura Gem & Mineral Society, Inc. (VGMS)
Rockhound Rambling
September 2003.

Table of Contents.


Under unfortunate circumstances, my last message did not include all I wanted to say.

Time for nominations of officers is coming soon. If you are asked to serve, please say yes. We need you. Serving on the Board of Directors is work, it is also rewarding.

Make plans now to attend the annual picnic October 26 in Arroyo Verde Park. Bring your chair and a healthy appetite. Ron Wise is in charge and will have all the information.

The November meeting will be held the second Wednesday, rather than the fourth. The program is a silent auction. We want a good turn-out for that. Florence and I are bringing polished wood, geodes, and perhaps minerals. Also Florence has two "one-of-a-kind" Bolo ties, very unique. Other members have promised good material also. We hope to spark enough interest to have a good turn-out and lively bidding.

I want to thank Steve and Susan Mulqueen for entering the club case in the Fair, and Steve for arranging VGMS displays in the Union Oil Museum in Santa Paula.

Thank all of you for the nice 60th anniversary card for Florence and I and a special thank you to Valli Davis for the beautiful and tasty cake. It was all so very nice.

Ray Meisenheimer.

Editor's Note: I retrieved Ray's message for last month. Here is a bit more: "Thanks to those who helped with the Fair, especially those who helped with set-up and tear down. It is a lot of hard work. Thank all of you who entered displays. I understand that this club won a lot of ribbons. Thank you to those who helped in the Bull-pen, cleaned the cases, and walked the floor. As the Fair manager said on volunteer day, 'we couldn't do it without you.' Thank you Susan and Steve for putting in a club case."

[TOC]  Table of Contents.


A Dinosaur keeping track of things.Wisdom is knowing what to do next, virtue is doing it.

Look for the ridiculous in everything, and you will find it.

Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first and the lesson afterward.

What some people mistake for the high cost of living is really the cost of living high.

Collected by Wayne Ehlers.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.

Local Fossils: Collecting Sites in our Own Community,
By Jim Brace-Thompson.

Jim Brace-Thompson will give a slide presentation on local fossil collecting sites in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. All sixteen sites in this "virtual fieldtrip" are within easy proximity for convenient day trips. The presentation includes maps showing site locations, photos of each locality, and specimens to add to your collection. Please come and find out more about these local fossil sites at our next members' meeting.
     Submitted by Nancy Brace-Thompson, Program Chair.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.

Nature's Images Under the Microscope,
By Ed Gafford.

Ed Gafford gave a wonderful educational talk on his use of the microscope, at high magnification, to capture the beautiful images of simple vitamins, cold remedies, and chemicals that we use every day. The colors and designs were spectacular from ordinary items such as Vitamin B, Sulfur and plastic.
     Submitted by Nancy Brace-Thompson, Program Chair.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.

2003 Meeting Programs.

Here's an updated outline of programs planned for our monthly meetings through the remainder of 2003:

Month. Program. By Whom.
September 24: Local Fossils: Collecting Sites in our own Community, Jim Brace-Thompson.
October 22: A Train Trip through Europe and Russia, Wayne Ehlers.
November 12: Silent Auction, Club Members.
December: Holiday Dinner, Club Members.

     Thank you to all our wonderful volunteers who have helped us fill our slate of programs for this year.
     Submitted by Nancy Brace-Thompson, Program Chair.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.

How about a BBQ?

The suggestion was made to bring back the not so annual VGMS BBQ.
The occasion is scheduled for Sunday, October 26.
The place is Arroyo Verde Park in Ventura at 12 Noon.
The club will provide Hotdogs, hamburger and buns.
You will provide one side dish and the rest of your needs for a picnic.
     Ron Wise.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.


It's hard to believe it is getting to be that time again. We will need a nominating committee selected at the September meeting. Be thinking about whom you would like to see on the VGMS 2004 Board and what you would like to do. The more active you are the more fun you have. The Election Schedule is as follows:
     September - Nominating Committee appointed,
     October - Nominating Committee presents slate of Officers,
     November - Election of Officers,
     December - Installation of new Officers.

If you are approached to take an office, please accept or if you aren't approached and would like to be an officer please contact the nominating committee or Ray Meisenheimer. We have a great club that is fun to work with and very educational. It takes everyone's help to keep it that way.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.


9-21-03 - 2004 Show Meeting - 2:00 pm at the home of Jim & Nancy Brace Thompson, 7319 Eisenhower St., Ventura, CA 93003.
9-24-03 - VGMS Regular Meeting - 7:30 pm - "Local Fossil Collecting Sites in our own Community" - by Jim Brace-Thompson.
10-2-03 - VGMS Board Meeting - 7:30 pm - At the Museum. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.
10-4 & 5-03 - Field Trip to Lone Pine.
10-10-03 - DEADLINE FOR OCTOBER/NOVEMBER (COMBINED) Bulletin Articles to the Editor!
10-11 & 12-03 - Searles Lake Gem & Mineral Society Show - Trona, CA.
10-18-03 - VGMS Work Shop - Museum - Open - 9-noon.
10-22-03 - VGMS Regular Meeting - 7:30 pm - "A Train Trip through Europe & Russia" - by Wayne Ehlers.
10-26-03 - VGMS Annual Picnic - Arroyo Verde Park, Ventura. Keep the date open, more details in the next bulletin.
11-6-03 - VGMS Board Meeting - 7:30 pm - At the Museum. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.
**11-12-03 - VGMS Regular Meeting - 7:30 pm - Silent Auction.
     **Note this is the 2nd Wednesday of the month.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.


California Oil Museum - Excerpt from the California Oil Museum 9-12-03 Weekly Report - "The Ventura Gem and Mineral Society (VGMS) opened a new exhibit, 'Geodes and Nodules,' in the Main Hall of the Museum. This display features beautiful polished geodes and nodules from Mexico and California. Thanks to Steve Mulqueen of the VGMS for putting this exhibit series together for the past five years." This exhibit will be there until January 18th. - Ed. Note: We second that thanks Steve!

Another exhibit that is currently at the California Oil Museum until October 19 is "Witness to Disaster: the St. Francis Dam Disaster" (Santa Paula Historical Society).

Note: CFMS Fall Business Meeting - Saturday, Nov. 8, 2003 at the Quality Inn, 4278 West Ashland Ave., Fresno, CA. Any CFMS member may attend the meeting, but only delegates may vote. Florence Meisenheimer is our delegate/director, but they are interesting to attend and see what happens at that level. Who knows, you may want to become involved at the officer level. They are in need of nominations for Secretary at this point. If you are interested in attending the meeting or being nominated for Secretary, please give Florence a call for more details or Shirley Layton for a copy of the agenda from the CFMS Sept. Newsletter.

Milk Crates are available for members at $5.00 each. See Richard Bromser. They are great for storing our treasures!

Hosts and Hostesses Schedule for 2003 Meetings:
     Sept. 24, 2003 - Nancy & Jim Brace-Thompson;
     Oct. 22, 2003 - Emma Mayer;
     Nov. 12, 2003 - Shirley & Richard Bromser.

Many thanks from Sharon Cunningham for the volunteers. If any questions or changes, please give Sharon a call at 805 649-3579.

VGMS Business Cards Available - You can get them printed with your name and address or whatever you wish on them. They are $2.00 for 50 or $3.75 for 100. See Shirley Layton with the number you want and how you want them printed.

VGMS Workshops - They are held on the third Saturday of each month from 9:00 until noon unless otherwise notified. The Shop Supervisors are: Ron Wise (805) 647-4393 & Greg Davis (805) 647-9214. Stop and say thanks to these volunteers for the opportunity they give the rest of us. It is there for your use, take advantage of it.

Bulletin e-mail - It would be helpful when you e-mail information or articles for the bulletin if you could start the subject with "VGMS (space)". This will help Jim to sort them and hopefully not miss any! E-mails work great as we can just roll the information over and don't have to re-type it, so keep them coming!! Thanks!

Advertising - Any One want to put an Ad in Rockhound Rambling?? - Call Shirley Layton 805 642-2683 - Sell some to a friend! The Bulletin goes to several other Gem & Mineral clubs, so it is good spread for little money!!

[TOC]  Table of Contents.


Artie had died and gone to heaven and of course his wife Elsie was heartbroken. Several nights later she was sleeping and suddenly heard Artie calling to her. She answered him back, "Is that you Artie?" He answered "Yes it is, I came back to comfort you." Elsie asked "Well how is it up in heaven?" "Well everything is just wonderful, the scenery is great, the food is wonderful, and I get to play golf or tennis anytime I want. Now if it hadn't been for that awful oatmeal diet I could have been up here 10 years ago."

Contributed by Wayne Ehlers.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.


International Meteorite Collectors Association.

The International Meteorite Collectors Association Logo.

If you have thought about buying a meteorite, but have concerns about authenticity, or perhaps bought one that you suspect may be a meteor-wrong, the International Meteorite Collectors Association may be of help to you. Look for their logo whether you're shopping on-line or at a Gem and Mineral Show. Their main purpose is to make certain that all the members adhere to the highest standards of meteorite identification, authenticity and proper labeling practices. The members monitor each other's activities for accuracy. Some are professional dealers, some educators who use meteorites in their teaching, while others are mainly hunters. If one of the members knowingly defrauds someone (member or not), that person will be removed from the IMCA. Their Complaints Page says: "If you have bought a meteorite from a member of the IMCA and feel that you have somehow been defrauded as in: the rock you bought isn't a meteorite, isn't the meteorite that you thought you were buying, or was the wrong weight, and the seller will not take reasonable action to correct the situation, e-mail us at"
     Shawne Lardin.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.


AFMS Web Site -,
CFMS Web Site -,
California BLM Web Site -,
American Lands Access Association Web Site -

[TOC]  Table of Contents.


Happy Birthday to all those born in October. We all wish you good health and hope you have a Great Day! Please let me know if I have missed your birthday. Please call Shirley Layton at 642-2683 and leave a message if I'm not there or an e-mail will also do the trick, Thanks!

October - Happy Birthday!!
     Melissa Berman - 12th,
     Dallas Stephens - 16th,
     Guadalupe Berman - 22nd,
     Valli Davis - 23rd.

The October birthstone is the Opal and the flower is the Calendula.


Chemistry: SiO2-nH2O; Hydrated Silicon Dioxide.
Class: Mineraloids.
Uses: As a gemstone and ornamental stone.
Group: Some mineralogists place Opal in the Quartz Group.

     Opal has been a popular gem for many centuries and has a very interesting structure. Opal is considered a mineraloid because this structure is not truly crystalline. The chemistry of Opal is primarily SiO2 and varying amounts of water. The amount of water varies from 5 -10% and greater. This water can help geologists determine the temperature of the host rock at the time the opal formed.
     Although there is no crystal structure (meaning a regular arrangement of atoms), Opal does possess a structure nonetheless. Random chains of silicon and oxygen are packed into extraordinarily tiny spheres. These spheres in most Opals are irregular in size and inconsistent in concentration. Yet in Precious Opal, the variety used most often in jewelry, there are many organized pockets of the spheres. These pockets contain spheres of approximately equal size and have a regular concentration, or structure, of the spheres. This has the effect of diffracting light at various wavelengths, creating colors. Each pocket produces a different color, with a different intensity depending on the angle from which a viewer sees it. The multicolored flashes of light that Opal emits gives it a truly beautiful and valuable look.

Color is white, colorless, pale yellow, pale red, gray or black when impurities are common. Diffraction can cause flashes of any color of the rainbow (opalescent).
Luster is vitreous to pearly.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System does not apply because opal is amorphous.
Habits include massive, cavity-fillings such as in fractures and geodes, nodular or as a replacement of other minerals and wood.
Cleavage is absent.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 5 - 6.
Specific Gravity is approximately 2 - 2.5 (light).
Streak is white.
     Associated rocks are chert (a form of microcrystalline quartz), volcanic rocks and many others.
     Other Characteristics: Some opal fluoresces and it can be very sensitive to impacts and low temperatures.
     Notable Occurrences include Western USA; Mexico; Australia and many other localities around the world.
     Best Field Indicators are color play (opalescent), low density, lack of cleavage and crystal faces and fracture filling tendency.

          Copyright 1995 by Amethyst Galleries, Inc. Unless otherwise noted, all mineral descriptions and images, plus the related descriptions on the server are the property of Amethyst Galleries, Inc., and may not be copied for commercial purposes. Permission to copy descriptions and images is granted for personal and educational use only.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.


Our August meeting was blessed with twenty members, six guests and one pebble pup. The guests include Richard Cronin, Fred Yilla, Ed Gafford (our speaker), Carol Gafford, Heidi Mauer and Andy Pletcher. Andy and her son Savvy have become new members and I understand Heidi is becoming a new member as well. The pebble pup was Savvy. We are certainly happy to welcome all our guests (and new members) and hope they will join us again. Sorry if we misspelled any names, they are kind of hard to read some times. Sharlyne reported that the program was most interesting and that a 60th anniversary cake for Ray & Florence Meisenheimer, furnished by Greg and Valli Davis, was enjoyed by all. Congratulations Ray and Florence, sorry to miss the celebration and the program. However, we did enjoy our vacation to Iowa via Amtrak and hope to have some pictures of the beautiful Donner Pass area from the train perspective for you all. I look forward to seeing all of you at the September meeting.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.


Because of Earth Science happenings at Camp Paradise and other events scheduled for September there is no fieldtrip scheduled for September.
Mark your calendar for October 4-5 for a dig in Bishop and Lone Pine.
We are planning to spend the 27th-30th of November in the North Cady Mountains.
Note: October 11-12 is the Gem-O-Rama at Searles Lake. Check with Steve Mulqueen for information. Bring back all the extra Halite you can as it sells at the show.
     Ron Wise, Field Trip Chairperson.

Schedule 3-5-2003.

October: 4-5, Lone Pine,
Leader: Don Asher.
  11-12, Trona Show *VGMS auxiliary group.
November: 1-2, OGMS Show.
  27-30, Cady Mts. area,
Leader: Ron Wise.
December: Holidays.  
  Open, Open.

  Don Asher, 482-2510, Conejo,
  Norbert Kinsler, 485-8681, Oxnard,
  Ron Wise, 647-4393, Ventura,

***Please call to confirm that there is a fieldtrip scheduled in the event of changes.

Ron Wise, Field Trip Chairperson.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.

Ask and Ye Shall Receive.

A woman received a phone call that her daughter was very sick with a fever. She left work and stopped by the pharmacy for some medication for her daughter. She returned to her car to find she had locked her keys inside. She had to get home to her sick daughter, and didn't know what to do.

She called her home to the baby sitter, and was told her daughter was getting worse. She said, "You might find a coat hanger and use that to open the door." The woman found an old rusty coat hanger on the ground, as if someone else had locked their keys in their car. Then she looked at the hanger and said, "I don't know how to use this." She bowed her head and asked God for help.

An old rusty car pulled up, driven by a dirty, greasy, bearded man with a biker skull rag on his head. The woman thought, "Great God. This is what you sent to help me?" But she was desperate, and thankful. The man got out of his car and asked if he could help. She said, "Yes, my daughter is very sick. I must get home to her. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car." He said, "SURE." He walked over to the car and in seconds the car was opened. She hugged the man and through her tears she said, "THANK YOU SO MUCH... You are a very nice man." The man replied, "Lady, I ain't a nice man. I just got out of prison for car theft." The woman hugged the man again and cried out loud..."THANK YOU GOD FOR SENDING ME A PROFESSIONAL!"

Author unknown, source Strata Gem, Toole G&M Society, Toole, UT, May 2003, Quarry Quips - 7/03.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.



We are happy to welcome a new member and her son to VGMS, Andy Pletcher and her son Savvy. Please introduce yourselves to Andy and Savvy at the next meeting and make them feel welcome. You can contact Andy and Savvy at:
     Andy Pletcher - Pebble Pup Savvy Pletcher,
     325 Venus Street,
     Thousand Oaks, CA 91360,
     Tele. 805 241-3909.

Directory Address Change:
     Allie L. Buck,
     1918 Chestnut Street,
     Baker City, OR 97814-2912.

Attention New Members (or anyone needing a badge).
Need a Club Badge?
Blue Engravers is giving us a $.50 reduction per badge
for advertising space in the club bulletin!
Ventura County Shape badge $11.28 (includes. tax & ship).
ACCOUNT: Ventura Gem and Mineral Society, Inc.
Name (print clearly. It will be on your name badge):





Make check payable to and mail to (takes 5-7 business days):
Blue Engravers,
1375 Caspian Ave.,
Long Beach, CA 90813.
If ordering more than 2 badges call them for exact shipping
costs at (562) 983-5140, FAX (562) 983-5146,

[TOC]  Table of Contents.

Solution Mining at Searles Lake, Trona, CA;
By Stephen P. Mulqueen.

Searles Lake is an evaporite basin located near the community of Trona in San Bernardino County, CA. IMC Chemicals currently extracts 1.5 million tons of industrial minerals each year from several lakebeds within the basin.

Searles Lake is one of a chain of Pleistocene lakes that extends from Owens Lake to as far as ancient Lake Manly in Death Valley. The stratigraphic record at Searles Lake indicates that it once held brackish water as deep as 200 meters (650'). Fluctuations in lake levels correspond to the advances and retreats of glaciers in the Sierra Nevada Range. Thirty major lake levels occurred during the last 150,000 years, represented by a sequence of salt and mud beds. The precipitation of minerals occurred during long periods of lake evaporation.

Borax was first produced from the dry lake surface in 1873 by John Searles under the name of the San Bernardino Borax Mining Company (SBBMC). Searles was the first to haul borax using the famous 20 mule team wagons. In 1873, before the railroad was built to Mojave, refined borax was hauled 175 miles by 20 mule teams from Slate Range Playa (now called Searles Lake) to the harbor at San Pedro.

Searles Lake is a vast resource of sodium and potassium minerals of the carbonate, sulfate, chloride and borate system of mineralogy. Production of industrial minerals involves a complex solution mining operation in which brines are produced from wells completed in several salt beds at depths of over 100 meters below the surface. A network of production wells, injection wells, solar ponds and piping are used in the extraction and treatment of the brines.

Industrial minerals are extracted from the brines at the Argus, Trona and Westend plants. Minerals are crystallized from the brines, washed, screened and dried in rotary kilns. This complex extraction process at the 3 plants is generally referred to as fractional crystallization. It includes the treatment of brine through carbonation extraction, refrigeration extraction and/or solvent extraction. Salt is harvested with use of heavy equipment from the lake surface and from solar ponds.

IMC Chemicals products from Searles Lake include borax, V-Bor (borax w/5 moles of water), anhydrous borax, boric acid, soda ash, salt cake and salt. Mineral reserves exceed 4 billion metric tons.

Written September 8, 2003.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.


Demand has been high for the opening of the Big Room in southeastern Arizona's Kartchner Caverns near Benson, officials say.

Kartchner Caverns is a limestone cavern system in Southeastern Arizona discovered in 1974 by two amateur cavers from Tucson. It is host to world-class cave formations considered to be the best of their kind in the world.

The Big Room, at the end of a 1,220-foot trail, will open to the public for the first time Nov. 11. The big Room covers a much larger area than the Throne/Rotunda rooms combined, but provides a more intimate setting with a diverse selection of formations.

A fund-raising sneak preview of the Big Room is being offered Nov. 8-9 through the Friends of Kartchner Caverns and Arizona Diamondbacks Charities for $150.

For information, call 800 285-3703 or go to or on the Web.

From The Star, Sunday Aug. 31, 2003, submitted by Emma Mayer. (Ed. Note: Wayne and Marie Ehlers visited the cave and Wayne gave a program on it about a year ago. It appears to be an outstanding place to visit.)

[TOC]  Table of Contents.

By Ted Roberts - SRGC.

     Marble is a metamorphic rock composed wholly or in large part of calcite or dolomite crystals, the crystalline texture being the result of metamorphism of limestone by heat and pressure. The term marble is loosely applied to any limestone or dolomite that takes a good polish and is otherwise suitable as a building stone or ornamental stone.
     Marbles range in color from snow-white to gray and black, many varieties being of some shade of red, yellow, pink, green, or buff; the colors, which are caused by the presence of impurities, are frequently arranged in bands or patches and add to the beauty of the stone when it is cut and polished.
     Marble is used as a material in statuary and monuments, as a facing stone in buildings and residences, and for pillars, colonnades, paneling, wainscoting, and floor tiles. Like all limestone, it is corroded by water and acid fumes and is thus ultimately an uneconomical material for use in exposed places and in large cities. The presence of certain impurities decreases its durability.
     Marble was extensively used by the ancient Greeks; the Parthenon and other famous buildings were constructed of white Pentelic marble from Mt. Pentelicus in Attica, and the finest statues, e.g., the Venus de Medici, from the remarkably lustrous Parian marble from Paros in the Cyclades. These same quarries were later used by the Romans. Among the famous marbles of Italy are the Carrara and Siena marbles of Tuscany, which were used by the Romans and the Italian sculptors of the Renaissance. Marbles are quarried in all parts of the world. The finest marbles in the United States come from Vermont, which produces large quantities. Other states important as marble producers are Massachusetts, Maryland, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, California, Colorado, and Arizona.
          Extracted from 1Up > Info > Encyclopedia > Geology and Oceanography > Marble.
          Source Skagit Gems, Skagit R&G Club, Mount Vernon, WA, May 2003.

