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Chains by Becky Cabochon Cutting Grow Your Own Crystals Geodes Gemstones of the World Gem Trails of Utah Rocks from Space Gemstones Lapidary Drilling Tutorial Diamond Setting
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Buyer's Guides
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Collecting Guides
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Product Reviews
The UVTools M100 Ultraviolet Light Kit
GemOro Stereo Microscope
Meiji Techno Binocular and Trinocular Stereo Microscopes
Raynox Video MicroExplorer
The Photo-Atlas of Minerals CD
OsoSoft MineralLabel 5.0 - Now Freeware!
Belomo 10x Loupe: An Inexpensive Russian Triplet
$8 BIRI Russian Radiation Detector

Philae Lander Touches Down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Rosetta Comet Mission Could Change Science Forever

Comet 67P Shows No Sign of Magnetism: If astronauts ever go on a walkabout around a comet, they can leave their compasses at home.
Rosetta Fuels Debate on Origin of Earth's Oceans: The Rosetta spacecraft has found the water vapour from its target comet to be significantly different to that found on Earth. The discovery fuels the debate on the origin of our planet's oceans.
Rosetta Orbiter Continues Into Its Full Science Phase: With the Philae landerís mission complete, Rosetta will now continue its own extraordinary exploration, orbiting Comet 67P/Churymov-Gerasimenko during the coming year as the enigmatic body arcs ever closer to our Sun.
Philae Completes Main Mission Before Hibernation: Just prior to depleting its batteries and falling silent, Philae returned science data from its instruments, including ROLIS, COSAC, Ptolemy, SD2 and CONSERT, completing the measurements planned for the final block of experiments on the comet's surface.
How (And Where) Is Philae?: Many of Philae's key instruments have been activated and are autonomously running while the lander is out of radio contact with the Rosetta orbiter. Collecting their precious data hinges on the state of Philae's exhausting batteries when Rosetta's orbit returns it above the comet's horizon.
Philae Lander Is Frantically Doing Improvised Science As Its Batteries Die: Less than two days after its historic landing, Rosetta's probe may be reaching its final hours, and the scientific team is racing to collect as much data as possible before Philae's batteries run out. It's do or die, and at this point there's very little to lose in terms of its lifespan.
Philae's Battery Might Die Soon: The lander isn't getting enough light to recharge its pack.
Comet Lander Stuck against Bottom of Shady Cliff: Philae's solar panels will get just three hours of light per day, hindering Philae's science goals.
Rosetta: Concerns For Comet Lander After Uneven Landing: After a historic but awkward comet landing, the robot probe Philae is now stable and sending pictures - but there are concerns about its battery life. After two bounces, the first one about 1km back out into space, the lander settled in the shadow of a cliff, 1km from its target site.
Three Touchdowns For Rosetta's Lander: The lander remains unanchored to the surface at an as yet undetermined orientation. The science instruments are running and are delivering images and data, helping the team to learn more about the final landing site.
Rosetta: Waiting Game After Comet Lander Glitch: Data indicates that the Philae lander may have bounced twice, taking a full two hours to come to a rest.
Philae Lander Stable on Comet, for Now: Philae seems to have landed, bounced and then settled back down again, even though its harpoons apparently failed to secure the craft to the surface.
Philae Lander Touches Down On Comet 67P: Philae has landed. The Rosetta orbiter on Wednesday 11.12.14 dropped a spidery, three-legged robot the size of a small refrigerator and watched as it tentatively set down on a comet - the first time that the surface of these primordial balls of dust and ice has ever been explored.
Alone No More
Martian Meteorite ALH84001 Harbinger of Extraterrestrial Life
Check out Bob's Martian Touchdown - A Rockhound's Cosmic Encounter with Three Extraterrestrials

Curiosity Mars Rover

Curiosity on Mars
The Landing: Another Small Step for Man - A Giant Leap for Robot Kind
The Landing Site: The Geological Jackpot at Gale Crater
Curiosity: The Escalade of Mars Rovers
The Science Payload: Rock Zappers and the Search for Biosignatures
Want to Know More? References and Further Reading

Picture Perfect Proof That Mars Once Had Wet Seasons: Curiosity has imaged cross-bedded sandstones at the edge of a location called Hidden Valley, providing compelling photographic evidence there were regular cycles of water carrying plumes of river sediments flowing into the lake which once filled Gale crater.

