March 2015 Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting of Shenandoah Valley Gem and Mineral Society
Meeting date: March 9th, 2015

President Michael Pabst called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm. There were 24 members present, and 3 visitors.

Old Business:
1. The trip to Mike’s house to view micro-minerals will be re-scheduled due to the snow.
2. Everyone present gave a short self-introduction, so that we could get acquainted with each other. Several members brought mineral samples to view. A few children had displays as well – it was refreshing to see our budding mineralogists so enthused about rocks!
3. Thanks to Jilly for the refreshments tonight. Charles will bring snacks in April. Anyone can sign up to bring snacks for a monthly meeting by clicking this website:

New Business:
If you’d like to present a program, please talk to an officer at a meeting or sign up on this site:

Be sure to keep up with our website and our Face Book page “Shenandoah Valley Gem and Mineral Society” for updates and information.

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Program Report:
Mike showed a DVD presentation on “Mineral Evolution” by Dr. Robert Hazen, who is a professor at George Mason University and the Principal Investigator of the Deep Carbon Observatory. (

This was very new information, presented in August 2014. The presentation took us back in time to the Big Bang when all the known elements were formed over several million years, leading to the formation of the 4900 minerals known today. The explanation was delivered by using ten “Stages of Events”. We were asked to name the earliest known mineral. (See end of this summary for answer.)

Stages one through three involved the formation of elements, compounds, around 60 minerals, planetesimals, and finally the planets.

Once Earth developed and water was added to the equation, over 1500 new minerals formed in the fourth and fifth stages. These minerals were not colorful however.

Stage six is very important to those of us who adore colorful minerals, because it was during this stage that life began, and there was a co-evolution of life and minerals.

The early microbes began photosynthesis and in stage seven we see COLORS! The Earth’s surface was red due to iron, and the ‘great oxidation event’ produced thousands of new minerals that we enjoy seeing and collecting today.

Two-thirds of all known minerals are due to the formation of life.

Stages eight through ten brings us up to the Cenozoic era, in which we are now living. During the last billion years of the Earth’s development, we saw a Snowball earth (most of the surface was ice) and the evolution of plants and animals into six kingdoms.

Dr. Hazen used evidence from biology, geology, and a new concept – using mathematical equations and graphs to show how the evolution of minerals has occurred.

These equations show that more than 50% of our minerals are located in only 5 or less localities. Some exist in only one location!!

Earth is a unique planet, for sure!! (Answer to question posed in first paragraph is diamond which is made from pure carbon)

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Notes from The Rock Shop - March 2015:
The Rock Shop was open for its monthly session on Saturday, March 14th, 2015. Six members attended to work on various projects.

Charlie continued his diligent efforts to strain the usable oil from the sludge from the bottom of the small slab saw. He’s collected about a gallon that can be put to further use in the trim saws, etc. When the feed mechanism comes back from repairs, this slab saw will be ready for its second 100,000 miles! He did some slabbin’ ’n’ cabbin’ in and around this process.

Jack occupied the large slab saw with a piece of mariposite from the California gold territory and he got an end piece and a good slab off it. The end piece polished up quite nicely, so there is some good promise from the slabs from this rock. Otherwise, he continued to break in the Titan wheels, taking several end pieces of hard and soft materials through all stages. These included the mariposite, some azurite/chrysocolla, Deer Sky picture jasper, some sodalite, and a piece of richolite/serpentine.

Eleanor took her first turn with the Titan and some hard material she collected locally (might be basalt or granite). She commented on how rapidly and well the Titan was able to shape this material compared to the Genie and was pleased with the outcome.

Michael continued working on his aquamarine cabs from the prior session and brought them one step closer to perfection. James learned how to cut small geodes by hand on a trim saw and got to experience the “first peek” moment on a couple he brought along.

Pat came in to check out the scene and was surprised when someone handed him a piece of a serpentine slab and showed him how to get busy with it. He was proceeding well, but nearing the last polish, the concrete floor claimed a sacrifice. Everyone gets a chance to appease it now and then!

Hopefully, the feed mechanism for the 14” saw will be back from the machinist before our next session - everyone had a piece or two of rough they wanted to run through it, so it is missed.

Leo pointed out that the club has a home-brew flat lap machine sitting off in a corner. Next session, we are going to haul it out, fire it up and see if it can contribute to our ways and means.

The next Rock Shop date is Saturday, April 18th, 2015 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. The facility is open to all members and free to use (but we ask for a contribution to the Repairs and Supplies Tip Jar on the central bench if you can make one)


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April meeting: Monday, April 13th at 7:30 PM
(Socializing and refreshments at 7:00 pm)
Waynesboro Church of the Brethren
364 Bridge Road
Lower parking lot—Side Door entrance!

Program: “Show and tell” and an episode of the PBS series “Mineral Explorers”

Refreshments: Jilly Weigel

Volunteers for Refreshments, 2015:
February: Deborah Grimm & Pat Lantz
Jilly Weigel
July: N/A - Club Picnic
December: N/A - Club Christmas Dinner

Deborah Grimm, Secretary

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Club Officers and Staff 2015
President – Michael Pabst
Vice President – Leo Cloutier
Show Co-Chairs – Dean Hostetter
Educational Outreach -- Deborah Grimm
Secretary/Newsletter -- Deborah Grimm
Field Trip Coordinator - Dean Hostetter
Treasurer – Scott Gregory
Web Site Coordinator – Jack Glenn

Club web site:
Club Facebook page:
Club email:

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