Monthly Archives: April 2014

Click to go back to "What the Dino Saw"

The displays shown on this blog post were photographed/filmed in April, 2014. Displays may change over time.

Things to remember:

We don't really know what colours dinosaurs were. Fossils don't show colour. The colours you see are guesses.

We don't know what sounds the dinosaurs made. Like colour, the sounds are also guesses.

Scientists can make guesses about how dinosaurs looked by looking at fossils.

You have survived going through the dinosaur's mouth so let's see what's next in the Canberra's National Dinosaur Museum. Have you heard the song "Never Smile at a Crocodile". The smiling skull you see when you enter is a deinosuchus. Below it you can see a crocodile skull. Deinosuchus is related to an alligator and is not a dinosaur but it was very big.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Deinosuchus

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Now meet your first inside dinosaur. It is a raptor like the velociraptor but bigger.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Utahraptor

Some of the dinosaurs in the museum can move. Click on the video below to see the moving utahraptor...

 

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As we walk inside, there is a discovery area for hands on investigation at the left and a shop on the right but our journey is up the stairs to see the dinosaurs. Look up as you climb the stairs and you will see flying reptiles. They are not dinosaurs but soared through the sky when dinosaurs were around.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Click on the video below to see one of the flying reptiles move.

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Now you're on the top floor, there are many dinosaurs and other creatures to see. Here are a few...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Stegosaurus

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Carnotaurus 

Click on the video below to see the carnotaurus move...

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Spinosaurus 

Click on the video below to see the spinosaurus move...

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Iguanodon

Click on the video below to see the iguanodon move...

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Click on the video below to see the tyrannosaurus rex move...

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Now, a question for you. Look at the picture of a spinosaurus below. Underneath the spinosaurus are photos of four replica dinosaur teeth. Can you guess which replica tooth belongs to the spinosaurus?

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Once you have decided which tooth belongs to a spinosaur, click the link to show the answer...

I've made my guess.

The photos and videos were taken in April, 2014. The displays may have had changes if you visit Canberra's National Dinosaur Museum.

Hello everyone,

I know you are interested in dinosaurs and wanted to learn something about them. Let's start with a visit to Canberra's National Dinosaur Museum. When you arrive, you can see dinosaurs waiting to greet you.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Let's meet some of the dinosaurs waiting outside the museum. If you want to learn more about one of them, you can click on their names under the photo and it will take you to an information page about the dinosaur.

Let's start with an old favourite...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Tyrannosaurus Rex

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You may know the tyrannosaurus rex was a carnivore. It ate meat but do you know the meat eating dinosaur below?

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Spinosaurus

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Not all meat eating dinosaurs were as big as these. Did you know there were smaller dinosaurs who would hunt together? Velociraptors might only be 60cm high and 1.6m long but the Utahraptor was bigger. Let's meet a Utahraptor.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Utahraptor

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Not all dinosaurs were meat eaters.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Brachiosaurus

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Parasaurolophus

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Stegosaurus

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Triceratops

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There were also reptiles that could fly. While not dinosaurs, they soared through the skies...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Pteranodon

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Now let me show you around the inside of the National Dinosaur Museum. Click on the photo below to go to the next post and see inside the museum...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Things to remember:

We don't really know what colours dinosaurs were. Fossils don't show colour. The colours you see are guesses.

We don't know what sounds the dinosaurs made. Like colour, the sounds are also guesses.

Scientists can make guesses about how dinosaurs looked by looking at fossils.

 

 

With continued thoughts and questions from the Battalion Bloggers, another post was necessary to answer. To see their initial post and the follow up comments, here is the link...

A Surprise Post Inspires Action

Hello Battalion Bloggers,

There is no need to apologise for taking time to reply. I have seen how many quality experiences you have been having through blogging and know you would be having many other learning experiences in school. When we are keen to learn, there is always something to keep us busy.

Ethan, Isaac & Alex – There was no need to use a zoom lens to take the close up photo of emus. While it isn’t possible with emus in the wild, the photo was taken at Potoroo Palace, my favourite local wildlife sanctuary. I have hand fed emus at the sanctuary so being up close isn’t hard. I have seen emus a little taller than me and I stand 185cm tall so they probably can reach around 2m in height.

Dinosaurs – Well, there’s a coincidence. I am preparing something on dinosaurs for Year 1 and 2 in my local school. It will include a blog post I will also share with your class when it’s ready. It will take time as there is much to prepare. Below is a sample photo I have taken of a friend lurking near a tree at Australia’s National Dinosaur Museum in Canberra…

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. 

