Stick type Byrozoan, Fossil Mountain Member, Kaibab Formation, Grand Canyon National Park Marine Worm Burrow Cast, Fossil Mountain Member, Kaibab Formation, Grand Canyon National Park Sponge in Chert Nodule, Fossil Mountain Member, Kaibab Formation, Grand Canyon National Park

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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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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

Rough for Faceters    Check Our Specials!
Natural:   Amethyst   Ametrine   Bytownite   Chrome Diopside   Citrine   Danburite   Garnet   Moldavite   Petalite   Quartz   Sapphire   Spodumene   Tanzanite   Topaz   Tourmaline   Zircon  
Synthetics:   Cubic Zirconia   Laser Gem / Glass   Quartz  

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

Philae Lander Photos Show There Is More To Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Than Soft Dust: Comet lander Philae may be uncommunicative at the moment, but the pictures and measurements it took after it touched down on a comet have shown scientists the comet is covered with coarse material, rather than dust, and is harder than expected.
Philae Wakes Up From Hibernation: Rosetta's lander Philae has woken up after seven months in hibernation on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
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.
More Rosetta in the News
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 Moves Onward After 'Marias Pass' Studies: Curiosity is driving toward the southwest after departing a region where for several weeks it investigated a geological contact zone and rocks that are unexpectedly high in silica and hydrogen content. The hydrogen indicates water bound to minerals in the ground.
Curiosity Inspects Unusual Bedrock: Curiosity has found a target unlike anything it has studied before - bedrock with surprisingly high levels of silica. Silica is a rock-forming compound containing silicon and oxygen, commonly found on Earth as quartz. High levels of silica in the rock could indicate ideal conditions for preserving ancient organic material, if present, so the science team wants to take a closer look.
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.
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:
August 31, 2015:  Clay-Mineral Rocks Get Closer Inspection
August 11, 2015:  The Challenges of RAM Mode
August 05, 2015:  Looking Forward to Contact Science in 'Marathon Valley'
July 30, 2015:  Beginning to Explore 'Marathon Valley'
July 20, 2015:  Experimenting with Flash Memory
July 15, 2015:  A Week of Imaging and Driving
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
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

Searching For Life In Martian Water Will Be Very, Very Tricky: The easiest way to find life on Mars, it turns out, may be to import bacteria from Cape Canaveral - contamination that could sabotage the search for native Martians. The need to protect any possible Martian biosphere from Earthly contamination could prevent humans from landing in or entering areas where Martian life might thrive.
NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows On Todayís Mars: New findings from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars. Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet.
Volcanic Lightning Turns Ash Into Glass: Within the ash plumes of explosive volcanic eruptions, collisions among countless pyroclastic particles sometimes lead to the buildup of static charges that discharge dramatically as volcanic lightning. In a new study, researchers have found that this lightning can, in turn, melt and fuse ash particles into distinctive glassy grains called spherules.
American Volcanoes: Complacency, Uncertainty Contribute To Risks: Today, volcanoes rarely make the news in the United States, even though the western half of the country is dotted with volcanic systems that could unleash eruptions many times more powerful than the Mount St. Helens disaster.
Meet Pentecopterus, A Giant Sea Scorpion: You don't name a sea creature after an ancient Greek warship unless it's built like a predator. That's certainly true of Pentecopterus, a giant sea scorpion with the features of a penteconter, one of the first Greek galley ships. Researchers say Pentecopterus lived 467 million years ago and could grow to nearly six feet. It is the oldest described eurypterid - a group of aquatic arthropods that are ancestors of modern spiders and ticks.
Earth's First Mass Extinction Was Caused By Critters Not Catastrophe: The Earth's first mass extinction event 540 million years ago was caused not by a meteorite impact or volcanic super-eruption but by the rise of early animals that dramatically changed the prehistoric environment.
The Wait For More Pluto Data Is Almost Over: Get ready, we're about to be inundated with postcards from Pluto. On September 5, the New Horizons spacecraft, now more than 62 million kilometers beyond Pluto, will begin a roughly year-long download of all the data it acquired during its brief visit with the dwarf planet in July.
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.
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

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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

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!

Select from Our Fine Materials for Your Special Lapidary Projects
Assortments      Agates   Alunite   Angelite   Aventurine   Blue Willow Stone   Calcite   Cacoxenite   Charoite   Chrysocolla   Clam Chowder Stone   Coprolite   Crinoid Marble   Dalmatian Stone   Dinosaur Bone   Dolomite   Dumortierite   Flower Feldspar   Fossil Coral   Fossil Stone   Goldstone   Hypersthene   Indian Paint Rock   Jade   Jaspers   Lapis Lazuli   Lepidolite   Magnesite   Mookaite   Obsidians   Petrified Wood   Pietersite   Pink Lace   Printstone   Quartz   Rhodochrosite   Rhodonite   Rhyolites   Ruby in Fuchsite   Ruby in Zoisite   Selected Materials   Seraphinite   Serpentine   Sodalite   Thulite    Tiffany Stone   Tiger Eye   Tiger Iron   Turquoise   Unakite   Variscite  

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

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

Rock and Mineral Display
Cases, Easels & Stands

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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Lawrence H. Conklin, Mineralogist
Cutting Rocks
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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

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Bob Keller