Vol. XXXVIII, No. 3 --- March 2001

CFMS Newsletter

Table of Contents (TOC)

President's Message
PLAC Report
Rockhounding on the Beaches of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties
CFMS Cab Cases
Supplementary Rules
Education Through Sharing
Honors for Your Society
Keep Your Club in the Public eye All Year Long
New BLM Management Plan
March Tips - National Poison Prevention Week
Benitoite Blue Beauty
First Annual Mineral and Gem Show for Mariposa
Great Programs
Did Birds Evolve from Little Dinosaurs
The Origin of Birds
Safety - Sex - Safety - Sex - Safety
The Blueschist of Palos Verdes
Bear Report


By Bob Stultz, CFMS President
CFMS President

    Federation Competition. This has been one of the backbones of our CFMS Shows and Conventions. We all enjoy the beautiful cases created by members of our clubs and societies. One of the great people in our hobby, Jessie Hardman, worked very hard to get people to go into competition. Jessie was always willing to sit down and talk to you and help you create a beautiful case. In her memory, I am challenging the members of the California Federation to enter a competitive case this year. We have had around 50 entries in competition the last couple of years. If each club would get one new person to go into competition, we would have well over 100 entries this year. I'm not just talking about this to convince you to do something I wouldn't do, and so I will put a case in competition myself. I challenge you to work with me to achieve this goal of having 100 competitive cases entered in the 2001 Show at Paso Robles.

    If there are any question you have as you are getting ready to go into competition, feel free to contact any of the three members of the Rules Committee. They will be more than happy to assist you in any way they can. One of the most important things that has been pointed out to me in preparing to compete is to get an AFMS Rules Book and read over the part that you are considering for competition. Read it over two or three times. And don't forget, there are Special Trophies given by manufacturers and societies for classes that are not included in the AFMS Uniform Rules. Your Federation Director should have the entry forms needed for competition. If you are having any problems getting answers to your questions, contact me and I will put you in touch with someone who can help you.

    I hope many of you have circled your calendar for the dates of June 22, 23 and 24 this year. The Santa Lucia Rockhounds are working very hard to make this Show a great success, so let's all support them and attend.

    Bulletin Editors, I have a favor to ask you. Will you please print this information on competition in your club bulletin. I need your help to reach the membership. I hope a lot of you are planning to attend the Editors' Breakfast in Paso Robles.




By Jim Strain, Chairman, P.L.A.C.

    The public release of the Environmental Impact Statement for the NECO Plan has been scheduled for late February. At a recent meeting, the BLM Team stated that many changes in public use of public lands will probably be incorporated into the plan in order to meet all the endangered species requirements.

     Several public meetings will be held at different locations throughout the desert area. We (PLAC) strongly recommend that members from each club in the areas near the meetings attend to offer opinions. There will be a period of time for written comments to be submitted after the meetings. The meeting locations and dates have not been released yet (at publication time for this issue). Hopefully, we will have time to publish them before the actual meetings.

    The litigation filed against the BLM degenerated into a last minute effort to close and restrict as much public land as possible before the change of administration in Washington. More than 50,000 acres of medium grade collecting area north of Gold Rock Ranch has been closed to camping. In checking with BLM Management, we will still be able to collect there, but will have to camp east of Ogilby Road.

     From all indications, San Bernardino and Imperial Counties have gotten involved in the last minute settlement agreements on the law suit. It remains to be seen whether it will do any good. There is some indication that legislation will be initiated in Wash-ington to change some of the laws to recognize that people are a part of the overall ecology, and must be considered.

    The article below (Rockhounding on the Beaches of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties) is self explanatory. We sincerely appreciate the work of Red Jioras of Ventura Gem & Mineral Society. Red is one of three new PLAC Members starting this year. The other two are Gary and Denise Palmer from the Sportsman's Club of Joshua Tree and Hi Desert Rockhouds of Morongo Valley. We certainly welcome them to PLAC and look forward to their participation in the various activities of CFMS.



By By Richard Jioras

    Recently, rockhounds have been relating encounters with State Rangers while collecting rocks and petrified whale bone on the beaches from Gaviota to Ventura. The encounters have ranged from a total prohibition of rock collecting to excluding the collection of petrified whale bone or fish fossils.

    In researching the problem, I contacted the California State Parks District - Channel Coast District in order to get a clear definition of what activities rockhounds can undertake on State beaches and why we could not collect the whale bone. I was told that the exclusion of collecting the petrified whale bone was based on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife - Marine Mammals Protection Act under code 16USC1371 and 1372.

    Working with Rondi Robinson, Supervising Ranger at Carpinteria State Beach, I was put in contact with Neil Mendelson of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife office in Long Beach. After I explained that the petrified whale bone was in fact a rock and did not resemble present day marine mammal bones, Mr. Mendelson stated that the petrified whale bone would not be restricted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and that collecting would be permitted. This opinion was communicated to Rondi Robinson. Still protected are the bones of present day marine mammals. If you see them-leave them where they lay.

     I also talked with Richard Rojas, Superintendent of the Channel Coast District. Mr. Rojas was very helpful in showing me the California Administrative Code, Title XIV, Div. 3, Chapter 1, section 4307 - Geological Features. For the benefit of all, I'll give an exact quote:

"(A)     No person shall destroy, disturb, mutilate, or remove earth, sand, gravel, oil, minerals, rocks, paleontological features, or features of caves.

(B)     Rockhounding may be permitted as defined in section 4301 (v)"

    Section 4301 (v) reads:

"(V) Rockhounding is defined as being the recreational gathering of stones and minerals found occurring naturally on the undisturbed surface of the land, including panning for gold in the natural water-washed gravel of streams."
    To put this all in perspective, let me start by saying that the State rangers and administrative staff are charged with protecting State resources for all, not just rockhounds. Also, rockhounding only pertains to material in float or beach tumbled material. Excavating material from beach sand or from the sea cliffs is not permitted. If you have a find that re-quires excavation, inquire with the California Parks District Office for information about the process. As stated in the State Administrative Code, rockhounding MAY be permitted. IT IS NOT A RIGHT. Our ability to continue our hobby and rockhound activities depends on how we conduct ourselves in the field. Take what you need and leave the rest to be enjoyed by others. If we abuse the privilege, we lose it.

    If you have any further questions regarding the matter, please contact Richard (Red) Jioras, Ventura Gem and Mineral Society or C.F.M.S. Public Lands Advisory Committee. I can be reached at (805) 646-7184.



By ob Pevahouse,
Cab Cases North Chair

    The CFMS has prepared Cab Cases for display at local member club shows. There are three sets of cases, each set consisting of two units, three feet in length, two feet in height, and seven inches deep. The CFMS area is divided into three sections, North, Central and South, with one set of cases in each area.

    The Cab Cases contain mostly cabochons furnished and identified by member clubs of the Federation, although there have recently been added specimens from the Gold Prospecting members of the Federation. These items are from the territory covered by CFMS. They are assembled in an attractive display for use at member club shows.

    The CFMS cases were displayed at seven shows in the year 2000. Comments were received concerning the variety of material found in the area covered by the Federation. All it takes to have these cases displayed at your show is a request to the Chairman of the cab cases in your area. The name, address, and telephone number of the Chairmen are listed in the CFMS Officers and Chairmen's roster in each issue of the CFMS Newsletter. Their e-mail addresses can be found on the CFMS Website, .



By Jeane Stultz,
Rules Committee

    Some people may wonder what "Supplementary Rules" are and why they are not included in the AFMS Uniform Rules Book. Supplementary Rules are for competition classes that have been added by the CFMS to accommodate either special types of material or exhibitor interests. Trophies for these special competitions are sponsored by either commercial trade companies, societies, or individuals who wish to promote further interest in some specialized art of the Earth Sciences.

    Trophies are offered for original jewelry designs, cab making, faceting, and carving; and for the collectors, there are trophies for minerals and fossils. Some sponsors require entry into CFMS or AFMS competition divisions in order to compete for their trophy, but others do not. Some trophies are offered for case entries and others require only a single carving, piece of jewelry, or faceted stone to compete.

    You MUST read the rules to understand the different requirements. The 2001 Supplementary Rules were printed in the February issue of the CFMS Newsletter, but if you cannot find them, you may write to any member of the CFMS Rules Committee and request that a copy be sent to you.



By Colleen McGann,
Education Through Sharing Chair

    I have had terrific response from the CFMS societies with nominations so far this year. Remember, there is now a form on our CFMS Website for your nominations. Continue to look around your club during your monthly activities, at your Board meeting, your General meeting, and at your outings, to find that special person or couple who are very active this year, and send me their names. Being nominated is such a special surprise to all these deserving fellow rockhounds.

    Shadow Mountain Gem & Mineral Society, Inc. presents Maurice "Doc" Wright. "Doc has been a member since 1951 and also a member in Palm Springs Lapidary Club and the Coachella Valley Mineral Society. He has won countless awards for his entries in competition at the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival, in the categories of Mineral, Lapidary, and Jewelry. About four years ago, at age 93, he achieved the title of "Certified Supreme Master Gemcutter". The CFMS displays two of his agatized palm root cabochons at the annual Convention and Show. He has served for ten years as Editor/Printer of our newsletter, Field Trip Chairman, Show Chairman, President, Vice President, and Business Manager. He was awarded a Lifetime Membership and nominated to the National Rockhound and Lapidary Hall of Fame in South Dakota. He has always been available to teach his lapidary skills and share his knowledge of gems, minerals, and jewelry making with both new rockhounds and any others who might be interested."
Submitted by Ray Crase, President.

    Lassen Gem & Mineral Society presents Leah Hudson. "Mrs. Hudson has been a tireless, productive member of our Club for over 35 years. She has held all the elective offices, plus Show Chairman, Field Trip, Programs, Membership, Public Relations, and Hospitality, to name a few. At 94 years of age, she has had to curtail some of these activities. She is always eager to help or offer assistance to the Club or individuals."
Submitted by Jackie Woodson, President and Roberta Numeyer, Secretary.

    San Pablo Gem & Mineral Society presents Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Power. "They were the founders and Charter members in 1967. They have served each and every year in an office or Board capacity. These two are truly a devoted couple in regards to the club's welfare-they have always stepped up to do the job! In my personal opinion, they truly deserve recognition."
Submitted by John Paul Oakee, Secretary.

    Mariposa Gem & Mineral Club presents Norbert Shea, the Club's Number One Volunteer. If there is a project to do, he is there to help or to do it. He is a Charter Member of the Club, and since 1990 a Lifetime Member. He and wife Claire worked the raffles, the silent auction, and the cash box for every Gem Show that the Club has had. He single-handedly cleaned out our storage trailer, so it could be used for storage. He was CFMS Representative for many years, going to the Federation meetings and reporting back to the Club. He especially enjoyed the cracker barrel sessions, swapping stories with other Club representatives. He was treasurer for several years. He never wanted to be president, 'too much trouble'. In recognition of his untiring support of the Club since it started, he was presented with a "suitable certificate" and his name placed on the plaque that is displayed in the Club's shop. The Club rose to salute him with a rousing round of applause and congratulations."
Submitted by Erik Braun, President.



Courtesy of Richard Lederer,
via the Internet

    One of many real quotes from science papers turned in by real kids:

"Many dead animals of long ago became fossils, but some others preferred to become oil."



By Isabella Bums,
President, AFMS

    Greetings for the New Year! As AFMS moves into 2001, there are many opportunities for your club to be honored. At the AFMS/SCFMS Convention and Show, A Gem Odyssey, June 11 - 17, 2001 in Arlington, Texas you could receive recognition for successes and accomplish- ments. Every dub in every Federation affiliated with the AFMS is invited to take these challenges.

    The Each Year -Each Club -One Rockhound name has been changed to AFMS Club Rockhound of the Year. I hear many complaints that members do not volunteer to serve as officers or to teach a class. This type of honor might encourage more people to participate. Have you ever tried it? Your club chooses a member who has given their time, service and talent to your organization this year and notify your Regional Chairman of your choice and include a short resume. The person will be honored with a certificate and have their name listed in the AFMS Newsletter and Regional Federation Newsletter. Pasadena Lapidary framed the certificates presented to George & Mona Snyder last year and had a nice tribute to them at a regular meeting Try it, you will like it!

    Another name change was Education Committee to Education - All American Committee. This is a society award presented for things that you do every year - bulletins, programs, service to members, to community, to neighboring clubs and the Federation. The application form for this year's competition is included in this issue of the AFMS Newsletter for your convenience. This is not a contest for the best club, but each society entry is rated and receives a bronze, silver or gold award. Someone collects the information and sends it to the regional chair for rating and the best ones from each Federation are sent to the AFMS Chair. You can proudly receive a certificate of accomplishment. Hold your head up high!

    AFMS was proud to present 22 trophies to masters in different classes of Minerals, Lapidary Work, Metal Work, Fossils, Petrified Wood, Education, and others at the AFMS/RMFMS Show presented by the Points and Pebble Club in Moab, Utah. Your members or your society can win trophies, also. Find the Uniform Rules Book and plan to exhibit in competition this year. Do not say "we did that several years ago": This is a new millennium.

    Bulletin Editors have their opportunity to be honored, and even members can be honored for articles they write for the newsletter. These are under Club Publications. Unfortunately, if you have not entered yet , this program is underway for this year. Did you know that we even have an Editors Hall of Fame for editors who have produced exceptional newsletters?

    Program Competition. Another neat program is creating a slide or video program regarding some phase of our recreation and entering it for an award of $200.00. Your slide librarian or the AFMS Program Competition Chair will help you with this. I hope that you will accept my invitation and try these methods to improve your club and will be proud of the results. Good Luck!
From AFMS Newsletter January 2001



By JoAnna Ritchey, Chair
Publicity/Public Relations Committee

     Last month we offered some suggestions on how you could plan for a year-long publicity campaign. This month we focus on ways that you can keep your Club in the public eye all year long. The following suggestions are from various sources, edited for space ad rewritten somewhat.

Club Information Cards

     All during the year your Club should keep its name and activities in front of the general public. All members of the Club should have a supply of "Club Information cards" (or brochures) that include the time and place of your meetings, and names and phone numbers of Club members to contact for information. These can be offered to a person who expresses interest in the hobby, or when giving a talk or program before a group. Senior Citizens groups appreciate programs and, in addition to one's own experiences and talents, Federation slide and video shows can be used. There are many other groups in your community, both business and social, that would enjoy a program of this sort.

Local Displays

     Local libraries, banks, businesses and museums are often willing to have displays of minerals, fossils or other earth science information, with brochures or fliers about your club and its programs (or show) left nearby for the public to take. Be sure to arrange for these displays well in advance. If the display is in a library, suggest that a shelf of books relating to rockhounding be placed near your display.

Chamber of Commerce Listing

     The Chamber of Commerce of your city keeps on hand a list of all the organizations there. Be sure you are listed, with the name and phone number of a current member to contact for inquiries on your Club or rockhounding in the area. This is an excellent way for newcomers to a city to locate a club. It also publishes periodically, a listing of community activities and events, which makes an excellent vehicle for publicizing your show.

Festivals and Fairs

     Community festivals, craft shows, and parades, etc., are excellent times to advertise your Club and show with possibly a table of displays and/or a demonstration of lapidary arts. Some clubs have been able to have a banner in a parade, or even a small float.


     Science teachers in the schools are usually de-lighted to have a program on a phase of the hobby which fits in with the curriculum. Contact the schools with a listing of topics you can address, and the name and phone number of a contact.

Essay Contest

     Sponsor a district-wide elementary-level essay competition (for 5th and 6th graders, perhaps) on an earth science topic, and award prizes (savings bonds, etc.) for winners, plus a small fossil or polished rock for all entrants. Have the award ceremony at your annual show, and invite all participants and their parents to attend-also the press, to take pictures of the winners receiving their awards.

Craft Classes

     If the college near you has a Geology Depart-ment or jewelry classes, they will appreciate knowing of your show. Invite them to participate with class displays. Many museums are also willing to put in a display. Be sure to make these requests for display well in advance of the show.

Summer Activity

     During the summer, some individuals from clubs have taken a picnic lunch to the local park and set up a table to work on some lapidary craft items. They have attracted quite an audience and have given many their first look at the rockhounding hobby. They had their Club Information cards there, too.

Rockhound Week

     As an all-State activity to publicize the rock-hounding hobby, a delegation may petition the Governor to proclaim a "Rockhound Week" which would appear in most newspapers of the State. Local newspapers could be contacted prior to the printing of this news and given information on the local rock club(s) to be included in the article.

Library Listing

    Many public libraries maintain a listing of organizations that exist in their communities, along with information and a contact name and phone number. Be sure to check with your local library, and keep the information current as things change.

Junior Rockhound Opportunities

    Contact the headquarters staff of young peoples' organizations - Scouts, 4-H, Camp Fire, "Y", etc. and let them know that you have members available to assist in programs. Leaders of these groups are always looking for different activities. Information concerning your Club can be given to the staff and to the individual groups after a program.

    Federation Directors and Bulletin Editors: Please share this column with your club's Publicity chair and include it in your bulletin. Thanks!

     We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please contact our Committee as follows:

Teresa Masters, Secretary
CFMS Publicity/Public Relations Committee
1644 Corte Verano
Oceanside, CA 92056-2038



via The Crystal Ball, Feb. 2001

    The BLM is about ready to announce its suggested plan for the Northern and Eastern Colorado Desert Coordinated Management Plan (NECO).

    This plan, intended to protect various desert wildlife, willbe posted on the BLM internet page at:


    Look there now and you can see background information, a map of the area, and other information.

    Road closings are of particular interest to desert-goers. Many planned closings have been reversed when users made strong cases against the closings.

    If we snooze, we lose!



Safety Message from Chuck McKie,
CFMS Safety Chair 2001

    The third week of March is National Poison Prevention Week. By following these guidelines, you will be able to prevent most poisoning emergencies:

  • Keep all medications and household products well out of reach of children. •  
  • Special latches and clamps are available to keep children from opening cabinets.
  • Use childproof safety caps on containers of medication, vitamins, and other potentially dangerous products. •  
  • Never call medicine or vitamins "candy" to get a child to take it, even if it has a sweet, pleasant flavor. •  
  • Keep products in their original containers, with labels in place.
  • Use poison symbols to identify dangerous substances, and teach children what the symbols mean.
  • Dispose of outdated medications and household products properly and in a timely manner.
  • Use potentially dangerous chemicals only in well-ventilated areas.
  • Wear proper clothing when recreation or work may put you in contact with a poisonous substance. If you suspect a poisoning emergency, immediately contact your Poison Control Center, call 911, or the local emergency number.
    American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC)
    from The American Red Cross



By Bea and Sherm Griselle
Santa Lucia Rockhounds


    James Marshall Couch discovered the rare mineral benitoite on February 22, 1907. The discovery was near the headwaters of the San Benito River in San Benito County, California. The discovery area is about 25 miles north of Coalinga and about 70 miles south of Hollister. At that time, mercury and chromium mining activity was taking place in this rugged area of California.

    He found triangular blue crystals during a prospecting trip for cinnabar, the red ore of quick-silver (mercury). The blue crystals were plentiful in veins of brecciated, grey-green shist associated with serpentine. Couch was awe-struck by so many beautiful blue crystals covering the ground and imbedded in white natrolite on veins of shist traversing walls of green serpentine.

    When first discovered, the crystals were thought to be sapphire. George Louderback, a geology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and a consultant to the California State Mine Bureau, found the crystals too soft for sapphire ad declared the discovery to be a new and unique mineral.

    In 1907 Louderback gave benitoite its name. Benitoite was named from its discovery in San Benito County, California near the headwaters of the San Benito River and near San Benito Peak.

    The benitoite which occurs at the discovery location is the type locality of this mineral. While the mineral benitoite is found in a few other locations worldwide, it is not found in the quantity and quality offered by its type locality in San Benito County, California.

    Benitoite is a rare mineral combination of barium titanium silicate with a hardness of 6-6.5. It occurs in a zone of narrow veins of white natrolite covering grey-green shist, which was formed in a lode hydrothermal replacement deposit. This metamorphic mass of shist, found in a weathered dike, is part of a large serpentine formation in the area.

    Triangular benitoite crystals are often found in association with black neptunite crystals of cylindrical form also imbedded in the natrolite. In addition, and only occasionally, this layer may contain small, yellowish joaquinite crystals of knobby form. It's a rare and valuable collector's item that contains all three minerals in one specimen.

    In its perfect form benitoite crystal exhibits symmetry, with its beauty partially created from balanced proportions. A perfectly shaped crystal is triangular with six flat surfaces on each side, and with the triangle having three flattened ends. Perfectly symmetrical crystals are hard to find, as most crystals do not have the balanced proportions exhibited by a classic crystal. Also, most crystals are fractured, and good faceting material is difficult to obtain.


A classic, six-plane symmetrical design. Benitoites with identical classic shapes on both sides are rare.

    The color of benitoite crystals can range from dark blue to light blue to white. Most crystals contain all three colors, with solid blue crystals a rarity. When first discovered, the crystals were thought to be sapphire because of their blue color and luster. In an unweathered condition, crystals may have a glossy luster which gives beauty to the crystals.

    A benitoite crystal with symmetrical triangular shape, lustrous flat surfaces, beautiful blue color, transparency and dispersion equal to a diamond, is a wonder to behold. A benitoite crystal becomes a valuable gemstone when transparent, free of flaws, and of good color.


A four-plane configuration. Sometimes benitoites exhibit a variety of shapes. Flat-back benitoites with a classic or odd opposite side and benitoites with pointed ends, along with other odd creations, have been found.

    Benioite crystals large enough to facet into gemstones are scarce and have a substantial value. Cut stones over one carat are rare. A crystal cut to diamond angles and proportions may actually appear to be a cornflower-blue diamond. A few crystals up to two inches across have been found, but most are less than one inch.

    Benitoite fluoresces beautifully white, light or dark blue, under shortwave ultraviolet light. It is a good idea to use a shortwave light at night to discover crystals, which are not apparent during daylight hours. Under long wave ultraviolet light, only the white parts of the crystals will show a light red.


A common seven-plane configuration. The CFMS emblem uses a modification of this shape with an enlarged center triangle.
CFMS Emblem

    The emblem of the CFMS is a triangle surrounding a Golden Bear' The Bear is, of course, the Golden Bear Nugget. The triangle with its points cut off was selected with pride and purpose for its representation of the unique crystal formation of the mineral Benitoite.

    Benitoite was designated the official California State gemstone on October 1, 1985, by the adoption of Assembly Bill 2357. The designation came after a four-year effort, supported by the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies (CFMS) to have Benitoite designated the State gemstone. The CFMS emblem features a stylized version of the three-sided shape of a benitoite crystal.

    Benitoite will be exhibited during the CFMS GEM, JEWELRY and MINERAL SHOW in Paso Robles, June 22-24, 2001. Attend the show and enjoy viewing beautiful specimens of our State gemstone.

    Editors note: The Santa Lucia Rockhounds are hosting the CFMS 2001 Show, and all society bulletin editors are urged to print this article in their newsletter.



Mariposa Gem and Mineral Club

    While it is not our practice to advertise individual club shows, there are two compelling reasons why your Editor decided to highlight this one. 1) The show is the first for Mariposa, and 2) the information arrived too late to be included in the CFMS Shows and Events listing.

    The location is the Mariposa County Fairgrounds, next to the California State Mining and Mineral Museum (on historic Highway 49, only two miles south of Mariposa). There will be rocks, fossils, minerals and gems, guest speakers, music, food, children's activities and more. Interested dealers, vendors or craftsmen may reserve indoor or outdoor booth spaces.

    The show is sponsored by the California State Mining and Mineral Museum, the CSM and MM Association, and the Mariposa Gem and Mineral Club.

Free admission, free parking!
For information or a Dealer's packet,
contact the Museum at (209) 742-7625,
Fax (209) 966-3597, or



By Anne Schafer,
Program Aids Chair

    Here they come! Completed Annual Program Report and Questionnaire forms are starting to roll in. My sincere thanks go to the following people for being so prompt in replying:

  • Dorothy Beachler - Palos Verdes Gem & Mineral Society
  • David Willete - Boulder City Gem Club (Nevada)
  • Richard Knox - Rancho Santa Margarita G & M Society
  • Madge Albers - Lassen Gem & Mineral Society
  • Sharon Boylan - Sacramento Mineral Society
  • John Paul Osten - San Pablo Bay Gem & Mineral Society
  • Rosalie Peschel - Culver City Rock & Mineral Club
  • Alison Snow - Peninsula Gem & Geology Society

    Want to see your name listed in this column next month? Just send in your club's report! (It's never too late.) Look for the form in the Dec. 2000 issue of the CFMS Newsletter or on-line at cfmsinc.org. Fill in the form and mail it back to me: Anne Schafer, CFMS Program Aids Chair, 8473 Hydra Ln, San Diego, CA 92126-1854. Bonus: I'm sending out a mystery door prize to each of the first 30 clubs that respond.

    OK, so what happens to the information provided in these reports? First, I list the different types of programs, count how many of each type were given, and note the sources. Next, I write down all new ideas and good tips. Then I share this information with everyone via this column over a period of several months.

    But there's more! I'm happy to say that I have received recommendations for five new speakers so far, all of whom may potentially be added to Podium People in the future. I will contact these individuals very soon and invite them to join our list of speakers. Cross your fingers!

    Good news for southern California: Dick Knox, Program Chairman for the Rancho Santa Margarita Gem and Mineral Society, has a large personal collection of videos, some not available commercially. He writes:

"I have 75 videotapes on such subjects as gemstones, geology, mining and lapidary. I prefer bringing them to a meeting myself. It is also cheaper that way. I will limit showing them to Orange and San Diego County."

    If your club meets in either of these two counties and is interested in obtaining a list of these videos (and information about how to contact Dick Knox), please send me a stamped self-addressed envelope, along with your request.

    Program idea from the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society: This club lives to take field trips to find mineral specimens. They wanted to know where they could legally collect. So, they invited the heads of the local BLM and National Forest Service offices to a panel discussion! When both chiefs accepted, the following measure was taken in order to prevent rabble-rousing: no questions would be accepted from the floor; all questions had to be submitted in advance, in writing. With the creation or enlargement of additional wilderness areas, national monuments, and military preserves throughout California, Nevada, and Arizona, the Fallbrook idea might work for your club as well.

    Playing it safe: It doesn't hurt to have one program each year on safety. Here is a selection of good topics:

"Emergency First Aid for Field Trips"
"Driving Friendly - Avoiding Road Rage"
"Shop Safety and Hazardous Materials"
"Earthquake Preparedness"

    If you cannot find a club member willing to make a presentation, try contacting the Red Cross, your local fire rescue unit, or other medical groups with an interest in education.


Did birds evolve from little dinosaurs?

San Jose Mercury News 12/7/00
Summarized by the Breccia, January 2001

    A dinosaur the size of a crow?! A 125 million-year-old dinosaur, Microraptor zhaoianus, has been unearthed recently. The little 15" fellow appeared to have feathers and to perch in trees. However, there is no evidence that it flew. The little crow-sized creature lived about 20 million years after the first known bird, Archaeopteryx. It is thought the two had a common ancestor.

    Like the hulking Tyrannosaurs, little Micro-raptor belongs to a group of dinosaurs known as theropods, meat eaters that walked on two legs. Many paleontologists believe birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs. Paleontologist Xing Xu, who led the research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, said the new discovery eliminates the size disparity. Small size is viewed as necessary for flight in birds.

    The new discovery shows some birdlike characteristics in its teeth and bones, including an extended toe that may have been used to grasp tree limbs. But some aspects of its skeleton, the arrangement of its teeth and its long tail, are clearly those of a dinosaur. The researchers said the new fossil may ultimately help prove the theory that flight evolved in tree dwellers, rather than in ground animals.

    Paleontologist David Burnham at the Uni-versity of Kansas said Microraptor fleshes out the dinosaurs-to-birds theory because it is a birdlike dinosaur that is getting closer in size and age to the first birds. There is still work to be done.


The origin of birds debate

San Jose Mercury News 12/12/00
Summarized by the Breccia, January 2001

    A 120 million-year old bird that clearly had feathers and that clearly flew was recently unearthed in the Hebei Provice, in China. Scientists Fucheng Zhang and Zhonghe Zhou of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing found the starling-size bird Protopteryx fengningensis. The body of the bird was covered with feathers, which were preserved as carbonized traces or structured imprints. The down feathers almost covered the whole body. It had several features in common with modern flying birds, such as the procoracoid process, a pelvic structure which is an indicator of flight ability in modern birds. Poor fliers such as pheasants have a reduced procoracoid.

    The feathers on the creature have many scale-like qualities which show that feathers evolved form scales in distinct stages. The scientists propose that feathers evolved through four stages. The protopteryx's feathers look like they came from somewhere in the middle of the process.

    A bird expert at the University of North Carolina, Alan Feduccia, says that the discovery helps show that feathered dinosaurs, thought by some to have been the ancestors of modern birds, were no such thing. That the dino-fuzz, or putative feathers, really could have nothing to do with the origin of feathers.

    Science marches on.

    Editor's note: An article from your bulletin could grace these pages as well. Please send a copy of your Club bulletin to Beverly Moreau at:

3113 Topaz Lane, #A,
Fullerton, CA 92831-2374



By Chuck McKie,
CFMS Safety Chair 2001

    As responsible parents should stress to their children that they should practice "safe" sex (if they can't abstain), so too, ALL Field Trip Chairmen MUST stress to their field trip participants that they MUST practice safety in all their rock or other material collecting activities (if they can't abstain-and I can't).

    At the start of all collecting (or even sight-seeing) activities, a Field Trip Chairman must hold a gathering of all participants-not merely the drivers, and should begin by instructing everyone of the route of travel and the eventual destination. If he tells them (as we up here in the North Bay Field Trips organization always do) to make note of the vehicle leading them, so that in the event a passing vehicle cuts into the convoy, he will know which car to follow-and at the same time, to note the following vehicle-and if that vehicle fails to follow, he should stop-then the car ahead of him will stop, and so on and so on.

     In that way, no one will miss the field trip, and the safety aspect of this detail is that no one should have to speed trying to catch up. He must inform everyone of the local hazards or dangerous items at the collecting site. He should do this before leaving the rendezvous area, because when they arrive at the field trip area, they have a tendency to disperse very quickly.

     Nevertheless, upon arrival at the field trip site, the Field Trip leader should call for another gathering, and as he tells them of the best areas to collect, he should also point out the local dangers and the things to look out for, such as snakes, mine shafts, poison oak or ivy, caution about a dry river bed suddenly turning into a roaring torrent after a storm far up in the hills, the dangers of being up-hill or down-hill when others are in the same area.

    The Field Trip leader should stress the use of safety glasses or goggles, the use of heavy gloves during hard rock mining. It is too late at this point to say they should wear steel-toed shoes, but hopefully the Field Trip announcement had included that item. I see so many people wearing only tennis shoes or low quarter shoes when digging large rocks out of banks, when a falling rock could badly damage a foot or even break a bone therein.

    While the group is collecting, the Field Trip leader should spend the major portion of his time in seeing that they are getting good material as well as monitoring their safety practices. If someone is observed doing anything in a dangerous manner, he MUST insist that they stop. If they are digging a hole into a bank, they must be stopped and instructed to dig off the over-laying material so that there is no danger of a cave-in. He should monitor them so they don't throw things down a slope when others are below them. If they are using chisels with mushroomed heads, they MUST be told NOT to use them. He should make certain that if someone is using a sledge hammer, that the observers are using eye protection also.




By Wally Ford

    As you descend the trail at Bluff Cove, a point will be reached where the cliffs change color from an earthy brown to a gray-blue. You have reached the exposure of the San Onofre breccia, a lens of sediment made up of angular fragments of rocks ranging in size of sand to slabs over two feet long. It is at this locality that a number of most unique minerals may be found.

    Patches of the San Onofre occur from San Diego northward to Santa Barbara. Near San Clemente, the formation reaches a thickness of 2000 feet.

     Dr. Woodford of Pomona College, after studying these deposits, believed them to be the result of mud slides under semiarid conditions.

    In the Palos Verdes before the advent that folded the sediments into an anticlinal hill, the Channel Islands were much larger than now. Catalina was very close. Exposed was an extensive occurrence of the Catallina blueschist whose age has been determined at 300,000,000 years by potassium-argon methods. Catalina was near enough to the coast to produce a series of mud slides, the San Onofre breccia that became a part of the lower Altamira member of the Monterey formation 17,000,000 years ago.

    The mineraLs found in the breccia had their origin in the Catalina schist which has produced a number of metamorphic products dominated by the amphibole family of silicate minerals. These minerals include hornblende, pargosite, glaucophane, crossite, and Riebeckite, resulting in the name amphibolites for the resulting rock.

    The Catalina blueschist was born under pressures up to 400,000 pounds per square inch and a temperature of 300ºC, having been once igneous rocks, chert, sandstone, etc. The grinding together of the two enormous plates, the Oceanic one that dived under the Continental one, generated sufficient frictional heat to melt rocks at depth.

    The Catalina blueschist complex constitutes the "basement rocks" for the entire South Bay region and beyond. Only one locality in Charles F. canyon in Palos Verdes does it outcrop. Elsewhere, it lies beneath thousands of feet of sediment.

    As a geologist for an oil company, I had a chance to study the old rocks at two deep drilling sites, one beneath Torrance where the schist was found at 5000 feet, and one in Wilmington at a depth of 7000 feet. It was discovered that the schist could be traced northward to the Newport-Inglewood fault zone where it abruptly terminates and is replaced by a granitic basement some 30,000 feet under the Los Angeles Basin.

    A few additional minerals at the Cove locality are lawsonite, garnet, sericite, chlorite, saussurite, pargosite, albite, actinolite, tremolite, epidote, and augite.

     Note: Few people appreciate the rich harvest awaiting them in the breccia as well as the amphibolite that becomes pen stands and bookends!

The Agatizer, January 2001



Mineral Memos February 2000 via Tumbler 1/01

     In light of human - grizzly bear encounters, the Department of Fish and Game is advising outdoor adventurers to take extra precautions, such as wearing noisy little bells on their clothing to warn bears they are coming, and carrying pepper spray in case of an encounter with a bear.

     It is also a good idea to watch for fresh signs of bear activity. Outdoorsmen should know the difference between black bear and grizzly bear dung. Black bear scat is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear dung has little bells in it and smells like pepper.