Quarry Quips - 7/03.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.


Minutes of the VGMS Regular Monthly Meeting,
Wednesday, August 27, 2003:

     The regular monthly meeting of the Ventura Gem & Mineral Society was called to order by President Ray Meisenheimer at 7:35 pm on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 in the Bijou Room of the Lexington, 5440 Ralston, Ventura, Ca. The group was led in the salute to the flag.
     The July regular meeting and board meeting minutes were corrected and then m/s/p as shown in the bulletin. Guests were welcomed.
     Ray asked for but received no old business.
New business:
Richard Bromser gave the treasurer's report.
Jim Brace-Thompson - The next show meet for our 2004 show will be September 21st at the Brace-Thompson's house at 2:00 and plenty of flyers have been printed and are available for distribution at other shows.
Ron Wise - No field trip scheduled for September due to Camp Paradise, the Lone Pine trip is planned for October 4th & 5th and Ron also mentioned that the Club picnic has been scheduled for Sunday, October 26th, at Arroyo Verde Park in Ventura. Details will follow, but you can pretty much figure on a very relaxing and enjoyable time with perfect weather during this time of year. It's a perfect setting, so mark your calendars. The club will provide hot dogs, hamburgers and buns with each family bringing a side dish to share. See you there.
     The 10th of the month is again the deadline for articles submitted to the bulletin.
Ed Gafford, an artist and chemist combined the two and presented an excellent program of color and science. Digitized photos of common chemicals in crystal form, enlarged many times demonstrated some of beauty in nature, seldom seen. Ed presented a slide show along with hands-on displays for everyone to view. It was as educational as it was entertaining.
Steve Mulqueen mentioned the Trona show coming October 11th & 12th and that he and Susan have set up a new display of nodules and geodes at the Santa Paula Oil Museum.
Ray Meisenheimer announced the need for volunteers to fill nomination positions and the committee to put this together. All and any help is appreciated. The next Board meeting will be September 4th, all are welcomed to attend and the next regular meeting will be September 24th.
     Door prizes were awarded and refreshments were provided by Greg and Valli Davis, who presented Ray and Florence Meisenheimer with a 60th wedding anniversary cake. (Florence's favorite-lemon filling.)
     There being no further business, Ray adjourned the meeting at 9:20 pm.
          Respectfully submitted, Greg Davis.

Minutes of the VGMS Board Meeting,
September 4, 2003:

     The regular board meeting of the VGMS was called to order by President Ray Meisenheimer at 7:30 pm on Thursday, September 4, 2003, at the VGMS Museum, 5019 Crooked Palm Rd., Ventura, Ca.
Present: Ray and Florence Meisenheimer, Richard Bromser, Steve Mulqueen, Nancy Brace-Thompson and Greg Davis.
Richard Bromser - Checks 1045-1047 were m/s/c to be used for club utilities and expenses for the month of August. A discussion followed concerning the possibility of relocating club funds to increase interest rates. Further discussion will be needed. It was m/s/c to accept club member applications from Savvy Pletcher (11 years old) and Andy Pletcher.
Nancy Brace-Thompson - 10th of the month is deadline for articles to the bulletin. The next show meeting will be September 21st, 2:00 at Nancy's house.
     There are no field trips planned for September as Camp Paradise will require our time. The next scheduled trip will be to Lone Pine, October 4th & 5th (details coming) and the Trona Show, Oct.11th & 12th. A possibility would be a trip in November to the Cady Mountains.
Steve Mulqueen - A workshop day will be scheduled in the fall to repair the museum roof. The Trona Show (October 11th & 12th) always signals the cooler time of year when we're able to return to the desert.
Ray Meisenheimer - October 26th has been set as the date for a club picnic at Arroyo Verde Park in Ventura. Details will be forthcoming but we'll probably converge on the place around noon. The regular meeting for November (the second Wednesday) will include our club silent auction and home made pumpkin pies from members. Speaking of November, we'll vote on club board member nominees during that meeting, with nominations starting at our September meeting and the installation during our December meeting. See you all there.
     There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:25 pm.
          Respectfully submitted, Greg Davis.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.



