Thursday, 31 May 2007

Mineral Spot: Blue, Blue, My World is Blue...

Ultraviolet (UV) light causes some minerals to fluoresce. Saleeite is one of these. So I got to would a mineral that fluoresces under UV go under a different light source, in this case, a blue light emitting diode (LED) on a pen.

The result is not too bad. The greenish-yellow crystal is the saleeite and the blue crystals around it are orthoclase feldspar (the specimen is from Lake Boga in Victoria by the way).

I obviously got a little bit bored tonight!

Monday, 28 May 2007

Sun Spot: Lucknow, New South Wales...

Late afternoon sun at the Wentworth Shaft, an old gold mine in Lucknow, New South Wales. The person in the shot is Sydney-based geologist Ian 'spooky' Graham, a good friend of mine.

This could have been a good 'X-Files' image! Fox Mulder, eat your heart out!

We stopped off here on the way back to Sydney after a collecting trip at North Parkes. For me, a round trip of about 3,300 kms! Just to go to collect some minerals!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Mineral Spot: Petrified Mouse...

I love it when nature plays a trick on you (well in my eyes anyway). I have a few mineral specimens in my collection that seem to be 'something else'.

Consider the petrified mouse head pictured left!

Actually, its a specimen of malachite, a copper carbonate mineral, from Beresovsk in Russia. But it still looks like a mouse head to me!

Odd Spot: Polar Bears in Antarctica!

Another odd spot in the media! Polar bears in Antarctica? So it would seem from the advertisement on the front page of today's Launceston Examiner newspaper.

The special edition did talk about both polar regions. But was the photo of the white bear there just to capture the readers interest? Or did someone on the editorial panel think that cold = polar bears?


Sunday, 20 May 2007

Nature Spot: Fungi...

Late Autumn is a time for fallen leaves, cooler days, and fungi!

This little group captured my eye, and my lens. The clover leaf bottom left gives a good scale.

Sun Spot: Allens Rivulet Late Arvo...

It's late Autumn. It's late Sunday afternoon. And the sun has left the valley, apart from the tops of the hills in the East.

Today was one of those glorious Autumn days that we get in Allens Rivulet. Fine, but cool. The dog and I are wandering through the back paddock, she looking for things to smell, me looking for things to photograph.

Life is good.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Mineral Spot: Broken Hill Colour...

I included this one just because I liked the colour combination. The specimen is from the famous Broken Hill deposit in New South Wales, and comprises malachite (green), chrysocolla (blue) and quartz.

The specimen is now in a Queensland mineral collector's collection, having been sold recently in one of my auctions.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Nature Spot: Wet Web...

Spider 1: 'I had to send out for dinner last night'.

Spider 2: 'Why was that then?'.

Spider 1: 'I washed my web and couldn't do a thing with it!'.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Critter Spot: European Wasp...

Late afternoon on a late day in Autumn...

I had a walk around our property to see what critters there might be to photograph.

There is a distinct lack of abundance at this time of the year as the days get cooler and shorter.

However I did come across a number of European Wasps (Vespula germanica). Apparently, mating flights occur on fine, warm Autumn days (such as today), and this could have been why I saw so many in a small place. Alternatively, it could have simply been worker wasps attracted to a sweet sugary substance extruded by the particular gum tree that they were on.

Either way, there were far too many for me to spend more than a couple of minutes near them as they can be very aggressive.

Monday, 7 May 2007

Mineral Spot: Tasmanian Natrolite...

A Mohican hairstyle on a glass model? An anorexic stegosaur?

Neither of these. This is a zeolite mineral called natrolite, from Ridgley in north western Tasmania. It usually forms long slender prisms that have a square cross-section. It is a mineral that generally occurs in cavities in basalt rock.

This particular specimen now resides in a collection in Queensland after having being purchased in one of my auctions.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Mineral Spot: Pyrite...

Pyrite, also known as "fool's gold" is the name given to a naturally occurring iron sulphide mineral. It is a brassy yellow in colour, sometimes tarnishing to give a rainbow effect. Like cuprite (in a previous Mineral Spot), pyrite is a member of the cubic or isometric crystal system and normally occurs as cubes or pyritohedrons (where each crystal face has five sides - very unusual in crystals).

Also like cuprite, occasionally, it grows more rapidly in one direction and forms long capillary crystals.

This specimen is from Flinders in Victoria and has 'impaled' blobs of a clay mineral.

Odd Spot: "Your With The Best"...

Seems to be a common thing these days: spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and so on. And we tend to accept it.

This one is an error on a car sticker; a promotion where you can win a prize. But, and its a big but, using a catch-phrase like "Your With The Best" can backfire pretty quickly. The best? Not their marketing department that proof read the sticker before printing.

To top it all off, the competition is outlined on the reverse "Over the next month...blah blah...". But there is no date, no month, no indication whatsoever of when the competition is running.

So one error, ok, move on. Two...wouldn't want to be the proof reader!

[Soapbox mode off]

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Mineral Spot: Cuprite...

Cuprite is the name given to a naturally occurring copper oxide mineral. It is often a bright red colour and very attractive. Normally cuprite occurs as cubes or octahedra (it is a member of the cubic or isometric crystal system).

Occasionally, it grows more rapidly in one direction and forms long capillary crystals, a habit known as 'chalcotrichite', but these crystals still have a square cross-section.

This image is of a specimen of chalcotrichite from Nasbinal, Lozere, in France.