Paleontology: Fossils, Fossils, Fossils!

Paleontologists are geologists and scientists who specialize in the study of fossils. Fossils help to tell the story of our great Earth. Almost all fossils are found in sedimentary rock such as shale, limestone, and sandstone. A fossil is formed when an animal or plant dies and is quickly buried by sediment before it has time to decay. The hard parts of the animal or plant such as shells, bone and wood are fossilized in the rock formed from the sediment.

Growing Salt Crystals is a Fun Geology Experiment for Kids (and adults, too)!

Hey Mini Me Geologists! Try this fun experiment to learn more about growing salt crystals. Did you know that the salt you put on your food is actually a mineral? Salt forms naturally by precipitation or evaporation. In this experiment, you will watch salt crystals form by precipitation because it is just more fun than watching water dry and leave salt behind, although you can try that method, too. Grab an adult to help you with the stove and boiling water but the rest you can do on your own. In nature, salt will precipitate from mineral-rich water in oceans or lakes so you will simulate ocean water to grow your crystals.

I Really, Really Hate Rock and Mineral Clip Art

Do you love clip art? I do…sort of. I know that this might not be a popular stance. However, when it comes to some things, like rock and mineral products; I HATE clip art.

Help! I Have to Teach Rock and Mineral Identification and I’m Not a Geologist!

Have you ever had this thought? “Help! I have to teach rock and mineral identification and I’m not a geologist.” Identifying rocks and minerals is difficult. Even the most experienced geologists are stumped sometimes (often when an elementary student hands you a random rock they found on the playground and want to know what it is on the spot!). Minerals can have many colors and shapes while rocks sometimes just look alike.

Rock Chips are Bad for Students

I’m a firm believer in hands-on learning. When it comes to teaching geology, I think that students need to have samples of rocks and minerals to feel, observe and test.

What is Mineral Luster?

The fact is that EVERY mineral has a luster. Geologists use so many terms for different types of luster is will make your head spin. Sometimes the luster is obvious and sometimes a little more subtle. Basically, luster is the appearance of a mineral’s surface when light shines on the sample. The absorption, refraction and reflection of the light upon the surface of the mineral will present as different luster.

Thank you for a great year!

So, here’s to you – our customers! Thank you for a great year. Happy New Year and have a fantastic 2014!

Ask-a-Geologist #4: Why do geologists tests rocks for calcite?

Today we have another great geology question from one of our readers.

Terrance writes: Why do scientists check rocks to see if they contain calcite?

The Most Hated Word in Geology

Ok, so I’m sure that not everyone hates this word. But, I sure do. I see many kids get frustrated with the subject of rocks just because this word is confusing and teachers often use it without explaining how easy the word really is to understand.

What’s the word? The word is detrital. Its synonym, clastic, is a close second on my “words I hate list.” Number three on my list has nothing to do with geology.

What is Plate Tectonics and How Does it Work?

Alfred Wegener, a German scientist, developed the theory of plate tectonics in the early 1900’s. He published his ideas in a book titled The Origin of Continents and Oceans, in 1915. Wegener noticed that the continents on Earth looked like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and believed that the continents were once connected.