  • I will respect both private and public property and will do no collecting on privately owned land without permission from the owner.
  • I will keep informed on all laws, regulations and rules governing collecting on private lands and will observe them.
  • I will, to the best of my ability, ascertain the boundary lines of property on which I plan to collect.
  • I will use no firearms or blasting materials in collecting areas.
  • I will cause no willful damage to property of any kind, such as fences, signs, buildings, etc.
  • I will leave all gates as found.
  • I will build fires only in designated or safe places and will be certain they are completely extinguished before leaving the area.
  • I will discard no burning materials - matches, cigarettes, etc.
  • I will fill all excavation holes which may be dangerous to livestock.
  • I will not contaminate wells, creeks, or other water supplies.
  • I will cause no damage to collecting material and will take home only what I can reasonably use.
  • I will practice conservation and undertake to utilize fully and well the materials I have collected and will recycle my surplus for the pleasure and benefit of others.
  • I will support the Rockhound Project H.E.L.P. (Help Eliminate Litter Please) and will leave all collecting areas devoid of litter, regardless of how found.
  • I will cooperate with Field Trip Leaders and those in designated authority in all collecting areas.
  • I will report to my Club or Federation Officers, Bureau of Land Management, or other proper authorities, any deposit of petrified wood or other material on public lands which should be protected for the enjoyment of future generations and for public educational and scientific purposes.
  • I will appreciate and protect our heritage of Natural Resources. I will observe the "Golden Rule", will use Good Outdoor Manners and will at all times conduct myself in a manner which will add to the stature and Public Image of Rockhounds everywhere.

AFMS Newsletter - March 2001.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.

By Chuck Boblenz.

     "TV ROCK" can be seen in many shops and specialty stores dedicated to things of nature. Those of us that are curious about such things often pick it up. Upon further investigation we find that when we place the piece upon some printed material the image is transmitted to the surface nearest to us.
     Wow! Now we see why it has the nickname of "TV ROCK". If you have done this and had a similar response, have you ever wondered how this occurs? I have and wish to share my findings.
     "TV ROCK" is really a borate mineral named ULEXITE. Many of the borate minerals occur in little puffballs of very fragile-looking white crystals. The spray of crystals gives the puffball appearance. This material is formed in open pockets or cavities in the host material. The white is often a startling white that catches one's eye immediately.
     The crystals are formed in the triclinic crystal system, which has no two-axis equal, and therefore a crystal that has no symmetry. The fact that it has no symmetry does allow it to have parallel faces, which are called pinacoid faces.
     This triclinic group of crystals is so compactly packed that they form these layers, with all crystals being parallel to each other. Thus, if some of our material is sliced parallel to these crystals and we make a cabochon of this material we will obtain a cat's eye affect from the parallel crystals.
     These are quite pretty, as the basic form will show a whitish color similar to that seen in moonstone and a vivid white eye will follow you around as you move the cabochon.
     If the material is cut perpendicular to the crystals and we polish both sides of our slice, we have now polished the ends of the individual crystals. Doing this provides a nicely polished surface, but with nothing very noteworthy. However, when we place one of the polished surfaces upon a piece of printed matter, we see the "TV" phenomenon. The image that we have placed the piece against is now seen on its upper surface. This occurs because the clearness of the ULEXITE crystal allows the image to flow from the surface touching the printed matter through the crystal and then be displaced on the surface nearest to us.
     All of this is due to the parallel faces provided by the triclinic crystallization of the ULEXITE and produces our "TV ROCK".
     This very same phenomenon is observed in the fiber optics part of the electronics industry where electronic data is passed down fiber tubes similar to our crystals in "TV ROCK" and the fibers are usually tightly packed similar to our ULEXITE and both produce the same optical events.
     Dense layers of ULEXITE are found at the Borax Mining operation near Boron, California and the layers can be as small as an inch or so in thickness to as large as several feet thick. Neat stuff; don't you agree?
          Breccia 1/03 via Rocky Review 2/03.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.

(Use at your own risk).

Burp that tumbler! - If your tumbler keeps burping gas and making a mess---it's due to gas generated by acids and metals such as the iron in a stone, reacting with the weak acids formed by grinding other rocks.

Drop a couple of antacids in the tumbler and the problem will be reduced or go away!
     Tums for the tumbler!
     Brecia-4/03 via Del Air Bulletin 9/03.

Keep chiggers and ticks away by dusting your shoes and trouser legs with powdered sulfur. Have your druggist mix one part of benzoate and eight parts of denatured alcohol. Shake it well and spray it on your shoes, socks and clothing, inside and out. Allow it to dry. One spraying will last until laundered, and it will not harm fabrics or colors, or you. - Author unknown - The Petrified Digest 6/02 via Quarry Quips 7/03.

Instead of dumping used acid (oxalic, muriatic, etc) down the drain, where it can cause pollution and might damage the plumbing, try the following: put it in a plastic bucket or earthenware (do not use metal) with a piece of limestone. The limestone will neutralize the acid so that it can be safely dumped almost anywhere. - Author unknown - The Petrified Digest 6/99 via Quarry Quips 7/03.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.

In order to keep a true perspective of one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.


As part of our publicity campaign for our show, Jim Brace-Thompson had a great idea to share more complete show information with other clubs as an insert into their bulletins. The response we had to that was great. The Editors were happy to publish our information as an exchange for their show information. We are happy to reciprocate with the following show information.

October 18, 2003 Gem & Mineral Show. Woodland Hills Rock Chippers 5th annual show, 10 am to 5 pm, gems, minerals, rocks, fossils, jewelry, demonstrations throughout the day, Canoga Park Community Center, 7248 Owensmouth Avenue, Canoga Park. For info email Free admission!

SEPTEMBER 20-21; PASO ROBLES, CA - Santa Lucia Rockhounds, 12th Annual "Rockhound Roundup". Pioneer Park & Museum, 2010 Riverside Avenue. Hours: Sat. 10-6, Sun. 10-5. John McCabe (805) 464-0528. E-mail:
SEPTEMBER 20-21; REDWOOD CITY, CA - Sequoia Gem & Mineral Society, Community Activity Bldg, 1400 Roosevelt Street. Hours: 10-5 both days. Carol Corden cell ph (650)368-6351.
SEPTEMBER 27-28; DOWNEY, CA - Delvers Gem & Mineral Society, Women's Club of Downey, 9813 Paramount Blvd. Hours: Sat. 10-6, Sun. 10-4. Earl Liston (562) 865-1348.
SEPTEMBER 27-28; FONTANA, CA - Kaiser Rock & Gem Club, California Speedway, 9300 Cherry Ave. Hours: 10-5 both days. JoAnn Watson (909) 355-7455.
SEPTEMBER 27-28; MONTEREY, CA - Carmel Valley Gem & Mineral Society, Monterey Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairgrounds Road. Hours: Sat. 10-6, Sun 10-5.
SEPTEMBER 27; LOS ALTOS, CA - Peninsula Gem & Geology Society, Ranch Shopping Center, Foothill Expressway & So. Springer Road. Hours: 9:30 am to 4:45 pm. Jo Burchard (650) 493-9301.
OCTOBER 1-13; FRESNO, CA - Fresno Gem & Mineral Society "The Tradition is Back Celebrating 120 years of the Big Fresno Fair". Big Fresno Fair, 1121 S. Chance Avenue. Hours: 11 am-10 pm. Violet Wells (559) 673-3908. E-mail:
OCTOBER 11-12; TRONA, CA - Searles Lake Gem & Mineral Society, Searles Lake Show Building, 13337 Main St. Hours: Sat. 8-5, Sun. 8-4. Bonnie Fairchild (760) 372-5356.
OCTOBER 18; CANOGA PARK, CA - Woodland Hills Rock Chippers, Canoga Park Community Center, 7248 Owensmouth Ave. Hours: 10-5. Email:
OCTOBER 18-19; EL CAJON, CA - El Cajon Gem & Mineral Society "Treasures of the Earth", El Cajon Valley Masonic Hall, 695 Ballantyne. Hours: 10-5 both days. Mikki Santens (619) 440-3201.
OCTOBER 18-19; ANDERSON, CA - Shasta Gem & Mineral Society, 50th Anniversary Show "Gold", Shasta District Fairgrounds. Hours 10-5 both days.
OCTOBER 18-19; PLACERVILLE, CA - El Dorado County Mineral & Gem Society, El Dorado County Fairgrounds, 100 Placerville Drive. Hours: 10-5 both days. Jackie Cerrato (530) 677-2975 E-mail:
OCTOBER 18-19; SANTA ROSA, CA - Santa Rosa Mineral & Gem Society, Santa Rosa Veteran's Memorial Bldg., 1351 Maple Avenue. Hours: Sat. 10-6, Sun. 10-5. Pete Peterson (707) 833-2683. E-mail:
OCTOBER 18-19; WHITTIER, CA - Whittier Gem & Mineral Society, Whittier Community Center, 7630 Washington Ave. Hours: 10-5 both days. Jay Valle (626) 934-9764. E-mail:
NOVEMBER 1-2; CONCORD, CA - Contra Costa Mineral & Gem Society, Centre Concord, 5298 Clayton Road. Hours: 10-5 both days. Sam Woolsey (925) 837-3287. E-mail:
NOVEMBER 1-2; OXNARD, CA - Oxnard Gem & Mineral Society, "California Gems" @ Oxnard Performing Arts & Convention Center, 800 Hobson Way. Hours: Sat. 9-5, Sun. 9-4. Lois Allmen (805) 483-6871. E-mail:
NOVEMBER 1-2; RIDGECREST, CA - Indian Wells Gem & Mineral Society, 520 S. Richmond Road. Hours: 9-5 both days. John DeRosa (760) 375-7905.
NOVEMBER 8-9; YUBA CITY, CA - Sutter Buttes Gem & Mineral Society. "Festival of Gem & Minerals", Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds, 442 Franklin Avenue. Hours: Sat. 9-5, Sun. 9-4. Barbara & Charles Brown (916) 652-4240.
NOVEMBER 15-16; PALMDALE, CA - Palmdale Gem & Mineral Club, Palmdale Elks Lodge @ 2705 E. Ave. Q. Hours; 9-5 both days. Gail Becker (661) 256-4689. E-mail:
NOVEMBER 21-23; SACRAMENTO, CA - Sacramento Mineral Society (61st Show) "Golden Harvest of Gems". Scottish Rite Temple @ 6151 H. Street. Hours: Fri. 9-5, Sat. 10-6, Sun. 10-4. Tom (916) 729-1829 or Jim 685-4111.
NOVEMBER 22-23; LIVERMORE, CA - Livermore Valley Lithophiles, Lithorama 2003, The Barn, Pacific Ave. & S. Livermore. Hours: Sat. 10-5, Sun. 10-4. Bill Beiriger E-mail:
NOVEMBER 22-23; VICTORVILLE, CA - Victor Valley Gem & Mineral Club, San Bernardino County Fairgrounds, 14800 7th Street. Hours: Sat 9-5, Sun 9-4. Bob Harper (760) 947-6383.
NOVEMBER 29-30; BARSTOW, CA - Mojave Desert Gem & Mineral Society, Barstow Community Center, 841 S. Barstow Road. Hours: 10-5 both days. Bob Depue (760) 255-1030.
DECEMBER 6-7; ORANGEVALE, CA - American River Gem & Mineral Society, Orangevale Grange Hall, 5807 Walnut Avenue. Hours: 10-5 both days. Paul D. Daly (916) 725-6578, Cell phone (916) 849-5114.
DECEMBER 6-7; SAN BERNARDINO, CA - Orange Belt Mineralogical Society, "World of Gems 2003", San Bernardino Women's Club, 503 31st Street. Hours: Sat 10-6, Sun 10-5. Lyle Stayer (909) 887-3393. E-mail:
DECEMBER 13-14; LOS ANGELES, CA - Society of Southern California & The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles Co., "Gem Fest", 900 Exposition Blvd, Across from U of So Cal - Just off the 110 Fry. Hours: 10-5 both days. Admission: Adult $8, Students & Seniors $5.50, Ages 5-12 $2. Bob Rhein (213) 763-3538.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.


