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September-October 2010

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Chips from the Quarry: September/October 2010

HITTIN' THE ROAD: There's nothing better than a getaway weekend, unless it's a getaway week. And where better to spend that week than in Denver during the forty-third annual Denver Gem and Mineral Show, this year being held 17–19 September. To get you in a Denver frame of mind, we've included several Colorado articles in this issue, including a feature article by Tom Rosemeyer tied to the show theme of The Creede Mining District.

On 10–12 September, the weekend preceding the show, a companion event, the Creede Mineral Symposium, will be held in Creede itself. Sponsors are the Colorado Chapter of Friends of Mineralogy, the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) Geology Museum, and Friends of the CSM Geology Museum. Activities include a Friday evening welcoming reception and lecture presentation; a program of lectures on Creede minerals, geology, and mining history during the day on Saturday; a Saturday evening banquet; and a field trip to mining and geological sites in the Creede area on Sunday. Most of the symposium will be held at the Creede Underground Mining Museum and Community Center. The weekend package also features displays of minerals from Creede as well as sales booths by mineral dealers specializing in specimens from the Creede district.

AND THE WINNER IS: This past spring Susan Robinson, author of our artist article series and a noted artist in her own right, captured first place in an art show at Michigan Technological University, in Houghton, with her entry titled Thomsonites. We offer congratulations to Susan for her prize-winning 8″ × 10″ acrylic painting, which is pictured here.

KIRBY SIBER HONORED: On 24 April of this year, the University of Zurich awarded Hans-Jakob “Kirby” Siber an honorary doctorate based on his contributions to dinosaur research. The award recognizes both his scientifically important excavations and his construction of the Aathal (Switzerland) Dinosaur Museum, through which he has brought knowledge of the time of the dinosaurs to a large public and professional audience. The award ceremony was attended by approximately six hundred guests.

Caption: Thomsonites, Susan Robinson's prize-winning painting.

In 1964, together with his father, Hans, and brother, Edward, Siber established the firm of Siber + Siber, a mineral and fossil dealership that now sells in Aathal and Zurich. Eighteen years later, in 1992, in an old factory building and without the aid of public monies, Siber opened his popular Dinosaur Museum, which has attracted more than a million visitors, including hundreds of guided school groups annually. On display are eighteen life-sized dinosaur skeletons and dinosaur reconstructions, the result of his extensive digs in Peru and the United States, especially in Wyoming. During the past ten years, the museum has been visited by some forty researchers who have made use of materials from his Wyoming finds and published their results in numerous scientific journals. In 2005 the museum hosted a conference for professionals in dinosaur research. Additionally, Siber has organized special exhibitions outside the museum.

In accepting the doctorate, Siber stated that the honor actually belongs to his entire group of excavators, preparators, restorers, and other workers in recognition of their efforts as a team.

Both Edward and Kirby Siber are well known to collectors worldwide because of their longtime participation in the major international mineral and fossil shows.

Caption: Kirby Siber, recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Zurich.

SIGNIFICANT ANNIVERSARIES: It seems there is much to celebrate these days. The National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution first opened its doors on 17 March 1910. In celebration of its one hundredth birthday, the museum has mounted a special exhibition featuring archival and modern photographs highlighting many facets of the building—its people, collections, exhibitions, and outreach through the years. It can be seen until March of next year.

This year also marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the prestigious Michigan Mineralogical Society in Detroit, making it the oldest club in the Midwest Federation of Mineralogical and Geological Societies. Their show, held each year in the fall, is celebrating its sixty-sixth year (this year's show dates are 8–10 October).

And then there's the infamous dinosaur named Sue. The fabled Tyrannosaurus rex, now at Chicago's Field Museum, has called that facility home for the past ten years, as of this past May. Anniversary events are scheduled through December and are described on the museum's website (

EARTH SCIENCE WEEK: Two thousand ten is the thirteenth year for this annual event, which is hosted by the American Geological Institute, a nonprofit federation of more than forty scientific and professional associations that represent more than 120,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other Earth scientists. The week was established to give students and other citizens new opportunities to discover the Earth sciences and to encourage stewardship on our planet.

Earth Science Week 2010 will be celebrated 10–16 October; its theme is Exploring Energy. For the latest information on the many associated activities, in general and also state-by-state, visit

AN APETITE FOR CHANGE: Not unexpectedly, the renaming of the apatite group, as described in our May/June issue (pages 204–205), led to some lively discussions among collectors at shows and on the Internet. One of the more amusing comments about the back-and-forth name changes was made on Mindat by Australian Steve Sorrell, who, on 18 May, wrote: “I think I'm going to call my favourite [apatite] specimen Bob.” To which Robert (Bob) Rothenberg immediately replied, “I, for one, would be honored!”

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Thanks are extended to the following people and groups for underwriting color costs associated with this issue. The Cincinnati Mineral Society and the Mineral Section of the Houston Gem and Mineral Society underwrote costs for the Connoisseur's Choice column. The Greater Denver Area Gem and Mineral Council contributed to the Colorado articles, and donors to the Color Fund and the 2009 benefit auction held at last year's Denver Show contributed toward color in the remaining articles.

The continued support of so many benefactors is appreciate.


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