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GeneralJust for fun

29th Mar 2016 18:04 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

Reading a thread about a pyrite or chalcopyrite it was mentioned that it may be man made. This brought something to mind.

It made me wonder if anyone on mindat has had a similar experience.

Years ago I was driving a long dirt road to the Glove Mine in SE Arizona.

I had been to California recently and had collected dumortierite along the Colorado River.

As my wife and I drove toward the Glove mine I looked up a wash and stopped abruptly and parked and got out. My wife asked what I was doing. I told her I had seen a bright blue rock up a wash and it looked just like a big chunk of dumortierite. She thought that was a reach and said it was probably a painted rock. I only said why would someone paint a rock up a wash way away from any habitation?

I walked up the wash and went back to the car.

I didn't say anything and just started driving. My wife asked what it was.

All I said was "A painted rock". I have never forgotten this painted rock in the middle of nowhere. Never had any idea of why someone had painted it. Must have been to catch rockhounds like me.

Thought this might bring back some fun stories from people who follow mindat.

Rolf Luetcke

29th Mar 2016 18:20 UTCRanger Dave

I live on a small, 5.5 acre, ranch in the California gold country. I have friends and family with young children that come visit occasionally. I put gold spray paint some gravel and spread them around the place. The kids spend hours, outside, looking for gold. The older ones figured it out, but play along with the younger ones. Now the older ones are bringing other rocks for me to identify for them. They now have a pretty good rock collection at home.

29th Mar 2016 18:49 UTCChris Stefano Expert

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I was hiking recently in the Valley of Fire near Las Vegas. There are lots of ancient petroglyphs visible on the rocks along the trails. At one point, I climbed some rocks off the trail and found this petroglyph which I suspect is of a slightly younger vintage :).

30th Mar 2016 00:36 UTCTony Albini

Hi Rolf, when I first starting collecting in 1978, at the famous Strickland quarry in Portland, CT, a granite pegmatite, I found rhombs of a white mineral which I thought was feldspar.

The material turned out to be calcite with pyrite which obviously someone dumped to get rid of the scraps. Later, I met a collector with the bad habit of dumping his surplus at many different quarries, I asked him to stop the practice but I doubt he ever listened.

30th Mar 2016 03:34 UTCEd Clopton Expert

Early in my collecting career--before I knew how much I didn't know--two people, on different occasions, gave me "mineral specimens" to try to examine for them, ostensibly to find out what they were.


One was a black fragment with an exaggerated hackly conchoidal fracture and suspiciously low density. No way was this natural! I reported back as carefully and tactfully as I could that I was afraid the "rock" actually was a man-made material and not a mineral at all. My friend, scarcely able to contain her glee as I was letting her down gently with the results of my assessment, apologized for having withheld critical information and that it was a product of an experiment to see whether an old bowling ball really does explode when dropped from the hay loft of a barn onto the concrete apron below.


The other was a tan granular mass resembling friable sandstone given to me by my mother for identification. Under magnification it contained tiny tan bits of what appeared to be organic material. On a hunch I tasted it, and it was salty. I reported that it appeared to be halite, common salt, but that I couldn't account for the organic material it contained. Mom filled in that gap by admitting that she had found it among some salted peanuts she had bought at the food co-op and wanted to see what I would make of it.

30th Mar 2016 15:52 UTCHolger Hartmaier

The painted rock example that Rolf posted reminded me of a rock show I once attended. It was the annual show of a small club held in a local community centre. Members were present next to their display cases to talk about their displays and answer questions. I was impressed by the displays of minerals, fossils and lapidary arts put together by this small club, but the one display that stood out was the fluorescent mineral display. The case was shrouded in a black cloth and lit up with ultraviolet light yielding an explosion of vivid fluorescent colors. The club member explained to me, being quite serious, that this was a "simulated" fluorescent mineral display. He had just painted ordinary rounded beach cobbles with an assortment of fluorescent paints to demonstrate what fluorescent minerals would look like!

31st Mar 2016 00:51 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

Nice to see others have had fun with this thread.

I wanted to add this experience. We had a rock shop for years and one time a couple came in and asked about the rock hounding possibilities in the area.

I steered them in a few directions.

A week later the wife came in and told me her husband had been working on trying to figure out one big black rock he had found for almost three days now. He had used the new books he had gotten and she thought he had it down to a couple of possibilities. She was describing the black rock and I got a sinking feeling. I took her outside in our yard and showed her one big black chunk. "Yes, that is exactly what he had found" she said.