November 28-30, Roanoke, VA.

October 17-19, Poughkeepsie, NY.

The Midwest, South Central, California, Northwest and Rocky Mountain Federations have already held their 2003 Conventions and shows.

VGMS Editor's Note: There will be Trona Show flyers at the September meeting.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.


     Just for the record any unsigned articles are by the Editor. Anyone wanting to write up their thoughts about the show, vacations, rock collecting trips, Great Find or anything of interest, please do so as we are all interested. Contributions from you members keep the Bulletin interesting and I thank you for them.

The Editor's Pet Trilobite.
Trili - The Editor's
Pet Trilobite.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.

CFMS 2004 Flyer.

The Flyer for the 2004 CFMS Show at Mariposa May 28-30.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.


Definition of the Month.

Solution Mining:
     The in-place dissolution of water-soluble mineral compounds from an ore deposit. Some solution mining operations involve the use of chemical solvents that increase the solubility of ore minerals or cause an ion-exchange reaction. Most solution mining operations involve the injection of solutions and the production of saturated liquids with the use of a system of wells completed within the ore deposit. Mineral compounds are extracted from the saturated solution by means of chemical reactions that cause a decrease in solubility and the precipitation of the desirable mineral compound.

     The "Definition of the Month" features words related to geology, paleontology, mining and desert history. Written by Steve Mulqueen for the VGMS, September 2003.

Illustration of the Month.

A Black and White Drawing of a Brachiopod Fossil.
Brachiopod Fossil,
Spirifer fasciger (Genus Species).

     From the book "Lehrbuch der Geologischen Formationskunde" written by Dr. Emanuel Kayser, published by Verlag von Ferdinand Enke, Stuttgart, Germany, 1902, page 217.

     Brachiopods refer to any solitary marine invertebrate belonging to the phylum Brachiopoda. They are characterized by two bilaterally symmetrical valves on their shell. Brachiopods are well represented as shell fossils ranging in age from lower Cambrian to Holocene. Brachiopods still exist today in isolated regions of the oceans of the world.

     The "Illustration of the Month" features a drawing, sketch, pen & ink rendering or an engraving print rediscovered in books, maps, manuscripts and other sources related to geology, paleontology, mining and desert history. Written by Steve Mulqueen for the VGMS, September 2003.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.



T is for . . .A Black and White Drawing of Topaz Crystals.

. . . Topaz.
Topaz is often cut to make
gemstones. Sometimes topaz
forms huge crystals which can
be up to 600 pounds! It is yellow,
blue, green, orange, or reddish-yellow.

A Black and White Drawing of Tourmaline Crystals.

. . . Tourmaline.
Tourmaline forms spectacular
and colorful crystals. It can be
black (schorl), red or pink (rubellite),
dark brown (dravite), and green.
Some are red in the middle and green
on the outside: they are called
"Watermelon Tourmaline".

A Black and White Drawing of Tourmaline Crystals.

A Black and white Drawing of Tourmaline crystals.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.


VGMS Annual Breakfast!
Good Food and Fellowship had by all!
Photos furnished by Emma Mayer (Hostess).

A Color Photo of Ray Meisenheimer, Shirley Layton, Steve and Susan Mulqueen and Jean Wise (background).

1) Ray Meisenheimer, Shirley Layton, Steve & Susan Mulqueen with Jean Wise in the background.

A Color Photo of Florence Meisenheimer, Valli Davis, Greg Davis and Gary Markley.

2) Florence Meisenheimer, Valli Davis, Greg Davis & Gary Markley.

A Color Photo of Jean Wise and Nancy Brace-Thompson.

3) Jean Wise and Nancy Brace-Thompson sharing a good story!

A Color Photo of Jim Brace-Thompson, Shirley Layton and Ron Wise.

4) Jim Brace-Thompson, Shirley Layton and Ron Wise.

A Black and White Drawing of a Dinosaur.

[TOC]  Table of Contents.

Return to the Rockhound Rambling Center.
You may also go to the VGMS Home Page.

Webmaster: James A. Layton,
URL of this Page: