Vol. XXXVIII, No. 9 --- September 2001

CFMS Newsletter

Table of Contents
The View From Here
Golden Bear Award 2001
Education Through Sharing
Safety Seminar
Historian's Report
CFMS Hall of Fame Awards
Fall Business Meeting
Committee Meeting Reservations
PLAC Report
Attention Contributors!
Take Precautions When Tackling Yard Work
Junior Activities Report
A Reminder from Your Federation Insurance Chair
The Editor Helps the Contributor
All Roads Point North in May 2002
Obsidian Bonanza
Safety - Desert Driving
California Jade Exhibit
Lost Arch Placer Diggings


By Bob Stultz, CFMS President
CFMS President

     An ever-increasing problem for gem and mineral clubs all over the country seems to be declining membership. Many reasons have been suggested: members that have been active for years are simply getting too old to attend meetings and work on the tasks that must be done to keep the clubs running smoothly; there is nothing being done to attract young people and make the hobby stimulating and exciting for them; the cost of lapidary equipment used in the hobby is prohibitive; and on and on.

    There may be some truth to all of those reasons, but strangely enough, there are a few clubs that don't fall into the pattern of decreasing membership. These clubs generally have a core of active members who work to encourage young people to attend meetings by bringing information about the hobby to schools and other youth groups. It is most important to also have a person who will work with the juniors at club meetings.

    When someone is willing to work with the youth by planning programs and educational meetings, directed to their age group, it is possible to interest them in attending meetings, collecting and displaying minerals or fossils, and generally participating in the hobby. There is no denying the fact that there are many other activities to compete for the attention and interest of our youth these days; but many children seem to have a natural fascination with fossils and pretty rocks, and if that is encouraged by parents and leaders in the hobby, they will grow up enjoying these things. Even though they may drift away from it for a while, many of them will come back as adults to keep the hobby alive.

    Meanwhile, measures must be taken to revive the hobby now, while there are still people around to pass on the knowledge and skills that make it so much fun. Some clubs have shops with various pieces of lapidary equipment available for use by their members, and many offer classes on how to use this equipment. Newcomers who are looking for a way to learn about some part of the hobby are often attracted to a club that has classes available to teach various lapidary skills.

    Gem and mineral shows reach the general public, and there is no better way of bringing in new members to a club than to display the many kinds of work and various types of collections made by ordinary people who participate in this great hobby. There are ways to build up club membership•  .but it takes a little effort and participation of the established members to make it happen.



By Grant and Toni Ewers,
Co-Chairs - Golden Bear Committee

    This year's award was a long time coming. The Honoree's qualifications are:

  • 1936 - Helped form CFMS
  • 1946 - CFMS Convention in Glendale.

     Retired as President of MSSC and elected as Vice President of CFMS

  • 1947 - Participated in founding of AFMS in Salt Lake City
  • 1948-50 - President of CFMS
  • 1949 - President of AFMS

    He spent many years creating rules and regulations for judging-a forerunner of today's AFMS Rules. Our recipient is none other than Jack Streeter, a spry 97-year old who, in June, had his driver's license renewed.

    P.S. - Two nominations were received for Jack. The third nomination was for someone who had received the award in 1998.


By Colleen McGann,
Chair Education Through Sharing
P.O. Box 224, Santa Clara, CA 95052-0224
E-mail: colleen.mcgann@hds.com

    There are still three months of CFMS Newsletters to be published this year, and I would like to provide each issue with a page full of Club Recommendations for their Rockhound of the Year. Federation Directors, please talk this over with your clubs and send your choices to me before November 3rd to have them included for year 2001. Remember, this program started out with the title, "Each Club, Each Year, One Rockhound" (or couple). Make this not just a great year, but a SUPER year for your club.

     The Long Beach Mineral & Gem Society (founded in 1937) honors Mac and Betty McGraw. "LBGMS is enriched by our selfless, altruistic, lifetime member, Mac McGraw. Consensus is that we wouldn't have a club if it weren't for the myriad contributions of time, money and materials by Mac. He has trained many in lapidary arts as Shop Director. He has served as President, Show Chairman, Field Trip Chairman, Shop Director, and in various other offices too numerous to list. He maintains two ever-changing display cases in our shop area that delight and enrich all, particularly the public. Our shop is well supplied with high grade cutting material. He is famous for his clocks, which he generously 'gifts' to everyone. They are cherished by all. He is quietly there, affable, telling us stories of past field trips and making suggestions, like starting the Beading workshop, etc. We would like to thank and honor him for all the joy he brings to each of us. His wife, Betty, has been active over the years, also. We thank them both."

    Submitted by Louise Oleson, Corresponding Secretary.

September 29, 2002

By Frank Mullaney

    A reminder about the CFMS Safety Seminar, hosted by the Santa Clara Valley Gem & Mineral Society in Los Gatos. Location: 100 Belwood Gateway, Los Gatos, CA.

    The seminar will start at 8:00 a.m. and run to 3:00 p.m., with an hour and a half lunch break. The $5.00 registration fee will include lunch.

    Material covered by Chuck McKie, CFMS Safety Chair, will include the pertinent safety issues to be observed before, during, and after field trips.

    Other safety issues may be added, as well, and perhaps a talk on highway safety from a member of the CHP.

    For reservations, please contact Frank Mullaney at

5705 Begonia Drive
San Jose, CA 95124-6535
(408) 266-1791
E-mail: rockyfiv@aol.com

    Or use the web site Reservation form click here.

    Please let Frank hear from you by September 15.


By Shirley Leeson,
CFMS Historian
E-mail: shirleyleeson@email.msn.com

    At the recent Show and Convention in Paso Robles, the Historian received the following books:

From Jim Nelson, CFMS Past President:

  • Handbook of crystal & Mineral Collecting by William B. Sanborn
  • Where to Collect Fluorescent Minerals in the United States by Mark C. Blazek
  • The Story of Fluorescent Minerals by Raytech Industries, Inc., Stafford Springs, Connecticut
  • Roadside Geology of Northern California by Alt & Hyndman
  • 1975 Glossary of Mineral Species by Michael Fleischer
  • Dana's Minerals and How to Study Them by Cornelius S. Hurlbut, 3rd Edition
  • Mineral Club History by Dr. H. C. Dake

From CFMS/AFMS Past President Ruth Bailey:

  • Bound Mineral Notes and News, Oct. 1948 - Dec 1949 and Jan 1949 - Dec. 1949
  • And a great picture of Bill Aprile and the famous burro from the 1987 Show at Turlock.

From Bob Pevahouse of Contra Costa Gem & Mineral:

  • CFMS Club Directories of 1954, 1956, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1967 and 1969

From Norman Cloys, Centinela Valley Gem & Mineral:

  • Ribbons from 1958; San Bernardino; 1977, Reno, Nevada; 1978, Castro Valley; and 1985, Ventura, and Certificate of Appreciation, Orange Jubilee of Gems, 1988.

And from Bill Burns, Past President:

  • Show Manual for CFMS by Fred Sellers, circa 1969
  • CFMS ZZYZX pin from 1986
  • CFMS Show pin, 1996
  • AFMS Safety Manual, circa 1976
  • 1996 CFMS/AFMS Program
  • Officers of the AFMS 1961-1962

In addition, Jim Nelson gave me the following for the AFMS History collection:

  • Cleaning and Preserving Minerals by Richard M. Pearl, Past AFMS President, for the Past Presidents' Exhibit Case
  • Rocks and Minerals magazine, July/August 1979, AFMS Official Show Issue, Tampa Florida.

And last but certainly not least-a beautiful, large cabochon of Double Springs Agate, Valley Springs, California, from Clarence and Maria Turner, for our historical cab case.

Thanks to all! Do look in your closets and cabinets for additional memorabilia.

CFMS Hall of Fame Awards

By By Shirley Leeson. Chair
AFMS Bulletin Editor's HALL OF FAME

    This year the Bulletin Editor's HALL OF FAME chose Beverly Moreau, editor of Northrop Grumman Gem & Mineral Club's monthly bulletin, The Rockatier, and for serving more than one year as editor of the CFMS Newsletter.

    Bev is a credit to all bulletin editors, and this award recognizes what those in the CFMS already know-she is one of a kind.

    Also chosen was Shirley Schleif, former editor and designer of one of the most endearing fellas, "Diablo Dan and his burro". For many years in the 1960's and through the 1980's, Shirley turned out a different cover for her bulletin. If you have a chance to see some of these "originals", do so. It will warm your heart, and that of any rockhound who is fortunate enough to see them.

Saturday, November 10, 2001
Holiday Inn, Visalia

By Bob Stultz, CFMS President

     The Annual Fall Business Meeting and election of officers for 2002 will be held at the Holiday Inn Plaza Park, Visalia, CA on Saturday, November 20, 2001.

    The Friday night Cracker Barrel and informal get-together will be in the Pine/ Cedar room on Friday night, November 9, at 7:30 p.m. Societies are asked to bring cookies and/or healthful snacks for this meeting. Coffee and tea will be provided.

    The Business Meeting will be in the Pine/Cedar room on Saturday, November 10. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m.; the meeting will start at 9:00 a.m. (Directors, be sure to bring your copy of the Agenda that was mailed to you.) Any CFMS members may attend the meeting, but only directors may vote.

    Room reservations at the Holiday Inn must be made directly with the Holiday Inn. There is a special rate for our CFMS event. To get this special rate, tell them you are with CFMS.

    You must make these reservations by October 8, 2001. Phone (559) 651-5000.

Single occupancy $74.00
Double occupancy $74.00
Triple occupancy $74.00
Premium room $94.00
Add 10% room tax plus local tax
Check-in time is 3:00 p.m., check-out time is 12:00 noon.

Call now - beat the rush!


Installation of 2002 Officers

Our Saturday evening social event will begin at 6:00 p.m. with a no-host bar and visiting. Dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m.

Green Salad
Chicken Princess
Roasted Herbed Red Potatoes
Carrots with Mint Glaze
Fruit Cobbler

Cost is $21.00 (includes tax and gratuity)

If you have special dietary needs, please contact Bob Stultz andhe will see if the hotel can accommodate yourneeds.

Make banquet reservations by October 31. Mail check and reservations to:

Pat LaRue
P.O. Box 1657
Rialto, CA 92377-1657


By JoAnna Ritchey, First Vice President

    Committee chairmen should reserve time now for their Committee Meetings on Friday, November 9, 2001 in the Walnut Room at the Holiday Inn at Visalia. The Executive Committee has reserved it from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. for its meeting. Available times left are from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

    I need to send the schedule to the CFMS Newsletter Editor by September 3 for publication in the October Newsletter.

    Call or write JoAnna Ritchey for reservations at:

224 Oaks Avenue
Monrovia, CA 91016-2115
Phone: (626) 359-1624
E-mail: j.ritchey@verizon.net


By Jim Strain, Chairman, PLAC
Phone (760) 356-2361

    The BLM National Training Center held a training session in La Quinta the latter part of June which concentrated on "Planning Concepts". It was attended by representatives from the U. S. Border Patrol, the Desert Protective Council, Desert Wildlife Unlimited, and California Federation of Mineralogical Societies, in addition to 18 BLM Staff from Palm Springs, El Centro, and Yuma, Arizona.

    The purpose of the training session was to develop new management plans that will be "legally defensible" in addition to better cooperation wit local government.

     Within the next 10 years more than 160 management plans will be revised, changed, or rewritten. They are working on 40 plans at present, which includes the NECO, NEMO, Western Mojave, and other plans in Southern California.

    The suggested techniques include:

  1. Using a collaborative and multijurisdictional approach to planning;
  2. utilizing multiple scales to properly address issues, trends, and concerns; and
  3. making and implementing planning decisions that have community support.

    What this means is that we will have to be involved in all these plans to assure that our concerns are not forgotten. The key is to be sure that community support means just that. In the past, decisions have been made based on pressure from the extreme environmental groups.

    The comment period on the NECO Plan has been extended until November 1, 2001. We (PLAC) have submitted some comments based on the previous deadline date. We will have more comments before the new deadline.

    A recent article in National Geographic would lead one to believe that possible changes in the actions taken by our former President may be forthcoming. This is the time to write or contact your local Congressional Representative to let your concerns be known.

    Let's all be sure we maintain a consistent position. Access is the primary concern. Of course we want to be sure that we can use public lands to collect specimens and rough lapidary materials. Rumors keep popping up about suggestions to eliminate recreational mining, educational and recreational collecting of specimens, and other terms that may restrict our use of public lands. While vehicular access is important, we must be sure that we can collect once we get there.

    Most of you have expressed concerns about identifying collecting areas. Actually, we have two different needs. One is to assist clubs and filed trip leaders by pinpointing collecting areas with GPS readings and updated maps. The other is to supply BLM and other management agencies with general collecting areas which will include a "buffer" zone. Thus, we can comply with their request without violating trusts.

    We realize that there are some "special" areas that will not be shared with other clubs. This is understandable. However, if a larger area with buffers will assist in protecting the area, please consider sharing that information.

    If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

    Jim Strain, Chairman, PLAC
    Phone (760) 356-2361


By Beverly Moreau, Editor

    If you have an article for the October Newsletter, take note--there is an early deadline. Please plan on getting it to your Editor by August 29th if at all possible.

    I am planning to leave for Camp Paradise on September 6 and will have to get the Newsletter into the U.S. Mail a week early, on September, 5 for Pat LaRue to have it printed.

    Thanks for your cooperation in meeting the early deadline.


By Chuck McKie
CFMS Safety Chairman 2001

    With the onset of summer, many homeowners converge on their yards using a variety of equipment and products ranging from trimmers, lawnmowers and power edgers, to chemical sprays and fertilizers. One thing all these items have in common is, if used improperly, they can cause painful and sometimes debilitating injuries.

    One of the first fundamental safety rules related to outdoor work is to make sure that all mowing areas are properly inspected for hidden objects such as toys, surface roots, stones and other potential items that can be missiles if run over with a lawn mower.

     Since many outdoor-related accidents result from the use of tools and lawn equipment, be sure to properly maintain and store all lawn equipment after each use. Never store gasoline or other flammable fuels inside your home. Outdoor equipment, such as chainsaws, weed eaters and other power tools should be used only upon a thorough review of the operating manual.

    Make certain your lawn mower gas tank is full before you start your mowing job. You should always turn off or unplug power equipment before attempting to work on it. Fuels and additives such as gasoline should be poured in an area that is well ventilated. These chemicals should also be stored in approved containers and labeled with their contents. Always remember to remove ignition keys from all equipment such as tractors or mowers to reduce the likelihood of someone starting them.

    If you forget to check your fuel tank before starting and you run out of fuel, Do not pour more gasoline in the tank when the mower is hot! If you spill gas on the hot exhaust it can flash on fire, causing serious problems. One person did just that. The burning gas flashed back to the gas container, the guy threw the can away from him-into his garage, and he lost his garage and two new vehicles!

    If you are into gardening, or general lawn maintenance, don't forget the many insecticides, pesticides and other hazardous chemicals that you use to treat insects and plant diseases. These chemicals should always be stored in their original containers and kept out of reach of children. Read and follow the label.

    Before you engage in mowing your lawn, make sure you are wearing the proper attire. This includes shoes that will provide you with traction and protect you from hard or sharp objects that may be hidden in the lawn. In addition to proper footwear, you should also protect yourself by wearing close fitting pants or long sleeve shirts to prevent scratches or to protect yourself from small objects thrown at you by the mower blades.

     Also remember .... push, don't pull, hand mowers. The reason behind this common sense rule is simple. There is less likelihood of slipping and pulling the engaged mower blades over your feet. My brother-in-law was mowing his yard, started pulling his mower backwards, fell over a small bush, pulled the mower over his feet and lost the toes off both feet.

    Also, you should never disconnect safety related features from lawn equipment. These safety items are designed for one purpose .... your safety.

     Last, but not least, is the use of goggles. This is to protect you from small blades of grass or particles of dirt being discharged and propelled toward your face.

    The following questions should be reviewed before starting yard work:

  • Is all lawn equipment secured properly and kept out of reach of those individuals unable to properly use it?
  • Do you wear protective goggles while using equipment such as weed eaters or hedge trimmers?
  • Are equipment keys secured and restricted from those who are unable to operate the equipment?
  • Do you allow lawn equipment and other machinery to cool off before refueling or storing? Are electrical outlets and extension cords rated for outside work?
  • Is equipment refueled in an area that is properly ventilated?

The Lillian Turner Award for Junior Members

By Jim Brace-Thompson,
Junior Activities Chair

    In the June/July issue of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies News-letter, Kathy and Bob Miller posted an announcement of the Lillian Turner Award. (Kathy and Bob are AFMS Junior Activities Co-Chairs and leaders of the AFMS Future Rockhounds of America program.) Please pass this along to your Junior Activities Chair.

    Lillian Turner of Bethesda, Maryland, sponsors an award each year to the Outstanding Junior who exhibits at the Annual AFMS Show. The junior member can be from any Federation or Society but must be exhibiting in competition at the current show. The host society or show committee will select the Outstanding Junior by determination of the best competitive junior exhibit. In the even there are no juniors exhibiting, the award will be held over until the next national AFMS Show.

    The award is a $50 (or higher) Series "E" Bond, presented at a ceremony during the show. Even more important than the monetary value is the honor and recognition of receiving this award and the pride it can engender in your junior member.

    Disappointingly, there were no junior entries at this year's AFMS Show. Don't let that happen next year. Now is the time to encourage your junior members for 2002. Attending and exhibiting at an AFMS Show is a great way for a junior member to learn about the broader organizations connecting our individual rock clubs, while making new friends and contacts from other clubs and other states. It's a great way for a junior member to expand the scope of his or her involvement and, as always, have fun!


By Fred Ott, Insurance Chairperson

     Once again, let me remind you that it's very important to mail or fax requests for Certificates of Insurance and/or Additional Insured Endorsements to me as soon as you know these insurance documents will be required for an upcoming event (such as a show, field trip, meeting or work-shop) - even if such events are several months "down the road". The Federation's insurance agent/broker has asked that you submit such requests at least three weeks in advance of the date(s) of the event.

    Also, please help me serve your club better by doing the following:

  1. Use only the most recently distributed request forms (which were mailed to each club's Federation representative last August). If you need new forms, just let me know.
  2. Please complete the requests in full. It slows down the process of getting the documents to you if the information requested is incomplete.
  3. Please type or legibly hand-write each form, especially if they are faxed to me.
  4. Please confirm with the Certificate Holder (the person who is requesting the documents from you) exactly what they need. Often-times, only a "Certificate of Insurance" is requested, only to find out later that an "Additional Insured Endorsement" or "special wording" were needed.

    Thanks for your help.

Fred Ott, Insurance Chairperson
3420 Coach Lane, Suite #4
Cameron Park, CA 95682
Home: (530) 677-8440
Work: (530) 677-5211
E-mail: fred.ott.b8t@statefarm.com


By David Fenstermacher

     In judging articles for the Editor's contest it is disconcerting to see the number of silly errors that appear in what should otherwise be very good articles.

    These actually make the task of judging much easier, because at least eighty percent of the articles are immediately downgraded for the simple want of proof reading.

    With the expanded use of word processing, words that sound alike but are spelled differently are very much on the rise. Examples of these are: here vs. hear; to vs. too or two; an vs. and; then vs. than; our vs. are; and so on. Spell checkers do not pick these up.

    Another detraction in articles is a lack of organization. The author, instead of using a progression from subject to subject through the article, will jump back and forth for no apparent reason. The solution is often as simple as changing the location of one or two paragraphs within the article. The "cut and paste" function of the computer makes this an easy task for the editor.

    A few of the articles received are a simple recap of hobby-related web sites on the Internet. Here again, organization is often a problem. The web site addresses are scattered about within the article. It is much better to use bullets or numbered paragraphs to separate each description of a web site address at the same place in each paragraph-the beginning or the end are preferable, but be consistent.

    Then there are other simple mistakes: the lack of a period at the end of a sentence; failure to capitalize the first word in a sentence; incomplete quotation marks, i.e., failure to complete the enclosure of the quote or misplacing the comma, period, exclamation point in relation to the quotation mark; and on and on-you get the idea.

    You have a tough job, no doubt about it. Perhaps you can enlist the help of another club member to act as the proofreader. It is always much easier to proof someone else's work other than your own, and the service to your contributing member will be appreciated.

    Remember, editor, you are the "bottom line" as far as the accuracy of your finished product, and your contributor will thank you for it.

Article and graphic are from
EFMLS News June 2001

MAY OF 2002

By Shirley Leeson,
CFMS Historian

     I-15 Interstate goes from California to Calgary, Canada. Join some of us who are going to help our Canadian friends celebrate their 25th Federation Birthday by attending. The following information may help you plan on attending:

Saturday, May 4 - Sunday May 5, 2002
West Hillhurst Arena
1940 6th Avenue NW, Calgary, AB,
Canada T3E 5E3
Theme: Silver Jubilee
Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of
Gem & Mineral Federation of Canada

Main Attractions

Sat., 7 am. - 10 am - Western Pancake Breakfast
Sat., 1 - 3 pm - Editors' Get Together - Coffee and conversation
Sat 7 pm - GMFC Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation

Host Hotel: Days Inn - Calgary West, 1818 16 Ave. N.W., Calgary, AB T2M OL8. 1-800-Days Inn.

For information on camping and other hotel/motels please contact Publicity Chairman:

Trudy Martin
110 Lissington Dr. SW, Calgary, AB T3E 5E3.
E-mail: martin@cadivision.com


Article by Frank English
Found on the internet at http://www.viewingstones.com


    Suiseki ("sui"= water, "seki" = stone) is the Japanese name for those serenely attractive "Viewing Stones" frequently shown in conjunction with miniature trees at Bonsai exhibits. Not just accent pieces for the Bonsai, Suiseki are themselves examples of a classic oriental art form with centuries old standards for judging and display.

    Basically, the art of suiseki involves the collection, preparation and appreciation of certain unaltered naturally formed stones. These stones are found in mountain streams, on windblown deserts, along ocean beaches-anywhere the forces of time and nature may have temporarily deposited them. They are chosen from among the countless stones examined for their perceived resemblances to familiar scenes in nature or to objects closely associated with nature.

    There are three main category groupings in Suiseki, the first and most popular being SCENIC LAND-CAPE STONES. These may evoke impressions of distant mountains, islands, water-falls, caves, river-formed terraces, lakes and other examples of natural topography. OBJECT STONES constitute another primary grouping. Included are stones resembling man-made objects such as boats, bridges and old Japanese thatched huts. Also prized are animal-shaped stones, bird stones, and stones that resemble fish, insects and human figures. PATTERN STONES make up the third category. They are valued for their unique surface patterns resulting from variations in color, unusual texture and contrasting mineral inclusions. Best known of this group are the beautiful Japanese chrysanthemum stones. Others include tiger-striped stones, celestial (sun/moon/star) patterned stones, and abstract pattern stones.

    To the Japanese collector the essence of Suiseki is more than just representational; it is also spiritual. Quoting from a pamphlet of the San Francisco Suiseki Kai, "The contemplation of a stone as a symbol of nature relaxes the mind from pressures of a complex daily life and allows a person to retain his sense of values. The importance of life in its simplest form is reflected through the beauty, strength and character of the stone." In recent years, appreciation for Suiseki as an art form has spread far beyond the islands of Japan. Collectors are active in may countries and exhibits are held in cities throughout the world.


Mountain Stones

Mountain Stones - YAMAGATA ISHI

    One or more well-defined peaks-odd in number if more than two. All sides slopedown and outward. Main peakis offset to right or left of center. Height and depth are •   to •   stone's overall length. Basic outline is that of an asymmetric triangle. Distant Mountain has smooth subtle contours. Near View Mountain shows rugged surface detail. Island Stones

Island Stones - SHIMAGATA ISH4I

    Many features in common with Mountain Stones, though some have lower profiles, steeper sides. White quartz "breakers" at base are a special plus. I personally prefer Island Stones that also show some indication of a cove or landing site. Plateau Stones

Plateau Stones - DOHA ISHI

    A level plain parallel to the base leads to a peak at one end, approximately 1/3 the stone's overall length. The plateau joins the peak along an openface diagonal as viewed from the front. Some Dohas, instead of level plains, feature low-lying foothills rising toward a distant peak. River Terrace/Step-Stones

River Terrace/Step-Stones - DAN SEKI

    Two or more (more is better) flat parallel levels, including the top as one of these levels. Levels vary in size and in height of vertical rise. Top level has approximately •   of the total area covered. Waterfall Stones

Waterfall Stones - TAKI ISHI

    The waterfall is indicated by quartz or other light colored inclusions in a dark background material. Waterfall originates at or near the top, preferable between two peaks of unequal height. Width of waterfall increases as it descends. Waterfall cannot run over and down the back side. Falls are often featured in other Suiseki styles.

From Tumbler, April 2001


By Richard Pankey, Field Trips -

    Pictures of the Obsidian Bonanza are on the Field Trip Page click here.

    What did we find? OBSIDIAN! How much did we find? A LOT! That just about tells the whole story! Oh, we also found petrified wood and sunstones. And we had a great group of rockhounds from all around California and Nevada. And we had fun Happy Hours, delicious potluck dinners, fabulous pancake breakfasts and enjoyable campfires. That's what you get when you have a fun bunch of rockhounds go to the two premier obsidian collecting areas in the western United States. When it comes to obsidian, Davis Creek/Lassen Creek and Glass Butte just can't be topped for the great abundance of a wide variety of sheens and colors.

Davis Creek/Lassen Creek

    Betty and I arrived late Tuesday afternoon to lay out our camp in the Lassen Creek Campground. We did our scouting trips on Wednesday and Thursday and enjoyed the peaceful beauty of the large pines and the babbling brook behind our trailer. Most of the others arrived late Thursday afternoon and Friday. There were 38 people from 15 clubs for this portion of the trip. We broke up into small groups for our daily collecting trips. We collected at eight sites over the course of the weekend. The main sites were the Pink Lady, Needles, Rainbow, Mahogany Gold Sheen and Electric Blue. One pit at the Pink Lady was very productive, yielding over thirty 10 to 40 pound pieces of pink and silver sheen obsidian. There was more than enough obsidian for everyone; and some required a little digging, but a lot of attractive material was found in the discard piles of previous diggers.

    A BIG THANK YOU to Marion Roberts and Chuck McKie, who assisted me with leading the collecting trips. Betty Pankey got the Happy Hours going each afternoon in the shade in front of our trailer. She also organized two nice potluck dinners. On Friday evening we had a Soup Potluck. Each person contributed a can of soup, vegetable, stew, chili, beans or broth, which were heated together in a large pot with Betty's secret seasoning. Saturday evening we filled the table with an array of delicious dishes and desserts. On Sunday morning Marion Roberts and the Mother Lode Crew fixed us a hearty breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon. All of this outdoors eating was fantastic. Each evening Gary Hagen got our campfire going - an enjoyable, relaxing way to finish the day. By 9:30 the fire was out and most people headed off to bed-I know I did.

Glass Butte

    On Wednesday morning we took our showers, filled our water tanks and gas tanks and left Lakeview, Oregon for the 140-mile trip to Glass Butte. We arrived late morning and posted orange paper plates directing the way to camp. Most of the 34 other rockhounds from 13 clubs arrived that afternoon. The Glass Butte area is high desert with sagebrush and an occasional scrub tree. We camped amongst the sagebrush wherever a level spot could be found. Each afternoon the breezes moved in and threatened us with rain, which never came. However, every night was too windy to have a campfire but didn't stop our happy hours and potluck dinners. The collecting sites at Glass Butte are all within a 3-mile radius of our camp so we were able to get to them faster and easier. We were able to visit the five main obsidian sites (banded gold sheen, banded green and silver sheen, midnight lace, lizard skin/midnight lace and mahogany/red) on Friday.

    On Saturday morning Marion Roberts and the Mother Lode Crew fixed us another hearty breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, ham and bacon. After breakfast about half the group packed up their load of obsidian and pulled out of camp. Some were heading home while others were off to visit family and friends. The half that stayed set off to explore the cinnabar mines just a couple of miles east of camp. The mines were open pits of opalite with occasional veining of orange to red cinnabar. Although this material was called myrikite. it was not as striking as the vivid orange bands in brown to black matrix that is found in Napa County, California.

    While camped at Glass Butte we made two day trip excursions for petrified wood. The first trip was on Thursday to an area known as Hampton Butte for green jasperized wood. We collected in two areas north of the road but had the most success on the hill south of the road. The material was widely scattered and mostly golf ball to fist-size pieces. The green wood south of the road was larger and more abundant. The largest piece found weighed 57 pounds. On Sunday those of us who were left (8 people) drove 60 miles to an area south of Prineville called Bear Creek, to a petrified wood claim held by the Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce. The petrified wood here is exceptionally good - black to brown, some tan and gray. Most material has retained the original grain and surface structures. We found a pit left by previous diggers with a large log exposed and were able to extract several 20 to 30 pound pieces and many smaller ones - more than enough for everyone in the group to have several nice specimens with pronounced wood grain. There were several more pits in the area, and float pieces were easy to find. This is a definite "do again" site.

    One of our planned activities at both Davis Creek/Lassen Creek and Glass Butte was to conduct a cleanup of the campgrounds, collecting sites and area roads. The Modoc National Forest Service office gave us a large supply of garbage bags to use. To our pleasant surprise these areas were relatively litter free. We filled up only 4 large bags in 5 days at Davis Creek/Lassen Creek and 2 bags in 4 days at Glass Butte. Most of the litter was aluminum cans and plastic bottles, but we did find an old Chevy hubcap and an old muffler. Litter pickup (and recycling of aluminum cans and plastic bottles) has become part of my rockhounding activity. Besides, they are litter, and easier to carry than rocks.

    In planning and setting up this trip I was in contact with several BLM and National Forest Service people. They were all very interested in what we were doing and were cooperative and eager to help. All were genuinely pleased that we were visiting and utilizing "their" areas. Where appropriate, I encourage others to involve these people in our trips or at least notify them that we will be collecting and camping on BLM and National Forest Service land. They can be a useful resource and a big help on field trips.

    We collected at many sites and visited others. I took GPS readings at all of these sites. I hope others are documenting their field trips with maps and GPS readings.

    We had a great time with old rockhound friends and met many new ones. And we have great memories of our OBSIDIAN BONANZA.


By Chuck McKie, CFMS Safety Chair 2001

    You may still be heading out to the desert at this time of the year, so I think you should consider these suggestions. California's deserts are beautifully unique. They contain endless panoramas of some of nature's most exquisite creations, but hidden amongst their quiet beauty are also hostile environments that can trap the unprepared traveler.

    This article will give the desert motorist suggestions that can be life saving - especially when driving off the main highways. Before traveling on any desert road, however, have your vehicle thoroughly checked, with special attention given to these items:

Survival Checklist for Your Car

  1. Cooling System. Carefully examine all belts and hoses for cracks or leaks, replacing any you may have doubts about. Be sure to carry extras and don't forget tools and water to accomplish a change if necessary. Don't overlook the radiator, which should be properly filled with coolant, and while driving keep a close eye on the temperature gauge, shutting off the air conditioner if the engine heat creeps too high.
  2. Tires. Plenty of tread and properly inflated. Don't forget the spare, making sure your jack and tire tools are in good condition. The extreme heat, especially at higher sustained speeds on desert highways, can take its toll not only on worn or old tires, but new ones as well.
  3. Electrical System. Check all lighting equipment, making sure it is in good operating condition. Take a close look at the battery. Are the cables tight, and is it filled to the proper level? Don't forget your windshield wipers - in case you get caught in a sudden desert storm.

    Away from the main highways, the desert has become a major recreation area for rockhounds, off-road vehicle enthusiasts, and urban dwellers seeking remote areas on weekends. Any of these desert lovers could easily get into serious trouble without proper preparation for what can quickly become a hostile environment.

Here are some of the rules to follow:

    Touch Home Base. Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.

    Carry a Survival Kit. Extra water, extra gasoline, concentrated food, matches, collapsible shovel, blanket, work gloves, hand axe, tire chains, toe chain, flashlight, flares, sheath knife, plastic spray bottle, compass, signal mirror, sand mat, good jack, tools and basic extra parts for your car (hoses, fan belts) and maps of your area.

If the worst happens...

    ;Don't Panic. If you have a breakdown, consider the alternatives. Rig a tent for shade. Collect brush for a signal fire. Inventory your resources.

    Stay With Your Car. Your horn can be heard for long distances, and your lights can be seen at night. Your car provides shade and shelter. Remember, it is easier for aircraft and searchers to spot a car than a person.

    Don't Park or Camp in Dry Washes. During sudden storms, these gullies become raging rivers of water and debris.

