Thursday, 27 September 2007

Mineral Spot: Vesuvianite...

Vesuvianite is a calcium magnesium aluminium silicate mineral that is most likely found in contact metamorphic rocks (usually a limestone that has been 'cooked' by igneous rocks). It is usually a brownish-green colour but at the Jeffrey mine in Quebec, Canada, can occur as purple or pinkish crystals. This specimen is from the Jeffrey mine and shows an interesting colour-zoning.

It is also one of the specimens coming up in a lot in this week's auction.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Critter Spot: Red Robin...

Spent most of the day today outside. The sun was shining, the air fresh, and lots of birdlife around. Including this robin, a Flame Robin (Petroica phoenicea). We have a pair of these each year through Winter and Spring. Its fun watching them dart down for insects and then back up to their perch. They watch what you are doing, and if you are gardening, will fly down fairly close...

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Critter Spot: Jumping Spider...

Jumping spiders are really cute. OK, OK - so not if you are an arachnophile!

Anyway, this little one is currently residing in our loo and looked like it wanted its photo taken. I was leaning on the wall to keep my camera as steady as possible, when I got a fright! This little jumping spider did what jumping spiders do best. Jumped! Right on to the end of my finger!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Mineral Spot: Barite...

Barite is a barium sulphate mineral, relatively common. It also quite often forms good crystals which are usually tabular or platy in habit. This one is from the rocky southern coastline of Phillip Island in Victoria, one of my favourite collecting places when I lived on the mainland. Its now off-limits to collectors (some sort of marine reserve?). Barite occurs here with zeolite minerals in cavities (amygdules) in the basalt rock.

It is also one of the specimens coming up in a lot in this week's auction.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Mineral Spot: Analcime...

Ever had one of those gross experiences where you splat a fly and icky maggots appear? This analcime specimen reminds me a little of this.

Analcime (sometimes known as 'analcite') is a common member of the zeolite group of minerals, and occurs as colourless trapezohedral crystals in cavities in volcanic basalt rocks. Often, these crystals 'craze' and turn white after being exposed. Crystals may also appear to be the same colour as the underlying matrix, they are so transparent. This particular specimen is from Flinders, Victoria.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Critter Spot: Ladybird...

Spring has been with us for just over a week. Today, I came across this Southern Ladybird (Cleobora mellyi) sunning itself in the Spring sunshine. These are useful little critters. This specialist ladybird apparently is a predator of psyllids and tortoise beetles, which are pests of both Blackwood and Eucalypt trees.

Friday, 7 September 2007

New Issue of Mineral Collector Magazine...

The third issue of the Australian and New Zealand Mineral Collector magazine is now out. This issue includes articles on Modern Mineralogy and Mineral Collecting Code of Practice; Two Australians in Morocco; Wavellite in Australia and New Zealand; Shale Mines at Latrobe, Tasmania; Sphene from near Broken Hill; Sampleite and other minerals from Northparkes; and more.

It is full colour, 28 pages, and only $10US available from Lulu.

If you are going to order a copy directly, can I suggest that you use the 'Standard' option for shipping. It is by far the most economical, and usually arrives within a couple of weeks.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Mineral Spot: So What Animal Is This?...

Every now and then, a mineral specimen looks like something else. This is one of those times. Bit like a scary-looking monkey!
The white crystals are phillipsite, a zeolite mineral, and it is from Otago in the South Island of New Zealand. The brown 'eyes' are most likely the remains of a ferroan calcite.
This one is coming up in one of my auction lots this weekend.