We have a railroad bed only a couple of miles up hill from us, running along the valley. The rail road bed was covered in the slag from the old Douglas Smelter and the looks rock often washed down toward the valleys. One could find these way away from others that looked like it. Most often people think they have found a meteorite but in this case the man had been seriously trying to identify something man made. I never did see the couple in the store again, sure hope that didn't ruin his budding interest in rocks and minerals.

8th Apr 2016 00:00 UTCDave Owen

On a trip to the Santa Rita's near Tucson I got really excited when I discovered Wulfinite very similar to what is found at the Finch mine. The excitement ended when my friend found a piece of seriphinite followed by several cabs of backed turquoise.

22nd Oct 2019 20:35 UTCKevin Conroy Expert

I saw this video of an angry rhino, and it made me laugh so I thought I would share it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvcp56MpEiE

25th Oct 2019 21:38 UTCFrank K. Mazdab Manager

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Kevin, that was not what I expected by "angry rhino", but it actually was kinda funny.

Another non-mineral (but peripherally science-related) "funny" (maybe funny?) is the attached photo.  This was the photo and headline of an online article from a couple of years back, and despite the seriousness of the article (as reflected in the rather alarming title), all I saw in the photo was a bunch of hookworms happenstance arranged in the shape of Jay Leno's head... 

24th Oct 2019 18:51 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

This one has a bit of a mineral connection.
We often come up with mineral names for things with no mineral involvement and today we had on an old silly movie, Jason and the Argonauts and Mary always changes the name, she calls it Jason and the Aragonites.

24th Oct 2019 18:53 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

One other one we use in our shop for making the mood a bit on the light side.  When people are looking at mineral specimens and the location is Madagascar, Mary also came up with something there.  She has taken to calling it Happyagascar-why be mad when you can be happy!!

24th Oct 2019 19:08 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

This one happens often with a friend who brings things by to have me help identify them.   He is the fellow who brought the dry coyote pee thinking it could be amber.  The time he was just over he asked about a silver material on a specimen.  He has been trying to find native silver for some time.   Several times he has a hopeful silver specimen only to have me tell him it is just metal transfer from the splitting process, either chisel transfer or rock hammer transfer.  
I learned quite early on that the tools often leave marks on the specimen split.
Thanks all for adding to the thread very fun stories above.

25th Oct 2019 21:28 UTCJeff Weissman Expert

These misadventures with paint reminds me of an incident on a collecting trip way back in the 1980's. A bunch of us, somewhat new to field collecting and mineral identification, made a fall trip to the South West Chester County Mine in Phoenixville, PA, hoping to find not only pyromorphite and cerussite, which we did and I have to this day, but some of the rarer minerals, for the locality, such as descloizite. Having never seen descloizite before (at the time) and not sure what to look for, all we had to go on was the published description, "purple coatings and crystalline crusts." At the time, the locality was still easily accessible, apparently well dug through, and a bit overgrown with ground cover, low to tall shrubs, fallen branches and bits from trees, etc.  Well, sure enough, my best friend at the time found something that we were all convinced was descloizite - a specimen of quartz crystals and limonite with purple coatings, matching the published description. We carefully stowed the only specimen found with the purple coatings, and were very excited with our find. As we were leaving, someone else remarked how purple their hands had gotten from all of the berry juice from the plentiful berry shrubs... 

26th Oct 2019 15:36 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

Jeff,
Funny with the berry juice on the specimen.  I have actually seen this with elderberry  juice but not from the berry, from a bird who ate the berry.  The bird had landed on the phone line above our cactus garden and I saw the blue color on some minerals we had in the garden.  Took a few seconds for me to put together what it actually was.  They leave the same spots on the outside cars too so it was  not long before I realized what it was.

26th Oct 2019 15:40 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

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Following the above post with the cactus garden where we have a lot of specimens that are not worthy of safer locations and one walk down our nature trail I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye.  The fact it was not the same color of the calcite showed me what I had seen, a Regal Horned Lizard.  They hang out since we have a lot of ant colonies on the property and they feen on the ants.  Kind of nice to see a lizard enjoying the minerals we put out also.