Kale – I think emus can run up to around 50kph (31mph) so they can run much faster than us. I think the one I saw would have only been running in the 30s.

As far as winged dinosaurs are concerned, there really weren't any. They were flying reptiles like the ones pictured below. When I was your age most thought they could only soar like kites but it has been shown they could really fly and some are known to have had feathers.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. 

Melvin – One of the amazing things about learning is the way we can recall information we may have learned some time ago. That’s one of my secrets in blog commenting. Someone writes something and I remember a fact or two and, with extra research, I start writing a post.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. 

Amy, Catherine & Noam – We don’t tend to see emus walking around wild in my area. However, in my first school as a permanent teacher, I sometimes had to chase emus out of the school playground before children arrived. In the first photo below, you can see my first school. It was 100km from the nearest town. Children lived on sheep and cattle stations.

The second photo shows you a close up of emu feathers. They feel almost furry but, of course, emus have feathers and not fur. You can also see an emu wing but, of course, they can't fly.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Martin and Zyne – Auckland Museum was full of amazing displays of history, culture and nature but it was the moa I most liked to see. It would be amazing to see a living one but, unfortunately, they are now extinct.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Jenna, Hilary and Claire – While I don’t have a photo of my own of the hoatzin adult, below is one accessed from Wikimedia Commons. They are amazing looking birds.

As far as emus go, I really only call them male or female although, as with other birds, you could call females “hens” and males “cocks”. In the post for Daniel, I mentioned males tend to make a grunting sound. I searched through my archive of video clips I have taken and found one where, if you listen carefully, you can hear what I think is the grunting sound of a male emu (on the right of the trio). Soon after Europeans first settled Australia, two species of emu became extinct and fossils show there was a third. The Tasmanian emu was thought to have become extinct in the mid 1800s. What we do have are three types of the one species of emus, Dromaius novaehollandiae novaehollandiae (in the south) and Dromaius novaehollandiae woodwardi (in the north) and Dromaius novaehollandiae rothschildi (in the south-west). Being the same species, they look similar but do have some differences. I will let your class know when I have my dinosaur post ready for my local school.

By Kate from UK (Hoatzin  Uploaded by FunkMonk) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Kate from UK (Hoatzin Uploaded by FunkMonk) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Lane – When you see me write about many different things, I didn’t know about much of what I shared beforehand. It’s the questions people ask that give me the chance to research and learn more. As an example, in the comment above for Jenna, Hilary and Claire, they asked me how many species of emu there are. I did some research and now know there were other species but they have become extinct. We now have only one species with three subspecies. That was my learning from finding the answer. We don’t need to know the answers to everything but we must know how to find answers when we need them.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Peng Peng & Daniel – I’ve always thought the Chinese system of names make more sense when the family name comes first so I would be Mannell Ross rather than Ross Mannell but I didn’t know about family tree differences. My family tree includes both male and female ancestors but the further back in time we go the more my family tree looks like a family forest because there are so many relatives.  Look to the end of this post for some big maths about relatives.

There are a number of museums in London. I visited the Natural History Museum, the London Transport Museum, the Science Museum, and the British Museum. There were so many fascinating displays in each I couldn’t choose a favourite. Remember, I’m interested in very many things and took many photos. Here are a few…

Science Museum

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

British Museum

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Natural History Museum

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

London Transport Museum

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Imperial War Museum

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Aya, Hannah and Kelly – Like many things in life, I am still learning. Answering your class’s questions, I have learned more facts. We should always keep or minds and eyes open to a world of learning. Writing comments and posts is my way of learning more and sharing what I find. All the knowledge in the world is no use unless we share with others.

What do I like about emus? With the kangaroo, they appear in the Australian Coat of Arms and so are a national symbol and, I think, remind me a little of dinosaurs from the past.

This is a public domain file.

This is a public domain file.

Some extra maths for Peng Peng and Daniel

I once looked at the numbers of parents, grandparents, great grandparents, great great grandparents, etc. we have. Before long, I realised there are so many every human on Earth has to be related to every other human somewhere back in time. Look at this maths…

If we go back only 10 generations (parents to great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, grandparents) there would be 1024 great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents.

If we go back 20 generations, there would be 1,048,576 great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents (that’s 18 greats).

Before you think I sat there working out all of this by hand, there is a maths trick we can use in a computer spreadsheet to work this out. If we start a spreadsheet and type the following into a cell,

=2^20

(for 20 generations) it gives you the answer…  1,048,576

=2^10 gives you 1024 for 10 generations

=2^25 gives you 33,554,432 for 25 generations

=2^30 gives you 1,073,741,824 for 30 generations

Can you see how big the numbers are becoming? By only 30 generations, there are over one billion great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents (that’s 28 greats).

