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Just For Fun
Posted by Rolf Luetcke
Rolf Luetcke January 03, 2018 03:26PMA number of years ago a friend wanted to go out collecting. He lived about an hour away and he called the day before to ask if he needed to bring anything on the collecting trip. I told him we could use a bulldozer since the digging would be so much easier.
I didn't think much about it but when he arrived the next morning he had a box he gave me and said it was what we had talked about the day before.
I opened the box lid and laughed until I nearly cried.
He had done just what I had said, he brought a bulldozer.
We have had that in our display cabinet for years now with the tumbled peridots in the shovel.
I took it out yesterday to get photos of specimens behind it and took a photo of it as well.
I thought people would get a laugh about this.
Tony Nikischer January 05, 2018 09:19PMHere are a couple of my favorite fun items! If only they were full size! This one is only 7cm long, filled with zeolite scraps and placed on a mining diorama built one winter. Weathering and custom decals make it look like the real thing!
And if only this wulfenite sitting at the cabin door was really this tall! It is only a few millimeters, placed on the same mining diorama above.
Rolf Luetcke January 06, 2018 01:04PMHi all,
Nice you are having a bit of fun with the post.
Tony, my wife mentioned only problem in your diorama, no graffiti on the train! We live in a railroad town and all the trains that go by are full of graffiti, some actually quite well done.
Love the rock art.
My wife made a sea shell creature one time and it was a laugh to all who saw it. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of it.
Have had fun seeing other postings here.
Rolf Luetcke January 08, 2018 02:21PM
On a trip down the Baja in Mexico one time got this photo and wanted to post it here to see if anyone comments. It does go along with the thread quite well actually.
Matt Ciranni January 08, 2018 07:43PM
While hiking one day in the Owyhees, I decided to build a camp fire.
You would not believe the trouble I had getting this dang fire started. It just didn't work out so good, ha ha.
I didn't take any of the petrified wood home with me (even though it would have technically been legal to do so) but decided to leave it where it sits in this photo, so someone probably came across it and it messed with their mind a bit.
Rolf Luetcke January 09, 2018 01:10AMGary,
Thought I would have fun with it and it didn't fool you one bit. Double exposure of course. I wondered if anyone would catch on.
Did another double exposure of lightning in Bisbee of the sky and then of town, with lightning bolts going up and down the streets.
Bill, loved the tiny rock pick!! Gave my wife and I a good laugh.
Matt, yes, very hard to get the wood to light!!
Thanks for adding some nice things to all.
Rolf Luetcke January 23, 2018 01:25PMI have a little story that may be a bit of fun.
I have gotten to be the go to guy in SE Arizona for identifications of things people find. One fellow had seen my postings on mindat and emailed me about a metallic specimen he found hiking deep in the woods. He sent me a couple of samples of the material and when I looked at them it looked like something that had been applied to the surface of a quartz seam. I told the fellow it seemed to be something man caused, something melted or painted onto the rocks. He said it had to be some mineral outcrop since it was so far from anything. I told him it was only surface and sure looked like it was man made. I told him to take it to the University in Tucson since he lived there. He did just that and apparently they also thought it was odd and offered to test the material.
I got an email about a week later and the test had come back and it was what I had thought. Turned out to be aluminum paint. Now how and why it ended up in the middle of nowhere nobody knows but the fellow's dream of discovering an unknown silver deposit evaporated with the analysis. Even the University was a bit surprised what it turned out to be.
Sometimes people get to places one doesn't expect and why someone painted a quartz seam is something we may never know.
I have run into a few things similar to this. One near us in the desert, no dirt road nearby, I found a dumped chunk of odd metal. It was something made up of tiny metallic pellets and had been dumped out in the desert. No idea what it was or why it ended up way off somewhere but I did not get it tested, just thought it was someone's experiment with smelting and the end result was just tossed. Why way off somewhere, who knows. It may have been toxic or who knows what else but I left it alone.
It does seem people do get just about everywhere and leave things behind that are mysteries to later discovers.
Rolf Luetcke February 05, 2018 08:06PM
A number of years ago, my brother in law was out exploring with his jeep in a wash a few miles away.
He came by and was all excited because he had found a great fossil piece. He said it was a real chore to load it into his jeep because it weighed nearly two hundred pounds. He was sure they were starfish fossils. I went out to have a look at what he had brought over. As soon as I saw the piece I knew what it was and also where it had come from because I had been in the same canyon.
These were chunks of sandstone and the shapes were desert roses that had been growing at the same time the sandstone had and retained the shapes of the gypsum clusters. The disappointment on his face was easy to see. He asked for my help to take it out and it ended up in our yard.
My brother in law passed away a number of years ago but this fun story lives on.
Rolf Luetcke February 14, 2018 08:36PMWayne,
That was quick! Got it. I had written an article about this and called it Sweet Halite. I had been given some dyed sugar candy with grape food coloring and thought it looked so much like a mineral specimen I broke it up and put it in little boxes in my store at the time labeled "halite pseudomorph after fluorite" and had lots of fun with people trying to figure it out.
I had lost the photos I took back then and just retook one after so many years, still has its color.
Good guess Wayne.
Dana Morong February 15, 2018 03:21PMI don't see how it could be pseudomorph after fluorite - it doesn't have the outward forms of isometric symmetry at all (looks as if it were dyed purple with some food coloring, but color does not affect crystal symmetry). I recall seeing a large crystal of sugar in class years ago, but I had already had (once) a sugar crystal that I took a goniometer to and measured its angles, made a diagram and noted the angles, so that I'd have a reference just in case.
I used to grow some water-soluble crystals, mostly alum, and some Rochelle salt, but never got around to sugar (sucrose).
Rolf Luetcke February 15, 2018 05:57PMDana,
That was my whole point in doing a label that was ridiculous enough that someone who knew minerals would know immediately it was all completely made up. I had wanted to allow enough chance for someone to figure it out relatively easily.
Funniest part was a friend saw the halite after fluorite label and I had him taste the piece. Here is where the power of the mind is odd. He said upon tasting it that it tasted salty. My eyebrows went up and I asked him to taste it again. Then his eyebrows went up and he asked why and I just had him do it. Apparently when he saw the label halite, his mind said it was going to taste salty and to him it did. The mind over taste buds won out there. He and I had a good laugh over it.
Scott Rider February 15, 2018 07:04PMYou got to love how the human mind can play tricks, especially with the power of suggestion!
Or the placebo effect... "This pill will make you lose weight in 2 weeks!!!" But average person won't read the fine print (probably says something like "must be used with good diet and exercise!!").
Jamison K. Brizendine March 02, 2018 09:53PMWhile doing research on the Tiffin Quarries, I came across this photograph. In 1931, Natcher France, who owned the France Stone Co. Quarries in Ohio hosted a beauty pageant in his quarry in Bloomville. Thought it was worthy to add to the database.
The France Stone Co. Bloomville Quarry Beauty Pageant
Hanson Aggregates Midwest Inc. Bloomville Quarry, Seneca Co., Ohio, USA
Hanson Aggregates Midwest Inc. Bloomville Quarry, Seneca Co., Ohio, USA
Rolf Luetcke March 03, 2018 02:09PMJamison,
Very interesting, guess it was like a big outdoor auditorium.
I don't have a photo but in Bisbee they would hold events in some of the big caves they found, had a whole band set up in one of them. I remember seeing some of those photos but it was some time ago and I don't remember where I saw them.
Rolf Luetcke April 01, 2018 04:11PMThis is a mineral related story only in the sense that the fellow this story is about was a big mineral collector. Like many of us, we also have many other interests. This friend had seen a very nicely built mineral display cabinet out of walnut wood and decided, since he was a good craftsman, he would find a nice dead walnut tree and he enlisted me to help him with going to get the tree he had found with his new 3/4 ton pick up truck he had just gotten. He had scouted out a good tree in the Chiricahua Mts. He lived in Tucson and had a friend who had a mill and could cut the tree into the lumber he needed to build the cabinet. We drove to the canyon and it was a great old Arizona black walnut tree. It was a good three feet across and about 8 feet tall of solid looking walnut. He took his chain saw and cut off any old branches and had only the trunk left. As he cut the one side to notch it and thought about cutting the other side he paused and said with no good tools to lift the big trunk into the bed of his pick up he decided to let down the tail gate all the way and back up and cut the tree and let it fall into the bed of the truck.
It was a great idea but the one thing he didn't take into account was just how much the trunk weighed. I stood back as he did the last of the cutting and the tree fell. It fell perfectly into the bed of the truck, missing the cab by mere inches. Unfortunately, the trunk weighed over a ton and the falling over bent the whole back of the bed into a V shape. I won't say the words that left his mouth at what it did to his new truck but I only stood and shook my head.
He did have it in the back of his truck, although his back shocks had collapsed all the way.
Rolf Luetcke April 01, 2018 04:14PMOops, the story was not completely done when it suddenly loaded it to the page.
He did get the tree to the mill and had the thing cut into lumber. I remember seeing this giant pile in his living room with a big tarp over it as it had to sit to dry for a year before he could make that cabinet. The tree had been worth it for the amount of lumber he got out of it but the cost of getting the truck repaired made it much less worthwhile.
I lost touch so never did see the cabinet he built but I will never forget the look on his face as the big tree came crashing down into his truck.
Rolf Luetcke April 06, 2018 09:57PM
This is a bit of a fun story.
At the Tucson show about four years ago I stopped to visit a friend selling specimens. He had a Twin Buttes wulfenite specimen that had labels from three different well known people. He sold me the specimen for half of the asking price. Since I love wulfenite and to have it on copper minerals was a big bonus.
When I got home I looked under the microscope and saw immediately it was not wulfenite but yellow baryte. The first photo is of the baryte. The piece started off as a disappointment but the more I studied the piece the nicer it became. I found nice atacamite crystals on the piece but in one small hole was an atacamite that was twinned. On checking I found that twinning in atacamite is actually rare. This one showed it very well.
So, the four people who had owned the piece before had never actually looked at the piece under a microscope to see that there was no wulfenite on it. It is possible that it may never have made it to me if it had been discovered there was no wulfenite since it was at the top of the list of species.
Just thought it was a funny story that turned out quite nice in the end.
Matt Courville May 22, 2018 07:02PMThis reminds me of how I played in a rock band for several years and since we all worked together in a laboratory, thought to get a lab-style name. We settled on Zero Headspace.....and no-one else ever seemed to get the reference but us;) I always liked Nitric Dreams, but it sounded too gloomy for the rest of the guys.
And yes Jason our amps went to 11 !!!
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/22/2018 07:03PM by Matt Courville.
Matt Ciranni May 24, 2018 06:28PMOkay, that makes sense; I thought it was a fluorite octahedron (Because those are pretty ubiquitous at rock/gem shows).
I loved Spinel Tap- great movie, great parody band- but if you guys overseas like comedy parody rock, you ought to hear Tenacious D.
Rolf Luetcke June 01, 2018 01:27PMI may have posted this story in another thread but it belongs here for those who may not have read it before.
A relative new collector friend would stop by to have me identify things he didn't recognize. One day he went to a mine in the Dragoon Mts. of Arizona we had been to and emailed me when he got back home about this light blue, transparent material he had found in one part of the mine. He wondered what it was. I knew he had a habit of licking something to test it for various things and phoned him to tell him not to lick the piece. Too late he said, he had washed out his mouth for about ten minutes after licking the chalcanthite.
A couple weeks later he had another unknown piece he brought over. This one was an amber color and amorphous material on garnet matrix. As soon as I saw it I asked where he had found it. He said at another mine I knew quite well. The piece he had he broke from a lone big boulder of garnet by the mine dumps. I asked if he had licked that one and he said no since he learned his lesson with the chalcanthite. I told him it was good he didn't lick this one since it was dry coyote pee from their marking rock. Since it had not rained in some time the pee had dried and built up into a thick layer. Sure made me think about people and rock licking.
Rolf Luetcke June 02, 2018 03:53PMChris,
My only regret is that I didn't get a photo of the piece. Never thought of it at the time but the friend, after finding what it was, tossed the piece out.
It really did look like amber!
Other friends have brought me mineral specimens and on quite glace with the microscope the term "Biologicals" come in often. Lichen, ant parts, insect eggs and so many more things I have seen.
One I found myself had me fooled for quite some time. It was what looked like an epimorph with rainbow colored hollow spheres in a vug in a piece from a local Arizona mine. I set the piece aside with an arrow on it and later went back to it to really study it. At this mine I had found epimorphs of chrysocolla after azurite and even after gypsum crystals. Those were almost ghost like in appearance and I thought I had something like that but on further study the only conclusion I could come to was the vug had had a way to the outside and an insect had crawled in, maybe even a tiny spider, and laid eggs in the vug and they had hatched and all the insects were gone. Only thing left were the multicolored hollow spheres. It was a biological but certainly a pretty one and one that fooled even me for a while.
Rolf Luetcke June 06, 2018 01:52PMNew collector dreams are well known, in fact I was guilty of the same thing when I first got rolling with mineral collecting.
The most often situation is to "hope" the piece you can't identify right away is a rare species. I see this often on the messageboard, people hope their common mineral is something much better.
An example here is from a collector who went to a mine and found some metallic and elongated crystals. He did a bit of checking in books and internet and was certain he had found millerite. I told him and so did a few other friends, millerite was not a mineral found in the district, not the right chemistry. No shaking the hope tree though until I actually got a specimen to look at and saw it was stibnite. Similar looking and one actually in the district.
Another example was a new collector friend who went on the mine site on mindat and put down the minerals from the mine and started looking for the species on his list in things he had collected. He came by one time and had a list of maybe ten minerals from some mines he had been to and I looked at his list and his thinking he had found several of the rare species. I told him he was more likely to find diamonds than some of the rare things that only came out when the mine was actually open. A while later this got through and I always had to tell him I did the same and for me my wife was the sounding board that got me to see it was a different habit of some common mineral. Over time I learned this but it is fun to see the hope in finding something super rare.
Unfortunately dreams are always there and I see this so often on mindat, people hope they have found something rare.
I am sure many long time collectors see this often also.
Scott Rider November 15, 2018 06:45PMKevin, thanks for a good laugh!!! I particularly like the blue apatite "prevents horse attacks" and galena "absorbs children." Did you come up with that?? It is too damn good!!!
Here's one more:
* keeps your bank account empty
* makes some women act crazy
* Can be used with giraffes and some flightless birds
* great for late night snacks, but only when there is a new moon, AND the tides are low.
Rolf Luetcke November 15, 2018 07:44PMThanks for adding to this thread, great fun stuff.
I have one from a couple years ago at the Tucson mineral show. We pick up a few of the show guides to give to folks who stop in our shop and since we also get the crystal healing folks I picked up a couple of the guides as well.
Looked at one to see what all was in it and on the back page was the latest mineral which had been added as a healing stone. The mineral, according to my looking at mindat was just described that year. On the page for this new healing stone there was a list of all the "ancient healing powers" which the stone had given users.
Now, I couldn't help but wonder how a mineral which was just new to science had "ancient healing powers"??
Rolf Luetcke November 29, 2018 01:40PMThis story is not exactly fun but the stupidity of it does fit here.
I set aside micro specimens for a friend in Germany and send them over when I have enough to make a package. First, to send the package to him is between $20 and $30 at the US PO. For him to send the same size package cost $4. Funny in a sick kind of way!
This time I had collected about 10 small specimens for him at absolutely no expense and 4 of them just samples of quartz stained by hematite just because they were from a location he had not seen material from.
When the box got to Germany they went to customs and the stuff was unpacked twice and each piece examined. Even with the designation of "no commercial value" on the box, the customs people said they had a value and some kind of chart of size of rocks came to their minds. He said to them they had all been found and not purchased and had no selling value, this didn't sit well. No amount of discussion made any progress.
They finally gave him choices, either they send it back to me, throw it out and nobody got anything or he had to pay. They assessed it at $80, purely on size and he had to pay 7% of this. They were handling each piece to find anything that they recognized but he was afraid to say anything about some being delicate since he knew they would figure it meant they had more value.
In the end they put $5 on the tiny pieces and $10 on the slightly larger ones. The larger ones were the ones that had absolutely no value at all.
Well, he paid and took his stuff home.
This has happened to him nearly every time we sent things and I wanted to pass this along since it is an interesting situation and in the end, laughable since what else can one do.
Rolf Luetcke November 29, 2018 04:59PMJeff,
That is exactly what the friend suggested for the next package I would send. I just don't think of that kind of stuff going on. Kevin, your suggestion is another one but the valuation seems to be the best for future.
Still crazy to have people who don't know a rock from a hard place in charge of this kind of thing.
I am still shaking my head at the "establishment" in that case.
Rolf Luetcke November 30, 2018 01:25PMHere is a bit more of a fun situation. One year, maybe 8 or 10 years ago, at the time of the Tucson Mineral Show a man came into our store about 50 miles to the SE with a station wagon. He asked if we buy specimens and we said it depends, what did he have. He said he had a very big piece, weighing hundreds of pounds of quartz from Washington Camp-Duquesne. Knowing the quartz from there we were eager to have a look. He was telling us he just wanted to sell it cheap and had been at the Tucson show but nobody would buy it. He didn't want to take it home again.
As he opened the back of his station wagon we were surprised at the size and it nearly filled the back of the station wagon. We didn't have to look long before we realized why nobody was interested in buying it and we told the fellow the same thing.
Much of the quartz from this location is not sharp but has a coating over the quartz of druzy quartz and the fellow had been working with tools to try and remove the druzy quartz from the crystals on the specimen. It was completely ruined.
We told him that his attempt to make the piece nicer had made it worthless. He offered the piece to us so cheap it was actually tempting but it was now worthless to even have it as a yard rock so we said no thank you. Had he left the piece alone it would have been worth a pretty penny.
Kevin Conroy December 03, 2018 07:14PMThere's a specimen that needs identification.
Streak – I tried to test this but it disturbed the neighbors and they called the police. When the police caught me and saw that I was just running down the street naked with a rock, they told me to never do that again.
Specific Gravity – the Earth’s, definitely.
Magnetic – it must be, I was drawn to it.
Reaction to acid – I don’t do drugs (although I have been questioned about this by the police, see “Streak”), and I don’t want to subject a mineral specimen to this lifestyle.
Luster – dull, but when I put it in water it looks wet.
Fluorescent – not originally, but “yes” after applying luminescent paint.
Hardness – not sure because now I hate doing tests (again, see “Streak”), but estimated between 1 and 10.
Crystal shape – yes.
Location – found on the ground.
Other properties - I didn’t see it fall so I doubt that it’s a meteorite. I keep it outside, and at nighttime it looks darker.
This may be an oolitic cryptocrystalline ultramafic pegmatitic amygdaloidal brecciated conglomeratic gneiss-based nickelboussingaultite. Thoughts?
Scott Rider December 04, 2018 12:03AMIt could be kevinconroyite, extrablurryite or maybe whatisthisrockite...? Not quite sure though... Does it give you any extra powers, insight to the universe, improve your love life? Or if you hold it at a 90 degree angle, does it help your digestion?
Keith Compton December 04, 2018 03:12AMKevin
You could always turn it into a weather vane!
Tie a piece of string around it and hang it on the clothes line.
If it starts swinging - you'll know its windy;
If it's wet you'll know its raining;
If it's dry you'll know it's not raining;
If it goes missing, you'll know that either a tornado has been through or someone nicked it 'cos it really was valuable and you should have taken greater care of it.
Rolf Luetcke December 04, 2018 12:44PMFun stuff guys, gave us a very nice laugh.
My wife often has an idea for me when I find some unknown in micro material I am studying under the microscope. She says "I can throw it over the fence and then you don't have to worry about it anymore". So far I have thanked her for her insight but I have a lot of those, great little pockets under the high power but no idea what they are and in some cases she may be right. I do have a lot of those and many are really cool but just not enough to get any analyzed. Still fun to look at.
Thanks for the fun additions.
Rolf Luetcke December 04, 2018 08:14PM
Back when I first started breaking minerals I got in the habit of saving the tiny broken crystals and saved them in little micro boxes.
One time I had nothing going and was working under the microscope. I used to make large collections for selling but one day decided to make one from the great little broken crystals from my trimming.
This morning I made this little collection in a 2.5cm square micro box lid.
They are a lot of fun and anyone I have shown them to under a microscope is amazed at how neat they are.
This is the 8th one I have made just for fun. They actually serve no real purpose but to find something fun to do on a yucky weather day.
Doug Daniels December 04, 2018 08:38PMRolf- If your wife threatens to throw your small pieces over the fence, remind her that some may contain what are now considered toxic metals - and she would be contaminating someones else's property.... Just joshin' (but don't tell the EPA....)
Rolf Luetcke December 04, 2018 10:40PMDoug,
Only problem is, we live on 5 acres and no neighbors. On top of that, we have a yard with maybe 10 tons of rock in piles according to mine, lots from lead-zinc, copper, vanadium and other mines. Luckily we live in desert and not too much rain to wash all into the ground.
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Copyright © mindat.org and the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy 1993-2018, except where stated. Mindat.org relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters.