Sunday, January 23, 2022

East Texas Gem & Mineral Show

Every year the East Texas Gem & Mineral Society hosts their annual Gemstone & Jewelry Show.  Dealers from across Texas and beyond converge on the Tyler Rose Garden Center to sell custom jewelry, unique gem & mineral specimens, rare fossils and other treasures dug from the earth beneath our feet.  We've been to a few of the group's functions and was happy to return for this year's show.  

One of the show's best attractions is the Rock Food Table.  Take a close look at the picture above.  What looks like a delicious spread of fine dining choices are actually all rocks.  Most of the pieces are rocks that just happen to be shaped like certain foods but some of them are polished/finished to complete the illusion.  

The Rock Food Table is currently owned by a member of the ETGMS but originated by a couple in the Gulf Coast region.  A few years back we shot some footage of it for the documentary "RockHounds: The Movie."  Here's a clip:

Just for fun, we got some updated video on this visit for our TikTok.  Here's a quick look at the current Rock Food Table and maybe you can spot some new dishes on display:
@geologyvideo Rocks that look like food #geology #rocks #gemandmineralshow #science #rockfoodtable #earthscience #fyp ♬ Eat It - "Weird Al" Yankovic

Other attractions at the show included a silent auction, a fluorescent mineral display, door prizes, demonstrations and kids games.  We picked up a few new specimens for collection and got a look at some great displays that included petrified wood, lapidary work and other great pieces found by ETGMS club members.

The Geology Department from Stephen F. Austin University was also represented at the show.  Professor Bloxson and one of her grad students were there with information about oil deposits in east Texas and the rocks in the area that contain the oil.  They had great information for young aspiring geologists and anyone else that might have an interest in the subject. 


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

EveryDay Earth in the Classroom


We had the chance to demonstrate EveryDay Earth in a 6th grade classroom recently and it was a hit!  Later, we were able to talk to the teacher, Ms. Cook, about here experiences with using EveryDay Earth.  Here's a quick video about it:

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Latest Shoot: Metamorphic Mayhem

 We were in need of metamorphic rock footage for EveryDay Earth so it was time to head back to Colorado.  That's a bit of a drive for us, but still the closest source, so we loaded up the camera equipment and road snacks, topped off on gas and off we went.

 But nothing worth finding is found easily and, of course, every road trip needs a few unrelated stops just for fun, so we decided to check out the Great Sand Dunes while we were out there.  It had been years since we were last here but the dunes were still just and grand and sandy as we remembered.

Check out the ominous storm clouds behind Devin.  We were lucky (or unlucky, depending on your point of view) to witness a rain storm pop up at the dunes.  With tons of wind accompanying the storm, we got to see the movement of sediment firsthand.  

It was a pretty severe storm but, thankfully, it was also short.  Tourists who were exploring the tops of the dunes gave us weird looks as they ran past us for shelter while we stayed put trying to get footage.  We got some good shots but between the wind, water and sand, we'll probably need to take the camera back in to the shop.

We were eventually able to find several roadside stops where metamorphic rocks were plentiful.  We wanted to make sure to get plenty of shots of the "mushiness" (for lack of a better term) that the rocks endured during the extreme amounts of heat and pressure inflicted on them.  It helps to be surrounded by the picturesque Colorado landscape while working.  These rocks were great but we always want more.

As you can probably guess, the small town of Marble, CO is named after the rock that is abundantly found in the area.  While driving around, you can see tons of the stuff along the road in big chunks, on display at the local museum, and as ornate sculptures at the many marble stores in town.  At one of them, we were tipped of that the local quarry, the Yule Marble Quarry, was open to the public that day so we had to take a look.

This mine is famous for its marble which has been used all across the country including in the Lincoln Monument and the Tomb of the Unkowns.  No mining was happening that day so we could get a nice look at the the mine and could see where chunks of marble were literally being sawed off the walls.  It was a pretty productive shoot so far but our luck was about to run out.

Mudslides in Glenwood Canyon had shut down I-70 and cut off our route to Denver so we had to take the long way.  And the "long way" involved a convoluted detour across several country dirt roads which were not necessarily created with this high level of traffic in mind.  Multiple stops were involved when two lane traffic wasn't possible but, on the bright side, we got to see a part of the country side we wouldn't have.  It was an interesting experience to say the least.

All things considered, it was a pretty eventful shoot.  There's never a dull moment we you're on the road and the best you can hope for is to come back with some decent footage.  You can look forward to seeing more of this part of the country in upcoming Missions of EveryDay Earth!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Latest Shoot: 650 Feet Below Kansas


We headed north for our latest shoot, all the way to the Sunflower State.  Kansas welcomed us back but it wasn't its flat plains we were looking for, it was underneath them.  Strataca, the Underground Salt Museum is a part of a still-working mine owned by the Hutchinson Salt Company and they were nice enough to let us come by and get some footage for EveryDay Earth!

 In addition to several tours, the underground museum has tons of exhibits on mining, history and science, all inside the old mine.   It only takes 90 seconds to descend the 650 feet into the mine/museum but hours to take it all in.  It was great to get shots of the walls of the historic tunnels.

There were also plenty of old mining equipment on display as well as tons and tons of empty dynamite boxes.  Apparently "what goes down into the mine, stays in the mine" including artifacts like old food packages, tools and even old footprints from the miners.

As you can probably imagine, the life of a miner was hardly glamorous.  The tours provided a good look into their working life including this seat of honor, left untouched for years.  Again, "what goes down into the mine, stays in the mine."  Due to the nature of the enclosed mine, everything inside it is well-preserved. 

And because of this, lots of old films and stored here as well as famous film costumes and props.  Our favorite was "Dorothy II" from the movie "Twister" but there were plenty of other stuff from movies like "Batman & Robin," "The Matrix, " and others.

Those were great but we were there for the rocks, of course.  We were able to get some great shots that will end up in future Missions of EveryDay Earth, so soon you'll be able to virtually experience Strataca yourself.