26th Oct 2019 15:47 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

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Another piece in our cactus garden is this limestone fossil chunk about 25 pounds.  We found this piece in a big wash that is called Tres Alamos Wash north of Benson that goes to a prospect with a lot of interesting minerals.  The trip up is about 13 miles up a big wash and we often stopped to get photos of flowers and let the dogs out to run.  One trip I spotted this chunk among all the other rocks in the wash.   It was different than any of the other pieces we always saw and we wished we had been able to figure out the layer it had come from but since the area is miles and miles of country, mountains and canyons and the boulder was quite rounded from may years of rolling around in floods, we realized it would not be easy to find the source.   It was certainly worth picking up and sits in our cactus garden.

26th Oct 2019 15:51 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

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On a trip to Death Valley I explored the area around the park and drove many dirt roads looking for interesting spot one winter.  On a dry lake I found the sand blasted stones I had only read about and seen on a nature show one time, moving rocks of the dry lake beds.   The stones of the area were all this smooth from years and years of sandblasting by the winds of the area.
There are a few of these I picked up in our cactus garden also, cool naturally polished stones.

26th Oct 2019 15:57 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

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This is a bit of a fun story.   Driving to town, Benson Arizona, from our home only 3 miles from town, we took a side road and then a dirt road that went off the larger dirt road just to see where it went.   As we drove slowly along I saw a pile of rocks about 50 feet from the little road.  I stopped and told Mary that I thought it was a pile of Metates!  She replied, "what would a pile of Metates be doing out here?"  I stopped and walked over.   I came back and told her it was a pile of Metates and a bunch of other rocks.  I drove over and we loaded everything in the pile in the Jeep.  They now are in our cactus garden.  I only assume someone had gotten tired of all the ugly rocks in their garden and boxed them all up and dumped them in the desert.   Well, someone's trash is another persons treasure.  Besides about 8 or more Matates, some broken, were many pieces of petrified wood and other decorative rocks.

30th Oct 2019 23:15 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

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This malachite from the Apex Mine in Utah is tired-it had droopy eyelids.  
The piece was collected by Chris Rayburn and give to us just this month.  Image is 4mm across.

31st Oct 2019 02:15 UTCKeith A. Peregrine

This is an embarrassing admission.  When I returned to collecting nearly twenty years ago, I "discovered" some yellow "rocks" on piles resting beside several highways in the northern coastal range of California.  Focused on hunting mercury minerals, I concluded that the "yellow" was sulfur since the piles lay close to a number of old mercury mines.  Excited to have found "sulfur", I shared the news with friends.  Only later did I realize that I had "discovered" ground road material and the yellow was median paint.  Never have let myself forget this gaffe of gaffes!

31st Oct 2019 12:16 UTCChris Rayburn

Rolf, that's a fun malachite.  Looks like I do after a day of digging.

2nd Nov 2019 14:45 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

I don't recall if I had written this before, think so but it came to mind again recently so thought I put it here, maybe again.
A fellow came by with some minerals he wanted help with and one he said had a label and he thought I could help him to say if it was from the location it said it may be from.   When he showed me the label I had to laugh and told him it is exactly where it was from and the name was not a question but the location- Maybe, Michigan.
I suppose if you had never heard of that before it would make you wonder.
The other one was an excited fellow who told me he had a specimen from "The North Pole".   I again had to laugh and he asked why.  It was a nice galena specimen and I told him the North Pole is do deep in ice there has never been any mining there, maybe a meteorite fall but definitely not mining.   Besides there is a town in Alaska named North Pole and there were a number of mines in that area.
If you had never heard that you could make an assumption.  Fortunately he had not paid a lot more than the galena was worth but certainly a disappointment for him.

2nd Nov 2019 16:27 UTCNick Gilly

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Here's one, which I hadn't noticed until someone else had pointed it out: a growth feature in a ruby crystal that he thought looked like the profile of a dog. To me it looks more like a llama. Photo attached (it's the shape at the top).

2nd Nov 2019 18:13 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

Nick,
That is a good one and I see the animal in there easily.  I have a few of those in our collection with images that we relate to in our normal life, dog, cat, etc.
Thanks for posting that photo.

3rd Nov 2019 13:48 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

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Nick,
Going along with your ruby crystal animal.  This piece of fluorite-bertrandite they called Tiffany Stone, has a lot of images I saw in it, see if others also see the number of different things?

5th Nov 2019 19:25 UTCNick Gilly

That is beautiful Rolf. It makes me think of Dumbledore's pensieve in the Harry Potter books/films!

5th Nov 2019 16:51 UTCKevin Conroy Expert

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This copper from New Cornelia Mine, Arizona, USA reminds me of a sargasso seahorse.

6th Nov 2019 13:27 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

This is a little story that is a bit off the funny side but a good warning.  A friend had gone over to Asia about 20 or more years ago.  He was not familiar with minerals but loved the things we showed him at our house.   One trip he came by afterwards and said he wished he could take us along.  Kids in one area were selling jars of "gems" and he said he had to buy one since it was only $5.  It was a small bottle of apatite crystals.  They were low grade but a nice little keep sake.  He asked me what I thought they were worth.  At the time he asked we had seen similar at the Tucson show selling for $10 resale.  I told him they were worth about $5.  He was a bit shocked and said that is what he had paid.  I was happy to tell him he hadn't over paid.  No way of making money with that purchase.
Same friend in Asia this time told of seeing a great malachite ashtray carved from a chunk of African malachite.  It was one he didn't say how much he had paid but as he was leaving the shop he purchased it at the shop owner asked if he was planning to ship it home.  When the friend said yes he told our friend he thought so and would gladly box it up for him since all his American customers mailed their purchases home and h would do this for free.   He went to his back room and a couple of minutes later came back out with the nicely packed box, ready to mail off.   When our friend got home after the long trip the box was sitting at home.  Opening it to see the beautiful malachite piece he was in total shock when unpacking showed the package contained a brick.   
Well, no way he would travel back to Asia to confront the guy.   Shows the dangers of letting your purchase out of your sight if someone offers to box it up for you.
Sad situation but a lesson I thought people should be aware of.

6th Nov 2019 14:47 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

Here is something I saw on a DVD that was with the Mineralogical Record and it has been something that has been on my mind since.
It might do a bit for the Collected with your - - -  thread.   
In the DVD they were interviewing some people and one was a recent collector.  They were showing the minerals he had collected and it gave me a whole new meaning of collecting.   I have been field collecting for much of my interest in minerals but in this case, the specimens that were being talked about were high end specimens and I know for a fact, not personally collected by the person.  Now to me that totally changes the definition of "collecting".  I knew, of course, just what they meant by it but it sure loosened the term collecting in my definition.
Wonder if anyone else has ever noticed this use of the term?

6th Nov 2019 20:32 UTCKevin Conroy Expert

Collecting with the "silver pick" (money).

6th Nov 2019 22:33 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

Absolutely right Kevin.   I have never had the kinds of money to do that but over about 50 years of collecting and buying, we have built a nice collection by knowing what a minerals value is.  Having a store gave us a lot of that in the past and I pity the new collector in this time trying to build a good collection without loosing an arm and a leg in the process.
Yes, if we won the lottery it may be different but since we don't play, that won't happen.
Still love the micros and those are easy to get either by collecting or reasonable purchases. 

7th Nov 2019 14:08 UTCFrank Karasti

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I was told this week by a 9 year old girl that 4 quartz = a gallon.

9th Nov 2019 23:43 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

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Just found this on a dog walk in St. David, Arizona.   When I looked under the microscope I was quite happy with the way it looked.   The field of view is 9mm across.  I posted it here because this is just for fun, see if anyone has an idea what it is?

11th Nov 2019 14:25 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

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No guesses so I post what it is.   This glass was a bit different in color than the normal bottle glass so decided to see if it was hand made or not.  Normally the hand blown glass has bubbles but this didn't but under the microscope it had the wonderful rainbow colors.  Called Mary in to have a look.  To me it looked like opal with all the play of colors.  The years lying in the desert sun had done something to the surface.  Not something I could see in the piece with the eye but under the scope it was fantastic.

13th Nov 2019 22:39 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

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Just came across this piece again and I may have posted  a piece of this one time before but thought I post it here for fun. 
In a collection of micro minerals an old friend gave us from a man he knew.  The man was a micro mount collector and collected a lot of stuff, all mounted in the micro plastic boxes.  One group had a label saying "Fredite".   I had no idea what that was but looked to me like a calcium mineral.  Turns out when I called the friend who gave us the material and I asked what Fredite was he laughed.  When he stopped laughing he told me it was a piece of gallstone from the owner, Fred Ferrar, hence the name.   He had gone in for surgery and asked the doctor to save the stones they took out.   This piece is about a cm across.  Formed some nice crystals and it may have been because he was a mineral collector.
 
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