    Carry a. Spray Bottle. To conserve your water, spray it into your mouth. If you have plenty, spray your skin to prevent dehydration.

    Relax and Conserve Your Strength. Watch for aircraft or others searchers, and be prepared to light your signal fire. Food and water will last much longer if you remain calm.

    Source: California Highway Patrol http://www.chp.ca.gov/html/desert.html in The Firing Line, August 2001 Pg. 25


From Trinity Tailings 7/01via CHIPS 5/01 and others

    The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History is pleased to announce the opening of its new, permanent exhibit on California Jade, a highly prized gem mineral which occurs naturallyin Monterey County.

    California Jade was produced by Ron Kettlewell, the Museum's staff geologist. This exhibit highlights the geological formation of this mineral, where it can be found, and how one artist, among others in our local community, uses this beautiful gem in his work.

    Renowned jade sculptor Don Wobber, a Pacific Grove resident, has several pieces on display both in the exhibit and elsewhere iln the Museum. "Leucothes", a polished 2,400-pound jade boulder which graces the main entrance of the Museum is a Don Wobber piece.

    Californila Jade is located on the Museum's mezzanine gallery. Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History is on the corner of Forest and Central Avenues, Pacific Grove. Call (831) 648-3116 for information.


From The DESERT MAGAZINE 6/01, Shadow Mountain G&M Soc.

Lost Arch Placer Diggings

Here is a tale for all you gold seekers. Is it true? Is it still there? Can you find it?

    Among the many lost mine stories current in the Southwest, one of the most persistent is the tale of the Lost Arch diggings. Most versions agree that this mysterious lost placer is located in the region of the Turtle or Old Woman mountains, in the southeastern part of the Mojave desert of California. Anyway, here is the story, and you may draw your own conclusions as to its authenticity.
By JOHN D. MITCHELL Illustration by Mary Anderson

    The Lost Arch placer diggings, said to be located about 40 miles south of Goffs and 25 miles north of Rice, in or near the north end of the Turtle Mountains, in eastern San Bernardino County, California, is another of the many mystery mines of the southwest. The now famous placer was first discovered by a small party of Mexican placer miners on their way across the moun-tains to the Colorado River placer diggings in the vicinity of La Paz. They camped one night on the wash to the east of the Old Woman mountains and somewhere near the north end of the Turtle range. There had been heavy rain, and bunch grass grew along the edges of the wash, and small pools of clear water stood on the shallow bed rock.

    The following morning while out looking for the hobbled pack mules, the attention of the miners was attracted to the large amount of hematite of iron scattered over the mesa and along the wash. The soil on the ridges and along the edges of the broad wash was red in color, and from all appearances, was good placer ground. A few pans of dirt proved it to be rich in placer gold. Some of the samples yielded as much as $5.00 worth of gold to the pan. Members of the party carried placer machines for the purpose of establishing themselves at the mines at La Paz, so it was decided to stay and work the new find. Accordingly, some of the men were sent down to La Paz for provisions while the others found a large pool of water that had collected from the recent rains and made adobes sufficient to construct a two-room house. As was their custom, the Mexicans built the two rooms separately and extended the roof over the open space between the two rooms. The entrance to this open space was through a large adobe arch which Mexicans call a San Juan.

    The new-found diggings proved to be very rich and the Mexicans sluiced out $30,000 worth of gold before the dry season dried up the waterholes. There was a small spring a few miles away, later known as Coffin springs, but it did not furnish enough water to carry on sluicing operations. In view of the scarcity of water, it was decided to store the equipment and return the following season and continue their operations.

    Reaching Los Angeles, the party split up, some going north to the Mother Lode country, and others returning to Mexico. No maps had been drawn of the placer field, and later, when separate members of the party sought to relocate the placer field, they were unsuccessful.

    In time, the contents of the adobe house were carried away by Mojave Indians and the house itself fell down. The arch was still standing as late as 1900, and was seen by the late Peter Kohler, who did not know of the existence of the rich placer dig-gings. According to another version of the story, the placer was named after a natural archof earch or rock standing over the upper end of a deep gulch running down from the east side of the Turtle mountains. This is very unlikely, as the terrain does not lend itself to the formation of that kind of natural arch.

    The adobe arch has now been leveled by erosion and the location can only be identified by some of the broken and rusted contents of the old adobe house that are still scattered over the desert near where it once stood. An old tub found there in later years caused the diggings to be known as the Lost Tub placer.

     It was later discovered that the hematite scattered over the desert below the old house carried about $100 a ton in gold and shows free gold when broken open. The red ironstained gravel on the ridges and along the wash is still rich in placer gold and will, no doubt, return a handsome profit.

     Many expeditions have set out from Los Angeles and Yuma to search for the lost diggings. No doubt many of the searchers have seen this red mesa thickly strewn with boulders of hematite of iron, but have never associated them with the "Lost Arch" placer diggings.