Cross-Bedded Sandstone at Hidden Valley

Curiosity Tracks Sunspots: Curiosity is monitoring sunspots on the side of the sun facing away from Earth, during weeks when sun-monitoring spacecraft can't provide that information.
Curiosity Studies Rock-Layer Contact Zone: At the rover's current location near "Marias Pass" on Mount Sharp, Curiosity has found a zone where different types of bedrock neighbor each other. One is pale mudstone, like bedrock the mission examined previously at "Pahump Hills." Another is the "Stimson unit" a darker, finely bedded sandstone above the Pahrump-like mudstone.
Mars Conjunction: The teams running NASA's three active Mars orbiters and two Mars rovers will refrain from sending commands to their spacecraft from about June 7 to June 21, 2015. During that period, the sun will be within two degrees of Mars in Earth's sky and radio communications with the orbiters and rovers will be impaired.
Curiosity's Laser-zapping Instrument Gets Sharper Vision: Tests have confirmed success of a repair to the autonomous focusing capability of the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on Curiosity. This instrument provides information about the chemical composition of targets by zapping them with laser pulses and taking spectrometer readings of the induced sparks.
Curiosity Adjusts Route Up Martian Mountain: Curiosity has just climbed a hill on slopes as steep as 21 degrees to approach an alternative site for investigating a geological boundary, after a comparable site proved hard to reach.
Curiosity Views Serene Sundown on Mars: Curiosity used its Mast Camera (Mastcam) to record the sunset during an evening of skywatching. The sunset observations help researchers assess the vertical distribution of dust in the atmosphere.
Quick Detour by Curiosity Checks Ancient Valley: Curiosity made observations and measurements there to address questions about how the channel formed and filled. Curiosity then resumed driving up Mount Sharp, where the mission is studying the rock layers.
Curiosity Making Tracks and Observations: Curiosity is approaching a new geological formation with high-standing buttes called the Washboard unit, and has surpassed 10 kilometers in total distance driven on Mars.
Curiosity's Weather Data Bolster Case for Brine: Martian weather and soil conditions that Curiosity has measured, together with perchlorate detected by Curiosity and previously by the Phoenix lander in Martian soil, could put liquid brine in the soil at night.
Curiosity Eyes Prominent Mineral Veins on Mars: Two-tone mineral veins at a site Curiosity has reached by climbing a layered Martian mountain offer clues about multiple episodes of fluid movement. These episodes occurred later than the wet environmental conditions that formed lake-bed deposits the rover examined at the mountain's base.
More Curiosity in the News

Powerful new twin NASA Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have successfully landed and deployed on different regions of the Red Planet. With far greater mobility than the 1997 Pathfinder rover, these robotic explorers may trek as much as 40 meters across the surface in a day. Each rover carries a sophisticated set of instruments search for evidence about whether past environments at selected sites were wet enough to be hospitable to life. Rocks and soils will be analyzed with a set of five geology instruments on each rover, and a special tool called the rock abrasion tool, or "RAT", will be used to expose fresh rock surfaces for study.
The Mars Exploration Rovers Mission
Mars Rover Fact Sheet
Mars Rovers Take Baby Steps
The Athena Mars Rovers Science Payload
The Geological History of Mars
The Surface of Mars
The Search for Extinct Life
The Search for Extant Life
Mars Landing Site Catalog
Mars High Resolution Global Mosaic
Mars Image Navigator
The Interior of Mars
Panorama of the 'Payson' outcrop on the western edge of Erebus Crater imaged by the Opportunity rover 02-26-2006
Opportunity Rover Mission Updates:
July 02, 2015:  Opportunity Gets Back to Work
June 25, 2015:  Opportunity In Good Health After Communication Blackout
June 19, 2015:  Opportunity Remains in Solar Conjunction Communication Blackout
June 07, 2015:  For Next Three Weeks, Opportunity in Quiet Period of Operations
June 05, 2015:  Opportunity Ready for Solar Conjunction and Period of Curtailed Operations
May 26, 2015:  Preparing for Solar Conjunction
May 19, 2015:  Opportunity Restored to Normal Operations After a Reset Error
May 18, 2015:  Exploring the 'Spirit of St. Louis' Crater
May 08, 2015:  Opportunity Getting Ready to Enter 'Spirit of St. Louis' Crater
April 28, 2015:  4,000+ Martian Days of Work on Mars!
April 23, 2015:  Opportunity on the Lookout for Dust Devils!
April 16, 2015:  Robotic Arm Gets Busy on Rock Outcrop
Spirit Rover Mission Updates:
May 24, 2011:  Spirit Remains Silent at Troy

Stack of sedimentary structures exposed at Payson Ledge on the western edge of Erebus Crater imaged by the Opportunity rover 03-03-26 Bolders of vesicular basalt along the edge of a lava flow at Lorre Ridge imaged by the Spirit rover 01-23-06 Coarse-grained layers of possible explosive origin from the edge of the Home Plate plateau inside Gusev Crater imaged by the Spirit rover 02-10-06 Volcanic rock fragments littering the slope of Low Ridge imaged by the Spirit rover 04-13-06

Rocks in the News
5-Day Silver Price History    5-Day Gold Price History
Detailed Silver Price Historical Chart    Detailed Gold Price Historical Chart

Images of Pluto: 'Houston, We Have Geology': Pluto is being revealed as an intriguing new world with distinct surface features in images captured by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft as it flies by.
Discovery Of Ancient Stone Tools Challenges Story Of Mankind: Found in desert badlands near Lake Turkana in Kenya, the 3.3 million year old tools include sharp-edged flakes that could have been used for cutting meat from animal carcasses and rudimentary hammers perhaps used to pound open nuts or tubers. They are 700,000 years older than any other such stone tools ever found.
Deciphering Clues To Prehistoric Climate Changes Locked In Cave Deposits: It turns out that the steady dripping of water deep underground can reveal a surprising amount of information about the constantly changing cycles of heat and cold, precipitation and drought in the turbulent atmosphere above.
First Dinosaur Fossil Discovered In Washington State: The first dinosaur fossil discovered in Washington state is a 16.7 inch long portion of a femur leg bone from a theropod. Researchers discovered the fossil while collecting ammonite fossils along the shores of Sucia Island State Park in the San Juan Islands from a marine rock unit known as the Cedar District Formation.
Killer Cockroach Trapped In Amber: Beautifully preserved in amber collected in Myanmar, the 'Crane Giraffe' cockroach lived 100 million years ago during the age of the dinosaurs. A predator, Manipulator modificaputis was like no other cockroach, past or present.
Is There Life Out There?: Researchers who have modeled planetary systems far beyond our own solar system have found that massive moons larger than Mars might be the best bet in the search for life beyond Earth.
Storms And Microbes Are Behind The Mystery Of The Wandering Stones: The 'sailing' stones of Death Valley in California are famous for apparently moving by themselves. Researchers theorize that wind from winter storms generates currents that can push the stones over a slickened surface colonized by microbes.
Sudden Onset Of Ice Loss In Antarctica: Multiple glaciers along a vast coastal expanse, measuring some 750km in length, have suddenly started to shed ice into the ocean at a rate of 60 cubic km, or about 55 trillion litres of water, each year.
Mercury Was Magnetic Four Billion Years Ago: Scientists have found evidence of a four billion year old ancient magnetic field on Mercury, according to new data from NASA's Messenger mission. The scientists made their discovery by examining data from a series of low altitude orbital passes undertaken by Messenger at heights often less than 50 kilometres above Mercury's crater-strewn surface.
Great Dying Caused By Ocean Acidification: The Great Dying - the largest mass extinction of all time - was likely triggered by a massive volcanic event that resulted in the acidification of the world's oceans, according to new research.
Early Earth Collision Could Clear Up Two Geological Mysteries: Two outstanding, seemingly unconnected geology problems - the unexpected ratio of two neodymium isotopes in terrestrial rocks and the energy source for the dynamo that creates Earth's magnetic field - could be solved by a single new theory.
More Rocks in the News

Utah Goblin Topplers Sentenced To Probation : Glenn Tuck Taylor and David Benjamin Hall may have to shell out thousands to pay for warning signs telling future visitors to Goblin Valley State Park to leave the rocks alone. The men were sentenced to a year of probation without jail time and payment of restitution after pleading guilty to knocking over an ancient rock formation in the state park.
Ex-Boy Scout Leaders Charged With Felonies: It just took a little push to topple the delicately perched boulder - millions of years in the making - in Utah's Goblin Valley State Park. Then the man who did it laughed, high-fived his son, and flexed his muscles while being cheered on by a fellow Boy Scout leader. He is not likely celebrating now, nor is his friend who videotaped then publicized the episode, after both were charged with third-degree felonies.
Boy Scouts Toss 2 Leaders Who Knocked Over Goblin: A northern Utah Boy Scouts council has announced that former Boy Scout leaders Glenn Taylor and Dave Hall will no longer be allowed to lead scouting troops as a result of their vandalism of Goblin Valley State Park.
Boy Scout Leaders Destroy Ancient Formation In Utah's Goblin Valley: Boy Scout and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints youth leaders Dave Hall, Glenn Taylor and Dylan Taylor are potentially facing felony charges for destroying a rock formation nearly 200 million years old. The trio of vandals was adventuring in Utah's Goblin Valley State Park when they decided to film themselves knocking over one of the formations, known as "Goblins."

Drilling Down Into The Deepwater Horizon Disaster
What Happens When British Petroleum Executives Spill Coffee
What Happens When British Petroleum Funds Congressional Election Campaigns
Why This Is Going To Happen Again...

Letters to the Editor
Say NO to Akaka Governed Public Land: A bitter legislative battle is raging over collecting fossils on public lands.

Browse Our Online Gallery of Wilensky Quality Minerals - Order Our Video Catalog!

Chambers Fit For A Queen - A Quest For English Ammonites
Rock&Gem Feature Article
More Rock&Gem Online Features:
Anyone Can Carve
A Day in the Life of a Gemologist
Into the Caves - "California's Underground" at the Oakland, California Museum
Bingham Canyon Copper - Finding Chalcopyrite at "The Richest Hole on Earth"
Rockhound in Greece - A Great Destination for Geology... and Humanity
Honoring Mr. Jones - Our Senior Editor Gets What He Deserves
Faceting Fascinates - With an Experienced Guide, You, Too, Can Bring Gemstones to Life!
Tonopah and Goldfield - They Were the Hub of Nevada's Gold Rush
Agates from the Land of Pumas and Craters
Mexico's Mystery Stone
A Lesson in Channel Work
New England Pegmatites: They Have Been Mined Since America's Earliest Days
Turquoise: Blue Sky...Blue Stone
Faceting by Hand: Jack Lahr's Lap-Lap Relies on Primitive Power

Rock&Gem Magazine Article Search
Search Back Issues for Articles with Topics of Interest
Rock&Gem Writer's Guidelines

Rock&Gem Magazine Show Calendar
An Extensive List of Upcoming Gem and Mineral Shows
Submit Your Own Club's Show for Publication in Rock&Gem Magazine

Rock&Gem Craftsman of the Month Contest
Got a Pet Project Your're Proud of and Want to Show Off?
Win and Rock&Gem Magazine will Feature Your Work and Throw in a Dremel Tool to Boot
Entry Details - Browse the Current and Prior Contest Winners

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Rock and Mineral Display
Cases, Easels & Stands

Software for Rockhounds
Mineral Database and Identification Software: Photo Atlas of Minerals - Lithos - MinSearch - MDI Mineral Database - Geolib - Topaz - Minrls - Digital Rockhound's Companion
Freeware Screen Savers for Rockhounds: Tucson Show V2001 - Grand Hikes - Minerals V1.0
Freeware Faceters Companion CD!: Featuring Over 250 Faceting Patterns
GemCad: Gemstone Design Software
Ososoft Mineral Label: Freeware Specimen Labeling Software for Rock Collectors!
RockWare Freeware: Erupt - GeoTrig - Mineral Mastery - Seismic - Magnetic
Freeware Mars Map: High Resolution Orbiter Camera Global Mosaic

Rock Identification Key
A Beginner's Guide and Key to Help You Identify and Put a Name on That Rock!
Learn to ID and Distinguish Basalt, Diabase, Diorite, Gabbro, Granite, Obsidian, Pumice, Rhyolite, Scoria, Gneiss, Marble, Quartzite, Schist, Serpentinite, Slate, Breccia, Conglomerate, Limestone, Sandstone, Shale...

Mineral Identification Key
An Online Guide and Key to Aid in the Identification of Field Collected Mineral Specimens
Covering Several Hundred of the Most Commonly Occurring and Collected Species

Fossils    Meteorites    Mineral Specimens    Shungite   
Spheres and Pyramids    Hearts and Eggs    Freeforms and Tumbled Stones    Mineralogical Records   

Crystallography and Mineral Crystal Systems
An Illustrated, Nine-Part Primer on Crystallography and Mineral Crystal Systems

Mineral Nomenclature: Naming New Minerals
So You've Discovered a New Mineral and Want to Name It "Spottite" After Your Dog...

Changes In Mineralogical Nomenclature: Varieties
Why Rock Scientists Won't Understand the Question When You Ask "What mineral is amethyst a variety of"?

Grand Hikes
A Virtual Tour and Rockhound's Hiking Guide for the Grand Canyon
Stromatolite Fossils in the Hakatai Shale - A Day Hike from Phantom Ranch
Comanche Point Vicinity - An Overnight Hike to Spectacular Grand Canyon Supergroup Views
Genesis V2.0 - God's Grand Work Week - A Grand Canyon Geology Primer
The 1869 Expedition - An Account of the First Grand Canyon Float Trip
Grand Hikes Screen Saver V1.0 - A Complimentary Grand Canyon Screen Saver
Bob's Grand Canyon Backcountry Equipment Checklist - Don't Leave Home Without It!

A Faceted Gemstone Design for CZ Inspired by the Pleiadians - Designed by Bob Keller

Perfect Transfer
Interested in Faceting? Check Out this Feature for Faceters!
Featured Cut: Rose Egg 168a-96 - A Rose Cut Egg
Gateway to Gemstone Designs on the Internet - Download Over 300 Faceting Diagrams with Cutting Instructions!
Browse and Download the Freeware Faceters Companion CD
Currently Featured Article: A Graphical Presentation of Brightness in the Standard Round Brilliant
Index of Online Faceting Articles - Faceting How-to and Tips from Many Facetors and Gemstone Designers!
Online Tangent Ratio and Gem Weight Calculators
Content and Information for Faceters

Rose Egg 168a-96 Rose Egg 480a-80 Rose Egg 624a-96

Manuals for Vintage Lapidary Equipment
Need the manufacturer's manual for your estate sale find?