Before long, there would be more people than there have ever been if everyone was still alive today. This means families marry into others families but, somewhere back in time, they were already related. We are all part of the same family. I am part of a family forest of which you are also part.

The Family Forest

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

2 Comments

To see the post from Battalion Bloggers...

Save the Bilbies

After being one of the classes to receive some baby Australian animal card sets, members of the Battalion Bloggers class became interested in the bilby. This small marsupial, as they pointed out, looks a little like a rabbit. Being a marsupial, it is more closely related to kangaroos and koalas than placental mammalian rabbits. With their observation of similar appearance to rabbits and with Easter approaching, I mentioned Australia has chocolate Easter Bilbies as well as bunnies. 30c from each sale of the 150g Easter Bilby is donated to the Save the Bilby fund. Bilbies are endangered in the wild.

This extra information brought even more comments and questions so I decided to send a gift to the Battalion Bloggers. Here is a photo of one of three inside their gift...

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Their post after receiving the gift, linked above, shared comments from the students. Below are my replies...

Jenna, Catherine and Hilary – It was the interest your class showed in bilbies and Easter Bilbies that gave me the idea to send them. While they can be bought online, the trio were bought in a department store.

Bilbies are desert dwelling animals so they aren’t found in my area. They are omnivores (eat plants and animals) and do look like rabbits but are marsupials (pouched animals) like kangaroos and koalas. Rabbits are placental mammals like us.

Unfortunately, no zoos near me have bilbies but Taronga Zoo in Sydney does. The bilbies at Taronga Zoo will be having a royal visit shortly…

https://taronga.org.au/news/2014-03-06/royal-visit-taronga

Because I sometimes send parcels, I keep some styrofoam packaging just in case I need to pack a special item. I knew to survive the trip to Canada the bilbies would need to be well packed. I thought the styrofoam would help protect them from heat and bumps. I was very happy when I read they arrived safely.

Taronga Zoo's bilby information video

Lane – Parcels can be mysteries before they’re opened. The tension builds as we open them and finally can see what’s inside. Seeing questions from you class about bilbies and their chocolate cousins gave me all the excuse I needed to buy some for a class so interested. It’s not the first time I have bought merchandise from the Save the Bilby Fund people but the chocolate bilbies are the tastiest. 🙂

Sam – Bilbies are very cute and I hope to be able to take some photos of my own but it seems I would have to travel to Sydney over 500km from here to do so. Next time I have the chance to visit Sydney, I’ll have to visit Taronga Zoo and hope my cameras can handle low light. The bilbies are nocturnal animals in the wild. They are active at night so they have low light their zoo area so visitors see them during the day.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. 

Melvin & Kale - Every year I would buy some chocolate Easter eggs for my class as a reward for their hard work. Since retiring, I haven’t had a class for which to buy them until your class showed interest in bilbies at just the right time of year. 🙂

Noam and Claire – The real bilbies are even cuter than the chocolate ones. Here is a link showing the bilbies in Perth Zoo on the other side of Australia. What I like about this link is it also shows the young joeys (baby marsupials) in the mother bilby’s pouch.

http://www.perthzoo.wa.gov.au/perth-zoo-breeds-threatened-bilby-5080/

Alex, Amy & Ethan - As cute as chocolate bilbies might be, I can’t resist the chocolate. That’s why I have photographed them. I keep the photos and eat the chocolate.

In the wild, the bilbies have suffered by the introduction of rabbits, foxes and cats to Australia. The Fund helps set up fenced areas to help their numbers grow. 🙂

http://www.savethebilbyfund.com/our-work.php

Martin, Cohen and Zyne – It can be a wonderful experience to receive an unexpected gift and try to guess what’s inside before opening the box. I would buy Easter chocolate for my classes every year. Now I am in contact with classes around the world, I only needed an excuse and your class’s interest in bilbies gave me the reason I needed. 🙂

Bilbies have even been included as characters in children's books here in Australia. Below is a photo of three books I have in my library...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

This graphic should not be used & is only available to demonstrate some available bilby storybooks for children.

Hannah – I think we have something in common. As cute as they are, I wouldn’t be able to resist tasting the chocolate inside. We can buy Easter Bilbies online but here in Australia I know shops that sell them each year. They even have packs of 6 small bilbies but I liked the size I bought for your class because they are closer to the bilby’s size than the small ones.

Kelly and Kennedy – Can you imagine how hard it would have been to share only one bilby in class? I already had a box available and realised I should have been able to pack three bilbies safely inside. The foam was an attempt to protect them from heat and shocks so I’m not surprised that didn’t make a noise when the box was shaken. 🙂

Finally, a 4 minute 15 second video clip on Chocolate Easter Bilbies and their real cousins...

To see the fascinating original post on Arbor Day by Mrs. Ranney's class...

Astonishing Arbor Day - Then and Now!

Hello Mrs. Ranney and class,

I was fascinated by the tree photo you shared. Knowing exactly when a tree was planted and being able to see how much it has grown reminds us how change happens over time. For humans, 28 years would see us grow from newborn babies into adulthood and possibly as parents of a new generation.

Your tree, the silk floss tree, interested me because you shared it is related to the kapok tree. When I was young, our bed pillows were often filled with kapok fibres. Kapok pillows can still be bought and it's claimed "Kapok is resistant to mites, mold and mildew so its hygienic, non toxic, hypo allergenic and environmentally friendly." (taken from Kapok Pillows Australia website)

I know kapok was also an important resource around the time of World War II because it was used in life preservers but, when the Japanese captured the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), a new source of fibres was needed. From some research, I found children in U.S.A. collected milkweed pods to use their "silk". If they had a forest of your silk floss trees, they would probably have used them. They might have been an important war resource.

 

When I noticed your silk floss tree was planted in 1986, I remembered an old photo I only today scanned into my computer. It was a photo I took in 1986 of a tree in New Zealand. Let me show you Tane Mahuta, the kauri tree...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Tane Mahuta, Lord of the Forest, is 13.77m (45.2 ft) around its base. In the photo, you can see its trunk is about the same size up to the branches. To the top of its branches,  it is 51.2m (168 ft) in height.

Was I around when it was first planted?

No. No one is sure how old the tree is but it is estimated to be anywhere from 1,250 to 2,500 years old.

If this old tree could speak, I wonder what stories of long ago it might share?

Tane Mahuta has a part in Maori cultural heritage. Here is a link to the story of Tane Mahuta...

Tāne Mahuta: separator of heaven and earth

To see the 2013 post where Keira left her comment and questions...

What Stone Is That?- A Follow Up Post for Keira

This photo was supplied by Mrs. Yollis and class.

This photo was supplied by Mrs. Yollis and class.

Hello Keira,

In one of your comments you mentioned you had a plethora of questions. A superabundance of questions is the sign of an inquiring mind. It seems as though your questions have turned from astronomy to geology. As before, your words will appear in bold blue text.

Since the day I found the rock that you mentioned in the post at a camping site, I have treasured it. Recently, I went camping at the same exact site, and I found many more rocks that seem to have some kind of beautiful mineral inside of it. In fact, I collected a rock that is made out of all gem. I am a little disappointed that in comments, you cannot post pictures with the text. If I could, I would take a picture of all the rocks I collected so you could see them for yourself.

You have discovered the reason this blog was formed. I also found comments on blogs generally couldn’t include photos, videos or sound and were limited to only one link. A blog allows it all providing we know about being safe online.

When I stumble upon an interesting rock, I tend to have the instinct to pick it up. I know that you probably have that same instinct too, because you are like a walking encyclopedia, always gathering up new information. I said this because I wanted to know if you have either found or bought any new rocks yet. I also want to know which one you most likely do to collect rocks: Do you buy them from rock sellers more often, or do you collect them on your own outside more?

While I have collected rocks in the field, I am unable to travel as much as I once had so these days I am more often to buy samples if I find them interesting. I have recently added some interesting stones. See if you find these samples interesting…

The first photo shows flourite (calcium flourine) crystals. The green mat they're on have 1cm squares so you can see their size. Each crystal has 8 facets (faces), i.e. they are octahedral crystals. They have not been cut. A collector was selling some of his samples at a local country show.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

In my area, different towns have markets on weekends. When visiting one, I found a man was selling geodes from Queensland. While I already had some, I was fascinated by this sample because it looks as though two fused together when they were formed perhaps 200 million years ago.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Here is one from my collection that has been broken open. They aren't as impressive as my Brazilian geodes but I like the Australian samples because they are from home.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

I have yet a few more questions to ask you. Have you ever found a rock from a volcano? I think it would be most likely that you have because, in one of your posts, you said that you had seen a few volcanoes erupt. If, a couple months later, you had gone down to examine the area near the volcano, and you found a interesting rock, I think you would have kept it and put it in your collection. I know that if I found one, I would definitely keep it.

When collecting any stones, we must be aware whether or not we are in national parks where we are not permitted to collect stones and rocks. There are places where you can collect stones, including igneous (volcanic) rocks. When I can, I have collected stones but I have also bought many.