Greetings from Tucson
Our Shows, Museums, Clubs, Rock Shops, and Other Attractors

Snapshots from the Tucson 2007 Gem and Mineral Show

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show Reports
Browse the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show with Bob!

How to Wirewrap
A Step-by-Step Pendant Design for Faceted Stones that Does Away With Claws

Sworn to Fun
A Club President's Perspective on the Decline of Rockhounding

Featured Articles by John Betts
Advice for Beginners
Anthony's Nose, New York
A Field Guide to Mineral Collectors  
Mineral Prices: Why so High?
Dealing with Dealers
Mineral Cleaning
Largest Mineral Crystals on Record
Display Lighting of Minerals

The Great Fresnoite Discovery of 1998
Scott's Big Score in California's San Benito Mountains

I am pleased to offer some of my finest mineral specimens. Some of them were released, many years ago, from major museums and significant private collections.

Rockhounding Graves Mountain
Collecting Rutile and Other Minerals at this Famous Georgia Locality

Collecting at the Bunker Hill Mine
Ron and Rose-Marie's Most Excellent Bunker Hill Mine Adventure

Gypsum Rosettes
Collecting at the Red River Floodway in Winnipeg, Canada

Micromounter's Mecca
A Visit to the Micromounter's Swap Room at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show
Check Out Tim Jokela's The Top Ten Reasons to Get Into Micromounting

Anatomy of a Three-Headed Sphere Machine
Interested in Rolling Your Own?

Cabochon Making 101
Cabbing with Tucson's Old Pueblo Lapidary Club

CR-Scientific - New and Used Laboratory Equipment - Earth Science Supplies - Mineral Specimens
An Introduction to the Feldspar Minerals by Anita D. Westlake

Purple Passion Prospect
Wulfenite Collecting near Wickenburg, Arizona

Rock and Fossil Stamps of the United States
A Preview Page of the Shop's Topical Stamp Catalog for Rockhounds

Mineralogical Meanderings
The Hardness of Minerals and Rocks
Streaking Minerals - Streak Testing
Collecting Micrometeorites
Identifying True Amber
Some Surefire Signs You're a Rockhound
Collecting Rock Stamps
Gem and Mineral Phonecards
The Mysterious Power of Gemstones and Crystals

Bob's Rock Shop 1st WWW Specimen Image Contest Results!
Do You Take Pictures of Rocks? If So, You'll Appreciate These - Check Out the Winning Entries!
Winners competed for custom specimen mounting, mineral specimens, rockhound magazine and newsletter subscriptions, specimen labeling and mineral database software and more... These and other outstanding entries will also be featured in a new version of the Shop's ever popular freeware specimen image screen saver!

Book and CD Reports
Dana's New Mineralogy, Eighth Edition
Encyclopedia of Mineral Names, Special Publication 1 of The Canadian Mineralogist

Gallery of Mineral Specimen Images
George Campbell
Ken Colosky
Martin Friedlander
Bob Keller
David Michaels
D.E. Russell
Tim Schmanski
Stuart Wilensky
Wayne State University
Ron Zeilstra

Cut Rocks
Rock Knives by Stephen Hill
Sections from Brian Isfeld
Slabs and Cabs


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Index to Advertisers
Arizona Mineral Company
John Betts Fine Minerals
Lawrence H. Conklin, Mineralogist
Cutting Rocks
Extinctions Fossils
Gemart Services
The Mineralogical Record Magazine
Rock of Ages
Rocks and Minerals Magazine
RockWare Earth Science Software
Safe Collecting Supplies
Simkev Micromounts
The Sunnywood Collection
Tysons' Fine Minerals
UC Minerals
Dan Weinrich Fine Minerals
Wilensky Fine Minerals

The Shop's Link List
The Shop's Pick and Links to Thousands of Other Websites of Interest to Rockhounds

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USFG Faceters List
Lost Wax Casting Group
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Bob Keller