My favourite item from a volcanic area in New Zealand was collected by me (with permission). It was collected near a fumarole where the sulphur (U.S. spelling: sulfur) crystals were forming. Because sulphur crystals break down and lose their shine if exposed to water or moist air, the below sample has been kept in a perspex box since I found it over 30 years ago. The crystals still shine as you can see.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

I have already written a number of posts on volcanoes. Below are links to some of the first posts written for this blog back in 2012...

Volcanoes Post 1

Scree and Obsidian

Aa and Pahoehoe from Hawaii

Pumice and New Zealand Iron Sands

Geological Hot Spots

New Zealand

Final Volcano Post

Another question is have you ever been in a cave where jewels were growing naturally? I asked that question because I heard on a science show that people can explore caves with jewels in them. I doubt that you have ever been in one, but I can not know for sure until you tell me the answer. If you have been in one, what kind of minerals did you see?

A cave of jewels… what a wonderful thought reminding me of the first time I saw the 7 dwarfs working in the jewel mine in Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” when I was about your age. I dreamed of finding such a mine back then but I know finding a mine with gem quality stones is hard enough without expecting more than one type of gem. A diamond mine would be nice. 🙂

Below is an item in my collection measuring 5cm diameter across the top. Unfortunately, it is only a glass replica.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

I have been in gold mines, coal mines and a couple other mines but the closest to a jewel mine would have been an opal mine. There are mines all over the world where jewels are found, some very unsafe for the miners. I only enter mines welcoming visitors on guided tours.

Perhaps Australia’s most famous jewel mine is the Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia. It is an open cut mine where they dig down making valleys not dig tunnels.  Here is a link to their website.

Argyle Diamond Mine

You might know diamonds can be different colours other than clear. Argyle’s most famous colour is pink. Click on the link below to see some of the colours in Argyle diamonds…

Argyle Pink Diamonds

This is the last question I have before the last question I want to ask you. I want to ask you if you have ever mined any type of mineral. If so, what did you mine?

When out hunting for stones, I often have my geologists hammer with me. The pointy end is use to chip into rocks and the flat end to break rocks. You could say I have used this in mining in a small way. The picture is below…

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

I have also panned for gold in old gold fields and hunted for rocks, crystals and fossils in many locations.

Gold

Some of this sample has been panned by me. Much was bought.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

I bought this sample of gold in quartz from a place called Hill End where there was an active gold mine. I have been in a mine in the area but not the active mine.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

A gold nugget from New Zealand, it is about 1.5cm across.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Fossils

The two fossils below were found by me at a rock fall site many years ago. The first shows a fossilised leaf and the second is part of a fossilised tree trunk.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 In this sample I picked up, you can see shells in the stone. Rather than fossils, they are still real shells embedded in stone.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

I picked up the following shell embedded in rock from an open cut mine.

Shell 30,000 years old

Finally, I want to ask you if you have ever cut a rock open and discovered gems inside?

A gem is a stone used in jewellery so it can be anything from quartz to diamonds, emeralds and rubies. I have found quartz and amethyst in rocks as well as in rivers where they have been washed. Some of my stones are of gem quality but I have never found anything really valuable.

This quartz crystal sample might be of gem quality in part if it was cut but I like it as it is.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

As you said in your post, you do not have a diamond cutter, but have you ever used one? If so, was it hard to cut the stone open?

I have seen them used but I haven’t used one. It’s a skill to be able to cut a stone well. I have stones I collected so I could use them if I had access to a diamond saw. They are known as chert and are reasonably easy to cut and polish but aren’t worth much. My samples have colour bands through them so they might look good cut, shaped and polished into cabachons.

Diamonds are not made into cabachons nor are other gems such as emerald and rubies. They are faceted. This means they are cut and polished to have faces. Turquoise, agate and opal are examples of stone often made into cabachons. Look at the images of assorted cabachons below.

CABACHON SAMPLES

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

A diamond saw is used on most stones, diamond being the hardest stone we can find. It uses a special saw blade embedded with diamonds. Before you think this is a waste of diamonds, most diamonds found are not of gem quality. They are industrial quality. I have seen websites selling these low quality diamonds for as little as $120 to $180 per kilogram.

If you have never cut a stone open, would you ever like to cut one of your stones open?

While I would like to be able to cut my own stones, time to do so and the money to buy the equipment means this isn’t possible. I have broken open some samples to look inside but mostly I keep them as I found them. One of the problems with being interested in so many things is finding the time to do them all but it is fun doing what I can.

Keira also had questions on a geology post. Here are some possible answers...

Curious Keira Asked About Geology